Author Archives: hockeygalmilwaukee

Marlies top Ads in OT; Beck does Milwaukee proud with first NHL goal

8583571851_224be0e2f7_cWoo! The Admirals celebrate Brad Winchesters 1st period goal during Saturday nights game against the Toronto Marlies (Photo Credit Scott Paulus/Milwaukee Admirals)

MILWAUKEE -A late overtime goal from Marlies winger Greg Scott secured the 3-2 win over Milwaukee Saturday night, snapping the Admirals five-game win streak. Brad Winchester and Anthony Bitetto scored for Milwaukee, while goaltender Magnus Hellberg made 23 of 26 saves. In total, the Admirals put 41 shots on goaltenders Jussi Rynnas and Drew MacIntyre.

This was the first, and last visit, for Toronto this season. The two teams squared off last month in Toronto in which the Admirals goose-egged the Marlies 2-0 at Ricoh Coliseum. Like the Admirals, the Marlies are on a hot streak. Their five-game win streak was snapped last night after losing 4-3 in the shootout to the Chicago Wolves.

The boys wasted no time getting on the board, scoring less than two minutes into the game with the second goal in two nights for the Brad WinchesterCraig Smith pairing. Smith, the Wisconsin native forward here from the parent Predators on a conditioning assignment, earned an assist on Winchesters empty netter in last nights 3-1 win over Peoria. Smith sent a pass up to Jarvinen from the far boards, who fired the puck on goal which Winchester stuffed in for his seventh of the season.

A little background-slash-information on the who this “other” Smith is. Friday morning, the Predators announced that they were sending forward Craig Smith to Milwaukee on a conditioning assignment (remember Matt Halischuk a few weeks back? Same thing except there wasn’t an injury involved). The 23-year old former Wisconsin Badger captain is a native of Madison, Wisconsin, making him the third Wisconsin-native on the Admirals roster (Brad Winchester is also from Madison, and defenseman Joe Piskula is from Antigo). On Wisconsin, on Wisconsin, grand old Admirals staaaaate…

Per Ryan Miller of Admirals Roundtable, Smith is here through tomorrow nights game in Chicago. Beyond that? Sounds like it’s going to be a decision made Sunday night. Smith is here to get ice time, actually I like the term Ryan used in “productive ice time”. In 25 games with the Preds this season, Smith has 6 points (3g-3a) and h -5 +/-. It’s a departure from last seasons performance, in which he average a point every two games (36 points in 72 contests). Sometimes a change of scenery and direction from a different coaching staff is just what the doctor ordered.

What are you looking to get out of this trip to Milwaukee?

“Just to get my mindset right, to make plays and create offensive opportunities, but I think everyone around me is doing a good job of making plays and getting the puck to the net.”

Has the Nashville Brass given you any timeline on when you’ll return to Nashville?

“There is a two-week max, but we’ll see what happens, and what happens with injuries or if they feel I’m ready to come back. As of now, I’m kind of in the dark, just trying to play here and have some fun, see if I can get a couple wins with the Admirals.”

With Korbinian Holzer in the box on a elbowing call, the Admirals sent the Shalla-Watson-Smith line out for duty. But it was defenseman Anthony Bitetto who converted on the power-play for his first tally of the season. The following quote is from Bitetto, but please be aware that in order to get the full Bitetto experience, you need to read it with a really (and I do mean really) thick New York accent. I could sit and listen to him read a telephone book for days.

“It was nice. Ekky (Ekholm) made a great play along the wall. Winny (Winchester) has been telling me a low wrist it to the net is gonna work, and sure enough! The big man was right!”

That reminds me, I need to compile a list of nicknames guy use in post-game interviews (because in that interview alone I can check two off the list). Nicknames are fun, I get it, but I never understood why Scott Ford’s nickname is Fordo. Isn’t a nickname supposed to be a shorter version of what your actual name is? I digress…

Goaltender Jussi Rynnas left the game in the final minutes of the second period after an awkward fall left him sprawled out in front of the Toronto net. He was helped off the ice by two teammates, and avoided putting any pressure on his right leg. Coming off the bench in place of Rynnas was former Admirals goaltender Drew MacIntyre. Mac played for Milwaukee during the 2008-2009 season, and has gone on to play for five other AHL teams since his time in the Brew City.

