Road trip ends with 3-1 loss

Photo Courtesy of Lake Erie Monsters.com

Photo Courtesy of Lake Erie Monsters.com

Milwaukee’s four-game road trip began and ended with losses in Lake Erie, as the Monsters brought the Admirals’ two-game win streak to a halt Tuesday.

Magnus Hellberg got his third straight start in net, and suffered his first loss in six games despite stopping 31 shots.

Hellberg wasn’t helped much by the rest of the team as all three goals came with the man-advantage. The Ads allowed eight power play opportunities, while failing to score on five power plays of their own.

At the other end of the ice, Calvin Pickard continued to stymie Milwaukee’s attack stopping 27 shots. In three games against Milwaukee this season, Pickard has stopped 91 of 94 shots.

David van der Gulik was a Milwaukee killer again, scoring two goals including the game-winner.

Cam Reid picked up the first penalty of his AHL career 7:35 into the game, going to the box for slashing. Up to that point, Reider had played 30 games without a penalty, an Admirals team record. Unfortunately his first trip to Johnson’s office was a costly one.

27 seconds into the ensuing power play, van der Gulik put the Monsters on the board, slapping in a rebound off a Karl Stollery shot.

At 17:50, Chris Mueller had the answer for the Admirals, forcing a turnover and eventually  firing a shot from the slot to beat Pickard on the break.

Despite his team giving up five power play chances in the first 20 minutes and being outshot 13-5, Hellberg kept the Ads in the game early with just the one goal heading into the first intermission.

The Ads stole some momentum back in the second period, outshooting Lake Erie 14-8, but Pickard wouldn’t yield the go-ahead goal.

Mike Sgarbossa, who assisted on the first van der Gulik goal, was tossed from the game after committing a dirty slashing penalty at 12:22. It was established that his penalty came with the deliberate intent to injure.

In the third period, van der Gulik picked up his second power play goal at the 5:26 mark, after an interference call on Mike Moore.

Cameron Gaunce fired a shot from the point and van der Gulik was able to tip it past Hellberg to give the Monsters the 2-1 lead.

With the Admirals trying to tie it up again late, Scott Valentine picked up a slashing penalty at 16:14 and an unsportsmanlike conduct call was tacked onto that.

The result was another power play goal to all but put the game out of reach for Milwaukee.

Bill Thomas made it a two-goal deficit with 2:14 to play, grabbing a rebound and beating Hellberg short side for his 19th goal of the season.

The loss set Milwaukee back in the playoff race, as it’s now three points behind Chicago for the eight spot in the West.

Notes:

Brian McGrattan was called back up to Nashville before the game and placed on waivers. Mark Van Guilder missed again with injury, and we’ll keep you updated on his status.

Michael Latta and Kevin Henderson each fired five shots to lead the team, but neither could find the back of the net against Pickard.

The Admirals were unable to score on a five-minute power play following Sgarbossa debacle. Both teams combined for a whopping 48 penalty minutes in a very unevenly played contest.

Questions:

The team finally wasn’t able to rally behind Hellberg. It’s hard to argue that he played well despite giving up three goals, but again the big goalie did make 31 saves and all three against him came a man down.

Did he look “bad” to you, or was this one more on the rest of the team?

Unlike the wins in Hamilton and Toronto, the Admirals played a lot more undisciplined Tuesday. It’s very difficult to win a game when you give up eight power plays. That being said, the Monsters were far from model citizens, but the Admirals couldn’t capitalize.

In short, I’d argue the Ads didn’t lose because they gave up a lot of power plays, rather they lost because the Monsters were simply better at utilizing the man-advantage.

Why do you think that is? Power plays are obviously supposed to provide an advantage, but on a consistent basis the Admirals have had better luck at even strength than against a shorthanded defense.

