The Admirals suited up 5 total players on ATO or PTO contracts and failed to convert on a chance to clinch the West, as they were defeated 4-3 by the Peoria Rivermen Sunday evening. With Rockford defeating Texas 5-1, the Admirals could have become the “kings of the west” and clinched home ice advantage through most of the playoffs but alas it wasn’t meant to be.
Here’s the coach.
Only 3:37 into the game things weren’t looking good for the Admirals and unfortunately, worse for former Admiral Dave Scatchard. With Scatchard skating the puck into the zone from the near boards he passed the puck though the slot to a fellow Rivermen. After Scatchard passed, Scott Ford met him with a shoulder to the head and Scatchard went down. He remained down and had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher. Ford was given a five minute major and a game misconduct for “checking to the head”. I am sorry if this seems kind of vague or non-descript and that is because I didn’t actually see the hit that sent him down, and the replay crew rightfully didn’t deem it replay-worthy. Please feel free to give your description of the play in the comments section.
Coach Lambert doesn’t know if there will be a suspension, but didn’t think it was a dirty hit.
That was just the start for the Admirals and their penalty troubles as they committed five penalties in the 1st period alone. Mark Santorelli’s penalty came at the 9:58 mark for holding and just :19 seconds later the Rivermen put a crooked number on the board. The goal has followed a theme this year and that theme is not consulting with the goal judge and making a unilateral decision on goal or no goal by the Referees. This was no exception as Akim Aliu was the beneficiary of the hack job. Nathan Oystrick put a shot on net from the near circle that Atte Engren turned aside to the far side icing line. Aliu was there to put a shot on net that Engren had apparently covered. The Ref, Tim Mayer was against the boards at the far side of the ice with his hand up for a delayed penalty when his Go-Go-Gadget eyes saw the puck cross the line.
Here’s Coach Lambert’s token request for video replay.
The Rivermen capitalized on another of the aforementioned penalties. This one was courtesy of T.J. Hensick. Jeff Foss didn’t even have enough time to find out where to sit in the penalty box as the Rivermen only needed : 16 to convert on this odd man advantage. Again, Atte Engren stopped the first shot but was unable to corral the rebound and received no help from his defense. The puck was being peppered form in close with almost everyone in the crease when it came out far enough where a poaching Hensick picked up the puck, skated far side slot and put the shot past the screened Engren.
In the second period the Admirals were able to half the lead off a Chris Mueller goal while on the Double Rainbow Mountain Fury Power Play. The Admirals had the 5-on-3 advantage with Dean Arsene and Brennan Evans sitting in the box. For the Admirals, Roman Josi and Santorelli were playing catch with the puck with Josi in the near circle and Santorelli down low goal line level. They were seemingly lulling the Rivermen to sleep when Santo sent a quick and beautiful pass though the crease to Mueller awaiting back door. Mueller didn’t even have to do anything but angle his blade as the pass from Santo hit his tape the straight to the back of the net.
In the 3rd period, the fans didn’t even have time to sit down before the Admirals’ Gabriel Bourque lit the lamp to tie the game at two. Just :44 into the third, Ryan Thang passed the puck to Bourque, who was down low below the goal. He tried to pass the puck back to the slot but it was deflected to netting on the back of the cage. Bourque hit the back of the net to get the puck to come down then proceeded to try a wrap around shot that successfully beat Allen far side. It was a great effort by Bourque to keep the play alive and beat Allen with a quick wraparound.
The game would not be tied for long as the Rivermen took back the lead at the 3:00 mark. This was just a simple, ‘you messed up and I am going to make you pay’ goal as T.J Hensick intercepted a pass from Santorelli from inside the slot and beat Engren after a couple strides. No big deal right, we can get that ba….. Rivermen goal?!?!?! It took them 13 seconds to make Engren pay for his rubber glove. Adam Cracknell put a harmless shot on net from the near side circle and Engren tried the glove save and failed with the puck falling in the crease allowing Stefan Della Rovere to take the loose change to the bank to give the Rivermen the 4-2 lead. It was the fastest pair of opponent goals this season.
The Admirals refusing to go away quietly got their third goal of the night with the extra attacker on the ice in lieu of a goalie. Andreas Thuresson was at the near side point he sent the pass rink wide to Teemu Laakso who wound up and fired one past Allen to give the Admirals a little more hope. It was Laakso’s fourth in as many games.
That hope would fade into obscurity as the Admirals could not get the tying goal, despite a last half-minute flurry, making the final 4-3 in favor of the bad guys.
With 3:01 to go in the first period Ben Bishop stopped his second (yes second) shot on goal and after the puck started going the other way Bishop went down to his knees in pain and left the game. The only thing I can think is he got a puck under the pads.
Although I would not call Ford a thug, or a goon, or Matt Cooke, I do think he will get a couple games off without pay for his hit on Scatchard. The NHL is looking to get rid of shots to the head no matter the intention and I am sure the AHL has a lot of pressure on them to stay in line with their parent league.
Although the Admirals were down a man or two quite often in the first period they only managed to get 2 shots on goal… Two… as in the second loneliest number since the number one. I am no mathematician but I am pretty sure you don’t have a good chance of winning a period if you can’t muster more than my (Sutty’s) IQ in shots.
According to the coach, Grant Lewis and Aaron Johnson were scratched with injuries. They are day-to-day. Kelsey Wilson tore his MCL and stretched his ACL. 4-6 weeks is the latest timetable we’ve heard.
Not the worst thing in the world that Peoria got a couple of points. Makes it that much tougher for the Wolves to make the playoffs. And that would be preferable.
So how were the new guys tonight? Foss? Leaderer? Watson? Cahill? Conacher? Anything? Here’s the coach.
Thoughts on Atte? Rebounds? Glove? Interest in leaving the crease?
Bummed that they couldn’t clinch tonight? Or is it just a stennank in the road that the team was probably due to have?
Anything else you want to talk about?