A parade to the Admiral penalty box in the middle of the game led to two power play goals for Texas, as the Stars took Game 2 of the playoff series with a 3-1 final score.
You can check out Hundred Degree Hockey’s recap here.
“At the end of the day that’s the difference in the game,” Coach Lambert said. “Their power play scored and ours didn’t, and their penalty kill held and ours didn’t. Special teams are going to be a huge factor in these games, and we’ve got to find a way to win that special teams battle.
“I think the frustrating part was we took some bad penalties too. We talk about discipline and staying out of the box against that hockey team, and they’ve got a good power play. Eventually it’s going to catch up to you.”
Things were looking promising for the Admirals and their special teams in the first period, and they did what the Stars couldn’t do in game one – convert on the 5-on-3 power play. With Brenden Dillon and Maxime Fortunus in the penalty box, Teemu Laakso gave the Admirals a 1-0 lead with a shot from the high slot. Laakso and Roman Josi were passing back and forth, waiting for a shooting lane to open up, and Laakso’s shot beat Richard Bachman stick side.
The Admirals ended the game 1/7 on the power play.
With 3:11 left in the first period, the Stars scored what looked to be a game-tying goal. A centering pass from the near boards went off of Raymond Sawada while he was being worked over by Brett Palin on their way to the crease. The referee behind the goal line ruled it a goal, but Jeremy Smith got up right away and did some air-kicks to show everyone what he thought about the play. The two referees discussed it at center ice, and to our surprise, waived it off. In the NHL, the play would go to Toronto for review. But in the AHL? It’s up to the guys in the black and white striped shirts. We try to be objective, and Sutty and I think the Admirals probably got away with that one.
Cory Conacher got called for tripping with 1:51 left in the first, after waiving his stick at a guy while he skated by in front of the Stars net. That opened up the doors of the Milwaukee penalty box, as the next six penalties went against the Admirals into the 3rd period.
“We can handle taking penalties that are warranted, but we can’t have little trips in front of their net 200 feet in front of our goal, or cross-checks behind the net,” Coach said. “We shot ourselves in the foot with that.”
Philip Larsen took a Travis Morin pass that Jeremy Smith appeared to think was going to go across the ice. Larsen tapped it in past Smith. Sawada looked to be in the crease, but it was ruled a good goal.
Aaron Gagnon got credit for a goal about two and half minutes later. Smith made an initial save, and then Gagnon and Andreas Thuresson were tied up heading to the crease. The puck went off Gagnon and in.
In the 3rd period, Ryan Thang was assessed a ghost holding penalty, and the combination of Travis Morin and Raymond Sawada made them pay. From the far boards, Sawada skated with the puck behind the net. Smith thought he was going to come out the other side, but Sawada instead offered a no-look backhand pass to Morin, who had a vacated net to shoot at. Great decision and great play by Sawada, and boo on Smith for biting.
“The goaltender has to hold that side there, and make sure that that puck is coming out the other side before he moves,” Coach Lambert said. “Give them credit, they made a great play and it worked. But you can’t get caught cheating to the other side.”
After Thang’s penalty early in the third, four straight Stars were sent to the box. But the Admirals power play couldn’t convert on any of them. Bachman made some great glove saves when the Admirals did have some good chances. Bachman made 29 saves on the night, and should have been a star of the game. (we voted for him)
So now, it’s off to Austin for three road games. And with the way the Admirals played on the road down the stretch, it may not be the worst thing in the world.
“We’re comfortable playing on the road, and we play well in Texas, so we’ve got that to look forward to,” Coach Lambert said. “Nobody said it was going to be an easy series. Give them credit, they played hard. I thought they elevated their game tonight. We pride ourselves on details and so do they. We made a mistake on a faceoff play that can’t happen. You never know what little thing is going to end up hurting you and costing you a hockey game.”
Lines were the same as last game.
Bourque – Mueller – Thang
Thuresson – Van Guilder – Conacher
Santorelli – Begin – Beck
Flynn – Bartlett – Ryan
So from those forward lines, how many of those players would you say were invisible tonight?
Do you like any of the goals that Smith gave up?
Waived off goal……Do you think the officials got the call right?
Mark Dekanich – no update on his progress….but he’s not making the trip. Looked sharp, though.
Streaky penalties…..Three against the Stars, then six against the Admirals, and then four against the Stars. Do you think the officials dictated play too much?
Anyone making the trip to Austin?
What adjustments do the Admirals need to make to be better in game 3?