Another season in the books… Admirals eliminated from Calder Cup playoffs

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They say all good things must come to an end, and unfortunately, that’s the truth.

What was an incredible end-of-season run for the Admirals that clinched the team a playoff spot on the last day of the AHL regular season has come to an abrupt halt. The Texas Stars won the best-of-five series series against the Admirals Friday night, eliminating Milwaukee from the 2013 Calder Cup playoffs.

Welp.

Let’s look at the bright side. We could be Peoria or Houston, and the end of the season would instead have been the end of hockey in the near future. Both teams have closed up shop and are moving to new cities to facilitate new parent clubs.

I read an interesting rumor online. According to the Russian website Jutarnji, current Admiral Joe Piskula and former Admiral Mark Dekanich are set to sign with the KHL club Medvescak Zagreb in the near future. As I said, this is just a rumor. First off, I can’t speak or read Russian. Let’s face it. Google translate only takes you so far in the world of foreign languages. Second of all, this article came out back on April 28th, at which time the Admirals were still in the playoffs. Not to say players can’t be thinking of the season beyond the current playoff run, I just am not completely sold on him signing with a KHL team at the moment.

Speaking of players who spent only part of the season with Milwaukee, I’m interested to see if we retain Zach Hamill, Mike Liambas or Brad Winchester. Zach Hamill was a loan from the San Antonio Rampage, so I’m not sure if him returning is even an option. Zack Stortini first came to the Admirals on loan from the Iowa Stars during the 2005-2006 season. After the completion of the season, he was off into the sunset and spent the next five seasons with the Edmonton Oilers organzation. Who knows, maybe we’ll get lucky and get to see him come fall. I really like the physicality Mike Liambas brought to the lineup. I liked his speed and the fact that he wasn’t afraid of anything. He went toe to toe with Stars tough guy Luke Gazdic in game two and had his bell rung, but he didn’t back down from anything. I like that.

As for Brad Winchester, I really really liked what I saw from him. He’s a well-rounded player, and I liked that Evason paired him up on the PP with Austin Watson. That was a good formula and I’d like to see more of that.

A healthy crop of Admirals talent made their NHL debuts with the Predators this season. Daniel Bang, Taylor Beck, Victor Bartley, Kevin Henderson and Austin Watson all made their NHL debuts with injury-ridden Nashville during the 2012-2013 campaign.

Although I and my anxiety would appreciate the Admirals securing a playoff spot a little earlier that the 11th hour, it was a fun season, and playoff push, to watch. This is the second year in a row we had to wait till the last day of the regular season to get into the post-season, which I believe is a full-blown attempt to send me and section 204 into cardiac arrest. To win 15 of the last 20 games of the season is a feat in itself, but it sure would’ve been fun to see the momentum continue into the next round.

Vitamin D is said to be a mood booster, so pick yourself up off the closet room, wipe those tears, and get outside to enjoy this beautiful Milwaukee weather. Fret not, the Admirals will be back on the ice sooner than you think.

 

 

Hellberg, Admirals shutout Stars 2-0 in game two

8687004593_5cc29dc97d_cMike Liambas faces off against Stars forward Luke Gazdic during game two (Photo/Scott Paulus Milwaukee Admirals)

MILWAUKEE – To say tonight’s game against the Texas Stars was a must-win would be an understatement. After falling 3-2 in overtime in last nights game one, it was anyone’s guess as to how tonight’s game would play out. In short, the Admirals turned up their level of play and absolutely destroyed every man-advantage the Stars were awarded, including three solid minutes of a five minute charging major to Mike Liambas. They were rewarded handsomely with a huge 2-0 win over Texas, sending the best-of-five series to Texas deadlocked at one game a piece.

After a scoreless first period, forward Austin Watson put Milwaukee on the board to mark his first professional playoff point. The rebound off a Mike Liambas shot popped out to Watson, who scored from just outside the slot on goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp stick side.

