Four Straight Wins, Back-to-Back Shutouts; Ads win 5-0

The Admirals put laid some hurt down tonight. Their 5-0 shutout moves them within four points of the Rockford IceHogs for the Midwest Division lead. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The Admirals posted a 5-0 shutout against the Charlotte Checkers Saturday night. Magnus Hellberg made it back-to-back night for the Admirals posting shutouts. He stopped all thirty-one shots he faced and the Admirals offense belted the Checkers en route to the team’s fourth straight win.

“We’ve played the right way now for a bit and got rewarded for it,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason. “We’ve kept the puck out of our net, played simple, yet had really nice opportunities to score goals. Hopefully it sinks in that if you do play that right way you’re going to get chances to score and you keep that puck out of your net.”

In the first period Austin Watson decided to do something he rarely does, fight. After he and Miikka Salomaki pancaked Brendan Woods near the Admirals bench the Checkers winger started to lash out on Salomaki. Watson took exception to this and the two took some swings and had a few noogies before the officials stepped in.

With sixteen seconds remaining in the opening frame Viktor Arvidsson popped in his eleventh goal of the season. The Swede skated in from the left wing on his backhand before spinning at the hashmarks to his forehand and firing a wrister on John Muse. His shot alluded the blocker and clipped the top of Muse’s right pad before hitting the back of the net.

After the first period ended Andrej Nestrasil was given a game misconduct for butt-ending. This gave the Admirals a five minute major power-play to work with to start the second period. With fourteen seconds remaining on the power-play Colton Sissons scored his tenth goal of the season. Ian White teed up Anthony Bitetto for a one-timer that was spilled out by Muse into the net crashing Sissons’ path for a tap in.

After a few careless penalties taken by the Checkers – the Admirals had an extended five-on-three power-play with 1:22 to operate with. Just as was the case on the first power-play goal: White to Bitetto for a one-timer, loose puck, rebound goal for Sissons. It was his second power-play goal scored in 4:07 of ice time and his eleventh goal of the season.

The Checkers had a chance to get something big generated in the late stages of the third period. They had 1:24 of five-on-three power-play to work with and ended up failing to convert.

Immediately following the successful penalty kill the Admirals found the back of the net for a fourth time. Bitetto had his share of howitzers to set up Sissons earlier in the game but managed to find a lane through traffic to bury one of his own. Bitetto’s slap shot tally was his second goal of the season.

Another home game and another fight for Rich Clune. The grit-meister general made it his fourth straight game in Milwaukee with a fight after he and Ben Holmstrom locked up down by the Checkers net. It was a decisive win for Clune who received a big pop from the crowd for his efforts.

The final blow from the Admirals to the Checkers came in the form of a highlight reel play for Arvidsson. The Swede bolted a power move on net from the left wing and managed to maintain puck control on the backhand before tossing it past Muse for his twelfth goal of the season.

“I feel like we’re playing good right now,” said Viktor Arvidsson. “We help each other out and play as a group. We’ve come together and play like a team.”

Hellberg made it back-to-back shutouts for the Admirals. Marek Mazanec was able to win his duel in Rockford last night. And Hellberg followed that performance up by making thirty-one saves in net tonight for his ninth career AHL shutout.

Ramblings: Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals were Mike Liambas, Brendan Leipsic, Garrett Noonan, and Johan Alm. Liambas completed his three game suspension following last night’s game. Leipsic was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive night. Alm has now missed fifteen consecutive games due to an upper body injury.

Thoughts on tonight’s game? Safe to say that this is the Milwaukee Admirals team we saw at the start of the season, right? Who has performed better this season: Marek Mazanec or Magnus Hellberg?

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