The Milwaukee Admirals were down 2-0 inside of eight-minutes last night. The Rockford IceHogs scored the opener at 1:38 to get their home crowd into it and the speed they were playing with was all to reminiscent of last time out when the Admirals lost 6-2. That narrative changed when a couple of Swedes got into the mix. Emil Pettersson scored a power-play goal with two-seconds remaining in the first period to get the Admirals on the board. And then Anders Lindbäck put on a performance – big saves across the board, huge on the penalty kill, and so smooth working on the puck to help out his defensemen. The Admirals won 5-2 in Rockford. And they now stand atop the Central Division heading into tomorrow night’s first Amtrak Rivalry game in Chicago.
What you appreciate the most for last night’s effort by the Admirals is that they found a way to win. They went down early. They never seemed to panic. And they became tighter defensively. The Pettersson goal was very big. After the Admirals first power-play chance they did start building up some momentum but nothing was breaking through. The difference between getting into the first intermission down 2-0 while getting attacks stifled versus down 2-1 while getting rewarded for attacking pressure made a difference. The IceHogs were made to play more of the Admirals game from the second period onwards. Yakov Trenin, Trevor Smith, and Bobby Butler would make them pay as the game wore on.
Through it all: Lindbäck was incredible. I had been saying his calm behavior in net has been fantastic. He was still that tonight. But the IceHogs had him scrambling a ton and he still stayed big in net and shut the door on them in the face of their biggest waves of attack late in the third period. He kept the Admirals at the 2-0 margin. He kept them on the target of scoring two goals or more to win. And they did. Lindbäck was ridiculous at times tonight and now has five wins in five starts this season.
A shout out must be given to Fred Allard who made his AHL debut tonight with the Admirals. He stepped in for Jack Dougherty, who is out with an upper-body injury at the moment, and certainly looked and played the part. Allard worked real well. He was utilized on special teams. And him getting a game now in both the AHL and ECHL gives him a nice introduction to the pro game. I believe he is AHL good now. Fans who were either in Rockford or watching on AHL Live got to see a taste of what he can be on the blueline.
After tonight’s game I had the chance to speak with Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason. I did also chat with Allard, Smith, and Lindbäck before the team headed off to Chicago where they will be facing the Chicago Wolves tomorrow night at 7:00 PM CDT. These were tonight’s post-game interviews.
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