Greg McKegg was called for boarding after putting defenseman Mattias Ekholm into the boards head first behind the Milwaukee net. What looked like a promising way to win this thing in overtime turned out to be the prelude to Toronto’s game winning goal. Shortly after the McKegg expired, a 2-1 led by Jerry D’Amigo turned into a scoring opportunity for Greg Scott, who sailed the puck just over Hellberg’s glove.

The Admirals round out their 3-in-3 weekend tomorrow afternoon in Chicago. The Wolves were blanked by the Rivermen in Peoria this evening by a score of 3-0, so we can only hope their good fortune carries over into tomorrows contest.

And in case you missed my 56 tweets, 13 facebook posts and the smoke signals I sent out from the arena parking lot, recent Predators call-up Taylor Beck notched his very first NHL goal in tonight’s 5-2 win over Columbus. Jim Diamond, who covers the Predators for Examiner.com and AP had a chance to ask Beck about his goal, and hey! Beck party of 3, looks like owes his linemates a dinner!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naZ5SmM3AbM

Don’t forget to follow Jim Diamond (@diamondhockey) on twitter for the latest and greatest on all things Predators (Nashville Predators… not to catch a predator, I think Chris Hansen has that covered).

3-1 win over Peoria gives Milwaukee season-high fifth win in a row. Stick taps all around!

8580688395_4beacefb0a_cForward Mark Van Guilder scored an early first period goal for the Ads in Friday nights 3-1 win over the Rivermen

Just know you’re not alone. I’m going to score this. team. a. goal.

I’m just glad the Admirals scored a goal at all. I was sitting on that Phillip Phillips pun all week and was terrified we’d get goose-egged because of it. Hopefully you get the pun, as it’s from a little known song of his that is rarely played on the radio and has never been featured in 50 commercials on the HGTV network.

Whew.

Anyways, back to the goal. Neither Michael Latta or Kevin Henderson could gain control of the puck on Rivermen goaltender Mike McKenna’s door step, which ended up working in their favor as they cleared a nice little path for forward Mark Van Guilder to swoop in for the opportunity. He got a stick on his own rebound and chipped it in to give Milwaukee an early lead.

And then this happened. Ryan and Sutty from Admirals Roundtable would probably lend the term “fury” to this melee…

Tonight was the sixth and final time the Rivermen will visit Milwaukee during the regular season, and marked the 11th of 12 meetings overall between the two teams. The Ads have already secured the season series, going 6-2-0-2 in the first ten meetings between the squads.

74556_688440637864_700204005_nA tough deflection off the back of Ads goaltender Magnus Hellberg‘s right pad in over the line gave Peoria their first of the game just past the halfway point of the second period. The tally marked the sixth of the season for forward Brett Sonne, with the helper going to former Milwaukee Admiral winger Andre Bouvet-Morrissette. I use the term “former Milwaukee Admiral” loosely, as he only played in two games with the team. Apparently two games is long enough to get your name on the back of a sweater for a jersey auction, just ask Hockey Guy.

A Too-Many-Men call on Peoria gave Milwaukee their second and final man-advantage of the game midway through the third period. Defenseman Mattias Ekholm ripped a slap shot from inside the blue line, which was redirected past McKenna by rookie forward Austin Watson from the top of the crease. Brad Winchester added an empty-netter for good measure at the end of regulation, securing the season-high fifth win for the home team.

photo[3]For the game summary from our dear friends over at the American Hockey League, click here. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to put the Gal in Hockey Gal and swoon over Phillip Phillips, who is playing the post game concert for us lucky hockey fans. Swoon.

Admirals come up big against Griffins with 3-1 win; extend win streak to season-high four games

8563947196_48bcf37234_bAdmirals forward Mark Van Guilder scored his 11th of the season to give Milwaukee a 1-0 lead early in the first (Photo Credit/Milwaukee Admirals)

MILWAUKEE – Josh Shalla, Juuso Puustinen and Mark Van Guilder tallied a goal each, and defending AHL goaltender of the month Magnus Hellberg stopped 22 of 23 shots enroute to the teams 3-1 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins Saturday night.

This was game number two of a four-game homestand for the Ads, which started with a 2-0 win over Peoria on Wednesday night. The win extends the teams win streak to a season-high four games. On the flip side, it brings the Griffins five-game win streak to a grinding halt at five.

The Griffins were without AHL-points leader Gustav Nyquist, who was recalled by parent club Detroit on Tuesday. Nyquist leads the AHL in overall points with 60 in 57 games. Before you start to feel too sorry for Grand Rapids (I’m sure you were just about ready to reach for a tissue), please note that the Red Wings returned the teams second leading scorer Tomas Tatar (who was in the starting lineup tonight) on the same day. Whew.

