The Admirals kicked off their 3-in-3 with a much needed two points, as they held on to beat the Hamilton Bulldogs 3-2 Friday night at the Bradley Center.
Ian Herbers Google Maps High Level Overview:
Leading by a pair after two periods, the Admirals gave up a shortie, and almost gave up the game-tying goal while the Bulldogs had an extra attacker out there in the final minute. Ian Schultz had the puck in the slot, but couldn’t get the shot off on his forehand. So he spun around to try a backhand, and Smith made the stick-save of the year.
We asked Smitty about it…because you know…he was there when it happened.
The Admirals were able to FURY THE FURY early, as it took them just 20 seconds of their first power play to convert. From the goal line at the near boards, Kyle Wilson fed a pass to Ryan Thang at the top of the near circle. Thang had a good shooting lane, and his shot beat Bulldog goaltender Robert Mayer.
After going goal-less in his last 12 games, it was good to see Thanger contribute again. His last goal was February 17th against Oklahoma City.
Chris Mueller made it a 2-0 lead with his 27th goal of the season, but Brodie Dupont did all the work. Dupont got position on the defender and made a strong move to the net…but he fanned on his shot..or pass…of whatever he was trying to do. But the puck bounced right to Mueller, who was crashing the net.
Mark Van Guilder made it a 3-0 lead int he second period, as a Victor Bartley shot from the bounced off Kevin Henderson in front of the net, and kicked right to Van Guilder at the left doorstep.
Coach Herbers talks about how important it is for guys like Thang and Van Guilder to contribute offensively.
But the Bulldogs got on the board with just under a minute left in the second period. Ian Schultz finished a bang-bang play after a quick feed from Alain Berger from behind the net, seconds after a Scott Valentine penalty expired.
Then came the shorty 14:08 into the third. Former Admiral Alex Henry was in the box, but the Bulldogs went on a 3-on-2 rush. Mark Mitera tangled up and took down Jon Blum, and Blum either made contact with Smith or made him flinch or stumble for a moment. Before Smith knew it, Brian Willsie had an open look in the slot, and scored the shorty.
But Smitty did make the big save in the final minute, and the Admirals got two huge points.
– So…..do you think Goal Monkey got an earful from the blimp folks after getting the blimp stuck in the netting above the glass on the south end?
– Also, we need to take a moment to make fun of our friend Scott Dorman. Great guy. Big fan. He’s the guy that updates the info at theahl.com . And we received our box score during the intermission, and it looked like this. Your job — find the goof. (We got his permission first….he’s pretty amused by the whole thing too)
Oops. But hilarious.
– I thought Blum was very good tonight. Yeah, he was involved in the shortie, and on the ice for the other goal too…but I think this was one of his best overall games of the season. Good with the puck, good at the offensive blue line, and good on the power play. Bartley and Ford were pretty solid too, I thought
– Really physical game…and I think the Admirals held their own pretty well in that style.
– Big win…Rockford did the Admirals a favor by beating Houston. Rochester lost in overtime. And the other main teams ahead of them in the standings were idle. So this was one of those games-in-hand wins that the Admirals NEEDED to get.
So Roundtable… Thoughts on the game? Who would your three stars have been? Who stood out in a good way? Anyone stand out in a bad way? Would you rather have Smitty in net tomorrow in Peoria or Sunday against Rockford? If you thought the Ads were obviously the better team….was it because they played really well or because Hamilton didn’t? Are you bummed that you didn’t get to see Blake Geoffrion in a Bulldog uniform? (incidentally….Blake has one goal in eight games for the Habs, but has been a healthy scratch in their last four games.)