The Milwaukee Admirals won 5-2 on the road against the Rockford IceHogs at the BMO Harris Bank Center on Friday night.
The Admirals were down 2-0 early tonight but stormed back by scoring five-unanswered goals. Tonight’s story was all Anders Lindbäck as he stole the show and kept the Admirals afloat en route to this victory. The Swede stopped twenty-four shots and has now won in all five starts he has made this season.
“He’s such a good pro,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason of Lindbäck. “He plays the game the right way. We talk about our forwards and defensemen playing the right way – the goalie plays the right way and it filters out to the rest of the team.”
It would take the IceHogs just 1:38 of ice-time to net tonight’s opener. Tomas Jurco and Matt Iacopelli worked a give-and-go that froze Alex Carrier. Jurco broke around the Admirals defenseman, received the puck back with pace, and carried that speed for a wraparound that got in around the left pad of Anders Lindbäck and in for his third goal of the season.
Iacopelli wasn’t done dishing assists, either. The first-year pro spearheaded a rush down the right wing, hit the brakes, and waited long enough for Carl Dahlström to race up from the blueline before passing off. The shot by Dahlström rang hard off the post and fell behind Lindbäck. Before anyone could get the puck clear David Kämpf hopped at the chance to score his third goal of the season on the rebound to make it a 2-0 first period lead for the IceHogs.
Alexandre Fortin was escorted to the penalty box for slashing with 1:04 remaining in the opening period. Prior to the horn sounding the Admirals were able to get on the board to make it a 2-1 game. Emil Pettersson skated into the zone with pace but was able to work a change-up backhander through the pads of Jean-François Bérubé to record his third goal of the season, first scored on the power-play, and extend his individual scoring streak to four-games.
Lindbäck has quickly shown a great ability to act like a third defenseman the way he handles the puck. The start to the second period saw a continuation of this as he fired a pass from the outside his crease all the way up to Tyler Moy near the attacking blue line that triggered an odd-man rush. Moy worked a pass across to the right wing for Yakov Trenin and the Russian roofed a wrister over Bérubé to score his second goal of the season and level things up at 2-2.
In the third period the Admirals run would continue. Fortin would again be a spectator in the penalty box for an Admirals power-play goal and this time the captain had the honors. Bobby Butler took a wrister atop the slot and Trevor Smith had the redirect on the puck to score his second goal of the season and make it a 3-2 Admirals lead. The goal for Smith have him the 400th point in his AHL career.
The Admirals would tack on a fourth unanswered goal thanks to a bit of puck luck. The IceHogs had a puck skip up in neutral ice and fall kindly for Butler as he motored in between the defensemen. He hammered a shot past Bérubé for his third goal of the season and extended the Admirals lead to 4-2.
While on a power-play with in the closing minutes the IceHogs went empty net and extra attacker. The Admirals penalty kill made it a perfect 4/4 on the kill and then Trenin polished the game off with the empty netter for his second tally of the night and third on the season to get the Admirals to the 5-2 final.
It was a really special night in net for Lindbäck. He came up huge countless times and shutdown the IceHogs from the midway point in the first period until the finish. He stopped 24/26 shots on goal and continues to be perfect this season: five starts, five wins.
“I thought I saw the puck pretty well,” smiled Lindbäck. “Even though I was sprawled sometimes it felt like I was in the way, in the right spot. Obviously sometimes they didn’t get it over my pad too – which was lucky. But it felt good.”
The Admirals are back in action tomorrow night for the first Amtrak Rivalry game of the season. The Chicago Wolves will host the Admirals at the Allstate Arena for a 7:00 PM CDT puck drop. The Admirals will return home for the first game against the Grand Rapids Griffins this season. That takes place on Wednesday night at 7:00 PM CDT.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played they recalled defenseman Joonas Lyytinen from the Norfolk Admirals (ECHL). Tonight’s line combinations were: Kirkland-Smith-Butler, Richard-Kamenev-Perfetto, Zolnierczyk-Pettersson-Kelleher, Labrie-Trenin-Moy, Oligny-Carrier, Murphy-Granberg, O’Brien-Allard. Tonight’s scratches were: Cody Bass (upper-body), Jack Dougherty (upper-body), and Joonas Lyytinen (healthy). Tonight marked the AHL debut for Fred Allard. The 19-year old defenseman made his professional debut with Norfolk (ECHL) on 10/13/17.
What did you think of tonight’s performance by the Milwaukee Admirals? How impressed are you right now with Anders Lindbäck? Was this a good statement to rally back from a 2-0 hole?
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