Mark Van Guilder kicked off the scoring after lighting the lamp with a nifty backhand on Griff’s goaltender Petr MrazekThe rebound off a Taylor Beck slap shot took a hard bounce off Mrazek’s pads and landed right into the lap of Van Guilder.

The angle of the shot was almost parallel to the net. I had to watch the replay a few times because honestly, I’m not quite sure how that went in. It was an odd goal and I needed some insight from the man who quote unquote “hasn’t scored a backhanded goal in 18 years”:

“Odd is an understatement. I don’t think their goalie knows I have the worst backhand in the American Hockey League. *insert awkward Steph laughter here* I’ve got to do some wrist curls… not the hardest shot you’ll ever see, but it got there.”

The Griffins evened the score just two minutes into the second frame after forward Andrej Nestrasil ripped one past Hellberg off the faceoff. I was typing and didn’t notice a goal was scored til I looked up and saw the replay. For some reason, there wasn’t any fanfare for a goal from the opposition (who’d have thought, right?)

Juuso Puustinen scored his 11th of the year (3rd on the power-play) midway through the second to give Milwaukee a 2-1 lead. Captain Mike Moore sent a beaut of a cross-ice pass to an awaiting Puustinen, who sent a wrister in on Mrazek from the top of the near circle. Forward Josh Shalla made it 3-1 after scoring an unassisted goal on the breakaway to mark his first of the season… Finally.

“It took me a while up here to get a good chance, but I felt like a huge monkey was off my back when it went in the net.”

Joonas Jarvinen has been a discussion point in recent post-game interviews because of the repeated trips he’s made to the penalty box as of late. Today was no exception. A roughing call sent Jarvinen to the box with just :41 left in the second period. With Michael Latta in the box on an elbowing penalty, the Admirals gave the Griffins over a minute of 5-on-3, :24 of which carried over into the third period.

Evason always holds his players accountable for their actions, especially on what he has referred to in past interviews as “dumb penalties”, but today he emphasized that it was an iffy call, and that he liked how the team maintained composure and killed the penalties off without damage. Normally I’d provide you with a hard hitting quote, but somewhere between the locker room and my seat on press row I deleted Evason’s interview. Fret not, as always, the Admirals will have the post-game interview posted on their YouTube channel at some point this evening so you can see the interview in all its glory.

Hellberg, Admirals shut out Rivermen 2-0

8556398378_7e4425c4c0_cThe team celebrated the first period Brad Winchester goal during Wednesday’s game against Peoria

MILWAUKEE – Ads goaltender Magnus Hellberg turned away all 30 shots he faced, while Brad Winchester and Mattias Ekholm contributed a goal each in the 2-0 win over Peoria Wednesday night.

Rookie forward Austin Watson ripped a wrister from the top of the slot to give Milwaukee the edge midway through the first period, or so I thought. I didn’t realize it, but there was discussion immediately following the goal as to if it was Watson’s shot or a tip in by Brad Winchester that lit the lamp. After the completion of the game, the goal was switched from Watson to Winchester, which was later confirmed by Winchester in the locker room.

A couple of interviews ago (back on March 3rd), I asked coach Evason why he split up the Watson-Bang-Puustinen line. When Bang went down with an injury, lines got switched around and the three of them never really were put back together. I’d be lying if I didn’t smirk when i saw the starting line up. It was armchair quarterbacking at its finest.

I’ll be waiting by the phone for the call up from press row to assistant coach. If Oklahoma City can have two assistant coaches, so can Milwaukee. Just call me Rocky Thompson. That line is lucky, kind of like the kid from Angels in the Outfield.

Moving right along. Puustinen. Wow. Kid was getting the looks tonight. It took 22 minutes for the whistle to blow, but when it did it was in favor of the Admirals. Puustinen put three quality back-to-back shots on Peoria goaltender Mike McKenna even with traffic down low. In that 10 seconds alone McKenna earned his paycheck for the week. The good part? The Admirals looked stunning on that first power-play even though they didn’t light the lamp.

“We thought our power-play, especially the first one, gained us momentum. We had a ton of opportunities. Our power-plays been good so we want to be on that power-play for two minutes, and give ourselves the opportunity to score goals.”

Which leads to the bad news… The next two power-plays they had they immediately negated with penalties of their own. Michael Latta took a boarding call (which Evason was not pleased about) during the teams second man-advantage, and Brad Winchester took a high-sticking call to negate the third.

