It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but a happy ending is a happy ending.
Trailing at the start of the 3rd period, the Admirals battled back to send the game to overtime and a shootout, ultimately prevailing 4-3 over the Grand Rapids Griffins.
The Admirals are still having a tough time getting off to a good start after week-long layoffs. Here’s Coach Herbers.
The Griffins scored first, with Gustav Nyquist finishing a give-and-go play Tomas Tatar in front of the right post. Ryan Ellis was the lone defender back, and got stuck in the middle, and as soon he inched towards Tatar, the pass went back to Nyquist for the easy goal.
Brendan Smith scored a little less than two minutes later. After J. Smith made a save, B Smith picked up the puck by the right post, skated behind the net, and beat J. Smith to the left post for the wrap-around goal.
At 15:12, Scott Valentine and Mitch Callahan squared off for a fight. The stare-down lasted longer than the fight itself, but Valentine was hands down the winner, and the hope was that it would light a fuse under the Admirals. More from the Coach…
About a minute later, Ryan Thang got one back for the Ads. After Gabriel Bourque stole the puck in the offensive zone (and after kind of getting away with a hook), the play went back to Tyler Sloan at the near point. His shot was saved, and while lots of sticks were whacking at the puck in front of the crease, the puck bounced out to Thang higher in the slot. Thanger had space to shoot and put the Admirals on the board.
Once again, we had a wild third period.
Scott Valentine scored his first pro goal on a fantastic individual effort that’ll be on video montages in the near future. He essentially stole the puck from teammate Taylor Beck at the Admirals blue line, skated up the ice, went around Griffin D-man Brian Lashoff after he couldn’t knock the puck away. And then as Lashoff was taking Valentine down, he put a shot on net that beat Joey MacDonald.
Coach Herbers says it was a good thing that he scored on that play…
To help celebrate, Teemu Laakso took a high-sticking penalty 31 seconds later. And Tomas Tatar finished a give-and-go play of his own on the power play, backhanding a shot over Smitty by the far post.
To help redeem himself, Laakso scored a goal of his own 1:08 later. Michael Latta won the faceoff, and Juuso Puustinen sent the puck back to the near point. Bodies were falling in front of MacDonald, and Laakso’s shot had eyes to get into the back of the net.
To help celebrate, Laakso took another penalty with 3:11 left in the game, but the Ads were able to kill it off, and the game went to overtime.
The Ads were awarded a power play after a questionable holding call against Landon Ferraro…it wasn’t much of a hold. It was an attempted hold for sure. But he didn’t get much of the Admiral skater.
The ensuing power play lacked any kind of urgency. And they ended the night 0-3 with the man-advantage.
So we went to the shootout. Louis-Marc Aubry scored on the Griffins first try, but Smitty stopped the rest. Michael Latta scored in the 3rd round, and Chris Mueller went high to beat MacDonald in the 5th round. Brendan Smith’s try in the bottom of the fifth hit iron.
Coach Herbers talks about the shootout lineup strategy.
Bourque- Mueller – Thang
Champagne – Van Guilder – Flynn
Beck – Latta – Puustinen
Slaney – Lajunen – Stortini
– I’d say the Ads looked like they hadn’t played a game since last Saturday. Passes were not crisp or accurate, assignments seemed to be missed, and early in the game, the Griffins were taking advantage of it. But good teams find ways to win on nights when they aren’t playing their best hockey.
– How about Scott Valentine’s night? Almost a Gordie. Were those fisticuffs just what the doctor ordered at the right time?
– When the score was 2-1, we figured MacDonald was going to be the number one star of the game. Looking back, we should have made the iron the #1 star of the game….bailed both goaltenders out a bit. Smitty more so than MacDonald….
– Not one of Ellis’ best games. Bartley wasn’t as good as he usually is. Fordo’s fight left plenty to be desired. Laakso had more 3rd period penalty trouble. I thought Sloan had a pretty good game overall.
– Bourque had one of his more physical games of the season. Probably got away with a few infractions. I was waiting for him to get called for another snow-job penalty in the 2nd period…
– Pesky Ads go to Rosemont tomorrow to face the Wolves, and then back here to play the first of 12 against Rockford.
Thoughts on the game, Roundtable? Is this the first win of the season that they didn’t really deserve to win? How would you cure the long layoff blues?
And finally, here’s a shot for Valentine to frame, courtesy of Scott Paulus.