Our match-up in this series pits the two hottest teams in the league (not from Norfolk) against each other.
After one period, things were looking pretty good for the home team. The Admirals had a 2-1 lead on a couple of stoppable shots that got past Heat goaltender Danny Taylor.
But the Admirals dug themselves into a deep hole in the second period, and they couldn’t climb out of it, eventually losing 6-2 to the Abbotsford Heat in Game 1 of their best-of-5 Calder Cup playoff series Friday night.
Here’s the first portion of the penalty sheet for the second period.
Ford Holding 1:48
Ford Holding The Stick 3:31
Foss Interference 6:24
Ford Yonking 7:03
While the Heat only scored on one of those early 2nd period power plays, it certainly did change the complexion of the game.
After that Greg Nemisz power play goal tied it up, Nemisz struck again about 10 minutes later, diving forward to beat Taylor Beck to a loose puck after Jeremy Smith was out of position and sprawling to get back.
A minute and 37 seconds later, the Heat went on another power play, and Krys Kolanos scored his first of the series.
Jon Rheault had a shot from the near dot that beat Smith after a Kolanos pass, and then Kolanos added the empty-netter with 12.7 seconds left.
Let’s review some of the Master Lock keys to the game.
– Special Teams: Admirals went 0-5, Heat went 2-5.
– Kolanos awareness: He had a four point night.
Kolanos….highly skilled in his own right, and he makes everyone on his team better when he’s on the ice. That first line may give us fits all series long.
Comebacks? The Heat doesn’t give up leads. They were 13-0-0-1 on the road this season when leading after two periods. And in Admiral playoff history, they’ve only come back to win from a two period two-goal deficit once…Back in 1995.
The Admirals hadn’t given up 6 goals in a playoff game since a 6-5 loss to Chicago on April 14th, 2010. They hadn’t lost by at least four goals since the 2006 Calder Cup Finals against Hershey. In game 4, Pekka Rinne and Brian Finley let in seven goals, and the Admirals lost 7-2. The Admirals proceeded to lose the next two.
The best Admiral lines tonight? Van Guilder’s and Lajunen’s…..arguably the 3rd and 4th lines. Need the first two to make some more noise on Sunday. Tough for a guy like Kyle Wilson to score if he doesn’t put any shots on net. Hopefully Abbotsford won’t be the new Rockford for him.
Kevin Henderson took a tough hit in front of the Admiral bench while in a vulnerable position late in the game. No official word on his status for Sunday.
Did you miss Victor Bartley? I missed Victor Bartley. Chance he’ll play Sunday, but don’t count on it. Upper-body injury.
Were you okay with Smitty’s performance? They’ve been a resilient team and they’ve battled back to get to where they are now….do you expect a better performance on Sunday? Thoughts on the goalie Taylor? Beatable? Anything else strike you about the game tonight?