Admirals End Regular Season With 4-1 Win

In a game that meant very little outside of counting stats, the Admirals scored three power play goals, en route to a 4-1 over the Grand Rapids Griffins.

In more meaningful games, both the Oklahoma City Barons and Texas Stars lost, which means that Texas will be Milwaukee’s first round opponent.

Game 1:  Thursday the 14th in MKE
Game 2:  Saturday the 16th in MKE
Game 3: Tuesday the 19th in Texas
Game 4: Wednesday the 20th in Texas
Game 5:  Friday the 22nd in Texas (if needed)
Game 6: Monday the 25th in MKE (if needed)
Game 7:  Tuesday the 26th in MKE (if needed)

“They are a team that went to the finals last year,” Coach Lambert said of the Stars.  “They’ve got a number of their players playing for them right now that played in the playoff run for them last year.  We know exactly how this series is going to be.  This is going to be a grind and it’s going to be a chess match of detail.  And I don’t think you can stress the five second rule enough in the game.  We’re going to have to be aware of every shift every second of the game.  It’s going to be a challenge, and we’re looking forward to it.”

Today’s game featured a lot of ice time from the ATO players who dressed, including lots of minutes from Cory Conacher, Michael Latta, Taylor Beck, and Ben Ryan.  Conacher had two power play goals, and Beck and Latta had an assist in the contest.

The Admirals were graced with four power plays in the first period, and were able to convert on two of them.  With three seconds left on a two-man-advantage, Ryan Thang scored again (he was the hero last night, if you recall).  While falling down just to left of the crease, his backhander beat Jordan Pearce.

On another power play, the Griffins went on a shorthanded breakaway thanks to some sloppy play by Admirals defencemen, and Grant Lewis took down Ilari Filppula to prevent the goal.  Referee Koharski signaled for the penalty shot right away, but Filppula whiffed on his attempt.

Conacher scored his first power play goal with 3:21 left in the first period.  There was a lot of passing and not a lot of shooting going on in this power play, but Conacher received a return pass at the top of the slot, and his shot beat beat Pearce, with a little help from a Ryan Flynn screen.

The Griffins got a power play goal of their own in the second period, as Chris Minard was in the right place to gobble up the rebound of a Logan Pyett shot.  The puck just slid right to where Minard was standing, and Atte Engren couldn’t get back into position to make that save.

5:41 into the 3rd period, Conacher got his second goal, but it was the vision of Taylor Beck that made the play.  Andreas Thuresson’s shot from the far boards was saved by Pearce.  Beck claimed the rebound next to the far post, and slid a quick pass to Conacher on the other side of the crease for the easy goal.

“He’s a guy that got handed to our affiliate in Cincinnati,” Coach Lambert said.  “(Head coach) Jarrod Skalde made a call, and recommended he come in and play here.    And that’s a very professional move.  He just felt he could play, and I think he’s getting better every game.  He’s got speed, he’s got smarts, he’s got skill, and he competes.  There are still things that he needs to learn, but I thought he played an outstanding game, and he’s got a lot of talent.  I hope we can continue to build on that.”

Brett Palin had a goal-line to goal-line empty netter with 6.6 seconds left in the game, off a defensive zone face-off win by Michael Latta.


Lines started this way:

Thang – Mueller – Bourque
Thuresson – Van Guilder – Conacher
Flynn – Bartlett – Ryan
Santorelli – Latta – Beck

Laakso was a healthy scratch.  Van Guilder missed a good chunk of the game, and was limping around a bit afterwards.  Coach said he’ll be fine.

Grand Rapids had four power plays.  Jeff Foss was responsible for three of them.

Conacher has three goals and two assists in his five games with the Admirals so far.  He’s on an ATO, so if we do get some players back from the Preds, he’ll still be able to play, instead of just hanging out ‘in residence’.

Here’s a summation of the season from the Coach, explaining how we were able to get to this point:

“I just think our guys are resilient, and we have a good group of guys that work hard every day, whether it be in games or in practices.   We’re like everybody else, we make our mistakes and we have our peaks and valleys, but we have a really good leadership group and we have a really good group of young character players that come to the rink every day to work hard.”

Pretty good summary?

So we’re going to get to know the Texas Stars pretty quickly.  They had our number during the regular season…. does that change how optimistic or pessimistic you are about the upcoming series?

