The Admirals won 4-1 on the road against the Rockford IceHogs Friday night. Miikka Salomaki scored twice from the power-play and Taylor Aronson had a four-point night – including his first career AHL goal. All of this in front of yet another smooth night in net for Magnus Hellberg – his fourth win in four starts. The victory snaps a franchise best eight-game winning streak for the IceHogs. The rematch is all set for tomorrow night.
After a post-whistle slash by Ryan Schnell, delivered to Mike Liambas, the Admirals took the game’s opening power-play and picked up a first period lead. Taylor Aronson fed a pass off to the left wing circle for Viktor Arvidsson to one-time it on net. Former-Admiral goaltender Scott Darling kicked it out in front to traffic where Miikka Salomaki was able to push the puck across for his second goal of the season.
In the second period the Admirals extended their lead to two. Taylor Aronson scored his first career AHL goal through a long range wister from the right point. That puck had eyes through traffic and Darling to give the Ads a brief 2-0 cushion.
Rockford finally cracked the Admirals defense and Magnus Hellberg midway through the second period. Ville Pokka was able to pinch the puck and get the puck over to Mark McNeill who backhanded a feed for Phillip Danault on the one-timer. The Ads were sucked into the passer, McNeill, and failed to close down Danault – who had a clean look breaking in on goal down the hashmarks to score his third goal of the season.
It wouldn’t be a Midwest Division game without a fight, right? Anthony Bitetto and Ryan Hartman locked up just nine seconds of ice time after the IceHogs goal. More tugging and wrasslin’ than clean punches landed. Still, I give the win on my fight card to Bitetto (10) over Hartman (9).
The Admirals picked up another power-play goal from Salomaki in the third period to restore their two-goal advantage. The set up was very similar to their first power-play goal. Aronson slid a one-time feed for Arvidsson to hammer on net. Except, this time, Salomaki was able to redirect it right in front of Darling to record his third goal of the season.
Then, after stifling the IceHogs attempts to get an extra attacker on in the closing of this game, Arvidsson tacked on the empty netter to seal this game a 4-1. It’s Arvidsson’s fifth goal of the season. And, perhaps more impressively, it was the fourth point of the night for Aronson – who had only three assists entering tonight’s game.
Hellberg was again a vacuum for the Admirals. Rebounds were a rarity for him tonight. He stopped twenty-five of twenty-six shots on goal to improve to four wins from four starts on the season with a 0.73 goals against average and 0.970 save percentage. Interestingly enough, it was his first ever win against the IceHogs from nine tries. When your hot you’re hot, eh?
Ramblings: Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals were Joe Pendenza, Patrick Cehlin, and Jimmy Oligny. The loss tonight for Scott Darling was his first of the season in the AHL. It was the first time in his career that he played against the Admirals.
Was this the best Admirals performance to date? Who is this Taylor Aronson and what did he do with the real one? Is it time for the Admirals to give Magnus Hellberg the steering wheel and guide the team in net?