Watson is fresh off his first and second NHL call up after spending six games with Predators. The 21-year old Michigan native tallied his first NHL point with a goal during the April 23rd contest against Calgary. He had this to say about his experience with the parent club:

Milwaukee clinged to the one-goal advantage until the final minute of play when captain Mike Moore scored an empty net goal from just in front of the Admirals goaltender Magnus Hellberg. The arena let out a collective sigh of relief when Moore lit the lamp. Everybody loves a lead, but a one goal lead in playoff hockey? That’s about as scary as a creepy basement.

There is much to be celebrated, however, two big players headed to the locker room with injuries during the game. Brad Winchester left the game after an awkward hit near the far boards, and Mike Liambas was dazed and confused after a tilt with Luke Gazdic in front of the Stars bench. Coach Evason didn’t have an update on either player at the time of the post-game presser, but he did make mention that we’ll be getting everyone back from Nashville. When asked who, he replied “All of ‘em. You can look it up.” Well all righty then…

In other news, @big_red78 tweeted me before the game to check Puck Daddy for a video of former Milwaukee Admirals goaltender Drew MacIntyre.  I posted it on the HGM facebook page, but in case you aren’t a facebook user, here’s a link to it so you can enjoy it in all its awesome glory. To say this is the save of the year simply wouldn’t do it justice:

The series heads to Texas for games 3, 4 and 5. Game three is Wednesday night, followed by a pair of weekend games to round out the series. Here’s to hoping we all see the boys back on the ice here in Milwaukee for round two.

Stars shine in 3-2 sudden death overtime win against the Admirals; Henderson and Bang recalled by Preds

8685344350_fafb0aedb3_cGoaltender Magnus Hellberg (Photo/Milwaukee Admirals)

MILWAUKEE – Last night was proof there is nothing better than playoff hockey. Although the game ended with a 3-2 overtime win by Texas, it was an intense and well fought game by the Admirals (except for the second period… but we’ll get to that in a minute). Brett Richie fired a wrister over Milwaukee goaltender Magnus Hellberg’s left shoulder and lit the lamp to give the Stars game one of the best-in-five.

The Admirals and Stars are no strangers to first round hockey together, as this is the second time in three seasons that the two teams will face each other in the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Milwaukee took the best-of-seven series 4-2 in the 2011 post-season, but were knocked out by the soon-to-be-defunct Houston Aeros in the semi-finals.

photo[7]The two teams traded goals in the first to send it to the 1st intermission tied at one. Patrick Cehlin scored with just :03 left on the Admirals lone power-play of the frame with a wrister from just outside the far dot. For those of you who frequent the BMOHBC, he scored from the Chili’s chili pepper (see left for a visual of the referenced chili pepper). The rebound off a Zach Hamill attempt bounced back to Josh Shalla, who fed the puck back to an awaiting Cehlin. Ryan Miller tweeted an interesting fact about the 21-year old Stockholm, Sweden native shortly after the goal:

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Matt Fraser scored for the Stars with :15 left in the period (although it was originally credited to linemate Travis Morin) on Hellberg’s glove side. I watched the replay a few times, and it sure looks like it was Morin who scored with a shot from the near dot. The goal brought Hellberg’s shutout streak to a grinding halt at 161 minutes and 27 seconds. Impressive nonetheless.

The theme of “waiting til the final seconds” carried over into the second period, with Texas scoring on the power-play with just :08 left on a Brad Winchester boarding call. Kevin Connauton took a note from Patrick Cehlin and scored from the chili pepper, err, far dot to give the Stars their first lead of the contest. On the flip side, the Admirals put just one shot on Stars goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp to entire second period.

Forward Zach Hamill pocketed a Brad Winchester rebound on the Admirals 4-on-3 advantage in the third. Since joining Milwaukee on loan from the Florida Panthers organization back on April 10th, Hamill has scored seven points (1g, 6a) in just eight games. Do you think Florida would notice if we just decided to keep him, you know, permanently?

