After spotting the Grand Rapids Griffins a 2-0 lead, the Admirals battled back to take home a 3-2 victory to open the 2012-13 campaign.
Rookie Patrick Cehlin scored the game-tying and game-winning goals in the third period, while Jeremy Smith made 19 saves on 21 shots to pick up his first win of the season.
Of course Coach Evason is pleased to get that first win out of the way right out of the gate. And he was very pleased with how the team played 5-on-5 throughout the night.
The Griffins opened the scoring 9:49 into the game while Michael Latta was serving an interference penalty. The penalty kill was moving along very well, with a couple of quick clears. But one attempted clear by Blum was kept in at the point. About 20 seconds later, Joakim Andersson stuffed it home after Smitty made a couple of saves from in close.
With the Admirals on a power play in the 2nd period, the puck wasn’t held in by Blum at the blue line, and Landon Ferraro scooped up the puck. He went in all alone and was able to beat Smitty for the shorthanded goal at 15:31 of the second.
Let me be clear — I am not dumping on Jon Blum’s game. He played very well over the course of the game, and assisted on one of Cehlin’s goals. So don’t let the fact that he was on the ice for both Griffin goals detract from the fact that he was good tonight. Okay? Okay.
In the final minute of the second period, the Admirals scored their first of the year. Jeremy Smith passed the puck to Mattias Ekholm, who then fed a long pass to Chris Mueller at the offensive blue line. Mueller went in all alone on Griffins goaltender Jordan Pearce. It was his 70th career Admiral goal, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
More from the coach:
Smitty wasn’t originally awarded the second assist on the goal, but the scorers eventually added it. And it was a GREAT pass by Ekholm.
Cehlin tied it in the 3:28 into the third period, putting in a rebound of a Jon Blum shot. Pearce made a good save, but the rebound kicked right to Cehlin who was driving to the net from the near face-off circle.
Cehlin’s second goal came on a Mountain Fury power play about four minutes later. He certainly deserves the credit for finishing the play, but Taylor Beck deserves a ton of credit for the perfect cross-ice pass to find him.
Late in the game, the Admirals were shot blocking machines, with Austin Watson getting name-checked by the coach after the game for his defense.
Bourque – Mueller – Puustinen
Bang – Latta – Beck
Cehlin – Lajunen – MacLellan
Henderson – Van Guilder – Watson
Moore – Bartley
Blum – Valentine
Jarvinen – Ekholm
- Smitty was sharp in net, and Coach Evason had some nice praise for him.
- Daniel Bang had a breakaway chance in the first period, and had a nice game….until he left with an injury. Here’s the coach.
Cehlin was bumped up to take his place on that line…and scored two goals.
- The Mountain Fury power play? Yeah, it was great to get a goal, but they finished 1-7 on the night. The didn’t score on a minute of 5×3 time, nor did they score on a four-minute power play after a Louis-Marc Aubry high stick. (full disclosure…those did overlap). But it was at a crucial time at the game, midway through the third period after the Admirals had taken the lead. A goal at that point would have been huge to finish the Griffins off. And Coach says they’ll be working on the power play this week.
- I thought all the lines did some good things tonight….none of them were invisible. And all of the defensive pairings did good things as well. The Admirals really did have the better chances 5-on-5 throughout the vast majority of the game.
So the team will have a happy bus-ride back to Milwaukee tonight, and they’ll have a week of practice before the home opener next Friday night.
- Chuck-a-puck cleanup time: 3:16
- Just an easy one….. How great is it that hockey season is finally back?
Enjoy the highlights….