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24 Responses to Road trip ends with 3-1 loss

  1. Ouch! says:

    Hmmmmm, let’s see:

    Home power play %: 12.5, 4th from bottom in the league
    Away power play %: 9.3, 2nd from bottom in the league
    Overall power play %: 10.8, 2nd from bottom in the league

    I’d have to guess that the coaching staff doesn’t hold the power play in very high regard, therefore doesn’t develop a plan of action for them. It appears that as far as the power play goes, a group of blind ferrets might have a better chance of finding the net.

    And the penalty kill ranks 28 out of 30 as well.

  2. First timer says:

    But the problem isn’t coaching.

  3. Fan in the Falls says:

    I didn’t see the game, but at least it seems Hellberg played well again. Two goals against isn’t bad. Keep him as #1 between the pipes until (if ever) Smitty proves he’s go the mojo back to be the #1 again. And even if that happens, let them battle it out.

    Bigger question comes for the goalie situation next season. I have doubts Nashville will sign Smitty again. Who’s backup in Nashville then? Sign Mason again to another 1 year deal? Pull Hellberg up? Who are the two for the Ads?

    It also has been confirmed we unfortunately have a relatively useless right wing in McGratten now who will be staying as he cleared waivers and was sent down to the Ads by Nashville. One can only hope that there will at least be less pressure to put him on the top lines.

  4. Ouch! says:

    You’re right First timer, it couldn’t be coaching. Looked up PP stats for the past 3 years:

    2009-10: home 19.0%, away 19.0%, overall 19.0%, ranked 10th
    2010-11: home 18.1%, away 21.3%, overall 19.7%, ranked 7th
    2011-12: home 20.3%, away 18.6%, overall 19.5%, ranked 5th

    Nope, coaching can’t have anything to do with it.

  5. Glenn says:

    I take exception to the notion that McGratten is a useless player, have you noticed that many teams are playing a lot more timidly since the team added more muscle? Case in point, Hamilton suits up stiffs like Storini and Tenute and yet not a single fight in the game, coinsidence? Perhaps,but now knowing that McGratten is in Milwaukee for the long haul will make him more likely to drop the gloves if necessary. I agree he shouldn’t be taking shifts with the first line, but right now I’d rather see him out there than Cehlin, opponents have to keep their heads up and play completely different with that kind of physical presence on the ice. Keep in mind also that he hadn’t played all season in Nashville and that he was playing with linemates that have logged plenty of icetime. No one is ever going to confuse him with Sid the kid, but believe that he will make the Admirals a tougher team to play against. Also a huge body to park out in front of the net on the powerplay.

  6. Fan in the Falls says:

    More of a comment to what it seems the Ads need (much) more of at this time…players who can score. It is all relative. Just disappointed he is taking up a wing roster spot instead of a player with more potential to score a goal. Yes, I know the NP do not have any more of those to go around.

  7. Glenn says:

    No doubt, the farm team mirrors the Preds too much, any player who consistently puts the puck in the net won’t be around long with the possible exception of Mueller and the only guy on the immediate horizon appears to be Zach Budish. Maybe they will eventually let the Ads sign a goal scorer or two.

  8. Ryan says:

    Ouch, you know my feelings on the coaches, so you know I respectfully disagree. (nothing but respect for you and your crew). And First Timer, yeah, I’m picking up on the sarcasm.

    But let me get this straight….the 2011-12 team’s power play is being used as support? I seem to recall very many commenters who had absolutely ZERO nice things to say about Ian Herbers. Are you giving him credit for that 5th ranked power play?

    Coaches coach. Players play.

  9. First timer says:

    Right Ryan so who is doing their job well? Neither. Time for fresh faces on both sides of the boards.

  10. John says:

    Here’s the Sgarbossa incident http://youtu.be/PWz00s2IWv0
    Wonder if he will get any additional games for this?

  11. Ryan says:

    You make it sound like it’s really easy to do both of those things right now. And like it happens all the time.

    As for answering your question, depends on what night you’re asking the question. Going back to January 26th, they’ve won two out of every three games (and we’re one game into the next set of three). The ones that they’ve lost have been stinkers. Does the gravity of those losses change the narrative a bit? If they lose 3-2 instead of 7-1, does that change how you feel?

