The Admirals lost 5-3 on the road against the Rockford IceHogs Tuesday night. It was the Spencer Abbott show as he continued to be a dominant force for the IceHogs since he was traded from the Toronto Marlies for T.J. Brennan. Abbott recorded two goals and two assists as the Admirals four game point streak came to an end tonight.
It was the IceHogs jumping out in front with a tally for defenseman Stephen Johns in the first period. Spencer Abbott peeled off of the right wing corner with a backhanded pass straight to Johns as he skated back into the slot. His shot was rifled low stick side on Marek Mazanec and went in for his fourth goal of the season.
The second period started with a bout between Rich Clune and Cody Bass. The two exchanged some rapid fire right handed jabs at each other. Clune was landing clean early and kept trading away despite Bass punching his helmet off. This ended with a spill to the ice. In your fight cards, I’d suggest scoring this an even ten for both combatants.
Abbott was on the scoresheet again in the second period when he recorded his fifteenth goal of the season. A turnover in the Admirals attacking zone allowed the IceHogs to chip forward and send Abbott off on a breakaway. He finished off by letting the puck roll through Mazanec’s five hole. It is his eighth goal for the IceHogs in fourteen games since being traded over from the Toronto Marlies.
Austin Watson responded thirty-five seconds later to record his team leading twenty-fifth goal of the season. Pontus Åberg’s initial shot was stopped by Antti Raanta but the Finn wasn’t able to prevent the rebound opportunity by Watson from going in.
Scott Ford was given a five minute major for boarding at 9:26 of the second period. The Admirals nearly held up through the entire penalty kill but with fifteen seconds remaining Brandon Mashinter scored on the third shot from the major power-play to pick up his sixteenth goal of the season. Peter Regin was able to slip a backhanded pass through to Mashinter who flew from left to right to finish on a backhander to the blocker side of Mazanec for the power-play goal.
Gary Steffes scored his fourth goal with the Admirals in the opening minute of the third period to make it a one-goal game. Åberg rounded the cage and threw a pass from the low left wing out in front of the net where Steffes was crashing to pick up the goal. Steffes, between his time with the Admirals in the AHL and Allen Americans in the ECHL, has scored forty-eight goals in his 2014-15 campaign.
Near the midway point of the third period, and after some solid work by Vince Hinostroza, the IceHogs restored their two-goal advantage with Keith Seabrook’s first goal in the AHL this season. No one picked up Seabrook as he stepped up and into the right wing. Hinostroza picked him out and it was a simple finished to the near post for Seabrook.
Less than two minutes later, Abbott ripped in his second goal of the game to make it a 5-2 IceHogs lead. Regin chipped a puck out from the left wing wall and Abbott skated up on Johan Alm before wiring a shot high to the glove side of Mazanec for his sixteenth goal of the season. It ended Mazanec’s night in net. He stopped 19/24 shots on goal before giving way to Magnus Hellberg.
After a late fracas between Matt Carey and Taylor Aronson, the Admirals tagged the IceHogs for a late power-play goal to make it 5-3 with twenty-seconds remaining. Kevin Fiala’s shot from the right wing bounced around in front of Raanta and Watson was able to put away the garbage for his second goal of the night and twenty-sixth of the season.
The game would end right there with another Admirals regulation loss. Elsewhere around the league tonight the Hamilton Bulldogs lost 3-1 against the Utica Comets which will mean the Ads will remain in eighth place in the Western Conference tonight. Though, that gap between eight and everyone else that trails is vacuum packed tight right about now.
Ramblings: Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals included Eric Robinson, Joe Pendenza, and Jimmy Oligny. All scratches were healthy. The Toronto Marlies moved into ninth in the Western Conference with a Brendan Leipsic hat trick headlining their 7-4 win over the Adirondack Flames. The Chicago Wolves won 7-3 over the Lake Erie Monsters to move two points clear of the Admirals with two games in-hand.
Thoughts on tonight’s game? When the Admirals score to make it 3-2 a minute into the third period where does this game fall to pieces? Can the Admirals regain their defensive composure when they face the Griffins tomorrow night?