The Final Curtain – Ads Drop Game 7 To Aeros

“It’s heartbreaking.  You work so hard all year long and put it all on the line….game 7…..words can’t describe how bad you feel.  I hate losing.  I can’t believe it’s over.”

That’s a dejected Jeremy Smith after the Admirals fell short in game 7 of their playoff series with the Houston Aeros.

After some good chances in the offensive zone, Casey Wellman led a 2-on-1 rush, and beat Smitty with an NHL caliber shot with 1:21 left in the 3rd period, giving the Aeros the game-winning goal in a 4-2 victory Tuesday night.

Coach Lambert seconds that emotion.

“Total dejection is what I’m feeling, and the guys fought hard all series.  That’s part of playoff hockey.  There’s only one team that can win, and when you don’t, it hurts.”

The Nashville bump was there, as Matt Halischuk and Blake Geoffrion  figured into both Admiral goals, along with Gabriel Bourque.  But the late rush by Wellman took the wind out of the sails of the Admirals and everyone in the building.

With less than two minutes to go in the 3rd period the Admirals were attacking the offensive zone. They had about three great chances with the puck bouncing all over the place, inches from lighting the lamp. The Admirals were playing up trying to get the game winner when the puck was sent out to Wellman, who was then off to the races with the 2-on-1 rush.  Roman Josi gave chase along the near boards, blocked the passing lane and got a little piece of Wellman as he fired the shot on net. Smith was out to play the shot but missed it as it rang home to the top right of the cage.

“It was a fast break, 2-on-1,” Smitty said.  “Pretty much the same thing happened two shifts before that.  I thought I had the save, and he made a good shot.  Beat me clean.  That’s my shot – I got to make that save.  You got to give credit where credit is due, so I just got to learn from it.”

Transcribing those words doesn’t begin to illustrate the glumness in Smitty’s voice.  Sounded like we just told him Christmas has been cancelled, and replaced with a second Arbor Day.

Coach Lambert says it was a mistake to allow that rush.

“We had three or four good chances before they were able the break away from us.  We got a little eager, we gave up a 2-on-1 and that just can’t happen. “

The Admirals were the first to score in game 7 and it was a pair of the newly reassigned Admirals that were in on the score. Blake Geoffrion passed the puck to Matt Halischuk down low and then attempted a wrap around. The attempt bounced off Matt Hackett’s pads and right to a crashing Gabriel Bourque, who scored top shelf at the 8:02 mark in the first.

I’ll take momentum shifts for 300 Alex. With just 12 seconds left in the first period the Aeros’ Colton Gillies stuffed home a rebound to knot the game at 1 aside.  With a shot from the point, the puck found its way through traffic and on Jeremy Smith. It was a nice save but Smith couldn’t track down the rebound from his back, and with the loose puck in the paint it easily found a home on the other side of the goal line.

Ok, now I’ll take goals I’d like to have back for 1000. With Smith coming out of the net to play a puck behind the net, he mishandled a rotten bounce.  He took a couple more desperate stabs at it but had to leave it behind for the Aeros’ Carson McMillan, who gathered the puck and was able to get a quick shot in on the empty net as Smith couldn’t get back in time. That gave the Aeros their first lead of the game.

The Admirals would answer back at the 8:26 mark while on the Mountain Fury Power Play.  Geoffrion sent a puck down low to Bourque on the near side, who then sent a pass to Halischuk in the slot. Halischuk quickly sent the puck past Hackett to bring the match all square.

And then Wellman put the nail in the coffin, followed by an empty net goal from Warren Peters, who twisted the nail in the coffin while laughing and singing “Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow…..”*

*Do you need me to tell you that the last part didn’t happen?  Didn’t think so.

Good game.  Can’t blame the officials.  Great crowd, especially with the Brewers in town.  Exciting finish.  It’s what you want a game 7 to be.  Only thing I’d change would be the final score.  And the second Aeros goal.  I’d change that too.

