Great! The Admirals are able to announce the first two home playoff games, Thursday April 14th, and Saturday April 16th.
They were able to clinch home ice for the first round…not because they did anything in their game Wednesday night, but rather due to the fact that Peoria defeated Texas.
So even though the Admirals lost 2-1 to the Grand Rapids Griffins, they can leave the Bradley Center knowing when their first two post-season games will be. (They probably won’t know the opponents until Sunday).
So clear your schedules for Thursday and Saturday, yo.
Ok, now to the game.
The Admirals, continuing to punish the jersey embroiderer, added two more new names for tonight’s game. Taylor Beck and Michael Latta, who finished their junior seasons over the weekend, were the fresh faces. And here’s what the coach said about their debuts.
“I liked Latta. He plays hard and he’s got some skills. I think the one thing about him is his pace to the game, but he does a lot of things well in terms of competing.
“I thought Beck got an eye-opener tonight. He’s going to have to compete a lot harder for me, because he’s a big guy, but there wasn’t enough…..there were a couple of moments where he had the puck down below the goal line that he was pretty good…. But on their second goal, all he’s got to do is finish Tatar behind the net and it’s a dead play. These are little things here that when you get guys out of junior hockey, that you need to fix, and there’s not a lot of time to fix it right now. “
The Griffins’ Cory Emmerton would be the first to light the lamp with 7:47 to go in the first. Chris “shop at” Minard(s) gathered the puck from Adam Keefe . Brett Palin stepped up to contest Minard giving him a good shove but was unable to jar the puck loose. This allowed Minard to pass the puck to Emmerton, who was crashing the net uncontested from the back side, and for an easy goal.
The second period got off to a productive, if not lucky start for the Admirals, and more specifically Andreas Thuresson, who was able to pick up his 14th goal on the season at 2:02. Newcomer Latta gave the puck in the neutral zone to fellow noob Cory Conacher. After receiving the puck Conacher put a shot on net from way out that hit Griffins net minder Jordan Pearce in the torso, and he looked like he thought he still had the puck in his pads. Instead, the puck had just gotten past Pearce and was slowly moving through the crease as Thuresson was pushing through a defender hard to the net. On his way to being shoved to the ice, Thuresson got enough on the puck to give it a little more zip to get the Admirals’ only goal of the night. It was one of those plays where the goalie wishes he saw it because there was quite a bit of time between initial stop and Thuresson getting to the loose puck.
“Over the last 40 minutes we carried the play and had the majority of the chances and we should have won the hockey game, but their goalie played well, and we couldn’t find ways to put it past him,” said the Coach. “And the one that we did put past him was a bad goal by him. He should have had that easy wrist shot from the blue line and he didn’t. It’s funny how it goes…there’s lots that should have went in and the one that shouldn’t have did.”
The Griffins, not allowing the Admirals too much time to celebrate the goal, got the lead right back off of a Tomas Tatar tally (that’s alliteration kids) just :34 seconds later. After a Ilari Filppula shot that went wide, Tatar gathered the puck from behind the net and came around near side to try a wrap around. Jeremy Smith was able to stop the first attempt but unfortunately was unable to stop the second as the puck trickled behind Smith and over the line to give the Griffins the lead, and Tartar his 24th on the year.
The Admirals had chances in the 3rd period, and the sound “ping” was heard, illustrating in sound how close they came on a chance. The home team outshot the Griffins 14-5 in the frame, and they seemed to start using some speed to their advantage. But Pearce was solid, and the defense was able to get the puck out of trouble when needed.
Coach Lambert says that it’s great to be in first, but the focus is elsewhere right now.
“We’re trying to build here. In terms of standings and points and things like that, that’s not our focus right now. It can’t be, because we are trying to improve our game with the number of new players that we have in the lineup. That’s really our focus – to sort of get back to the foundation and continue to try and build. There are certain plays that happened in the game tonight that guys that haven’t been here very long don’t recognize. And it’s all part of the process of trying to get better and we have to do it quickly.”
NOTES & QUESTIONS:
So what did you think of Latta and Beck? I thought Latta really picked it up from about the half way point in the second. I felt he was one of the few out there with a real fire… I thought he helped create a few good chances and even got some chances of his own off of his hard work. Beck? I wouldn’t say he looked like a loser, baby…..but he didn’t impress me (with his Devil’s Haircut) the way that some of the other ATO guys had in their debuts.
Plenty of dump and chase, but I think they were better about skating it into the zone in the 3rd period especially.
Was that the loudest pipe you’ve ever heard, on Josi’s bullet in the 3rd?
Foss and Leaderer….act II…..thoughts?
Laakso and Josi combined for well over 40 minutes of ice time. Big effort from those guys tonight. Laakso almost scored in his fifth straight game….but couldn’t get his stick on a rebound on a play in the 3rd period.
Looks like Ford was able to avoid suspension. Word is that Peoria didn’t even submit tape to the league about the hit.
Begin took a puck to the leg and had to be helped off the ice. Day-to-day is the word for now.
And one more note: The Admirals have a chance to set a franchise record for the fewest penalty minutes in a season. The current record is 1,086 minutes in the 83-84 season….and with three games to go, the Admirals are sitting on 1005 minutes.