Call it opening night jitters. And then call it cured.
After spotting the Abbotsford Heat to a 2-0 first period lead on two special teams goals, the Admirals exploded for 4 goals in the 2nd period, en route to a 6-2 opening night victory. Nuts and bolts are here.
Maybe it was something Coach Lambert said in the first intermission?
Nick Spaling got the Admirals on the board with a nice shot from the high slot, but it was a great pass from Andreas Thuresson who found him. Thuresson was skating down the left wing, and was being knocked over by one of the Heat defenders.
Linus Klasen had the second goal for the Ads, and finished a tic-tac-toe play on the power-play. Teemu Laakso had an open look at the point, but instead of shooting, found Matt Halischuk on the left doorstep. Rather than try to beat starting goaltender Leland Irving from there, he fed the puck across the street to Klasen who finished. Klasen about 10 seconds early was being heckled for not shooting. That’s one way to silence to fans….er…make them louder. It’s great that the play worked, but if that last pass doesn’t get through to Klasen, we’re sitting here writing about how the Admirals were trying to get too cute on the power play.
3rd goal — Mark Van Guilder. After going scoreless in his first 33 regular season games as an Admiral, he got the game winner tonight. Kelsey Wilson fired a shot from the point that made it to the crease area, but not all the way through. Van Guilder was just in front of the crease, played the rebound to his left, and fired a shot past Irving. In this clip, he walks us through the goal.
Goal 4 - One part Matt Halischuk, four parts Leland Irving mental error. The Admirals were killing a penalty, and a clear went right to Irving. While trying to play the puck, he dropped his stick. He recovered, and was able to play it…..right to Halischuk who was 2 feet away. Empty net, easy goal. Irving was pulled for the rest of the period.
5th goal – Klasen on the power play in the 3rd period, from very close to the same spot of his first goal. Thuresson had a low percentage shot from the goal line on the far side that Irving deflected right to Klasen on the near side. Klasen was all by himself, had the empty net, and didn’t miss.
6th goal — Halischuk breakaway. Defensemen left in the dust; it looked like a penalty shot. Irving got a piece of the shot, but it somehow dribbled through him into the net.
Welcome to Milwaukee Halischuk. Welcome to Milwaukee Klasen. While Coach Lambert isn’t surprised with their offense tonight, he does expect that the rest of the team will need to be chipping in on a regular basis.
Halischuk – Geoffrion – Mueller
Thuresson – Spaling – Klasen
Thang – Van Guilder – Wilson
Bourque – Bartlett – Flynn
Scratches – Mark Santorelli, Scott Lehman, and Roman Josi.
Dekanich looked like….Dekanich in goal. Wasn’t really tested over the last half of the game. But still made 22 saves on 24 shots.
Kelsey Wilson — hands down winner in a fight at the end of the 3rd period. Got in the first shot, knocked Jon Armstrong’s helmet off, kept throwing punches, and then took him down. Guilty of some showboating on his way to the penalty box, but the crowd didn’t have a problem with it. Solid game from Kelsey all around. I know some people were afraid he’d be a liability out there, but he wasn’t tonight at all.
Defenseman (and alternate camptain) Aaron Johnson did not look good. Turnovers and bad positioning. In the first period, he let a Heat player go around him and march down broadway to Dekanich. He MUST be better.
Anyone miss Mark Santorelli at all?
Ok Roundtable — give us your thoughts on the opening game! Who impressed you? Who didn’t? Which line do you think should be considered the #1 line — Spaling’s or Geoffrion’s? After the 1st period, were you concerned?
Thanks for reading.