Third time clinching the division wasn’t the charm for the Admirals, as they fell to the Texas Stars 3-2 at the Bradley Center Friday night.
The magic number remains at one, to be the #1 seed in the conference, but Coach Lambert says he isn’t even thinking about that.
“I’m not worried about the magic number. At all. We’ve got to get some breaks, and we’ve got to find a way to get back on track. And when we do that, the magic number will take care of itself.”
It’s been three one-goal losses in a row at home for the Admirals, and of course Coach doesn’t care for the results, but he’s not as upset about the way the team has played.
“I thought we played well last game, and I thought we played well tonight, and I think our goaltender should have had their third goal. You can’t let a goal in like that in a game like this.”
That third goal came after Jeremy Smith’s failed attempt at gloving a centering pass from the corner, and Travis Morin was able to finish the play for his second goal of the game. Don’t know if Jeremy blinked, or the puck knuckled, or the sun was in his eyes, or he had a momentary loss of depth perception, but the official scorer gave him an E-2 on that play.
We asked Coach if he thought the Stars’ goalie stole the game, and here was his reply:
“I guess maybe at the end of the day, if he lets in a bad one and ours doesn’t, it’s a different story.”
Think we’ll see Engren in Peoria tomorrow? Perhaps?
Grant Lewis made his return to action, and provided a goal and a primary assist in the third period, but Richard Bachman was solid in net for Texas, stopping 31 of the Admirals’ 33 shots.
Ray Sawada opened the scoring 3:05 into the game, deflecting a Jordie Benn shot over and around Smith.
Travis Morin scored the first of his two goals 7:09 into the second period, channeling his inner-Tony-Plush, slapping the puck out of mid-air past three Admirals skaters and Smith. Was it played with a high stick?
“I think so yeah, but whatever, it comes down to video reply. Human error.” These sorts of goals are happening every game….we’ve got to ask about it, and we can tell he’s tired of answering it.
Lewis got one back for the Admirals after a poor penalty kill clearing attempt fell into his lap. His shot from the slot beat Bachman.
But then, Smitty let in what may have been his worst goal of the year. That goal gave the Stars a 3-1 lead with 3:19 to play.
Morin took a tripping penalty with two minutes to play, and the Admirals scored on that power play, with Smith pulled for an extra attacker. Grant Lewis’ shot from two feet in front of the blue line on the near side made its way through to Bachman, and while he made the save, he couldn’t control the rebound. The puck bounced behind him, and Mike Bartlett was there to tap it the rest of the way with 27.2 seconds left in the game.
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Coach’s thoughts on the new guys: “I thought Conacher played pretty good. I thought Watson tapered off a little bit. That’s a big strong team they have over there and they grind you down pretty good. Foss was fairly steady. And Latta and Beck, their minutes were fairly limited, but when they got out there, they did the best they could.”
I agree on Conacher. The speed has been great to see. What do you think about the new guys tonight?
So is this three game skid much ado about nothing? Just some bad breaks, some good goalie performances on the other end, and some chemistry-building in process?
Word is that Preds’ 2007 draft pick Ben Ryan will be joining the team in Peoria. Ryan is a center, who just finished his senior season at Notre Dame, 6g, 19a, in 44 games. Think he’ll play?
Anything else on your mind?
Going on the Admirals Crew bus tomorrow? Have a fun trip! Hope you get to see them clinch!
By the way – OUCH & Company…I thoroughly enjoy your in-game chants. I know you guys have been doing lots of them for awhile….but I was moved to say something tonight. Thanks for keeping stuff interesting and fun on our side of the arena.