Not exactly the exciting thrill-a-minute game that you might have expected between the top two teams in the division. But sans Mark Dekanich, the Admirals rode the shoulders of Jeremy Smith en route to a 2-1 victory in a shootout over the Houston Aeros.
“He played great,” Coach Lambert said after the game. “He found some pucks through traffic. The difference to me was on some of those traffic shots, he was able to smother the rebounds. He had good net presence in good traffic. I thought for the most part he was excellent tonight.”
Picking up where they left off in the last game, the Admirals were outshot 16-3 in the first period, but weren’t particularly outplayed. The Aeros had lots of low percentage shots, and the Admirals were able to kill off three penalties, including 1:35 of being down two men. Smith had a couple of nice saves, but for the most part, he wasn’t tested too often in the period.
The only regulation goals came within 25 seconds of each other early in the 2nd period. Mark Van Guilder was the beneficiary of a loose puck in front of Matt Hackett after a Roman Josi shot :29 into the frame. Patrick O’Sullivan got the goal back on a play that found Jeremy Smith out-of-position. He was probably expecting a Jon DiSalvatori shot from the slot, but DiSalvatori made a nice pass back to O’Sullivan. (The scorer thought it was Cody Almond instead of DiSalvatori…..it might have been…meh)
The Aeros had the better overall play for the rest of the game. And then the theme of the 3rd period seemed to be Admiral turnovers in their half of the ice. It was all of the defensemen, and it was some of the forwards. Not going to name names tonight….they know who they are. And again, their goaltender bailed them out.
With Mark Santorelli out of the lineup, Blake Geoffrion got the nod to be the opening shooter in the shootout, and he delivered one of the best non-Klasen shootout shots so far this year. (Too bad he was invisible the rest of the game).
The Aeros scored the next two, and Jeremy Smith learned from the ones he let in.
“I feel that no matter what happens on the other end I just got to stay the same goalie no matter what. I felt like on the first goal, I wasn’t patient. I felt like I maybe bit too early. I learned from that, I was like, ‘I gotta be more patient on these next two. I know they can’t beat me laterally if I just out-wait them’, so that’s what I tried to do.”
Roman Josi was the last shooter for the Admirals, and was able to beat Hackett. Smith then proceeded to make his best save of the game, squeezing the pads on a Cody Almond attempt.
Gabriel Bourque scored in the 6th round on a pretty goal, and Brandokn Buck hit the pipe in the bottom of the inning, to give the Admirals the win.
“We were overdue, weren’t we?” Coach asked after the game, forgetting that it’s US that ask the questions, tough guy. “It’s funny how it goes because you’re down to your last shot and you score. And then you still have to make a save, and it turned around for us.”
Klasen – Blake – Thang
Halischuk – Mueller – Bourque
Wilson – Van Guilder – Thuresson
Flynn – Bartlett – Hunter
Zero flow to this game. Major overdose on offsides and icing.
Bourque and Jed Ortmeyer dropped the gloves after Maxim Noreau tripped Mueller on a rush… Bourque obviously was trying to show management that they did indeed make the right decision not re-signing Ortmeyer. Actually no. But it was a statement fight. Not a heavyweight bout by any means, but a nice try to get some momentum standing up for your linemate.
Sutty’s Twitter predictions were 0-for-2. Probably because he’s not very smart. (His guesses were a Wilson fight with hotdogging, and lots of shots)
Great crowd tonight….9,529 strong, and they were in to the game.
Do you chalk this up as another game that we didn’t really deserve to win?
Was there any semblance of a playoff atmosphere in this game?
Your thoughts on the maturation of Jeremy Smith?
3-in-3 this weekend….do you want Chet Pickard to play tomorrow in Peoria, Sunday against the Stars, or not at all?
Did you like your Mr. Baseball bobbleheads? What’s your best Harry Doyle quote…..the more obscure, the better….