Admirals top Heat in Herbers coaching debut

The Ian Herbers Era started with a bang as the Milwaukee Admirals posted a season high eight goals in an 8-3 win over the Abbotsford Heat Tuesday night at the Bradley Center in Herbers head coaching debut. Chris Mueller led the way with a hat trick, the first of his career and the first for Milwaukee since Dave Scatchard did it on April 9, 2010.

The offensive outburst was more impressive given that the Ads were playing a man down. The Admirals started the day with 18 healthy skaters, but Kyle Wilson was recalled to Nashville in the morning. In turn the Ads called up Robert Slaney from Cincinnati, but his flight was cancelled and thus the Ads played with just 17 skaters.

The Ads scored four goals in the first period, also setting a new season high. Juuson Puustinen got the scoring started at 5:23 of the first when he fired a puck from the corner that bounced off the leg of an Abbotsford defenseman and into the back of the net. Goals by Taylor Beck at 7:44 and Mueller at 9:33 gave the Ads a quick 3-0 lead.

After the Heat closed the gap to 3-1 on Jon Rheault’s goal at 9:50 of the first, Zack Stortini responded with his second of the season with 4:05 to play in the opening period to give the Admirals a 4-1 lead. However, Abbotsford didn’t go away and a mid-air deflection by Paul Byron past Ads netminder Jeremy Smith pulled the Heat to within two at 4-2 after the first.

However just 1:31 into the second Mueller pumped the Milwaukee lead back up to three when Gabriel Bourque forced a turnover in the Abbotsford zone and then centered to a crashing Mueller for a 5-2 advantage.

Heat forward Dustin Sylvester made it 5-3 at 11:06 of the second, but that was as close as Abbotsford would get the rest of the way. Ryan Thang and Michael Latta scored just 31 seconds apart near the end of the second for a 7-3Milwaukee lead after two.

Mueller completed his hat trick and the game’s scoring with an end-to-end rush at 8:02 of the third.

Seven different Admirals posted multi-point nights, led by Mueller’s four-point effort (3g-1a). Thang (1g-2a), Bourque (3a), and Puustinen (1g-2a) each notched three-point nights while Latta (1g-1a), Beck (1g-1a), and Tyler Sloan (2a) all collected two points. Smith earned the win in net for Milwaukee, stopping 32 shots on the night for his 10th victory of the season.

The Admirals return to action on Friday night when they host the front-end of a home-and-home set with the Peoria Rivermen at 7:00 pm.