    They’re 3-1 against Grand Rapids this season. Have a good weekend, and they’ll do themselves quite a favor.

    This time last year, we were talking about how the Admirals had lost 12 games in a row against their division. That team made the playoffs as a 5 seed.

    4 points separates 6th place and 12th place. It’s a sprint to the finish. It always is. Can things be better? Absolutely. But have some respect for the coaches. They work harder behind the scenes than you and I will ever specifically know as fans, First Timer.

  12. Ryan says:

    Thanks for posting the video. Not a fan of how the Lake Erie guy described it. I think that’s definitely worth some supplemental punishment. I’d be amazed and alarmed if the Admirals didn’t send that video to the league for review.

  13. Hockey fever says:

    I think there is a mix of things going on here. In terms of the players they do have to play better and deserve part of the blame.
    In terms of the coaching I think there are things that make us question that part of the team. At different parts of the season we have seen Liambas, McGratten, Winchester and Cehlin play on the first line. No disrespect meant to those players but they aren’t top line players but yet the coaches put them there. I do understand that McGratten was here for his 2 week conditioning stint and with that he was going to get a decent amount of ice time but why not have him on your second line? Then there is the powerless play. We have gone through many long stretches this season where we have been scoreless on the power play and times where we didn’t even get a shot off on the powerless play yet the coaches keep putting the same people out on the first line power play time and time again. Maybe I am wrong but if my power play were that consistantly bad I would be trying to change things up in terms of personnel and trying different mixes. On our power play the plan seems to be dump the puck in and chase. I understand that this tactic is used occaisionally by teams but not all the time. Most teams try and carry the puck into the offensive zone with control and set things up. More often then not we dump and chase.
    The team just doesn’t seem to play with any jump or enthusiasm. I hate to say this but they don’t seem to play that hard for this coach. I am not putting that on the coach but just an observation and I think that is on the players. I am not a coach just a fan so these are just my thoughts and I could be wrong. I think that it is on the players to play correctly and put forth the needed effort which I think hasn’t happened enough with this team. It is on the coaches to put the right mix of personnel on the ice and set the game strategy for the team which I think hasn’t been done very well this season.

  14. Yonkfan says:

    It’s always about line combinations and ice time with you. It’s not nearly a big of a deal as you continuously make it out to be in the AHL. They mix and match all the time. Personnel changes ALL THE TIME. And when goals are hard to come by, things change even more looking for a spark. It’s normal. Relax, guy.

    But here’s the line that really set me off: “They don’t seem to play hard for this coach”. Based on what….your expert observation watching on the Internet? YOU? You can judge how hard a hockey player plays? If I’m Austin Watson, I’m seriously offended by your suggestion. This is their livelihood, man! You know the kid….do me a favor. Call him up, and tell him that you don’t think he’s playing hard for his coaches. Tell him that his teammates aren’t playing hard for his coaches. Tell me what he says.

    In your illustrious NCAA (and non-hockey) career did you ever not play hard for your coach Hockey Fever? I imagine you always played hard. Which is what athletes do, right? Right.

    Speaking of your boy, Austin Watson. Where’d the offense go? Or is that the coach’s fault too? Don’t like his linemates? Needs more time on the power play? Yawn.

  15. Hockey fever says:

    You are right Yonkfan, a big yawnas to your comments. Who said I know Watson? Why are you going back to him all the time? Your continued comments about Watson as relating to me just because I thought he should be called up before are beyond stale by now. Actually like I have stated before I thought there are other players that deserve more ice time. You are boring us. So I guess you agree that the Liambas-Mueller-Cehline line for the first line was a good one?
    Speaking of your boy Mueller how come he is around 26 years old and gets tons of ice time, power play time yet can barely surpass younger players in points that get less ice time? For the record though I think Mueller is a good player and is a good one.You say that coaches mix things up all the time in the AHL in regards to lines but that is part of the problem with the power play. The players on it aren’t performorming but the coach isn’t changing it and that is a problem. When you have at least two stretches when you are 0-40 something on the power play and changes aren’t made that is a problem.

