So many angles I could take in this recap. But I think we need to give the lead to Chet Pickard.
Whoever you are, wherever you are, pour yourself a glass of something. Don’t care if it’s orange juice, tap water, Rogue Hazelnut Brown beer, whatever. Pour it. And now, let’s raise our glasses to Chet Pickard. Chet earned his first AHL victory since February 5th, with a 4-3 shootout victory over the Rockford IceHogs Friday night. Box score is here, Admirals recap is here, Rockford recap is here, and the monkey recently removed from Chet Pickard’s back is here.
Chet turned aside 29 of 32 shots in regulation and overtime, and assisted in foiling 5 of 7 shootout attempts. I don’t feel comfortable saying he made 5 of 7 saves, because he didn’t….one shot hit iron, and a couple missed the net completely. Still, he made a couple of big saves in the shootout, the biggest may be squeezing the legs shut on a chance by Ryan Potulny in the first sudden death round of the shootout.
The Admirals tried like crazy to lose it for him, though. They found themselves having to try to kill off 5-on-3 power plays in the first two minutes of the game, and then again in overtime.
Similar to the Grand Rapids game on Wednesday, that early 5-on-3 penalty kill yielded a goal. With Blake Geoffrion called for hooking at 1:23, and Scott Ford called for high-sticking at 1:42, it took Kyle Beach 16 seconds to cash in after taking a nice pass from Jeff Taffe. Chet didn’t have much of a chance on that one.
The IceHogs made it a two goal lead later in the first period on an Igor Makarov rebound goal, after an Admiral turnover. Ads were outshot 13-7 in the first.
In the second, Linus Klasen scored his team leading 13th goal of the season, lifting the puck over Hannu Toivonen’s shoulder from the goal line.
The IceHogs had some penalty issues at the start of the 3rd period, and the Ads were finally able to capitalize on the power play with a Jon Blum goal at 5:44. With seven seconds left on the PP, Blum’s shot deflected off an IceHogs defender and into the net.
So the Admirals are feeling good….coming back from a two-goal deficit, it’s a new-puck game in the 3rd. Three and a half minutes later, the IceHogs took the lead back. Mathis Olimb deeked everyone out of their skates — ESPECIALLY Pickard. With Chet way out of position, it was an easy goal for Olimb.
And then before the Admirals were able to pull Chet for the extra attacker, Jamie Lundmark tied the game, putting in a rebound of a Blake Geoffrion shot. It was an NHL caliber goal. The kind of stuff Mike Knuble makes a living scoring, and the kind that Dave Scatchard scored a bunch of last year. Working hard in front of the net, fending off defenders, with reflexes and hands to put the rebound in, knowing full-well that you’re about to pay the price. That’s something that Ads have been missing lately — the guy going to the net, prepared to do the dirty work. Great goal from Lundmark.
Then, more penalties.
Kelsey Wilson – Two minutes for Yonking at 19:35.
Brett Palin – Two minutes for Yonking at 1:17 of OT.
Palin argued that it went off an Rockford player’s stick, but still. Self-destruction late in the game.
But the Ads were able to send the game to the shootout. Linus Klasen scored in the second round. Blake Geoffrion scored in the 5th round to send it to sudden death. And then after Rob Klinkhammer’s shot hit metal in the top of the 7th, Roman Josi was your hero in the bottom half, deeking right, and then coming back left to beat Toivonen.
– Did you catch the pre-game interview Aaron Sims did with Coach Lambert? If you listen to the game on the radio, you should make it your business to start tuning in during the pre-game, because Lane at times will be very candid about players that aren’t showing him what they need to show him. For example:
“Whenever you have any passengers…(and our team isn’t good enough to have passengers….we have to have 20 guys firing on all cylinders and that’s how we give ourselves a chance to win.) And we’ve had some passengers here. And they’ve been some of our best players. Andreas Thuresson hasn’t scored in – I’m going to guess – around 20 games. That isn’t good enough. And he’s a guy that we’re counting on here. He’s got to get going, plain and simple. Mark Santorelli hasn’t scored in about 15. These are guys that are supposed to score goals for you and make impacts and contribute….. We’ve talked about having a young team and young group of forwards and this and that, but come on. At some point here, if you’re a fourth year guy like Thuresson, you better start stepping up to the plate and start playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played.”
Tonight WAS Thuresson’s 20th straight game without a goal. Santorelli was a healthy scratch tonight (Dan Gendur got to play), so his streak remains at 14 games.
– So that’ll be our question for discussion — What’s with Thuresson? From the games that you’ve seen so far, does it seem like he’s just snakebitten? Is it about effort? Lack of chemistry with the other guys? What have you noticed? Because he sure doesn’t look like the same player that earned NHL callups last year.