Mattias Ekholm put on a hard hat and dug the puck out from the far boards on a 4-on-4 during the second period, which he turned into Milwaukee’s second goal of the game. He sent a snap shot in on McKenna from the top of the far circle for his 6th of the season.

The game marked the third of shutout of the season for the 21-year old Uppsala, Sweden native Hellberg, who just happens to be the leagues reigning CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month. The Admirals continue their four-game home stand Saturday night when they face the Grand Rapids Griffins for the third time this month. Milwaukee lost the previous two March contests, both by a score of 5-1.

Also worth noting, the Admirals didn’t have a single healthy scratch from tonight’s game. With Chris Mueller and Victor Bartley called up to Nashville, the team has every healthy player on the ice. Had one player gone down, we may have had to start going section to section to see if any fans had a pair of skates handy.

Pregame News & Notes… 03/13/13 vs. Peoria Rivermen

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I thought I’d kick off tonight’s Salute to Uranus game (yes, you read that correctly, and yes, that is a picture of the birthday boy, er, planet wearing a birthday hat) with a few tid bits of hockey news to hold you over til the puck drops at 7:00pm.

ChrisMuellerChris Mueller, Recalled! I’m sure it was a devestating phone call (“Hi, yes, is this Chris Mueller? This is Barry Trotz. I know you were looking forward to Salute to Uranus night, but is there any way you can come to Nashville? If not, i completely understand, I’m a fan of the planets too…”), but forward Chris Mueller has been called up to parent Nashville Predators. Mueller heads to Nashville after forward Paul Gaustad left Tuesday night’s game vs. the Stars with an upper-body injury. According to reports, he’s listed as day-to-day, but no timeline has been established for if and when Mueller will return to Milwaukee.

Rivermen Scouting Report  Tonight’s game against Peoria marks the 5th of ten home ice meetings between the two teams this regular season. Peoria sits in 14th place in the Western Conference, and are in the midst of a two-game losing streak AND are 3-6-0-1 in their last ten. I’m just going to leave that fact there and walk away. As a former hockey player, I know better than to elaborate on facts like this #superstitous. The Riv’s are without goaltender Jake Allen, who was recalled by the parent club Blue last Wednesday. The Admirals are 5-2-0-2 against the Rivermen so far this season.

Lajunen makes his return… for the “other” team  Tonight’s contest is the first time the two teams face each other since the Admirals traded the 24-year old Helsinki, Finland native Jani Lajunen to Peoria in exchange for ex-Admirals captain Scott Ford.

blake geoffrionRetirement Announcement Forthcoming?  Former Milwaukee Admiral slash Wisconsin Badger forward Blake Geoffrion has announced that he’s considering retiring from hockey at the age of 25. Some reports say it’s definite, others say it’s just a rumor… but in any case, it is sad to see that the head injury he suffered during the lockout will be ending what was certain to be a long and impressive NHL career. On The Forecheck’s Dirk Hoag has a nice article with video highlights on his site (which you can check out here).

You may now go back to saluting Uranus. It is its 232nd birthday afterall.

Ads fall 5-1 to the Griffs for the second time this weekend

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MILWAUKEE – Friday night 5-1 loss to Grand Rapids. Sunday afternoon 5-1 loss to Grand Rapids… I’m seeing a pattern here…

The Admirals certainly had momentum on their side, as the team snapped the IceHogs six-game win streak last night with a 3-2 win at Rockford. Jeremy Smith got the win between the pipes, stopping 22 of 24 shots he faced. Brad Winchester, Daniel Bang and Patrick Cehlin all scored for Milwaukee, which Cehlin’s marking his second in as many games. Prior to Friday night’s goal, Cehlin has been in an offensive slump, going 27 games without a goal dating back to December 9th against the Charlotte Checkers.

One hundred and thirty five miles south of the Ads game, Grand Rapids played their second of the weekend, dropping a 4-1 decision at Peoria Saturday night. Netminder Petr Mrazek gave up three goals, and Peoria’s Evgeny Grachev added an empty netter for good measure.

And then there was Sunday afternoon.

Andrej Nestrasil put Grand Rapids on the board early in the first with a bad angle shot on Smith stick side. Jeff Hoggan put their second on the board with six to go after redirecting a Nathan Paetsch wrister from inside the blue line. It was a strange goal all around, and although it appeared to be played with a high stick, AHL goal reviews don’t allow for that “type” of review.