Travis Morin had a pretty nifty little move midway through the third period. Mike Moore turned over the puck at the blue line, then Morin drove it in right through Juuso Puustinen for an NHL-caliber attempt on Hellberg. Pretty cool even if he is the opposition. Here’s the video (which is unfortunately followed up by Texas’ game winner….)

The two teams will face off for the second and final time at the BMOHBC before the series moves to Texas. The team will be without forwards Daniel Bang and Kevin Henderson, who were called up for the Predators tilt with Columbus.

Affiliate shake-up, ‘Canes add a Staal… And Mike Commodore is comin’ to town

200px-Peoria_Rivermen.svgGreetings. It is 5:45am and I’m parked at my usual table at Starbucks. It’s me in the corner, and a bunch of older gentlemen who meet here every Friday and huddle around the fireplace with coffee to chat about the weeks events over a cup of coffee. Today’s topic? Well so far, we’ve covered the road construction on 794, John Axford, and how one fellow is upset that he missed all-you-can-eat ribs on Wednesday because his wife’s colonoscopy took longer than expected. That’s a lot to take in before 6:00am.

Moving right along. The Calder Cup playoffs kickoff tonight, and the Admirals are taking on the Texas Stars in the Western Conference Quarterfinal. Tonight the 5-game series kicks off at Milwaukee. The two teams face off again tomorrow night before heading to Texas for the remaining three games. Also worth noting is that Mike Commodore plays for the Stars (worth noting for me, for you? I’m guessing not so much…)

A lot of craziness is happening in the world of hockey affiliations, specifically in the AHL. The Blues exercised their option to move their AHL affiliate, and ultimately, sold the team to the Vancouver Canucks. The former Canucks affiliate Chicago Wolves will now serve as the affiliate to the St. Louis Blues. It’s really a shame that there won’t be any pro hockey in Peoria come fall, as the city has had a team in place since 1972. The Rivermen had been the franchise since 1982, and even won the IHL Turner Cup in the 1984/85 season. As for the actual franchise, reports say that the team will be relocated to Abbotsford, and the Abbotsford Heat will be relocated to Utica, New York. In other words, the AHL Midwest Division will look just a little bit different come fall.

In other news, the Carolina Hurricanes officially have THREE Staals on their NHL roster. It was announced Wednesday that Carolina recalled forward Jared Staal, joining older brothers Eric and Jordan Staal on the ‘Canes roster. If only they could lure Marc away from the Rangers they’d have four of a kind!

The topic of fireplace conversation has took a turn for awkward (I know, tough to believe anything could beat rib night ruined by a colonscopy). One of them is talking about that he tried one of his dog’s organic treats and it was better than the “crap meatloaf” his wife has made for dinner and that the Shitzu eats better than he does…

Aaaaannnnd t’s officially time to blow this popsicle stand…

Check mate! Milwaukee beats Charlotte 6-4 in crucial home finale

8664658920_25bc0d7e54_bAdmirals newcomer Joonas Rask had an immediate impact in Friday nights 6-4 victory over Charlotte.

MILWAUKEE – The magic number is three. I know you were about to ask me that, so your welcome for answering it right off the bat. For those who think I’ve lost my mind, the magic number is the combination of points Milwaukee gains or Rockford loses that the Admirals need to get a spot in the Calder Cup playoffs.

Moving right along. Before we talk about the Admirals 6-4 win over the Checkers, let’s take a quick look back to earlier in the week, shall we?

I think we can all agree that Tuesdays game against the Wolves was a complete and utter head scratcher. It’s not apparent by the 3-2 score, however, the Wolves spent a majority of the game in a coma. Instead of looking like a team desperate to clinch a spot in the Calder Cup playoffs, it looked like a practice for the Chicago Icecapades. There was a lot of slow skating around aimlessly, and the team appeared to have left their defensemen at home. I’m sorry, but if I were goaltender Matt Climie, I would’ve told my teammates to walk back to Chicago in the rain, because they left the poor guy out to dry. Oi.

