(Photo credits: Scott Paulus)
In their final home game before Christmas, the Admirals welcomed the Lake Erie Monsters out of the cold. And then they kicked them out and shut the door on them, getting the victory 3-0 on Friday night.
Jeremy Smith turned aside all 31 shots he faced for first AHL shutout, and boy did he earn it. Many of the saves were Hasek-esque, and his athleticism was on full display. Well positioned, well timed, and with good vision of the puck all night, Smith solidified his position as the #2 goalie in town after Nashville returns one to us in the very near future.
“Our goalie was the difference in the game,” Coach. Lambert said after the game. Tough to argue otherwise.
“There were some dangerous rebounds at times, but I think the thing that stood out the most for me was his athleticism and his ability to battle on second saves. Some of those saves were desperate saves, and he’s got good quickness and good athleticism that allowed him to do that.”
The Admirals were able to kill off all five Monster power play chances, and Coach is quick to credit Smith for that success.
“And as I’ve said numerous times, your penalty killing is only as good as your goaltender. And they probably should have had a couple power play goals, but our goaltender made the difference.”
The first goal of the game was present for Ryan Thang…giftwrapped by Julien Brouiliette. Along the near boards in his defensive zone, Brouiliette tried to make a cross-ice pass to another player, but his stick got more ice than puck. Since he didn’t get the wood on it that he intended, the puck went right to a forechecking Thang, who beat Jason Bacashihua with a backhand shot that made Teddy Bears fall from the sky.
In the second period, some forechecking by Linus Klasen led to the Admirals second goal. Yes, a steal instead of a turnover from Klasen. After a poor clearing attempt seemed to catch a bad spot on the boards, Klasen picked up the puck, darted towards the net, and instead of shooting, found Mark “The Proof” Santorelli by the right goalpost. It was the Proof’s 7th of the year. That was a set play, after winning the neutral zone face-off, and playing it around the boards. Credit to Klasen for coming away with the puck, and credit to Santorelli for being at the right place in front of the net.
2-0 for the Admirals after two periods, but they were outshot 24-14 in the same span. Lake Erie really did dominate the 2nd period, but Smith and the Admirals’ defense were outstanding.
Jamie Lundmark made it a 3-0 lead with a power play marker in the 3rd. Aaron Johnson was pinching down and took a shot from a sharp angle, and the rebound kicked right to the slot, where Lundmark was working. It was another of the dirty blue-collar goals that Lundmark has had the knack for lately, driving to the net and putting in a rebound. His shot seemed to deflect off of Bacashihua’s skate and hit the roof before bouncing back down and over the line.
Thang – Van Guilder – Bourque
Thuresson – Lundmark – Geoffrion (the latter two both took some faceoffs)
Wilson – Hunter – Bartlett
Klasen – Mueller – Santorelli
TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION:
– Remember that one shot that Jeremy Smith kept the puck from going in the net? That was awesome, man. And then that other one right after that when he was in the crease and then made the save? That was awesome too. So, did you ever see the Terminator?
No seriously, how awesome was Smith and the defense? Equal MVP’s in tonight’s game, would you say? Any of the defensemen excel over the others?
– Great to see the Ads capitalize on the Monster defensive zone miscues. Lane talks a lot about playing a detailed game, and the Monster defensemen’s lack of detail helped lead to those first two goals. That’s what lack of detail looks like. And we don’t usually see it on our end of the ice. I give Johnson a hard time about his penalties, but we really are fortunate to have 7 bona fide pro defensemen, who are consistently being some of the best players on the ice night in and night out. It’s a luxury that our young goalies are lucky to have right now.
– Thuresson? Bueller? Bueller? Looked like he took a step backwards tonight. Not scoring. Not hitting. No urgency. Fair statement?
– Not Lundmark’s best game, but he made up for some of it with that goal. He’s becoming the go-to-guy in front of the net.
– A couple more penalties for Aaron Johnson. We have now officially renamed the penalty box “Johnson’s Office”. And in our twittercasts, Sutty is giving his teammates tasks to do in Johnson’s office when they go to the box. Like putting some coversheets on some TPS reports. Sutty thinks he’s pretty funny. I think he is too.
– Do you like seeing Klasen get fired up like he did in the 3rd? Or would you rather he stay out of confrontation?
– Anything else catch your eye tonight that you’d like to share with the class?
– And let’s hear it for the pre-game wedding. Let it be a lesson for all you engaged people out there….don’t tie the rings too tight on the pillow! And the ceremony doesn’t need to be long…..the sooner it’s done, the sooner you get to the bar!