Stars Net Two On The Power Play, Take Game 2

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?

20 thoughts on “Stars Net Two On The Power Play, Take Game 2”

  1. I thought the officials dictated way too much of this game. I thought a good number of the penalties called against both side were pretty ticky-tack. I’ll admit most were indeed penalties, but in a playoff game I wouldn’t have expected a lot of them to be called. I also thought it was inconsistent – during the string of penalties against the Ads, I felt there were at least a couple on the Stars that were just as ticky-tack. If that’s the way the game is going to be called, then call them all. Even still, we didn’t convert or kill the PP and I felt that’s mostly what determined the game.

  2. Well Texas finally got a goal that wasnt lucky, the sawada to morin power play goal. Seems like every goal they get was a lucky bounce or had multiple deflections. Then they do get the pretty goal and it was because of a bad penalty…granted its a goal either way

    The officials were crap..
    the conacher penalty was ridiculous and from my point of view the guy stepped on it purposely..diving!
    thang getting 2 for holding wasnt a good call…he was holding his position if anything…in no way was he restricting the other players movement besides staying between him and the net.
    There were multiple uncalled slashe..i mean golf swings by texas defense preparing for the off season next week

    all in all our special teams just didnt get it done…the first period was great but the penalties in the second killed momentum.

    With our road point streak and the fact we are a much better team we should do well down in Texas.

  3. Thang had the guy in a bear hug. I would have called 5 of the 7 penalties on Milwaukee. The other two were dives by Texas. Just 30 seconds before Thang’s penalty, a Texas player reached around an Admiral and had his glove on his sternum to slow him down in the corner. The 2 refs didn’t call it, but it was pretty much the same thing. The one linesman had a bad game. #40, Tootiny, was yakking at Admirals at least seven times after the whistle. He was never called for unsportsmanlike conduct. Good for Milwaukee to not punch him in the mouth. Bad for the two refs to do nothing to stop that high school league garbage! Section 200 is right about the slashes by Texas. They did it a lot behind the play and didn’t get called. I thought Begin was going to take a guy’s head off for slashing him in the third period. When is a team going to be penalized for not locking their door? Flynn nearly had his neck broken near the beginning of the game. The Wolves did that the entire season!

    While the officials were poor, the biggest enemy the Admirals had on the ice were themselves. They have to get off the boards with the puck. They have to reduce the dump and chase. They have to stop getting the puck from Texas and then passing right back to them. They have to stop the stupid penalties. They have to work harder and skate to the lose pucks faster. They need to control the puck better in all three zones. Smith was okay, I blame him for one goal. The other two were on the team. I would have waved off the Texas goal, the player looked like he kicked it in.

    Santorelli had the best shot chance in the game. He was by himself near the face-off dot and shot the puck into the netting above the goal. What a total waste of a chance. Texas went after Conacher. Beck was invisible, Ryan played like a rookie. The Mueller line was neutralized. So that means we had no effective right wing the entire game. A left wing lock by Texas? No wonder that the Admirals had no real offense. The PP can be improved. Don’t have two guys below the goal line. Have 2 guys in front of the net or one guy on a face-off dot. The Admirals didn’t do this even with a 6 on 4 at the end of the game. BTW, if I am the coach, I take Smith off a minute into the 2nd to last PP. He didn’t come to the bench until it was over. The Admirals contolled the puck in the O-zone the entire two minutes. It would have been another 6 on 4 with 3 minutes left in the game and golden chance to make it 3-2 Texas. What was Lane thinking?

  4. We sat right behind the opposing goalie in periods 1 & 2 and had a perfect view of that Conacher penalty. That would be a trip ANY day, no question about. Those in our section were yelling at him before the orange sleeve even got his arm up.

    The team just looked completely flat and got outmuscled. They need to bring in some toughness from somewhere. Sit Santorelli and bring back Watson. I would say Santorelli is about as useless as tits on a bull, but that would be an insult to bull tits…

    The waived off goal… we were on the opposite end, so we didn’t get a good look. What I did notice is that nobody on the Stars bench, including their coach, seemed upset or even argumentative that it was waived off, so based on that I would have to say it was the right call.

