Stalberg Nets Hat Trick in Ads Win
Rockford, IL--Forward Viktor Stalberg scored three times to lead the Milwaukee Admirals to a 7-5 win over the Rockford IceHogs Saturday night.
With the win, the Admirals are alone in first place in the Midwest Division with 60 points, two points ahead of Rockford. The Admirals have played two fewer games than Rockford.
Stalberg's hat trick was Milwaukee’s first since Viktor Arvidsson scored three times at Iowa Oct. 18.
The Admirals didn’t need long to claim a 1-0 lead. Rockford defenseman T.J. Brennan went to the penalty box at :51 for interference. At 1:32 of the first period, Brendan Leipsic one-timed a pass from Taylor Aronson into the net past Scott Darling for the power play tally. The goal, Leipsic’s fifth of the season and second on the power play, was assisted by Aronson and Viktor Arvidsson.
The Admirals made it 2-0 at 4:11 of the first period. Rockford was on the power play and was moving the puck in the offensive zone. Admirals forward Viktor Stalberg knocked a pass out of mid-air and went to the net on a breakaway, lifting a shot past Darling for his fifth goal of the season. The unassisted goal was Stalberg’s first short-handed goal this season and Milwaukee’s second as a club. Darling was replaced by Michael Leighton after the goal.
The IceHogs were able to get on the board with a power play goal from Mark McNeill at 6:54 of the first period to pull Rockford within a goal.
Stalberg scored his second of the game with 2:58 left in the first period when Arvidsson tapped a pass to him in the neutral zone. Stalberg raced past IceHogs defenseman Dillon Fournier and lifted a backhander over Leighton’s glove for his second of the game and sixth goal of the season. Arvidsson and Jonathan Diaby notched the assists.
The IceHogs closed the gap to one when Phillip Danault stole a puck from behind the Admirals goal and banked a shot off Admirals goalie Marek Mazanec into the net for a shorthanded goal at 8:45 of the second period to make it 3-2 in favor of the Ads.
Stalberg completed the hat trick with a power play goal at 16:35 of the second period. Arvidsson passed the puck from the top of the left circle to the bottom of the circle for Colton Sissons. Sissiness fed a pass into the slot where Stalberg’s first shot was blocked but his second made it into the cage. Stalberg’s seventh goal of the season was his second on the power play and gave the Admirals a 4-2 lead.
Triston Grant gave Milwaukee a 5-2 lead at 8:17 of the third period when he caught a stretch pass from Anthony Bitetto and raced straight to the net on a breakaway. When he got between the circles, Grant snapped a shot over Leighton’s glove for his sixth goal of the season. Bitetto and Ian White recorded the assists.
The IceHogs closed the deficit at 9:13 of the third period when Jamie Wise banked a shot from behind Milwaukee’s goal off Mazanec into the net. That made it 5-3 in favor of Milwaukee.
The Admirals regained the three-goal advantage at 13:29 when Grant found Austin Watson on the right wing. Watson raced toward the goal and deed to his backhand to slide the puck past a sprawling Leighton for his team-leading 17th goal of the season. It was also Watson’s AHL-leading seventh game-winner of the year.
With the assist, Grant achieved the “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” (goal, assist, fight).
Ryan Hartman scored twice in the waning minutes for Rockford. The first came at 16:42, the second at 19:45. However, Felix Girard won the face-off after Hartman’s second goal to Ian White who scored his second goal with the Admirals with an empty-netter at 19:50 of the third period.
The seven goals were the most scored by the Admirals this season.
Milwaukee’s returns to the BMO Harris Bradley Center to host Rochester Sunday afternoon at 3pm.
Fans can purchase tickets for any Admirals game by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or online at www.milwaukeeadmirals.com. Groups of ten or more receive a minimum of $2 off the face value of the tickets. For more information or to book a group fans should call the Admirals office at (414) 227-0550.??Don’t forget to follow the Admirals on Twitter (@mkeadmirals) and on Facebook.