Ahem. Admirals Clinch Playoff Berth With Shootout Win

The Admirals are going to the big dance.

Thanks to their 3-2 shootout win over the San Antonio Rampage, the Admirals have punched their Calder Cup playoff ticket.  New guy Atte Engren got the start, and came up huge in the shootout, for his first North American W.

Coach Lambert liked the improvement from Engren’s last start.

“I thought he did a very good job of making some adjustments tonight compared to when he played on Saturday in Rockford.  He played well.”

The game really didn’t get started until the second period and it was the Rampage that got things going.  While Mark Van Guilder was in the sin bin, the Rampage were peppering the crease with shots from all over the zone.  One shot from the near side was kicked to the far side by Engren.  After the save Engren seemed to have tripped or fell but was doing barrel rolls to the opposite side of the crease, and that made for easy pickings for Garrett Stafford, netting his 13th on the year at the 2:42 mark.  I don’t want to say this goal was Engren’s fault completely, but he seemed to be a bit out of position and unable to get back to a sound hockey position after the initial stop.

The next penalty was called on the Rampage and the Admirals were able to even the score on that power play.  Nick Ross was serving a hooking penalty, and just under a minute later Teemu Laakso put the bisquik in the basket at the 12:12 point.  The play started with the Admirals doing a great job containing the zone when the puck came to Andreas Thuresson, who pushed the puck up to Santorelli on the near side and a couple feet from the cage.  Santo found  Laakso crashing the back side and had a great pass though the crease to the tape of Teemu, and it went to the back of the net immediately.

Exactly 2 minutes later the Admirals took the lead with a delayed penalty goal by Grant Lewis and one for his highlight reel for sure. With Engren out and the extra attacker in for the Admirals, the o-zone was shrinking on Matt Climie. Kelsey Wilson dished the pass forward to Grant Lewis who had some room to move. He took a stride or two forward and was tripped by Viktor Tikhonov but on Lewis’s way to the ice he put on a shot that beat Climie for Grant’s 7th on the year. This was a great play for Lewis, and a great job by the Ads to get the extra skater out there for added pressure. While the goal doesn’t count as a power play goal it was still with an odd man advantage.

“I don’t know if their team let up at all,” Coach Lambert said.  “Sometimes you can have a tendency to do that, thinking that you’re going to get the puck and the whistle’s going to blow.  He made a great individual effort, obviously, he showed his size and strength and his reach with the play, and made a great play.”

The Rampage tied the game shortly after the Lewis goal on a fluky and incredibly lucky goal by Randy Robitaille at 17:56. With the Admirals struggling to cover or clear the puck, the Rampage were working against a tired Milwaukee crew. After a shot put on Engren that was turned aside, the puck caromed out to the far face off dot. Robitaille skated up to it, spun around, and tried to pass/shoot the puck to the near side boards.  The puck found Brock McBride’s skate which was in the crease following the puck. The puck just smoothly skimmed the ice towards the net and nothing anyone could do to stop it. The goal was unassisted (by a Rampage player) and gave Robitaille his 5th on the year.

The 3rd period came and went just like the first period and in the overtime both goalies came up big on a couple occasions forcing the game to go into a shoot out.  Engren stopped the first three shots he faced, and allowed a goal on the fourth attempt to Viktor Tikhonov.  Meanwhile, Gabriel “Money shot” Bourque, Roman Josi, and Andreas Thuresson all beat Matt Climie, to give the Admirals the shootout win.


Time to start growing your playoff beards.  Gentlemen AND ladies.  It starts tonight.

“It’s been a grind all year long,” Coach Lambert said.  “Our team, even though we’ve had some call-ups and injuries, has done a very good job of being resilient.   Especially down the stretch here right now.   We’ve created enough separation….we’ve made the playoffs and that’s step one.  Now the step is to fight for first place.”

Steve Begin was back, and took a really dumb penalty in the first period to put the Admirals down two men. He did have a great return on investment because I think he drew 2 or 3 penalties for the Admirals also.  High marks for the penalty kill early on.

Man, Bourque is on fire in the shootout.   He has scored in his last three shootout attempts.  And way for Thuresson to come up boo-yah huge, on just his 2nd attempt of the year.

I’m just gonna say what we’re all thinking.  We love Ryan, but he’s still a bit green.  But that’s okay.  He’s just keeping Matt Moore’s seat warm for him.

I think Engren was better tonight than he was on Saturday in Rockford, but he sure does come with a fair share of fan anxiety. He seems a bit jumpy and very excited to skate out of the crease.  Excluding Chet Pickard, who was the last goalie that made you nervous every time the opposing team would enter the zone?

Did you like the dodgeball game, or was it another excuse to take a lap or two around the concourse?

Ryan Thang is quietly playing great. The past couple games he has really been fighting and making good things happen on rushes.

So Austin Watson is here.  And a couple others (not Beck, Ellis, or Latta) will be signed to ATO contracts tomorrow.  We asked Lane if he thinks they may be playing at some point this weekend.

“We’ll see.  Obviously our team is sort of built on our fundamentals and our structure and we want to make sure that we don’t throw anybody to the Wolves so to speak before they are ready to play.  We want to people in the best possible position to succeed, so tomorrow will be a big day for all those guys.”

