NOTE: Examiner.com is having some technical difficulties on their end, so tonight, you get the rare treat of a raw game wrap-up from yours truly. Let’s have some fun with this, shall we?
MILWAUKEE – The Admirals rounded out the first half of the Admirals home season Friday night with a big 8-2 win over the . Tonight was the final home game prior to the 2013 All-Star Classic festivities, which take place this coming Sunday and Monday. After a Saturday night contest in Peoria, defenseman Victor Bartley will be the lone Admiral headed to Rhode Island to represent for the Western Conference team. This could be an advantage for Milwaukee, as Dunkin Donuts is sponsoring the events and we all know that French Crullers go straight to your hips…
I’m going to keep Wednesday’s recap brief, in fact, so brief that it qualifies for bullet points:
- In case you didn’t hear, the Admirals lost (3-2 to Houston). It marks a season-high sixth loss in a row. I don’t think I need to dive any deeper into that statistic.
- The Admirals signed good ol’ Wisconsin boy Brad Winchester to a Professional Try Out contract (PTO) Tuesday. Winchester hails from the capitol city of Madison, and played four seasons with UW-Madison. The 31-year old 6’5 225 lb. forward started Wednesday night with a bang, rattling the cages of multiple Aeros players and contributing an assist on Milwaukee’s first goal.
- The red spandex men were back in action behind the visitors penalty box. Needless to say, they kept me quite entertained for most of the game.
- Forward Josh Shalla was reassigned to ECHL Cincinnati Thursday morning. He was selected to represent the Cyclones in the 2013 ECHL All-Star game, and has put together a nice little season with 13 goals and 18 points in 23 games.
Moving right along. Tonight the Ads took on the Oklahoma City Barons, aka the only group of people devastated to hear the NHL lockout ended. Last time we saw the Barons they were stacked with NHL talent in Taylor Hall, Justin Schultz, Jordan Eberle and the absent Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who was off representing Oh Canada at the World Juniors. How are things going in OKC nowadays? Well, I asked the Edmonton Oilers scout next to me if the Barons were having trouble adjusting to the new lineup.
“OH GOD YES“
That paints a pretty clear picture as to how things are going, don’t you?
Forward Juuso Puustinen put Milwaukee on the board early in the first period with a nice little sequence from Austin Watson and Taylor Beck. Watson forced the turnover just inside center ice, which Taylor Beck picked up and passed to Puustinen. In an uncharacteristic Admirals move, Puustinen shot the puck, and holy smokes! It went in! See what happens when you don’t spend 90% of the time passing around the offensive zone?
Here is a picture of Puustinen just before he broke out into a triple salchow-triple toe loop sequence. We haven’t received word yet as to if his score was good enough to qualify for the mens figure skating championships yet, but will certainly keep you posted. I think we can all agree that he’d look just dandy in a neon blue bedazzled leotard.
The Admirals good fortunes continued on into the second period, as Austin Watson broke the teams 0 for 30 power-play streak with a goal that, by the grace of god, squeaked between Barons goaltender Olivier Roy’s skate and the pipe just :30 into the teams third power-play of the night.
Patrick Cehlin’s wrap-around goal attempt earned the team a goal-review, but alas it was ruled a no-goal by referee Jon McIsaac. Milwaukee would go on to get that third goal from Mark Van Guilder later in the second, which ultimately earned Roy a one-way ticket back to the bench. Goaltender Tyler Bunz was brought in to take over net duties, marking his very first AHL game. Bunz was recalled a week ago from the ECHL Stockton Thunder, with which he registered a 3.43 GAA and a .878 SV% in 23 games.
Newbie Brad Winchester continued to impress, scoring his first goal in an Admirals uniform and marking his 3rd point in two games (1g-2a). Wowsers. Get that man a Rick DiPietro-esque contract stat!
The Barons finally found the back of the net on their 39th shot of the game with just :10 left of a Holding penalty on Kevin Henderson. Moments later, the Admirals answered with a pair of goals just :39 apart courtesy of forwards Michael Latta and Juuso Puustinen to give themselves a healthy 6-1 lead. Scott Valentine followed up with a goal of his own to give the Admirals their seventh of the night, which was was then surpassed by a goal from Juuso Puustinen to give the 24-year old Finland native the teams first hat trick since last years Chris Mueller did last season.
Whew. It finally ended. Milwaukee won 8-2. Most goals of the year. Career-high for SOG on Smith (44 of 46 saves) and the teams first hat trick of the season (and seriously people? This place has 13,000 in it and there were seven hats thrown out onto the ice? Where are all the cowboy hats!?!?!
And now, for the key points to tonight’s game. You know, the important hard-hitting facts you’ve come to expect from a hard-hitting sportswriter like myself.
- The interview we did with Puustinen after the game was hands down the best interview I’ve ever been a part of. Why? Because he Gary Newman ‘Cars’ is blaring in the background and he is talking about his world champion swamp soccer achievement was the greatest moment of his life. As far as I’m concerned, he can tell me any story after putting three goals on the board.
- Victor Bartley makes a better Psy than Psy does. No, seriously, it’s amazing:
Although posting game recaps will continue over on examiner.com, let’s celebrate the first game recap(s) on hockeygalmilwaukee.com by awarding tweet of the week to one of my followers on twitter. When I said LOL after reading this, it might be the first time i was actually laughing out loud as I wrote it. Well done good sir!
- All game photos courtesy of Scott Paulus/Milwaukee Admirals -