Tonight, the Admirals drew first blood thanks to a goal from Admirals veteran forward Mark Van Guilder. Line mate Zach Budish came screaming down the far boards and fired a wrister on goaltender Mike Murphy. Murphy made the block, but Van Guilder scored on the one-timer for his 13th of the regular season. Patrick Cehlin added a second goal for the Admirals four minutes later, with the honorable mention and gold star going to Winchester for digging out the puck from traffic and giving Cehlin an empty net to shoot on.

Speaking of Mr. Cehlin, he was involved in a squabble with Checkers forward Zac Dalpe, which earned both gentlemen a trip to the penalty box for unsportsmanlike conduct. During the two minutes of four-on-four, the Checkers cut the Ads lead in half with a goal from forward Jeremy Welsh. Welsh beat Hellberg over his right shoulder to mark his 13th of the season.

Milwaukee took back the two goal lead just two minutes into the second with a tally from newcomer Joonas Rask. Rask joined the Admirals last week after spending this past season with Jokerit of Finland’s SM-liiga. Tonight was the first game he was cleared to play, and play he did. Now if only we had a third Joonas to give us a full set

And that’s when things began to spiral in a downward fashion. The momentum of having a healthy 3-1 lead faded away into frustration of being scored on three times within ten minutes. Three unanswered goals gave the Checkers a 4-3 advantage going into the second intermission.

Defenseman Joe Piskula blasted a slap shot from inside the blue line, which was followed shortly thereafter (1:22 to be exact) by a Josh Shalla tally took back a 5-4 lead for the Admirals. Zach Hamill added a empty net goal in the final minute for good measure to give Milwaukee a much needed 6-4 victory. The Admirals play tomorrow at Chicago and Sunday at Peoria.

And lastly, on a side note… During the final minutes of the first period, several news outlets began reporting that the 2nd suspect in the bombing was taken into custody. I didn’t pay attention to the rest of the period, I just watching live coverage of the situation on a Fox News stream. Hug your loved ones a little tighter tonight, and thank the men and women in uniform for all they do to keep you and me safe. What we’ve seen unfold in Boston this week has been truly tragic, but has also shown the incredible compassion, heroism and sheer bravery of the first responders, law enforcement and bystanders who were helping those injured in the bombings.

‘Merica.

Rockford tops Milwaukee 3-1; Liambas tops Ross (ouch)

8647365732_f1b1b6dfeb_cOuch (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus/Milwaukee Admirals

MILWAUKEE – Tough night for Milwaukee. The team fell 3-1 to the Rockford IceHogs, snapping the team’s three-game win streak and making it just a teeeeeeeny bit harder to get into the post-season. Goaltender Magnus Hellberg ended the night 33 saves on 36 shots.

A spirited conversation between Garret Ross and Mike Liambas resulted in a mess fit for a Clorox commercial early in the first. After prematurely dropping the gloves, Ross’ invitation to dance was accepted and Liambas on the second attempt at a puck drop, who promptly sent the AHL newcomer Ross into next Tuesday (see video below). And I’m not kidding about Ross being a newcomer; tonight’s contest was his AHL debut. Prior to tonight’s four minutes and twenty one seconds of professional glory, Ross played four years with the OHL Saginaw Spirit.

At the end of the melee, Ross was left with a reportedly broken nose and Liambas was left with a jersey that looked like it was just recovered from a horrific crime scene:

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He temporarily played in a nameless #19 while his jersey was thoroughly bleached. The health department has since cleared his jersey and he wore it out for the third period. Reports from the section 227 cite that the bench area smells like the pool at the Best Western for the remainder of the game.

A fiery first led to a flat second for the Admirals, with Rockford kicking off the frame with an early power-play goal. Adam Clendening fired a wrister from just inside the blue line, and although he was credited with the goal, it looked like it was redirected in front of the net by linemate Jimmy Hayes. By the end of the second, Rockford would go on to put a total of 17 shots on goal, have five total power-plays and put a second power-play goal on the board. Milwaukee put six shots on Rockford goaltender Carter Hutton and went 0/1 on the power-play. I’m no expert, but unlike the Ross/Liambas fight, I’d give Rockford the advantage here.

