The Admirals won 4-2 against the Rockford IceHogs Thursday night. After trailing by two-goals the Admirals came back with four unanswered goals to secure their second win in as many games.
“For us to comeback after being down two, hopefully, slowly things are turning for us here,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason. “We’re doing the right things. We’re not trying to be too pretty. We’re not trying to be too cute here at home. And it shows on the scoresheet and the win/loss column for sure.”
Rich Clune started this contest off by dropping the gloves with T.J. Brennan. The two grappled long after a whistle had been blown and ended with a take down for the Admirals winger. It’s now two fights in two games for Clune.
After Zach Budish flipped a puck up and into the stands the IceHogs scored the opening goal on the power-play. Kyle Cumiskey’s centering pass for Ryan Hartman was deflected off by Colton Sissons. During the scramble for the loose puck Joe Pendenza attempted to make a clear but the puck fell kindly for Philip Danault who scored his fifth goal of the season.
The IceHogs extended their lead in the first period from a man who has hurt them all season long by skating in from the blue line, Brennan. Ville Pokka’s shot from the right point deflected off of Pendenza’s stick and dinked over to the left wing where Brennan was racing in. Last season’s Eddie Shore award winner beat Pontus Aberg to the puck and fired a wrist shot past the glove of Marek Mazanec on the short side post to score his eighth goal of the season and fourth scored against the Ads.
Some flashy work by Viktor Arvidsson set up Triston Grant for his second goal of the season. Arvidsson was surrounded by three red shirts and still managed to pick out Grant stationed behind the defense. The veteran Admiral was all alone in front of Scott Darling and beat him with a wrist shot before he could get closed down.
Echoing the start of the game, the second period began with a scrap. Felix Girard paired up with the game’s opening goal scorer Danault and he just about tackled him to the ice. There weren’t many fists thrown in that match up. Just a quick take down for the first year Admiral.
Grant had entered tonight’s game with only a goal to his name. In the second period he would score his second goal of the night. Taylor Aronson took a pass from the right wing from Zach Budish and threw it on net. Darling spilled Aronson’s shot and right to Grant who popped home his third goal of the season.
“December is kind of behind us,” said Triston Grant. “I think that’s been a learning process for us. There’s been some games in the past that we played really well and we haven’t won. And there’s definitely some games that we weren’t even in the game. We’re trying to lean on each other and make sure everybody brings out their best game. When we do that we’re a pretty good team.”
After some chippiness around the IceHogs bench between Joe Piskula and Garret Ross the game saw its third fight of the night. While the commotion started with Piskula and Ross it ended up being Jonathan Diaby and Cody Bass that paired up. Both removed their helmets and threw down. The fight ended with a take down for Diaby in what was easily his best showing this season in the fighting department.
The Admirals would end the night in net for their former netminder Darling after scoring two goals forty-five seconds apart late in the second period. The Admirals comeback in the second frame also saw a season high for shots in a period as they recorded seventeen shots on goal.
For the second consecutive home game the Admirals managed to score a power-play goal. Clune, working the trapezoid behind the net, pulled off his best Wayne Gretzky impression and passed right to the tape of Austin Watson. The shot surprised Darling and Watson had his thirteen goal of the season.
The kicker for Darling came less than a minute later thanks to a great individual effort by Budish. The Minnesota native was able to jar a puck loose on the right wing from Klas Dahlbeck. Colton Sissons was able to plow through the center lane to give Budish his shooting angle and beat Darling high glove side on a wrist shot for his third goal of the season and sixth goal in six games including his time played for the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL. Darling was taken out and replaced in the IceHogs net by Michael Leighton after the Ads scored their fourth unanswered goal.
In the final minute of play, with the IceHogs net emptied in favor of an extra attacker, Ryan Hartman took a run at Mazanec. The Czech goaltender had his back turned and Hartman skated clean through him. Ian White was first man on call to the situation and did his share of grappling. The game ended with seventy-six combined penalty minutes.
“It was a great comeback tonight,” said Marek Mazanec. “We did a great job. That’s what we need to do in this league. No matter what’s on the scoreboard we need to play the same game and hope you’re going to score. That’s what we did.”
Ramblings: Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals were Patrick Cehlin, Garrett Noonan, and Johan Alm. Prior to the game, Miikka Salomäki was recalled to the Nashville Predators following James Neal and Eric Nystrom’s placement on injured reserve. Salomäki made his NHL debut tonight and managed to score a goal for good measure. Alm missed his thirteen consecutive game due to an upper body injury. Mike Liambas has now served two games of his three game suspension for his illegal check to the head of Louis-Marc Aubry.
Thoughts from tonight’s game? Are these the Milwaukee Admirals that we saw at the start of the season? What has changed in the Admirals offense in their last two wins?