Both Magnus Hellberg and Jeremy Smith faced Grand Rapids at the Bradley Center this weekend, and both recorded basically the same results.
Smith got his second straight start in net Sunday afternoon after a nice showing in Rockford Saturday night.
After getting out to a 2-0 lead last night the Ads forced the IceHogs to play catchup. Against the Griffins, it was the exact opposite.
“We basically did the exact same thing Friday night that we did here today.” Evason said.
Grand Rapids got on the board just 3:01 into the game, when Andrej Nestrasil dragged the puck to the bottom of the left circle and whipped a wrister past Smitty.
Chris Mueller had a couple chances to answer. He was stoned on a nice one-on-one set up by Brad Winchester, and later tried to backhand a rebound, but the shot sailed over the net.
About ten minutes after their first goal the Griffins struck again, as Nathan Paetsch elavated a nice shot that was deflected in front out of mid-air by Jeff Hoggan.
Juuso Puustinen was on the ice for the goal, and though the replay looked good, Puusty said he and the rest of the team felt Hoggan’s stick was above the crossbar. He added they just “have to live with it.”
The Ads only got five shots on net in the first 20 minutes, while Smitty had let in two of the seven he’d faced.
The first half of the second period showcased some some good goaltending on both sides.
Recenlty recalled Jack MacLellan had a 2-on-1 but couldn’t get quite enough on his shot. Smitty made a nice glove grab, and not to be outdone, Tom McCollum responded with a nice save with his stick hand after giving up a rebound and dropping down to his right.
The Griffins tacked on another goal at 8:32 of the second period when Tomas Jurco put in a rebound off a nice save by Smith. There probably should’ve been someone to help clear it away, but nevertheless Grand Rapids increased its lead to 3-0.
Later, Patrick Cehlin wound up and fired on a 2-on-1 rush, but the puck went right to McCollum’s chest.
After missing some chances in the second period at even-strength, it would get even more frustrating on the power play in the third.
Milwaukee first got one back with the man-advantage. Victor Bartley missed a slapper wide, but then got a great feed from Mueller from the left corner to the high slot for a no-doubter one-timer.
It would unfortunately be the Ads only goal as they couldn’t ride any momentum despite two more quick power play opportunities.
Bartley had another good look on the first power play, but McCollum was able to close his five-hole just in time.
In the final seconds of the second power play, Joe Piskula couldn’t put home a nice centering attempt right in front.
“We struggle to score goals,” Evason said. “When we get down in hockey games it’s very, very hard for us to come back. Having said that we liked the look of our power play tonight, It could’ve gotten us back in the hockey game, but it’s obviously an area we need to work on.”
Then the Ads started hurting their comeback hopes, mounting up penalties in the final five minutes.
Joonas Jarvinen went for slashing at 14:46 and when Milwaukee had almost killed it off, Henderson went for tripping.
After Henderson’s penalty, Hoggan scored his second goal of the game to ice it. Gustav Nyquist fed him from behind the net, and Hoggan was able to wrist the puck past Smitty.
The Ads goalie headed for the bench with about two minutes left, but a minute later, Jan Mursak nonchalantly took it down ice and tapped it into the empty net to make it 5-1.
Michael Liambas missed last night’ and today’s games. Evason said it had something to do with the sucker punch he suffered in Lake Erie four games back.
Evason said Fordo is skating, but still no timetable on either he, or Beck’s return.
Though neither played particularly well, which goalie played better against Grand Rapids this weekend? Who’s the starter going forward?
Evason talk about his team’s even-strength futility.
“We have to score on our PP. We’re not going to score five-on-five. It’s not us. We’re going to have to be opportunistic, get some garbage goals five-on-five and have our power play carry us down the stretch.”
With the way the power play has been going, what does that tell you about his confidence in the offense?
The Admirals outshot Grand Rapids 35-22, but they didn’t seem to have the finishing touch. It felt like after the Bartley goal they might have a comeback in them, but it quickly dissipated. Why was that in your opinion?