15 thoughts on “Admirals End Regular Season With 4-1 Win”

  1. In all, a good summary, Ryan. That being said, I’m going to take an exception to your opening paragraph. While the mission was accomplished in yesterday’s game, that being getting a solid division/conference win and a 100 points, today’s game was important from a mindset perspective. The last three home games weren’t exactly wonderful, and they were three losses. Going into the playoffs with a fourth loss would have been a real drag. Hopefully this win will pump the team up for the challenge ahead.

    The men who skated out onto the ice tonight looked very different from those last three losing games. They came out with energy, played well in the first period, started to slip in the second, and regained their composure in the third to finish off in grand style.

    High points- Conacher. He’s got the speed that gives the opposition what we’ve been tasting all year- someone nipping at their heels in the long shots ( euphamism for dump and chase). The power play looked better today, though from the sound of the crowd, everyone would like to see more shooting and less tic-tac. The juniors were doing a good job of hustling, and maybe they helped to inject some life into the old-timers :-)

    Low points- Foss. He’s going to have to get his timeouts under control. Three trips to the sin bin is not a good thing at this point. I’m not really impressed with him, overall. Santorelli- what the?

    Not to detract from Palin’s empty net goal, but putting that aside, all of the goals scored tonight were on power plays. That’s perhaps a good sign that our power play is coming under control, but it also says that we couldn’t convert on the 5 on 5. We might need to do that in the coming weeks.

    It appeared to me that there was considerably less d&c, and more carrying the puck tonight. My imagination, or did anyone else get the same impression.

    I’m very much anticipating this week’s games. I hope that they can deliver in the crunch and pull this off. Which I realize would prove me wrong, but I can live with that.

    Go Ads!!

  2. Agree with just about everything Ouch had to say. The energy was awesome tonight (2nd period was a little slow though). On Thang’s goal he skated over to the little old lady that sits in front of us and totally mean-mugged her with an “I know I’m a badass” kind of look. It was pretty awesome.

    I think I’m starting to sound like Ryan did with Aaron Johnson in the beginning of the season, but my whipping boy is Foss. He just hasn’t done much of anything since he’s been here (okay so he got a helper tonight….big whoop!!!) I think we’d be better off just suiting Aaron Johnson and just let him lay on the ice during his shifts. We’d get the same productivity, but at least he wouldn’t get called for Yonking!!! Or at the very least, why can’t we suit up Lehman instead, it would qualify for an emergency call up with Johnson injured, right?

    The “tic-tac” comment could go either way. Yeah, it sucks to continue seeing nothing more than a big circle jerk of passing the puck around, but at the same time, all three goals came on the power play (except for the empty netter which I won’t count, although Wendy’s will).

    Lastly, it was nice to see Steve Begin play a 3 or 4 periods before getting reinjured again! Any word on him? Looked like he took a puck to the kisser a couple games back.

  3. I don’t get the AHL playoff seeding. Why doesn’t the best team in the West face the worst team in the West? They’re not even facing the worst team in their own division?

    Not that I mind that they didn’t get OKC, I was just wondering…

  4. One name that has been absent from talk lately is Thuresson. He had a horrible start to the season and was pretty much invisible out there for a good part of the year. I have to say, in the last month or two he has been playing very well. He may not be getting the points, but his presence on the ice has been noticed. He’s been doing, as the Coach loves to say, the little things – aggressive forecheck, tough along the boards, making good passes, etc…. just felt he needed some additional acknowledgment! :)

  5. EG – Because the West division has more teams than the North division, if the 5th place team in the west has more points than the 4th place team in the North (OKC’s 91 to Abby’s 86), the West division team crosses over and takes that spot in the North division. Same thing happened in the East and Atlantic divisions with Binghamton taking the 3 seed from the Whale and bumping Worcester from the playoffs

  6. So has Dekanich played his last game for Milwaukee? He set new team records for SV% and GAA. He’s not likely to make it back on the ice for the playoffs after being out for so long to end the season. I have a hard time seeing him back next year. Any thoughts?

  7. In Saturday’s radio broadcast from Peoria, Aaron Sims said that Dex probably won’t be back in the first round. He also said Wilson is 2-3 weeks out and that there’s no word on Klasen. He gave an update for Johnson too but I forgot what he said.

  8. Re: tic-tac vs shoot on the PP.

    I agree the crowd was certainly calling for more shooting, but the PP plan was very effective. Most of the time the crowd gets impatient and starts calling for a shot when there is no shot to be had – being impatient and taking a shot that isn’t there has a tendancy to lead to bad outcomes. I’d rather see crisp, on target passing, and puck control and then taking the shot when its open to take. Previously our PP wasn’t handling the passes and movement but they did a great job in this game.

