The fourth time was the charm for the Chicago Wolves. In their fourth meeting with the Admirals, the Wolves capitalized on a plethora of Milwaukee miscues, and came away with a 6-3 win.
The Wolves shutdown the Admirals offense over the last half of the game, and scored four of their own during that time to take the lead and then pull away in the final minutes.
Were the Wolves that good or were the Admirals that bad? I think it’s a combination of both. And Coach Muller says something along those lines.
Scott Ford, of all people, opened the scoring, finishing after some strong play in the offensive zone by Jani Lajunen. The Fin brought the puck in along the right wing, circled around the net, and tried to hit Gabriel Bourque with a pass in the slot. Colliding with a Wolf player or two, Bourque couldn’t control the pass, but the puck then came to Ford on the near point. Bourque kept going straight to the net to screen Matt Climie, and Ford’s shot made it through traffic for his first score of the year.
About 3 minutes later, Stefan Schneider sprung Kevin Connauton on a breakaway, right after the latter’s hooking penalty had expired. Both Ryan Ellis and Victor Bartley were caught up ice, and couldn’t catch up with Connauton, who beat Jeremy Smith.
Then came a wild second period.
Connauton scored his second of the game, taking a cross-ice pass from Darren Haydar on the power play. Wide. Open.
Roman Josi and Michael Latta then connected to tie the game at 2. Josi brought the puck all the way up ice in that very familar way for him, and tapped a pass over to Latta in the slot for the goal.
Latta scored his second of the game 27 seconds later. After a Zack Stortini shot from the point didn’t quite make it on Climie, the puck bounced right to Latta in the low slot.
The defense then took the rest of the period off.
Roman Josi, deep in his own zone, made a perfect pass to Nathan Longpre. After a short-distance give-and-go with Darren Haydar in front of the crease, Longpre scored his third of the year.
Then Tyler Sloan just handed the puck to Mark Mancari at the offensive blue line, springing him on a breakaway. That one ended up being the game winning goal.
4 goals. Smith hung out to dry on all of them. Still, it was a winnable game, and here’s the message Coach told the team in second intermission.
The Ads seemed to have a tough time getting anything going in the 3rd period, and credit the Wolves for that.
Mike Duco had a quasi-empty net goal with 1:27 to play, as Smitty had started to head to the bench, but saw the offense turn the puck over. Duco’s shot made it just past the stretched out reach of Smitty, as he was trying to get back to the crease.
Mark Matheson added an official empty-netter on a shot that was flipped just in front of the Chicago crease. The puck just barely beat Scott Valentine into the net.
Thang – Lajunen – Bourque
Wilson – Mueller – Puustinen
Flynn – Van Guilder – Beck
Stortini – Latta – Ryan
Josi’s first game. We’ll start with Coach’s assessment.
Personally, I was surprised to see him in action so soon after being cleared to play. I thought they might have liked him to get his hockey legs back a bit before getting thrown to the Wolves. But there he was out there tonight.
A mixed bag I think. Lots of his shots were blocked, and there was his gaffe that led to the game-tying goal. But we saw some of the things that make Josi Josi — the smooth puck-carrier, the guy that has no panic in his game. Looks like he still needs to get used to playing with his new defensive partners, Valentine at even strength and Ellis on the power play. Hopefully it won’t take too long to get some of that chemistry.
Ellis was okay. He needs to be better than okay.
Yeah, Smith was hung out to dry. Would have been nice for him to come up with a save or two on those chances, but there were plenty of times he was bailing out his defenders at other points in the game. Tough one for Smitty. He deserved a better fate. The rest of the team didn’t.
Kyle Wilson was invisible. He was credited with three shots, though. So I guess the shot counter saw him.
Darren Haydar played like the Darren Haydar we know.
Oklahoma City comes to town tomorrow, so it’s a quick turnaround…which coach says is nice after a game like this one.
– Thoughts on Josi’s debut?
– Were the defensive turnovers uncharacteristic, or have the d-men just done a better job concealing them over the season so far?
– Did you like Valentine’s effort at the end of the game on the empty net goal?
– Do you get the sense with Coach Muller’s quotes so far that he’s never too high after a win or too low after a tough loss?
– For those of you who have seen them on the road…do they look like a different team at home? Getting too cute with the puck?
– Looking forward to seeing Triston Grant tomorrow? Think he would drop the gloves against Fordo?