In fact, I’d give Rockford the advantage in the third too. Three third period penalties on the Admirals resulted in a whopping ten power-plays for the IceHogs. Defenseman Klas Dahlbeck beat Hellberg five hole to give the IceHogs their third and final goal of the contest. Juuso Puustinen dashed Hutton’s dreams of a shut out with five minutes left in regulation, scoring the Admirals lone goal of the night.

With the loss, Milwaukee’s season record against Rockford falls to 5-6-0-1. The team doesn’t play again until Tuesday when they play a crucial game against the Wolves. Like Milwaukee, Chicago is fighting for one of the four remaining Western Conference spots in the Calder Cup playoffs. The Wolves beat the Checkers, who clinched a playoff spot because the Admirals lost, tonight in the shootout in Rosemont.

With a depleted roster, the Admirals look to add firepower with Hamill and… Rask?

With the regular season winding down and injuries plaguing both the Admirals and parent Predators rosters, it’s all hands on deck to get a spot in the AHL post-season. And by the term “all”, I mean “some”, because seriously, are there even enough players on the roster to fill the bench?

So maybe that was a bit dramatic, but one thing we can all agree on is that the Admirals are missing some of their key players. In just the past week or so alone, the Admirals have lost the following players:

Chris Mueller (C) – recalled by NSH

Victor Bartley (D) – recalled by NSH

Taylor Beck (RW) – recalled by NSH

Michael Latta (C) – recalled to be traded to WAS, now playing for Hershey

Austin Watson (C) – recalled by NSH

Daniel Bang (RW) – recalled by NSH

This doesn’t include the injuries that have also hit the Admirals roster. Forward Kevin Henderson and G Jeremy Smith are also out with injury. Oi.

Enter Zach Hamill… and Joonas Rask?

download-1If you’re a Providence Bruins fan (which I’m guessing you are not, but hey, if you are, awesome!), you’ll know exactly who Zach Hamill is. He spent five seasons with the Bruins organization, including two trips to the post-season. This year, he’s played with both Hershey and San Antonio. He has played in 19 NHL games with the Boston Bruins, whom of which drafted him 8th overall in the 2007 NHL Draft, but didn’t earn call-ups during his stints with the Bears and Rampage.

joonas_rask_jokeritAnd here’s something I didn’t think I’d ever say… we have ourselves a second Joonas! You can no longer yell ‘JOONAS’ in the locker room without accompanying it with a last name. This particular Joonas is a forward is the younger brother of NHL goaltender Tuukka Rask. Like Joonas #1, Joonas #2 is from Finland and hails from Finland’s SM-liiga. Rask has spent the 2012-2013 season with Jokerit, prior to which he played with Ilves (which brother Tuukka also played for). I feel like this has turned into a version of 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon, because I could link Tuukka, who is the goaltender for the Boston Bruins, back to Hamill because… well… you get the idea.

I digress. Rask was picked #198 overall (round 7) by Nashville in the 2010 NHL Draft. According to his scouting report on eliteprospects.com:

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Useful on the PP and PK? Like! Not very good physically? We’ll see about that…

Hamill is slated to wear #17 (Latta’s number… I guess it works, he did spend half the season with Hershey so in a weird way I’m fine with it), but alas, Joonas is numberless for the time being.

I’m excited to see the new additions to the roster, but I hope there is chemistry on the new lines. Hamill is on his third AHL team of the season, so I think he’ll adapt pretty quick. This, however, is Rask’s North American debut. Concerned? Yes. Interested? Definitely.

 

Tough night for the Admirals; team drops 4-3 decision to the IceHogs

8623858460_a53913b92a_cCheck out the faces, especially the Rockford guys… yeesh (Photo/Milwaukee Admirals)

MILWAUKEE – Before we look at tonight’s game, let’s kick off the post with a happy birthday to everyone’s favorite swamp soccer champ Juuso Puustinen, who turned the big 2-5 today. Congratulations Juuso, you can officially rent a vehicle in the state of Wisconsin! Had the team not had a grueling travel schedule to get to Charlotte for back-to-back games this weekend, I’m sure he would’ve gotten himself to the nearest Enterprise Rent-A-Car and tooled around in a nice mid-sized sedan for the weekend to celebrate.