We’ll close this with one more quote from Smitty, and then open up the post for your thoughts and comments on the game and the campaign.

“There’s no tomorrow now.  Your season is over.  There’s nothing…. You look forward to training this summer, but nobody….. Winning championships is fun.  That’s what you work so hard for.  And to be let down, and let your teammates down it’s just a terrible feeling and not one I want to have again.”

Smitty, I think I speak for all of us when I say that you were marvelous this season, and unworldly in this post-season.  Hang in there, bud, and we’ll see you next year.

72 thoughts on “The Final Curtain – Ads Drop Game 7 To Aeros”

  1. Yeah, sorry, I was sleeping (I work 3rd shift) and fell out of the loop here. I had nothing really against Houston, I was strictly booing Hackett. I’ll agree that we could have done with the one finger salutes and the dropping of the F-bombs, it is a family event after all, but I see no problem with booing or a little jawing. The thing I’ve noticed about hockey in the few short years I’ve been following, is that out of the 4 major pro sports, hockey has the least amount of sportsmanship. Half the crap that goes on down on the ice during an average game would get you ejected/suspended in any other pro sport. The fans see it and we feed off of it.

    I “Boooo”ed the hell out of Matt Hackett. I have nothing against anybody else on Houston, and had it been any other goalie (or Hackett just less of a douchebag) I would have probably just stayed quiet. I did however wait in my section until the end of the handshake to applaud the Ads on a great season! That was the one thing that disappointed me, seeing half the crowd leave right after the empty netter.

  2. Really? Really? – Your 2 posts are embarassing. I hope for your sake, you are a casual fan and it’s not a learning disability that is causing the unintelligent comments.
    If you really cannot tell who is trying hard out there and who isn’t, you should get some better seats or go to a few more games. You should also realize that in the AHL, EVERY teams roster completely changes every year.
    That being said, maybe I was a bit harsh on Lambert. But can you blame me when I’ve seen my team lose the close ones liek this, how many years in a row after the glory days a few years back of conference championships or more 3 years in a row.

  3. Win as a team, lose as a team. I don’t believe blame falls on any one or two people or plays. The Ads had a great season. They overcame injuries and a lot of player movement and accomplished a lot this season. I applaud the players and staff. I’m disappointed with the loss and the end of the season for us. I’m happy there will be another one next year.

  4. Yablonski33…

    So a guy, Jon Blum, that doesn’t “try hard at all in Milwaukee” was able to fool the NHL and play 20 games and playoffs this season with Nashville? That makes sense. Clearly, you should be a scout. It appears you have a keen eye.

    And every teams roster changes? No kidding. So how does that solidify your point about Lambert not deserving credit for making the playoffs? Where’s Don Lever, Bill Peters, Curt Fraser this year? They didn’t make it. Lambert has coached a team with, as you say, “roster (completely) changes every year”. How does he not deserve credit? He’s been in the playoffs as a head coach four straight seasons.

    And, you used +/- to show how Teemu Laakso is so horrible on defense. Well, since you’re so good at typing on your computer, you should probably look up some stats. There’s a website for it. He was a +15 in the regular season and is a +34 in his career in Milwaukee. His +15 ranked 46th in the AHL this season. Do you know how many players stepped on the ice in the league this year? I’ll save you the effort so you can keep formulating your opinions…1224. The top 4% isn’t too bad, right?

    Nice shot about a learning disability, too. You must be proud you came up with that.

  5. I’m with Yablonski here. Blum seemed to play much better when he was with the Preds. Did you watch the playoffs? I also think Laakso is overrated but improved this year.It’s hard not to get a positive +/- when you play on the power play so much because of the lack of defensive defensemen on the Ads. Palin, Ford, etc had to face the top lines of other teams a lot, while Josi, Laakso, Blum, etc got to be on the PP. So the guy does raise some good points. Either way sucks that we lost big time and Really? Really? seems too not be as upset.

  6. CTB,

    Glad you jumped in. As you point out, you do not receive a plus for being on the ice for a power play goal. Your quote, “It’s hard not to get a positive +/- when you play on the power play so much.”

