The Admirals finished a three games in three days set getting five out of a possible six points, capping the weekend with a 2-1 victory over the Oklahoma City Barons.
Things didn’t start out peachy, with Blake Geoffrion whistled for a stick infraction just 49 seconds into the game. The penalty was able to be killed, but then 5:33 into the game, Teemu Hartikainen skated the puck out of the far circle towards the blue line in his own zone. He dropped the puck back to Liam Reddox who was waiting in the same circle. He gathered the puck, spun 360 and put the puck on net. Reddox’s shot found the back of the net to the surprise of everyone. The shot never left the ice and beat Smith five hole to give the Barons an early lead. It may have been deflected.
16:48 into the first period Bendfeld felt he was wronged in some way by Aaron Johnson. Bendfeld began to hack, shove and poke at Johnson as they skated up and down the ice. Johnson not laying down pushed back but for the most part was disciplined in not taking the bait. Scott Ford on the other hand didn’t like the way Bendfeld was acting and decided to REGULATE. After trading blows and Ford getting Bendfeld’s helmet off Ford began to work the body like Rocky on a slab of meat. When Bendfeld let his guard down Ford would get Bendfeld with a right cross. It was probably the best fight I have seen Ford involved in. Unanimous decision went to Ford in the bout.
Greg Stewart went to the sin bin with about a minute and a half left in the first for a double minor high sticking. This would give the Admirals the opportunity to get pucks on net considering that prior to the penalty the Admirals had a whopping 1 shot on goal. After the double minor the Admirals had a blistering five shots, compared to the Barons’ 14.
The Admirals were able to convert in the second period and tie the game at 1 aside. With a 2 on 1 breakaway it was Chris Mueller and Mark Santorelli skating into the zone with the lone defender Dave Bonk. Skating in with Santorelli following, Mueller dropped the puck back to Santorelli and went to the far side as The Proof came to the near circle. Santo put on the breaks showed a quick deek bringing Bonk to the ice in a defensive slide. Santorelli let Bonk pass by then skated to the slot and wristed a shot through traffic and lit the lamp at the 11:23 mark. It was a great goal and dare I say, heady goal as well.
The Admirals were able to minimize the differential in SOG in the second period getting the majority of chances, 9 shots vs. Barons’ 6. Even Mark Santorelli said in the second intermission interview with the acclaimed Matt Moore that they needed to get shots on goal in the 3rd period.
… And shots they got. Just 1:39 into the third period Klasen brought the puck down the near boards uncontested. He was able to get into the near circle and that is when he let loose with a wrister that caught Barons’ goalie Martin Gerber in the mask (incredibly plain, boring, pedantic, dull, unexciting mask). The rebound fell into the slot where a crashing Mueller slashed at the puck on his backhand and netted his first goal and second point of the night.
That goal would be the last of the game for both teams but not for lack of trying. The Admirals always find a way to make things difficult or exciting, depending on your view point. With 1:30 to go in the game Brett Palin decided that skating 5 on 5 wasn’t fair for the Barons. So he decided to one hand shove a player to the ground and draw the penalty. Late penalties seem to be habitual for the Admirals this season. In this instance however, the Admirals were able to overcome the odd man attack and hang on to the win.
More to come….but feel free to start the discussion.