My translation:  Bring your “A” game to practice, and then MAYBE we’ll talk about ice time.

17 thoughts on “Ahem. Admirals Clinch Playoff Berth With Shootout Win”

  1. “who was the last goalie that made you nervous every time the opposing team would enter the zone?”

    Brian Finley.

  2. That first goal Engren was tripped by a rampage player and was unable to recover before the shot.

    I am very surprised how resilient the team was this year and being able to win regardless of who is in the line up.

    Looking forward to seeing Watson or a few other ATO’s can do in the last few games here. If the preds are healthy next year both teams should be pretty explosive.

  3. I liked Engren tonight. I was surprised not to see Van Guilder in the shoot out. Its almost like Thurasan has decided he wants to play in the U.S. next year, he’s really picked it up as of late.

    I thought the Dodgeball was quite lame. I think it would be better if they used volleyballs. The ball just wasn’t travelling fast enough. The crowd was quite small.
    Thurasan put a great hit on Yonkman against the boards.

  4. What a game! The team fought back each time and then finished strong.
    I thought the shootout was awesome, Engren redeemed himself.

    I thought the Dodgeball was ok, could have been better.

    On a side note, have you ever seen someone eat a whole pie in the pie eating contest? I thought they were going to lose it all over the place. Glad they didn’t.

    I thought Ryan did great. His excitement was priceless.

  5. I think Sutty is trying to instigate a fight! A couple posts back a reader was upset when one of the guys wrote that Smith was just keeping the crease warm for Dex, and what does Sutty do? “He’s just keeping Matt Moore’s seat warm for him.”

    I wasn’t at the game tonight. Instead we chose to beat a few old Polish ladies and steal their money at Wednesday night bingo at the Polish Community Center, but I’m sure he did a great job!

  6. Let the playoffs and the small crowds begin! Whether it’s baseball or the warm weather, going to a playoff game with 2,000 in the seats is going to be disheartening. Maybe they should have some emergency bobbleheads, t-shirts, No.2 pencils, fake Roscoe poo for playoff giveaways…something. A commercial or two or some local sports news trumpeting their efforts wouldn’t hurt either.

    Bourque,Thuresson, and Josi’s goals were things of beauty in the SO. Engren was like a pitbull during it. Crazy quick on closing the 5 hole and getting down. Class move by Smith to get the puck for Atte.

    Next time Matt goes on vacation, he should record intros and goal announcements. Hell, record every scenario and the DJ could just cue it up as needed.

    Miller’s voice is like a dentist’s drill driven hard into a molar…=)

  7. I felt that Engren did a good job last night. He’ll be an asset to the club if he keeps improving. I felt better with him in net for the shootout than I would have had Dex been in.

    The third period started to look like the Ads lost their way again. The lack of consistency in puck handling and play formation doesn’t bode well for the post season. That’s something that they really need to get under control if they want to wear the big boy britches.

    I agree with others with respect to Bourque. He’s progressed nicely through the season, and is stepping into a take-charge role that this team desperately needs.

  8. wow, after reading the jab at Miller I wonder why you put the “d” instead of an “s” in the name. I thought Miller did quite well, of course I am biased, deal with it. :)
    it was awesome of Smith to run down and get the puck, I wanted to put that in the story but we were note heavy as is… good eye Mark.

    I also like the idea of a No.2 pencil give away, or Roscoe Poo…. Now here is question, if the Ads could do an Emergency bobblehead giveaway who should it be? Does it have to be a player or can we do another famous figure like the Abe Lincoln ones? I choose Chuck Norris….

  9. Maxime Daigneault was the last goalie that made me nervous. dont know if it’s just the 35 on the jersey, or that he is from finland, or what but Engren brings back some of that Pekka feel to the game, clearly he is not on Pekka’s skill level yet but it almost makes you feel like this guy might be our future #1 given enough ice time next year, thats if he decides to stay in north america.

  10. Charlie Sheen Bobblehead, or James Sixsmith…that’ll bring the crowd out.

    Love how ryan just made up numbers for the off ice officials.

  11. Brian — I’ve been called a lot of things over the years….but I think that’s the first dental similie. That was pretty good!

    Jan Lasak loved to leave his crease for any reason. Engren loves to challenge, that’s for sure.

    I’m with you Ouch — the 3rd period looked like we were nursing a lead instead of trying to break a tie.

    Wrap Around: Re: Thuresson — better late than never!

    Ogilthorpe bobbleheads?

    MiB — Nobody else at the table in the press room knew your number. Your contemporaries let you down.

  12. Is Roscoe poo orange? I’d imagine a dog his size takes massive, orange dumps. That would make for a cool giveaway… How about we give away blow up dolls, that way we can blow them up, put them in seats and quickly turn those 2,000 fans into 4,000..strictly for intimidation factor. Not too mention the opposing team would always be paranoid as to what was going on when they mistake the “O” face for a look of shock.

  13. Mark,

    Blow up dolls it is! Have the fans buy one for a couple of bucks and put them in the empty seats and donate the money to a worthy cause.

    Let’s fill the BC!

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