Coach Evason, your thoughts please:

“We thought it was a high stick. We’ve obviously had an opportunity to look at the replays and yes, it was a high stick.”

Was their a video replay on the goal?

“You can’t review on the goal because the camera is over the net. In the NHL you can, but we just don’t have the capabilities to do that here.”

Oops. Moving right along…

If anyone had a good view or how the goal happened, it was goaltender Jeremy Smith. I spoke with him after the game to get his perspective.

“It was a point shot, and it was going over my head and I was in the butterfly with my glove next to my ear and above my head, and I thought it was going to go over the net. The guy in front of me (Grand Rapids forward Jeff Hoggan) tipped it, and it was clearly going over my head and it ended up in the net. There is no way that he could tip it up and over me and still have it go in… so ultimately, he tipped it down. If he tipped it down, his stick must’ve been over the net if it’s over my head.”

Now it’s your turn. What are your thoughts on the goal?

The defensive woes continued into the second period… Smith a foot in front of the crease, the rest of the team gave the Griffins waaaaaaaaay too much time/too many chances in the slot and Tomas Jurco sailed one over Smith’s left shoulder.

Fret not, Admirals fans. Victor Bartley put Milwaukee on the board midway through the third with a beaut of a wrister from the slot. Honorable mention goes to Chris Mueller, who sent a nice pass up from behind the Griffins net to set Bartley up for the tally. I say “fret not” to reference the fact that at least we didn’t walk away with a goose egg, not that a magical comeback happened. All that happened was that Milwaukee went on to take multiple penalties that ruined any chance of putting together a comeback. The Admirals put 35 shots on McCollum, but at the end of the day, if your defense isn’t in order and the lamp doesn’t light, 35 shots just doesn’t matter.

Post season is roughly six weeks away, and already the playoff picture is shaping up (early stages people, early stages…). Your thoughts, Jeremy Smith:

“It is a rollercoaster, you’ve just got to ride it out. There are peaks and valleys, and never get too high or too low. I think as long as we give it all we’ve got every night and leave it all on the table, that’s all we can ask for.”

Other notes on today’s game for your reading pleasure:

  • Today was the battle of the American goaltenders. Both Jeremy Smith (Detroit, Michigan native) and Tom McCollum (Amherst, NY) represented the USA in the World Juniors (Smith in 2007/08 and McCollum in 2006/07 and 2008/09).
  • The Admirals recalled F Jack MacLellan from ECHL Cincinnati yesterday morning. He was on hand for last night’s game in Rockford.
  • Here’s Steff in the post-game clamoring again about Austin Watson. What ever happened to the Puustinen-Watson-Bang line? After Bang went down with an injury, the line never quite made a comeback. With the offensive woes plaguing the team as of late, is it time to return to some of the tried-and-true lines of past games?

“We thought Watson’s line was likely our best line tonight with Cehlin and Bang, Cehlin scored a really nice goal last night, and they’ve played very well the last two nights. We’ll shift people around for sure, obviously with Beck out it hurts our offensive attack, there’s not question about that, but we’re constantly working to try and find combinations that’ll give us results.”

  • According to Evason, Ford is closer to returning to the line up than Beck is. Ford, who was acquired in mid-February, is skating in practice but has no time table for returning to the lineup.

Nyquist leads the Griffins to 5-1 victory over the Admirals… Not the way to start the weekend…

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MILWAUKEE – The picture above really says it all… Literally.

Before last night’s game, I said this 3-in-3 weekend was going to be a pretty good indication of whether or not the Admirals were going to land a spot in the post-season. After Friday’s showing, I hope I’m wrong. Grand Rapids took the first of a 3-in-3 for them as well, by notching a commanding 5-1 win against the Ads last night. Goaltender Magnus Hellberg, who was just named CCM/AHL Goalie of the Month for February (see below), was chased after four goals in favor of Jeremy Smith, who gave up one goal in the third period. Sigh.

screen-captureSpecial teams woes reared their ugly head early in the game, as Griffins forward Francis Pare fired a lamp-lighter just :28 into their first power-play of the game. On the flip side, the Admirals had back-to-back power-play chances and only managed to put a combined four shots on goal. Luckily for the Admirals, Patrick Cehlin evened things up minutes later after redirecting a Joonas Jarvinen shot past Griffins goaltender Petr Mrazek (which was then followed by the happiest goal celebration in the history of Admirals hockey…check out that screen shot above).