  5. I thought Sawada kicked in the goal due to losing his balance, not intentionally to score. (Probably a combination of both)

    The 3rd goal by Texas was a thing of beauty. Everyone was looking the opposite way except for Morin (well, and myself). Interesting note is that Morin shot the puck so hard that it got stuck in the net. How many times have you seen someone lollygag that shot towards the net only to let the goalie get back in time due to the soft shot?

    Need to play like Thursday, not like Saturday. Similarly, can we get the intelligent Thursday crowd back? Quote of the night, “Dad, can we tell the goalie he sucks now?” “No, we only do that when WE score, not the other team.”

  6. Where to begin…

    Refereeing- With two refs on the ice, there shouldn’t be an excuse for what went down last night. There were plenty of infractions that didn’t get called- on both sides- and some that did were weak sauce. The run lies in that either we get a Jeff Smith, who calls nothing, or a tag team with the likes of Hebert and Croft who have better imaginations than they do eyesight.

    The goal that wasn’t- It looked like it was kicked in by Sawada. It may have bounced off of him, but his stick was in the air, so he couldn’t have stick handled it in.

    The first period looked good for the most part. Aggressiveness was there, puck handling was good, passing decent. They even managed to keep the puck off the boards. Then came the second period, and the guys reverted back to the same old slapstick routine that endears them so to me. An increase in the DnC, which resulted in nothing but a steady stream of turnovers, guys looking to get off the ice when the puck is very much in play (read Josi here. He needs to go get his hair glued back on. I think they cut it too short and scraped his brain), mindless get-rid-of-the-puck passing. What is so aggravating is that they CAN do things well. We saw it on Thursday. But last night’s game was an example of why I’d be surprised if they make it out of the first round.

    We had plenty of chances of our own to score on the PP, yet managed only one in seven attempts. Tic-tac, tic-tac. Why? As said in previous posts, because without a lane, there’s no good reason to shoot. I agree with that statement. But shouldn’t there be some thought given to how is a lane created? How do we get from passing the puck on the perimeter of play to the center, then into the goal? Or do we just rely on dumb luck? Texas’ goals last night were more an example of good play than they were luck. Two of their goals were the result of putting people where they needed to be, and drawing Smith to open the net.

    From my perspective, the killers last night were (of course) stupid penalties, running the puck through the neutral zone right to the side boards instead of staying on open ice, dumping the puck when there’s no chance of getting to it first, lackluster if not downright lack of centering.

    We need a steady stream of sunshine instead of these glimpses of light from between the clouds. Hopefully they will fare better on the road.

  7. Ouch, re: tic-tac on PP – to me the difference between last night’s tic-tac and the previous game it game up in comments was player movement. During the previous game the PP passing saw a ton of movement – guys without the puck looking to gain position, get defeneders making choices, etc -looking to create shooting lanes. Last night was tic-tac without the same movement – guys stayed in their square – and no shooting lanes developed because defenders stayed in their square- when we took PP shots without a lane they were blocked and a bunch of times cleared.

  8. The PK changed about halfway through the game for some reason. At the start we were very aggressive but for whatever reason about half way through the game we reverted to a zone PK with our d dropping on one knee to try to take passing lanes out. While that does work sometimes, Ford was excessively doing that.

  9. Chris: Why would you want Thursday’s crowd? I would rather have a few people in a crowd of 7,000 that dont know what they are talking about, then a crowd of 2,500 who are into it.

  10. Bugs,

    My point exactly. If you don’t have a lane to shoot, then you’re stuck passing the puck. If teammates aren’t trying to get themselves into position (and that’s actually 2 relative positions- one to receive the puck, and the other to have a shot on goal), then it’s just endless passing. And all that does is eat up time, but we are all too well aware of that. Imagine if the 5 on 3 could have been solved in the first 10 or 15 seconds. We’d still have had an extra 15 seconds or so on the second penalty in which to score. On the PP, 15 seconds can mean the game. We could have broken their backs within the first 13 minutes of the game.

    Thursday night’s game was an example of better maneuvering, which in turn resulted in goals being scored.