Speaking of Puustinen, he had a hand in two of the Admirals three goals. The first goal, scored on the power-play, came just :08 into the man-advantage courtesy of quick passes from Cam Reid and Austin Watson.

He teamed up with Austin Watson and Daniel Bang in the final minutes of the second to tie the game at two-a-piece with a helper on Bang’s goal. Here are some thoughts on the goals from the man of the hour himself:

Milwaukee may have gotten on the board first, but it was Rockford that stole the show in the opening frame. The IceHogs were firing on all cylinders to say the least, scoring back-to-back goals (F Martin St. Pierre and Brad Mills) and putting 18 shots on goaltender Magnus Hellberg in the first 20 minutes alone.

Scott Valentine made things interesting with this ESPN Top Ten of the week submission, which is appropriately titled “Valentine scores while falling”:

The goal celebration hadn’t even been completed when Rockford’s Rostislav Olesz nabbed his second of the game (and ultimately, the game winner). With 1:24 left in the contest, Evason pulled Hellberg in favor of the extra attacked, but the team was unable to put any quality chances on Karlsson.

At the end of the day, the IceHogs put a season-high 47 shots on goal, while the Admirals put 34 shots on Karlsson. Milwaukee held Rockford 0/1 on the power-play, while the Ads went 1/2 when on the man-advantage.

According to Dave Boehler of the Journal-Sentinel, the team boarded a bus immediately after the game to Chicago, where they’ll spend the night before taking a flight out of Chicago to Charlotte in the morning.

photo[3]And back to the Latta trade. Not going to lie. I got a little ping in my stomach when I say that there is a new player on the Admirals roster and he’s wearing #17. I had a couple minutes to kill before the game, so I thought of a few other numbers that could have been used instead of the number of a fan favorite that probably doesn’t even have his suitcase unpacked in Hershey. And before you get on my case, no, Marshall Everson’s number was not 17 at Harvard, so I’m not raining on anybody’s parade here. Here are some available, unretired numbers that Everson couldn’t wore whilst fans are still recovering from the news of the Latta trade: 3, 27, 42, and the 80′s and 90′s are wide open… Seriously, it’s too soon, Admirals jersey sewing people…

And for your viewing pleasure, here’s a bit of the post-game presser with coach Dean Evason. And look! He made a funny about Latta (it’s at the 2:27 mark). Aww…

Mr. Latta goes to Washington

A lot has happened since last Friday’s post from the Admirals/IceHogs game. First and foremost, I’d like you all to know that I have since in fact located a Starbucks. If you were following my tweets from the game, you’ll recall my panic over not finding a pregame vanilla latte in the greater Rockford area. I’ve since made up for it. Moving on.

snipeThe obvious topic of conversation is the bummer of a trade that sent Admirals forward slash fan favorite Michael Latta to Washington. Before you clog my inbox with your armchair quarterback analysis of the trade and your scouting report on Filip Forsberg, don’t. All I’m going to say about it is that I sincerely hope that Michael gets the chance in Washington that he never got with Nashville. He’s a talented kid, a great mix of offensive prowess and absolute grit. His departure will certainly leave a hole in the Ads lineup, especially tomorrow night against leagues resident boy scouts, Rockford IceHogs.