    That said, Roman Josi, who had the most power play time for the Admirals this season, was a -7.

    Houston’s Maxim Noreau, a defenseman, plays a lot on the power play. Six of his 10 goals were scored on the PP and he ranked 5th in PP assists. He was a -5. Houston had a few other capable defensemen this season.

    San Antonio’s Garrett Stafford was a -15. He was tied with Josi at 22 PP assists.

    Andrew Hutchinson was even in +/- and had 20 PP assists. He’s a former Eddie Shore winner.

    Milwaukee had the 10th fewest PP attempts in the AHL. They didn’t spend as much time with the man advantage compared to 20 other teams. The actual time per game on PP wasn’t as much as you’d think it was, meaning more even strength or shorthanded time than most of the other teams. With so many “defensive defenseman”, they would have played shorthanded. No +/- there. So, that leaves a lot of even strength time for a Laakso, right?

    Also, I watched every Nashville playoff game. Thanks for asking. Blum must’ve tried harder in the NHL. Thank goodness Nashville showed him mercy and recalled him after never trying hard in Milwaukee. The NHL is full of a lot of players that never tried at a lower level. Thankfully, someone has mercy on these poor souls and wants to give them a pay raise they didn’t earn.

    And to finish up by saying “Either way sucks that we lost big time and Really? Really? seems too not be as upset.” You have no idea how upset I am about this. I find it humoprous you’re trying to develop an “us v. them” because of your inference that I don’t care as much as a “real fan”. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m just sick of people stating so-called “facts” that aren’t facts at all. And then, when called on it, start huffing and puffing and try to save face rather than admit maybe they don’t really understand what’s going on.

  7. haha…Really? no one even knows who you’re arguing with now. Myself or Tidballs? Glad at least someone agreed with me. Also glad you were able to help point out that Josi sucks at D even more. The difference is that that is a known fact, when Laakso is known as more of a stay at home defenseman but somehow found a way to be on the ice for every Houson goal last night. My points are made. Go argue with Tidballs if you have anything else to say. My season is over.

  8. Correction MIB, it WAS a discussion. Somewhere about post 40 or so, things got a little personal, and now it’s a all out food fight!

  9. Yablonski, it’s still pretty hard to count two of those 4 goals against Laakso at all, since one of them was a gift from Smith and one was an empty netter…

  10. I feel like a linesman debating whether or not to get in there and break up the scrum…

    We’ll be getting a new post up a little later today…

  11. Booo!!! BOOO!!! Come on you stupid zebras, drop the puck!!!! ;)

    (j/k haha)

  12. Ryan, do you think you could post the site statistics like you did last year?
    Such as comments, posts, site views, etc?

  13. So, in summation, a team that has two defenseman that are awful and another that doesn’t try hard in Milwaukee were able to help a team to the third best goals against average in the AHL. That’s half the defensive corps that doesn’t deserve to belong in the AHL, let alone the NHL.

    Take your ball and go home Yablonski.

  14. EG, I am afraid that I agree with Yablonski33 on Laakso’s play in game 7. No defenseman came back to help Smith and he coughed up the puck. A Houston player got there, where was the guy who was defending him? I know Josi was on the ice, I thought Palin was with him, but it could have been Laakso. Laakso’s turnover led to the first Houston goal. I will give everyone a pass on the empty netter.

  15. You know, usually a defenseman would not rush back behind the net when he sees (a) the goalie going back to retrieve the puck, and (b) an opposing forechecker rushing back quickly. That type of situation is usually a common routine – goalie retrieves puck and flings it around the boards, away from the attacker and out to his defenseman. The puck just took a bad bounce on Smith and by that time, no defender would have been back to help anyways. It was one of those flukes that we see happen every year, it just happened to occur with 1 minute to go in game 7. Don’t blame Laakso or anyone else for being in position (back by the net) when they were anticipating Smith to easily toss the puck around the boards to them.

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