A quick start, some puck luck, and the offensive re-appearance of Steve Begin were all keys in the Admirals 3-1 victory over the Houston Aeros in Game 1 of their playoff series Friday night.
Quick start: The Admirals were up 2-0 before the game was 11 minutes old.
Puck luck: The Aeros heard the sound “ping” after their shots on multiple occasions.
Begin: Scored his first goal since November 28th against San Antonio, on that 10 game road trip way back when.
Begin recorded the first goal of the game at the 9:49 mark, starting the play with a big hit in the defensive zone, and then had all the time in the world after receiving a pass in the high slot while there was a delayed penalty. Begin’s shot hit the top left corner of the net, and gave the Admirals the lead.
Taylor Beck scored 41 seconds later on a play that looked like a trick shot you might see at an All-star game. From the top of the near circle, he flipped/floated the puck over Nate Prosser, went around Prosser, and met the puck in front of the crease when it came back down. His backhander beat Matt Hackett.
On a power play later in the 1st period, the Aeros hit iron a couple of times, the loudest ping coming on a shot from Marco Scandella.
The second period was scoreless, but the team received a scare when Casey Wellman’s skate collided with Jeremy Smith’s helmet on a play. Wellman was being worked over by Kelsey Wilson, lost his balance, and that’s how it happened. Not a dirty play….just hockey play. And boy, were we thankful Smitty was okay.
The Admirals were outshot 12-5 in the 3rd period, but their first one went in. Ryan Thang had a shot on a play that resembled his OT winner in the Texas series. He came in along the right wing, and a shot from the faceoff circle just flat out beat the goaltender. No screen, no deflection. Begin created the turnover in the neutral zone that sprung Thang on the rush.
The Aeors got one back about six and a half minutes later, as Colton Gillies put a juicy rebound into a wide open net.
Houston controlled the play for most of the last two periods, outshooting the Admirals 18-10 over that span. And Coach Lambert knows they’ll need to be better in Game 2 on Sunday.
NOTES AND QUESTIONS:
Here’s the recap from The Third Intermission. Interesting discussion going on about roster management.
Let’s talk about Ryan Ellis’ debut. You could tell there were a few moments where he looked like he needed to adjust to the timing of things up here. But there were other times where he looked like he belonged, and hadn’t just been playing a full season in Windsor. Ellis also got his first professional point, assisting on Beck’s 1st period goal.
Here’s the coach on Ellis’ night.
What kind of marks would you give his performance?
Game of inches sometimes. Game would have looked a whole lot different if even one of those shots that hit iron went in.
Do you buy the whole “rust” thing, or do you find it a convenient excuse for a slow start? This isn’t meant to be an attack on Houston, but rather a philosophical question. When the Admirals have had slow starts after long layoffs, we’re heard the “R” word used. What do you think?
Great to see Begin on the scoresheet again. Gives us a chance to put a microphone in front of his face and let him wax poetic for awhile.
Did you even know that Watson and Latta dressed tonight?
Care to comment on the Mueller-Noreau pay-per-view heavyweight bout at the end of the second period?
Who would you give the hard-hat award to tonight? Who played a great game, but didn’t get credit for it in the box score? Call it for either team.
And what do the Admirals need to do to be better on Sunday?