When the schedule comes out every year, teams skim through it and they can immediately recognize the bum dates that will be awful for travel.
The last 24 hours for the Admirals have been rough. They did get the big win in San Antonio last night, followed by a pre-dawn wake-up call, delayed flights, and then capped it off with their fourth game in five days. Every team goes through these things, and it was the Admirals’ turn. That’s life in the AHL.
The day ended with a 3-2 loss to the
Cleveland Lake Erie Monsters, in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the score suggests, as the Admirals didn’t get their two goals until the last minute of the game.
“I think we showed a lot of character at the end,” Coach Lambert said after the game. “I know there was some fatigue involved. You try not to make excuses, but it can factor in, there’s no question about it. I’m proud of the guys and the way they battled. But it was too little too late. We needed to do more, on a more consistent basis.”
The Admirals came up dry on three power play chances in the first 12 minutes of the game, and then proceeded to give up two power play goals on five Monster chances.
The Monsters got on the board twice in the second period. David Van der Gulik brought the puck in along the left wing, and his shot on Jeremy Smith was deflected by Greg Mauldin at the 14:49 mark of the period. Roman Josi had Mauldin tied up, but not well enough to prevent him from getting a stick on the puck.
With 59 seconds left in the period, the Monsters tallied a power play goal. Took them just 17 seconds of Dylan Hunter’s holding penalty to do it. Justin Mercier tried to center a pass to a wide open Mauldin on the other side of the crease, but the pass was blocked by Scott Ford….right back to Mercier. Smith had already committed to the pass, and was unable to get back in position to stop Mercier’s shot.
Julien Brouillette (who was in Admirals training camp this year) scored his first of the year, and it ended up being the game winner. On a power play, Jeremy Smith made a great left skate save, and an Admiral defenseman (Laakso?) cleared the puck out of danger with a hand pass. The puck went to Brouillette at the far point, and he put the puck right back on net, and it had eyes. Or maybe Smith didn’t, as there were still a ton of bodies in front of him, and he hadn’t returned to his feet yet.
“The third goal they scored, I had a clear view of it from the bench, I still don’t know how it got through,” coach Lambert said.
It stayed 3-0 until the last minute of the game. Brock McBride got his first goal as an Admiral with 49.9 seconds left, tipping a Jamie Bates shot past John Grahame.
The Ads got some puck-luck with 13.2 seconds left, as Chris Mueller had a shot go off of Cameron Gaunce and into the net, after a strong move from the left wing boards towards the net.
“I’m not going to freak out over this game whatsoever,” said the Coach. “Because I knew there would be some fatigue involved, and we didn’t get much puck luck tonight either.” (the 2nd Admirals goal, notwithstanding….)
I don’t think any of lines played particularly well tonight, but I thought Brock McBride had a pretty solid game, even before he scored his goal. I thought Shields’ speed helped create some chances, and he shifted into another gear on a chance in the 2nd period. Too bad his shot missed the mark.
Thuresson and Wilson didn’t play like 4th year players tonight.
In other news…..Goaltender Atte Engren arrived in Milwaukee tonight. He watched the game from press row. Now, it’s not unusual for young goalies to hang around the club on ATO contracts, after their seasons are done. Dekanich was around and didn’t play, Chet Pickard was around but didn’t play when his junior season concluded. So there’s no guarantee that we’ll ever see Engren in action this season.
But it sure might be nice. And we asked Coach Lambert if there was a chance. Here was his answer:
“There is a chance yeah, definitely.”
So we’ll see. He didn’t rule it out, and he certainly had the opportunity to, or at the very least downplay the chance. I think he’s excited to see what the kid can do. Or I may just be projecting that.
Anyway….Engren is here. That’s the news. We’ll do a profile piece on him this week to let you know how his season was in Europe.
Dex is out for awhile. He has a boot on his foot. Van Guilder is day to day with an injury of some kind….couldn’t even get the usual upper-or-lower body description from anyone.
Scoreboard watching: Houston and Oklahoma City won tonight. Chicago, Peoria, and San Antonio lost (the Rampage had just 15 shots against Houston…) The Admirals retain first place, now with a one point lead over the Aeros. The Lake Erie win puts them in 2nd place in the North, two points out of 1st.
Did you like Huey Lewis & The News?
Are you with the Coach, and not going to freak out about this game?
Was the power play working better than their oh-fer would suggest?
Did anybody stand out to you as being particularly good or particularly awful tonight?