Grand Rapids kicked off the second period with a goal just nine seconds into the frame. Forward Gustav Nyquist beat Hellberg high on the blocker side for his 20th goal of the season. The goal (plus his assist on the Griff’s first goal) also gave him a team-leading 54th point on the season. Color me impressed.

A deflection by forward Luke Glendening on a feed from linemate Jan Mursak put Milwaukee in a two-goal hole midway through the second. It only took one more goal for coach Evason to switch out goaltenders, as Jeremy Smith relieved Hellberg of his duties after Jan Mursak tallied his first of the year. In fact, the goal marked the first for Mursak since 03/20/2011 against Rockford (file that under ‘fun facts to know and tell’).

Antigo-native and Admirals newcomer Joe Piskula beat the piss-kula out of Luke Glendening towards the end of the second after the two teams tangled over a hit on Mitch Callahan. And yes, I’ve been waiting for the last three seasons to be able to use that pun. Nobody was more happy about the Piskula/McGrattan trade than I was.

tumblr_m9u4jiFKvI1qixkq4o1_1346778068_cover copyNyquist struck again in the third, converting on the two-on-one to give Grand Rapids a solid 5-1 lead. The goal gave the 23-year old Swede his third point of the game, as well as his third 3-point game in a row. Color me more impressedd (that’s not a typo people) than I was in the second period, so much so, I felt the need to make this little number:

Moving right along, the game ended 5-1. I went down to talk to coach Evason with my cohorts after the game, but was so frustrated with the game that I high tailed it out of the parking lot without going into the locker room. Well actually, no, that’s inaccurate, as I was blocked in by the car of refs… but nonetheless I was piping hot. At the end of the day, I’m just a fan like everyone else. It pains to me watch a team struggle like this, especially one that I’ve been a fan of since I was a kid.

Before I break out the Admirals memorabilia box and talk, err, write your ear off about the teams of the 90′s (as well as the wedding I had planned to Gino Cavallini when I was 8), I’m going to wrap this up with a few notes on what’s coming up for the team. The Admirals head to Rockford tonight, while Grand Rapids heads to Peoria. Rockford and Peoria squared off last night in Peoria, where the IceHogs increased their win streak to 6 with a 4-1 win over the Rivs. The Griffins are back in town Sunday for what is my favorite game of the year… Dog Day! Oh, and there is a hockey game.

8476433 copySure Friday night was a bad night, but stick taps and gold stars are still in order for Admirals goaltender Magnus Hellberg for being crowned (literally) as CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month for February. And there’s no need to thank me for that visual gem to the left (I was going to add a fur collared robe, but I thought that would just be too much.) Tonight’s appearance marked the 21st for the 21-year old Swedish native. To read the league announcement which I assure you does not include a picture of Magnus wearing a crown, click here.

Ads round out the weekend on a high note; win 3-1 over the Heat

8484216046_b4f806ab2a_cMichael Latta drops Heat forward David Eddy during a first period melee at 02/17/2013 game vs. Abbotsford

MILWAUKEE – Michael Liambas scored his first AHL goal (which was the game-winner, mind you), and Taylor Beck and Kevin Henderson each scored goals enroute to Milwaukee’s 3-1 win over the Abbotsford Heat. Magnus Hellberg got the start, making 23 of 24 saves on the night.

Milwaukee wasn’t the only team that struggled this weekend, as Abbotsford fell (HARD) 7-2 at Rockford last night.

Last night’s 8-2 loss was something we’d certainly like to block from recent memory. However, I do want to quickly make a few statistical notes that resulted from those power-play goals the Ads gave up before I dive into tonight’s game recap:

  • Coming into last night’s contest, Charlotte was ranked 7th on the power-play league-wide. After scoring a league-most five power-play goals in a single game this season, the Checkers have now moved into 3rd, while Milwaukee fell a spot to 28th on the penalty kill.
  • The last time Milwaukee allowed four goals on the man-advantage was 02/17/2007 at Iowa.
  • The four goals the Admirals allowed in the second tied a season high for goals against in one period.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s chat about tonight’s game, shall we?

Special teams continued to be an issue for the Admirals early in the game, as Milwaukee was awarded two power-plays on which resulted in 1:05 worth of 5-on-3 advantage. The team only managed to put 1 shot on goal during the power-play, but hey, they got some passing practice in for it wasn’t a complete waste.

Tyler Ruegsegger sent a wrister just inside the left pipe to give Abbotsford a one-goal advantage going into the first intermission.