  16. Yonkfan says:

    But you didn’t deny knowing Watson in that last post, so all signs point to me being right about that. Hey, it’s cool knowing a hockey player so well. Be proud of it. And call him and tell him how hard his team isn’t playing. Tell me what he says.

    Who is this “Cehline” guy? You’ve done that a couple of times now.

    I don’t know when you think I said that Mueller was my boy. I only have one boy, and that’s his Yonkness himself. Check the video tape. And despite your claims otherwise, (“For the record though I think Mueller is a good player and is a good one.” Wow….great insight), I think you really have it in for him. Which is too bad, because it tells me that you obviously aren’t a fan of this team. You’re a fan of one player who happens to be here. You wouldn’t be taking pot-shots at the age of other guys. You wouldn’t be complaining about line combos and ice time all the freaking time. It’s the world VS Austin Watson for you. You’re not personally invested in this team like most of the rest of us here.

    There have been changes of personnel on the power play. If you can’t see that, you’re either not looking or you’re blind. Or maybe it’s just not the changes you want.

    I’ll let you have the last word, but I have a feeling that I’ve already read it elsewhere.

    Good talk, bro.

  17. Fan in the Falls says:

    It’s been said many times on many other posts, but I think this is just one of “those” years where things just don’t mesh. Whether it’s the players not meshing with each other or with the coaches, who knows. We’ve had a long streak of good hockey to watch in Milwaukee. It doesn’t stay that way forever, anywhere. You’ve just got to hope the next year is better. I’m not totally ready to throw away this season, because, as pointed out by Ryan, they have been winning 2 of 3 for a month, but that needs to keep happening. If it doesn’t in the immediate future then it will definitely be time to focus on next season.

    As for Mueller and Watson, I’m actually surprised Nashville hasn’t called one or both of them up considering the dearth of scoring goals they’ve had this season. Even if just to try and shake things up down in the music city and show they aren’t scared to give others a chance. And I really hope they start playing better because I’m traveling down to Nashville to watch two games in mid-April, way at the end of the season. I hope they are not out of playoff contention then!

  18. Hockeyfever says:

    Jake you always seem to come up with assumptions. Like the one that I personally know Watson. You know what they say about assumptions. Didn’t think that a denial was required. We have all read your constant diatribes and rants against me and what you perceive about Watson. You continually every post bring him up so I can only think that maybe you have something against him personally. Since you know everything and are an expert on all things I guess we all just need to agree with you.It is always you against Watson and me. Again you have selective reading and responding because I have posted on here before that I think Henderson, Puustinen and others also deserve more ice time. You are just a broken record. Do you post things like this on other boards attacking people because they have a favorite player? I see posts all over rthe internet about all sports where fans talk about the things that are going on with the team and the players. Do you post things like this all over the internet and attack all these fans?
    Good talk Bro and we all miss you so much on the on the other places.

  19. Yonkfan says:

    Absolutely hilarious. Good talk, bro. Good talk.

  20. CreedFeed says:

    First off, let me just say that while I’ve voiced my opinion on the coaches, I will fully agree with Ryan’s statement [on the coaches], “They work harder behind the scenes than you and I will ever specifically know as fans”. Completely agree. I know nothing about coaching hockey and never claimed to. I only know the sport as a fan. I don’t think I could be put behind the bench of a pee-wee team and know how to properly coach them. Hell, I can’t even skate!! I think, at least for me, the big furstration is that we as Admirals fans have been so spoiled with superb coaches (Claude Noel and Lane Lambert come to mind) and excellent players here in the past several seasons that when we’re seeing problems now (mainly PP) we’re looking for answers.

