Playing their third game in three days, the Admirals still had quite a bit left in the tank offensively. They put 45 shots on goal, eventually prevailing 5-4 in a shootout against the Rockford IceHogs on Sunday afternoon.
Mark Van Guilder had a pair of goals, Ryan Flynn had a pair of helpers, while Jani Lajunen scored his first North American goal. Jeremy Smith stopped 16 of 20 shots, seeing action in his third game in three days.
Coach Herbers has some very positive feedback for the way Van Guilder has been playing.
Dylan Olsen opened the scoring at 4:09 of the first period, tapping in a perfect centering pass from Jimmy Hayes. Olsen was on a b-line to the net, and was a lot more wide open than he was supposed to be.
Joel Champagne answered about four and a half minutes later. Mark Van Guilder created an offensive zone turnover along the far boards, and then Ryan Flynn fed a perfect pass to Champagne from behind the goal line.
Peter LeBlanc gave the lead back to the IceHogs at 13:12, deflecting a shot from defenseman Brian Fahey.
Mark Van Guilder tied the game just under a minute later. After a long stretch in the defensive zone, Juuso Puustinen and Taylor Beck led the rush into the offensive zone while Michaell Latta went off for the change. MVG replaced him, and went straight to the net. Beck and Puustinen maintained possesion long enough for MVG to catch up with the play, and Beck fed MVG for the bang-bang goal.
Jani Lajunen then scored his first North American goal, finishing on a shot from the point by Tyler Sloan. Goaltender Alec Richards stopped most of it, but it trickled through five-hole. Lajunen’s stick beat Richards’ glove to the loose puck, and gave the Ads the lead. Lajunen says it’s a relief to finally get the first one.
So after one period, the Admirals outshot the IceHogs 14-5, and led 3-2.
Rockford scored twice in the second period, first on a great individual effort by Andrew Shaw, after deeking Scott Valentine out of his skates before his shot.
Rostislav Olesz scored a power play goal while Taylor Aronson was serving a Yonking penalty. Shawn Lalonde had the shot from the point, and Olesz won the battle in front of the crease and put it behind Smitty.
At 13:44, Jeremy Morin was given a five minute major for elbowing, and a game misconduct. Joel Champagne took the brunt of the elbow, and was wheeled off the ice on a stretcher. The Admirals could not score on that 5-minute power play.
Despite outshooting the IceHogs 28-13 after 40 minutes, the Admirals found themselves down a goal and down a player that had been playing very well. We asked Coach Herbers what the message was in the 2nd intermission.
3:02 into the 3rd period, Mark Van Guilder tied it up with his second of the game. The play was similar to Champagne’s goal earlier, in that Ryan Flynn passed the puck from behind the goal line to the guy crashing the net.
In the shootout, Smitty stopped all four tries he faced, and Michael Latta and Ryan Ellis scored five-hole on Richards. Here’s Coach Herbers on tonight’s plan on the shootout.
Bourque – Mueller – Thang
Champagne – Van Guilder – Flynn
Beck – Latta – Puustinen
Slaney – Lajunen – Stortini
Ellis-Sloan, Ford-Bartley, Valentine-Aronson
So the $64,000 question….how is Joel Champagne? We’ll let him tell you.
So he doesn’t remember much…but he got an elbow in the jaw. He said he doesn’t think he had a concussion. So it looks like the team dodged a huge bullet there, especially since he’s been playing so well lately.
- Seemed as though Mueller (-3) and Thang (-2) weren’t on the ice as much late in the game while the other three lines were rolling pretty consistently, with Bourque taking Champagne’s spot with Van Flynder.
- Rockford scored their four goals on their first NINE shots. Smitty wasn’t as sharp, but had to deal with some deflections, missed assignments, and lost battles by his defense on a few occasions. Smitty looked better over the 2nd half of the game.
- Ryan Ellis — not playing like the best prospect in the system. The similie was brought up in the comment section of a previous post….but does he remind you of Cody Franson, just without the size?
- Special teams….still struggling on both sides of late. Another power play goal allowed, and another 0h-fer with the man-advantage.
What does Van Guilder need to do to get on Nashville’s radar for a call-up? Do you agree with Coach Herbers that he’s been the best and most reliable forward this year? Are we being too hard on Ryan Ellis? What specifically do you want the team to work on this week before Toronto comes to town on Friday?