Gabriel Bourque and Chris Mueller have provided the vast majority of Admirals offense in this series. And Wednesday night in Texas, some other players stepped up to the plate.
Taylor Beck scored his first professional goal, and Mark Van Guilder scored the game-winner, as the Admirals held on to defeat the Texas Stars 3-2.
“Obviously we needed secondary scoring — that’s why we made some changes,” Coach Lambert said after the game. Coach made changes on all four forward lines for tonight’s lineup. “The Mueller Bourque Thang line is doing all the scoring for us. We can’t win without secondary scoring. Tonight we got it.”
Although it was Bourque who opened the scoring. On a power play, Chris Mueller fed a cross-ice pass to Roman Josi, pinching to the far face-off dot. Josi fired a quick pass to Bourque who had the open shot in the low slot, and beat Richard Bachman at 14:03 of the first period.
Scott Glennie tied the game at 6:25 of the second period, on a play in which I’ll equally credit Glennie and blame Jeremy Smith and Aaron Johnson. Glennie put his first shot on net from the top of the near face-off dot. Pretty easy save for Smith, but he kicked it right back out where it came from. Glennie followed his shot, and Aaron Johnson was unable to tie him up or lift his stick.
About six minutes later, the Admirals regained the lead with Beck’s first professional goal. (after the game, we’re still unsure whether someone grabbed the puck….we think Mueller may have picked it up). On a power play, Grant Lewis had a good shot/pass from the near face-off circle that went off of someone’s skates in front of the crease….looked like it may have been Bourque’s, but they didn’t give him the assist. The puck deflected to a wide open Beck at the bottom of the far face-off circle.
3:13 into the third, Van Guilder scored the eventual game winner. Ryan Thang fed a pass towards Cory Conacher in the slot. Conacher couldn’t quite control it, but neither could the defender that was tangling with him. While they both unsuccessfully tried to play the puck, Van Guilder snuck in there and put a shot on net while he was being tripped.
The Stars got one back on a five-on-three power play that was just silly. Aaron Johnson earned his cross-checking penalty, but Van Guilder was whistled for holding as the Stars broke out on a play from behind their net. One of the tickiest-tackiest calls I’ve ever seen. Greg Rallo got the the goal from the far face-off dot, on a play that Coach says they should have stopped.
“That five-on-three that they had, it’s a play that we’ve completely prepared for. And we missed the assignment on it. We’ve got to be better on that five-on-three. I mean, we knew it was coming to Rallo. He’s scored three OT winners from that spot this year.”
Down the stretch, the Admirals were able to hang on, and Mark Van Guilder comments on the mindset the team had on the cie during the waning minutes of the game.
“I think for some reason it felt differently today. It felt like we were just playing better. Yesterday it seemed like we were just holding on…. We saw it as more of a challenge this time, like we’re not going to let it happen again.”
NOTES AND QUESTIONS:
Bourque – Mueller – Beck
Thang – Van Guilder – Conacher
Hunter – Bartlett – Thuresson
Santorelli – Latta – Begin
Ryan Flynn and Ben Ryan were scratched. And I don’t think they were particularly missed. Here’s Coach on the line changes…
“Beck got his first profesisonal goal, had a few other chances as well, so he looked good in the game. We felt like he could probably come in and play with our top line. He was a high point producer in junior and a high pick. He came in and did a real good job tonight. And we were able to balance our lines out a little bit more. We put Conacher’s speed in the game as well, and i thought his battle level was real good. ”
What do you think of those line combos? Potential? Think we’ll see them again on Friday?
Smith had some issues playing the puck again tonight, and found himself fortunate the a shot didn’t go off his skates and in the net as he was scampering back to the crease. Still, he made 30 and 32 saves on the night. As touched on earlier, rebounds were still an issue, but for the most part, the defenders and backcheckers were able to scoot pucks out of trouble.
Herbie took a puck to the head on the bench. He’ll be okay. But officially, we’ll call it an upper-body injury. (har har har)
If we don’t see Mark Lemelin again for awhile, that would be okay with me.
It’s interesting to watch the Stars, because it sometimes seems that they can turn on their aggression and start to dominate play whenever they damn well feel like it.
Took them two and a half minutes to clean up their chuck a puck. Our crew usually gets it done in less than 45 seconds.
Very strong game from Laakso and Josi. Roman had a potentially game saving pass block on a 2-on-1 rush late in the game. Lewis is getting caught up ice more and more often, but his physical play has been welcome.
Thuresson was horrible in the first period, but seemed to play with some more urgency the rest of the way. Still, he is SHOTLESS in the series so far. Shoot the puck
And finally, he’s Coach Lambert to wrap it up for the night.
“Key to Friday’s game is to understand that we need to have a better effort than we had tonight, and come out and take momentum right from the start.”