    Greg, I have to side with Chris on this one. Team management wet themselves when they can fill beaucoup seats (i.e. concert nights). For people interested in watching the game, those games can be a nightmare of people parading in and out of their seats without regard for anyone around them. And until management gets it through their heads that it’s actually a hockey game they are selling, instead of all the BS “enhancing the experience”, they’ll continue to have these wild swings in attendance. Wouldn’t it be great to have 10,000 people in the stands who were actually there for a hockey game? Yup, it would.

  11. I disagree about the crowds. If you’re a player and you come out and see 2,000 people there, you don’t wanna play as hard. But if you come out and play in fornt of a big crowd, you want to play harder. Besides, the bigger crowds DO get into it still, but you just have to give them more of a reason, be it a fight, goal, whatever.

  12. Ouch, I agree, Thursday’s was the way to do a PP and Saturday was the opposite.

    re: crowds – I don’t think its fair to pick on a kid’s comment – weren’t we all kids at some point? I love the large crowds, wish we could get it back to the mid-90s when 7k was closer to the standard crowd and people actually bought tickets in the upper deck. Though honestly, I do like being able to grab a beer between periods in 2 minutes with the smaller crowds. :) I’m a bit predictable on the beer run so maybe we can get a sendick’s delivery to me at defined intervals.

  13. Just to clarify, I’m not against big crowds. It’s just that the typical ‘big’ crowd at an Ads game means that more people in the crowd are there for some reason other than hockey- concert, giveaway, something. Which means they have no real interest in the game, and that they won’t be back until the next extra-curricular event occurs.

    As for kids- agree again with Bugs. Kids have Jello for brains, and it takes time for it to set. They’ll make plenty of mistakes and be annoying. But that’s there job. Saturday’s game found 5 boys sitting 2 rows in front of us. The first blast of cowbells that sounded from our row had one of them turn around and give a glare that could freeze boiling water. Twenty minutes later, they were all getting into the game, if only to shout at the players. Yes, they shouted for players who weren’t even on the ice, but they were involving themselves in the game, and good for them. And that’s much better than group of drunken slobs who’s only objective is to get ripped for a concert they won’t even remember.

  14. Not nuts about the big crowds, in fact the couple sections around me get into it more with less people there. But it is revenue.

    If we have players that won’t play hard for small crowds we need to get rid of them! Thursday’s crowd was small and they played great. The weekday game when we scored 4 or 5 goals (too lazy to look up the date) in the 2nd was also a smaller crowd. And the last 2 years we have played terrible in front of bigger crowds (usually concert nights) so that doesn’t make them want to play harder neccessarily.

  15. Here’s the thing: If management runs some promotion (bobbleheads, concerts, whatever) and 5,000 non-hockey people attend and 50 (which is 1%) get turned on to the game, that’s a win for the Admirals and for hockey as a whole. You can say 4,950 were blocking your view or disrupting your viewing pleasures, but that’s the price you have to pay when you live in a minor league city whose parent is not exactly the Boston Bruins in terms of popularity. Reality is reality.

  16. And…. getting back on topic. What adjustments do the Ads need to make to be better in game 3?

    1. Attitude. They need to step onto the ice realizing that they can win. They need to work together to make things happen rather than have things happen.

    2. Teamwork. Six men on the ice all playing their own game isn’t going to work. Offense needs to drill the puck through the neutral zone with purpose. Not just thinking about getting it into the offensive zone, but getting it on net. Directly.

    3. Stay closer to the center line of the ice. Once you get on to the side boards, you’re limited to 180 degrees of travel, and it makes you a target. Stay off the boards, and you double your chances that you can out-maneuver the opponent.

    4. Use the DnC judiciously. It’s a good time taker for line changes, it puts the puck in deep- if there’s someone to retrieve it. Otherwise, it’s just a long traveling turnover.

    5. Physical play. With Texas having home ice advantage for three games means that they will come out hard and heavy every shift. Both teams need three games to clinch the conference, and they’ll look to do it at home any way they can. The Ads would do well to bring the game to them, setting the terms of play. Which takes us right back to point #1.

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