I look forward to tuning in to see his first NHL game, but I must admit I hope you, Michael, get traded to another team… any team. Heaven forbid you make your NHL debut for the Capitals. I just couldn’t bear the thought of getting a phone call, text or smoke signal from my twin Will (the HGM resident Caps fan) saying he just got a Latta Capitals jersey and had a great time watching him at the Verizon Center, and oh my gosh! Got the game winning puck that just happened to be Latta’s first NHL goal! Against the Penguins! Oh the horror…

For now, Latta is with the Caps AHL affiliate Hershey Bears (wearing #15 for those keeping track at home). He’s slated to make his debut with the team tomorrow night at Syracuse. While you wait for his eastern conference debut (oh, and the Admirals play tomorrow too), make sure to check out these articles on the trade:

Poile made best of a bad situation with Erat trade (Jim Diamond, examiner.com)

Hershey Bears add Milwaukee Admirals F Michael Latta in Washington Capitals Trade (Tim Leone, pennlive.com)

What others are saying about the trade (Aaron Sims, milwaukeeadmirals.com) (note: grab a tissue box if you are a sally like me…)

Ads top IceHogs 3-2 in Rockford; Smith hurt in final seconds of regulation

IceHogs-Admirals_LalondeLadies and gentleman, Michael Latta

ROCKFORD – An altercation left goaltender Jeremy Smith at the bottom of a pile of players with :13.4 left in regulation. After being looked at by trainer Doug Agnew, the 23-year old Dearborn, Michigan native was helped off the ice by Agnew and defenseman Joonas Jarvinen, being careful not to put any pressure on his right leg. When asked about his status, coach Dean Evason said he was being checked over as we spoke.

“He’s getting looked at right now. But for him to take himself out of the game with :13 left with the faceoff in our zone, it’s not good for sure, so we’ll get in there an evaluate… and see what happens.”

When people ask “I have good news and bad news, which do you want first?”, I always ask for the bad news first. So there you go. Smitty got hurt. And now for the good news. We won! And the Admirals held the IceHogs, who have the best power-play stats in the league, scoreless in on four power-play attempts.

“Our penalty kill gave us an opportunity to win that hockey game. The blocked shots that we had, the saves we had, and our commitment to bear down and clear pucks… There is no question that our penalty kill unit won, if not, gave us the chance to win this hockey game.

After what was a pretty ho-hum 19:59 of the first period, defenseman Ryan Ellis scored on a slap shot past IceHogs goaltender Carter Hutton to give Milwaukee the one-goal edge going into the first intermission. Ellis, who was reassigned by the Predators this past Monday, lit the lamp with just 1/10th of a second left on the clock.

The Admirals would go on to strike again early in the second period, scoring just :11 into the frame. According to the 46 pages of statistics provided by stat wizard Charlie Larson at the Milwaukee Admirals, the fastest consecutive goals scored by the team this season was two in :30 back on November 23rd courtesy of forwards Mark Van Guilder and Austin Watson. Teeeeechnically, Ryan Ellis’ first period goal and Kevin Henderson‘s second period goal were :13 apart, but alas, there is an intermission in there so I am thinking this gem of knowledge won’t make it onto the team highs and lows stats sheet.

photoBut don’t fret my pets, we do have a team record for the season! The fastest goal from the start of a period was previously help by Mark Van Guilder back on November 3rd which was :30 into the frame. Tonight that was snapped by Kevin Henderson, who scored his tally :11 into the second. Oh the joy of stats!

Gold star, round of applause and a boat load of brownie points (oh, and first star of the game) go to Michael Latta, who scored the teams third goal and added assists on the first and second.

“That whole line with Van Guilder, Henderson and Latta… they’ve been our steady influence up front. They play against the other teams top line every single game. They’re not only doing the job defensively, but they’re producing offensively. Michael Latta has made real good strides this year in his development, he’s doing everything, killing penalties, playing on the power-play, and he’s checking. It sits well for him and his future.”

The Admirals return to the ice tomorrow night in Chicago. The Wolves destroyed the Lake Erie Monsters 5-2 at home tonight, so tomorrow could be an interesting match-up.

Time to hit the road back to Milwaukee. I had a chance to meet (finally!) Bob Howard of the Power Play Post Show, and he’s got some nice interviews forthcoming from the Rockford locker room. Once I get back to HGM world headquarters, I’ll have pictures to post from the game, as well as audio from PPPS’s facebook page. Stay tuned!