    I think my big beef with the coaching is that when we have these stinker games, we don’t see adjustments being made as the game goes on. Maybe they are being made and my limited knowledge is not picking up on them. But lets use the PP for example. In the chalk talk last month the coach explained the PP scheme (I wrote about it in a previous comment). This was the game where Beck was benched early on for taking a dumb penatly. Well in that game the PP plan was not working, yet the entire game it seemed he kept the same plan in place.

    I’m not personally saying the coaching staff is bad. All my argument is, perhaps the coaching staff is not “geling” with this group of players, or vice-versa. You can much more easily change a coach or two then a roster of 20+ players. Coaches take the fall in all major sports, which may not be fair, but it is what it is.

    I also want to mention, that yes we are still in the playoff hunt, just as we were last year. It came down to the final weeks of the season and we eventually made it last year… but don’t forget, we also got swept in 3 games. Sure it’s nice to make the playoffs, but is it worth it just to get swept in the first round? Let’s be honest, with the way this team has looked, even in some of the wins we’ve gotten recently we haven’t looked like a dominate team. We’re a dump and chase, grind it out team. There are plenty of teams who we don’t match up well against due to our “simple” dump and chase game plan that I just don’t see us going far even if we do make the playoffs.

    Finally, I just want to say, please don’t take my comments the wrong way. I’m not trying to be a downer or a fairweather fan either. If this team was in last place with only 10 wins, I’d still be glad we have a hockey team to go watch, and would continue to maintain my season tickets. I’m just a big fan of hockey and glad I can see any sort of professional product live in person. :)

  21. Ryan says:

    That was a very nicely written essay, Creed! :)

    You’ve got enough street cred around here that I’m sure a guy like Yonkfan won’t unload into you. Can’t speak for the Michigan crew, though.

    As one of the elder statesmen, you can have the floor whenever you like.

    I’ll share my thoughts on playoffs though….Making the playoffs is always worth it. Get swept in the first round? So you got swept in the first round. Anything can happen in the playoffs. And the whole point of the regular season is to get to the second season. I’d rather have loved and lost, than not loved at all!

    We’ll see what happens this weekend.

  22. Ouch! says:

    Mr. Ryan,

    I too hold you in the highest esteem, and your thoughts and opinions are well received. I do, however, try to make sense of this year’s team, and in doing so have have the desire to point a finger, just like everyone else. Maybe the case this year is that we should use all 10 fingers and point them in different directions.

    My point on the power play, which is in dire need of help (I think you’ll agree), is that in previous years it has been considerably better, when compared to the rest of the league. What’s up with this year? My first inclination is to look at who’s out on the ice for PPs. Are they the same players? Are they not getting the job done? If that’s the case, why are they being played time and again? Or, is the coaching staff trying to find lines of players who will work it out? Is that making things better? Apparently not, considering our place in the stats. So, in that regard, I have to look at the coaching staff.

    That being said, I’ll agree to cut some slack and make nice-speak about the coaching staff. It’s Evason’s first year, Drulia’s second. Changing head coaches last year couldn’t have helped the players. We are on track, assuming the magic 2 out of 3 wins going forward, to end the year at 87 points, which is exactly where we ended up last year. It was good enough to get us into the playoffs, but that was all.

    On another note, McGratten as traded to Calgary, and we’ve acquired Antigo, WI native Joe Piskula in the trade. Maybe he’ll bring some chutzpa to the club.

  23. CreedFeed says:

    Just to add to Ouch’s point… the coach did mention in that chalk talk about the PP is that this team is lacking a PP leader. He said they do not have someone who goes out and leads on a PP like a Shea Weber, Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi, Teemu Laakso, etc. so it’s more challenging to make things happen. He said guys like Aronson and Bitetto are still young and too tentative on the point, and guys like Moore just aren’t offensive defensemen.

  24. Hockeyfan4life says:

    Yonkfan only unloads on one person on here no matter what he says – even if others are saying the same – I wonder why? I used to enjoy reading this and commenting – now I think I will avoid it. It is isn’t very productive. Here’s to hoping we make the playoffs. Good luck Ads!!!

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