The Admirals won 4-1 against the Chicago Wolves Wednesday night. This was a solid bounce back effort for the Admirals who really controlled the contest from the opening puck drop.
Goals from Pontus Aberg, Rich Clune, Miikka Salomaki, and Austin Watson were more than enough to help Marek Mazanec return to the win column for the first time since 10/24/14 against these very same Amtrak Rivals. The Czech stopped 22/23 shots on goal and was an anchor as the team went a perfect 4/4 on the penalty kill.
“[Marek Mazanec] competed his ass off tonight,” said head coach Dean Evason. “Tonight was probably the best game that I’ve seen him play.”
After a dominant start to the game – the Admirals capitalized on all that breakaway practice that they must have worked on after missing out on multiple chances this past weekend. Anthony Bitetto hit Pontus Aberg on a home run feed that sent him loose behind the Wolves defense and in on Matt Climie. It was a crafty finish with speed for the young Swede who buried his sixth goal of the season to give the Admirals a 1-0 first period lead.
In the second period the Admirals scored off of another breakaway chance. Rich Clune was able to collect a puck out of the Wolves bench-side area of the ice. It looked as if the Wolves defense thought the puck was still along the wall when Clune broke in off the right wing wall for a breakaway that he finished through the five hole of Climie. It’s his first goal as an Admiral and first AHL goal since 12/8/12 as a member of the Manchester Monarchs scoring against the Connecticut Whale.
“Like a kid in a candy store,” said Rich Clune of getting a breakaway opportunity. “It’s probably the most exciting thing for a forward to get a one-on-one with about a full-zone to think about what you are going to do.”
Clune’s excitement spilled right into a fight only seconds after scoring. He and Petteri Lindbohm met up along the left wing boards and dropped the mitts. Clune was nearly punching Lindbohm into his own Chicago bench. Give the win in your fight cards to Clune.
The Wolves managed to pull back a goal before the close of the second period. Brent Regner’s shot was redirected in-close by Dmitrij Jaskin. Marek Mazanec had little to no time to react on the deflection and Jaskin had his third goal of the season.
The Admirals got their two-goal cushion back midway through the third period. Felix Girard had an impressive drive off the left wing wall and cut all the way in on net. All Girard could do, whilst being defended, was chuck a one-handed shot on Climie. The drive and save bowled over Climie and he wasn’t able to deny Miikka Salomaki from scoring his fourth goal of the season on the follow up.
Austin Watson scored the empty netter to seal this contest at 4-1. Watson scored off of Lindbohm making a last ditch effort to become a professional goaltender. The shot went off his leg and in for Watson’s eighth goal of the season and fiftieth of his AHL playing career.
In the on ice post-game interview Clune described the Chicago Wolves as a soft hockey team.
“I would be nice to them if they just shut their mouths and took what was coming to them,” said Clune of the Wolves. “But they seemed to like to throw personal comments out toward me. None of them are really tough enough to really deal with me in a fight. They just don’t match up with us at all, toughness and speed. I love running them over every night.”
Ramblings: Prior to the game, the Milwaukee Admirals announced that Patrick Cehlin would be assigned to the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL. It will mean Cehlin logging his first games of the 2014-15 season after off-season hip surgery. The St. Louis Blues goaltending situation impacted the entire organization: Brian Elliott suffered a lower-body injury, Jake Allen assumed the top netminding role, Jordan Binnington was called up from the Wolves to back-up, and Cody Reichard was signed to a PTO by the Wolves from the Indy Fuel of the ECHL – all that without mentioning Martin Brodeur’s comeback on try-out basis with St. Louis starting on Friday. Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals were all healthy scratches and included Frederick Gaudreau and Jimmy Oligny. The win for the Admirals tonight puts them ahead of the Wolves in the Midwest Division and Western Conference standings.