Kevin Henderson evened things up at the beginning of the second with a beaut of a goal on Heat netminder Barry Brust. Henderson screamed up the middle and sent an absolute rocket through the crease.

It wouldn’t be until the third period when another goal would hit the scoreboard, as Admirals newcomer Michael Liambas scored his first as an Ad to give Milwaukee the 2-1 edge midway through the third frame. Liambas popped the puck over Brusts’ left pad from the bottom of the crease to mark his first point as an Admiral.

When we were interviewing Liambas about his game-winning goal, Juuso Puustinen made a cameo appearance in the background of the interview.

Nashville Predators headshots“I was telling him PASS TO ME, PASS TO ME, but no! He had to be the hero tonight!”

For as physical of a player as he is, Liambas is a man of few words… very few words. Not a bad thing, especially because you can tell this has been a really special time in his career and that he isn’t taking this opportunity with the Admirals for granted.

liambas“Words can’t really explain it, i’m just taking in the moment and just going to enjoy it.”

With Brust on the bench, Taylor Beck had an open net, that just happened to be dead center to a clearing attempt me made from in front of the Admirals bench. Celebration ensued, which was QUITE the change from what we saw after last nights game.

And now, we get a little break from the BMOBC. The Admirals hit the road and won’t return to home ice til March 1st.

Other game news and notes: Both Juuso Puustinen and Taylor Beck were back in the lineup after missing games due to injury. They both contributed goals in Tuesdays 2-1 win over Abbotsford.

Everything was bad… Ads give up 5 PPG enroute to 8-2 loss to Checkers

8480185171_d80768275c_zCheckers captain Brett Sutter and Ads alternate captain Chris Mueller (Photo Credit/Milwaukee Admirals)

MILWAUKEE – Last night, the Milwaukee Admirals were riding high on Chris Mueller scoring a franchise-first two goals while having the goalie pulled in favor of the extra attacker. What a glorious feeling.

Fast forward 24 hours to the next time the team would set a new milestone. They now hold the record for most power-play goals allowed in a single game in the AHL this season… five. This, in contrast, is not a glorious feeling.

The Checkers went 5/8 on the power-play, a statistic that I am sure will bump them up from the 7th position in the AHL power-play rankings.

Atlanta Thrashers v Washington CapitalsSo why so many penalties coach?

“Hhwwwoooofff (sp), that’s a really good question…”

What do you say to the team after a game like this?

“Nothing, not a thing… Everything was bad. The entire game was bad.”

Of course I am paraphrasing, however, I think you get the jist of it that he was not a happy camper. I guess I wouldn’t be either if my team was dangerously close to tying the team record of six power-play goals against that was set back in 1989.

Charlotte opened the nights scoring with a power-play goal from forward Riley Nash (also note that he’d later go on to score a second power-play goal for the team). Here is something to impress your dinner club guests with. Riley’s older brother, Brendon Nash, played here last night and contributed an assist on San Antonio’s third goal in Milwaukee’s 5-4 OT win. Unfortunately, I don’t believe there are any Nash’s left to make an appearance tomorrow so that we can make a weekend of it.

I digress. Mueller took a sloppy penalty hooking call on the Charlotte end, which then lead to the first of many power-play goals the 7th-ranked Checkers would score on the Admirals.

Checker forwards Chris Terry, Zac Dalpe and Riley Nash all contributed a power-play goal in the second period (Nash’s marking his second of the game, mind you), and just for good measure, Sean Nolan added an even-strength goal to make it a 5-0 game going into the second intermission.

The Checkers would go on to add three more goals (one of which was a PPG), while Milwaukee attempted to salvage something resembling pride by lighting the lamp with goals from Kevin Henderson and Michael Latta. Sure, everybody likes to see the little red light go off behind the opposing goaltender, but two goals isn’t going to make up for 60 minutes worth of sloppy penalties and poor special teams. The game ended (thank god) 8-2, which is the first time since 2008 that the Admirals gave up eight goals in a game (last time was 11/22/08 8-6 loss at Iowa).

Goaltender Jeremy Smith made 18 saves on 26 shots, which equals out to about a .692 GAA… probably not a statistic you want your name next to on a stat sheet. But at the end of the day, it was the entire team that was to blame for the loss.

Atlanta Thrashers v Washington Capitals“Everything was bad. Everything. The penalty kill, our forwards, our d (defense), our goalie, our coaches, everything was bad.

So the common theme in tonight’s post-game press conference with coach Evason: Everything was bad.

