The Admirals lost 2-1 against the Rockford IceHogs Friday night. The story of the night was defense. Both sides played very tight and it played far more like a playoff game that last weekend’s roller coaster set played out. In the end, the IceHogs managed to score a power-play goal in the third period. It was enough for them to hold on and get the win tonight.
“Five-on-five we’re not giving much up,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason. “I don’t think [Mazanec] had to work extremely hard – certainly five-on-five. We’re not generating as much as we should be to score goals as we were because we’re a little bit too fancy a little bit too cute right now. Trying to do things one-on-one as opposed to just simplifying our game. We got to get back to that Sunday for sure.”
Off of the game’s first power-play chance the Admirals allowed their fourth shorthanded goal in six games. The IceHogs turned off the draw and went straight down ice. Stephen Johns’ shot from the right point took a net front redirect by Phillip Danault. The deflected puck went straight down and through Marek Mazanec for Danault’s eighth goal of the season.
“Our guys are not recognizing when there is danger,” said Evason of the shorthanded goals allowed. “We’ve found ways the last two games to give up a penalty kill goal and a power-play goal. We certainly have to be better in that department.”
From that very same power-play opportunity the Admirals were able to save face by leveling things up. The IceHogs worked up ice again but were caught with numbers back and it allowed the Ads took take advantage of the space moving forward. Pontus Åberg found Triston Grant all alone on the right wing to the backdoor of Scott Darling for the goal. It is Grant’s ninth goal of the season. He has scored a goal in four straight games and five of his last six.
In the third period the IceHogs would regain their lead with a power-play goal. Ville Pokka, Teuvo Teräväinen, and Joakim Nordstrom linked up for a tic-tac-toe passing play that ended with the puck on the tape of Nordstrom alone at the hashmarks to beat Mazanec on the glove side. It was the Swede’s ninth goal of the season.
These two will not meet again until Tuesday April 7th in Rockford. The Admirals already have the season head-to-head against the IceHogs won. As for what the Midwest Division standings will be come the time of that game – that will be the question. Plenty of games between then and now. I expect it to be tight.
Ramblings: Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals were Zach Budish (healthy), Joe Piskula (lower body), Jimmy Oligny (right knee), and Johan Alm (left wrist). Miikka Salomäki made his return to the lineup tonight after missing the previous seven games due to an upper-body injury. On the road Wednesday it was Triston Grant wearing the extra “A” available with captain Piskula out to injury. Tonight at home the extra “A” was given to Austin Watson.
Thoughts on tonight’s game? What happened to the offense tonight? Was this a positive game considering how battered the defense of the Admirals is?