The Admirals won 4-2 on the road against the Oklahoma City Barons Tuesday night. A three goal third period was the catalyst to the Admirals snapping out of their five game losing streak. In the space of five minutes Kevin Fiala, Mark Van Guilder, and Triston Grant scored to give the Admirals space to survive a late flurry for the Barons.
Kevin Fiala opened the scoring in the second period with his eighth goal of the season. The goal came after Anthony Bitetto and Andrew Miller were sent to the box to make it four-on-four. Johan Alm slid over to Fiala who was all alone on the inner half of the right wing faceoff circle. Fiala hammered a one-timer through Laurent Brossoit to make it 1-0.
Triston Grant went to the box after some extra shoving in front of the Admirals bench. During his roughing minor, Jason Williams had a stick failure on his slap shot attempt and sent Mark Van Guilder off to the races shorthanded. The Admiral veteran went forehand to backhand and beat Brossoit for his ninth goal of the season.
The moment Grant exited the box from his roughing minor he skated into the Admirals attacking zone and was given a gift courtesy of Dillon Simpson. The Barons defenseman was being heavily pressured and turned the puck over right in front of the net to Grant. Brossoit went into full-on panic and desperation mode and sprawled for a diving poke check but came up empty. Grant threw a shot up and over the downed netminder and scored his eleventh goal of the season to make it a 3-0 Admirals lead through two periods of play.
It wouldn’t be the Admirals if not for a bit of anxiety, right? That anxiety came in the third period in the form of Bogdan Yakimov. With 8:01 remaining, after an in-zone faceoff, Joshua Winquist teed up Yakimov in the high left wing faceoff circle for a one-timer that he blast past Magnus Hellberg high glove side to make it 3-1.
Before the Barons even had to pull Brossoit for an extra attacker Yakimov did it again. Williams was able to win a race to negate icing against the Barons as he beat Johan Alm to the puck and, after some pinballing behind the net, it fell kindly in the slot for Yakomov to score his second goal of the third period and twelfth of the season.
With Brossoit on the bench, and the Barons bringing the extra attacker on, the Admirals scored an empty netter to finally allow themselves to exhale. Fiala competed along the left wing and Rich Clune had the initial chance for the empty cage but missed off a post. The follow up would be cleaned up by Austin Watson to record his twenty-first goal of the season to finish the game up 4-2.
Hellberg was great in net tonight for the Admirals. He made thirty-one saves and was up to the task with Oklahoma City throwing as much as they could at him in the third period when they fired sixteen shots. It’s Hellberg’s first win in over a month’s time.
Ramblings: Prior to the game the Milwaukee Admirals signed Scott Ford to a PTO contract and released Ian White from his PTO contract. It is Ford’s first game in the AHL since being part of the Admirals team that were swept from the playoffs last season by the Toronto Marlies. He had been a member of the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL up until this PTO contract. Per Aaron Sims, Ford is the fifth Admiral all-time to play parts of seven seasons with the franchise. Tonight’s scratches included Felix Girard (upper-body) and Jonathan Diaby (healthy).
Thoughts on tonight’s game? Compared to the previous two outings against the Barons what changed for the Admirals tonight to see the result change? How did Scott Ford look in his return to not just the Admirals but the AHL?