And in conclusion… Adding to the growing list of fun facts to know and tell (and because we all deserve a little man candy after this brutal loss…), Checkers forward Jared Staal (wearing #22 for those of you keeping track at home) is the younger brother of Hurricanes captain Eric Staal and Hurricanes alternate captain Jordan Staal. The Checkers are the farm team for the Hurricanes, so that means the Carolina system is just one Staal away from having a 4-of-a-kind! Marc Staal, otherwise known as the odd man out, has played the last six season with the New York Rangers, three of which he served as alternate captain. Here is a picture of all four Staal brothers.  Your welcome ladies.

Oh, and there is a game tomorrow. The Admirals finish out their 3-in-3 homestand tomorrow night at 5:00pm against the Abbotsford Heat. Here’s to hoping we’ll be celebrating a 2-out-of-3 weekend afterwards…

Mueller bobbles his way to OT; Ads win 5-4! Woo!

8476916253_419d6153f9_zTaylor Beck during 02/15/2013 game vs. San Antonio (Scott Paulus/Milwaukee Admirals)

MILWAUKEE – Holy smokes. What a game! Mueller (who was celebrated in the form of a bobblehead tonight) with two goals in :40, Moore with a dramatic game-winner… read on!

Looking at this roster, one might assume that San Antonio is the sister team for Milwaukee, as there sure seems to be an awful lot of ex-Admirals on their side of the ice (three of which were in the starting line up for the Rampage):

Dov Grumet-Morris (G) – 2007/08

Jed Ortmeyer (RW) – 2008/09

Mike Santorelli (C) – 2007-2009

Nolan Yonkman (D) – 2006-2010

Mike Santos, former Nashville Predators Director of Hockey Operations, now serves as general manager for the Rampage. Assistant coach Jason Cipolla played for Milwaukee from 1997-1999, and head coach Chuck Weber kicked off his coaching career in Milwaukee during the 2002-2003 campaign. Hope the pilgrimage back to Milwaukee was a good one for the gang, as it is the only time the two teams will meet at the BMOBC this season.

San Antonio’s Quinton Howden put San Antonio on the board four minutes in to mark his 10th of the season. Assists allegedly go to Jed Ortmeyer and Mike Santorelli, but clearly the left post is the one who sent the scoring pass to Howden. AHL commissioner Dave Andrews is here tonight (and if not I’ve located his doppelganger), and so I may try and track him down to see what his thoughts are on awarding inanimate objects goals and assists. After I get that out of the way, I plan on heading to the Rampage locker room to speak with left winger Eric Selleck. He owes us all an explanation as to why he doesn’t have a legendary mustache like this Selleck.

Mattias Ekholm knotted things up at one-a-piece midway through the first, but the Rampage would go on to make it a 3-to-1 game before the first period ended courtesy of members of the former Admirals club. Mike Santorelli scored during the teams 5-on-3 advantage, and Jed Ortmeyer redirected the puck on the man advantage at the tail end of the first.

Taylor Beck capitalized on the power-play to put Milwaukee within one goal of San Antonio early in the second with help from Chris Mueller and Brad Winchester. All in all, the next 30 minutes were pretty quiet until Zach Miskovic scored to make it a 4-2 game. Poor guy … they pan to him on the bench and the jumbrotron says he is #28 Akim Aliu, and then when I check his stats on AHL, he’s wearing a Wolves jersey. Seriously. Let’s get it together technology people.

Chris Mueller made things VERY interesting with a minute to go, giving Milwaukee their 3rd goal of the game. Hellberg stayed on the bench after Evason called time out with :39 to go on the clock. After a quick timeout, Mueller tallied a second goal to send the game into overtime thanks to a smart snap shot on Rampage goaltender Jacob Markstrom’s glove side.

With 2:31 worth of ticks left on the clock, a flurry of activity in front of the Rampage net led to a short celebration and a red goal light… shortly after, it turned into a big celebration on the Ads end. Mike Moore with the game winner after batting it in over Markstrom’s shoulder.

WOW.

In other news, Markstrom (and his shoulder) were assessed a 10-minute misconduct. Throwing ones stick in frustration is apparently frowned upon in this establishment.

Well done boys, see you tomorrow night against Charlotte.

NOTE (added 02/16/2013): Interesting fact showed up in the game notes for tonight’s Admirals/Checkers game. Last night was the first time in franchise history that the team scored two goals with the goalie pulled to send a game into overtime (let alone them both being by the same player).