    On the flip side, I think when we have even man runs or breakways that we’ve had more a tendency to pass or wait too long when a shot is there to be taken. I chalk some of that up to the rotation of new faces.

    On the PP, I think patience for the shot is a good move, on the runs I’d like to see more aggressive shooting.

  9. Agreed with BugsAllOverMe. One of my pet peeves when it comes to hockey is fans yelling “Shoot it!” The Friday game was a prime example of this. Where I sit, there are several regulars who constantly yell “shoot” through the whole game. Several times when these people were yelling it, and the player would shoot, the puck would deflect off the defender in front of them and go out of the zone. People need to realize that you need a shooting lane in order to shoot. It doesn’t have to be 100% clear and open, but if there’s a defender inches away from you, a shot has a better chance of deflecting off the defender than it will getting past.

    Now on breakaways, 2-on-1’s, 3-on-2’s, etc. I think they do need to shoot more. It seems like the team has a pass first mentality and we’ve wasted several odd man rushes because of it. Shoot and hope to get a rebound.

  10. Agree with the fantastic analysis “Ouch” did above.

    Conacher was impressive. That quick speed will definately be needed in the playoffs.

    Foss is not ready for the AHL. If this was the beginning of the year, I would be ok with him getting some playing time, however, in the playoffs we need every shift and every line to operating on all cylinders. Currently, I see Foss as a liability, not an asset. One of the strengths of the Ads is the lack of PIM, and that goes out the window with Foss. With all of the other new players, we cannot give away lazy penalties.

    This entire weekend was good in terms of the powerplay. Let’s hope that streat continues in the playoffs!

    Final thought, how about Scott Ford and that fight?!? Nice to see him sticking up for the new guys on the ice. Ford is a great leader of the team.

  11. Thanks for the props MDG. I’m not used to people agreeing with me!

    With regard to shooting on the PP, do I think we need to get from tic-tac to shooting sooner- yes. But like previous posts say, not at the expense of shooting when you don’t have a good chance of getting it in. I think in a lot of cases, we don’t camp on the doorstep enough. Two obvious benefits of that is screening the goalie and possible deflection when a shot is made. I guess the compromise is to find a way to tighten the noose sooner, then pull the lever.

    Ford’s fight was pretty much over before it started. I like the way he’ll stick up for his teammates, but he’s not a real heavy hitter, IMO. The most interesting part of this particular fight was the amount of blood that was on the ice inside of the right circle, only to be missed for something like 5 minutes by the officials before they finally spotted it and cleaned it up. Kinda says something about the visual accuity of the zebras….

    I’d be surprised to see Klasen back. Peoria put him out with a concussion, only to do it again during his second game back from the DL. I would view him as a marked man, as well as he isn’t very aggressive on defense. We need multi-dimensional players at this point. The word I’ve heard is that he’s headed back to Europe at the end of the season.

    Interesting- looking at player stats, Josi ranks fourth in total points with 40, first in assists with 34, and dead last in +/- with a -7. I’d say he makes a better forward than he does a d-man.

  12. The secrecy with all the injuries is starting to get very old. We could REALLYuse Johnson back. This Foss kid is not cutting it, although he does visit Johnson’s office as much as Johnson used to. Johnson’s experience alone would help plus he is never afraid to shoot the puck.

    I wish everyone could read CreedFeed’s post on shooting the puck. The yelling shoot irritates me almost as much as the people trying to do the wave.

    Any word on getting guys back from Nashville? If Erat, Sully, and O’Reilly are back as expected they will have to sit 4 guys. They can at least send 1 down. Was hoping they’d do it today to give him more time to practice here with the team.

  13. Lane Lambert on Center Ice updated the injuries somewhat. Begin might play Thursday, he is day to day. Kelsey Wilson, Hunter, and Dex are still a couple weeks out. Watson and Johnson are also day to day. No mention of Klasen at all.

    Joshua Cooper also said Sully and O’Reilly healthy but don’t know if they will play them so they will have reserves. Doesn’t sound like they will send us anybody. Too bad we can’t have O’Reilly then! Erat will start on Wednesday, so sounds like they may sit on 4 extra guys. He said Trotz has even thought of sitting Colin Wilson. Nashville always say they want Milwaukee to win a championship too, however they don’t seem to want to help us do it. That really sucks!

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