Turning point in this game? One might argue it was the opening face-off.
Okay, that’s a little hyperbolic. And it was still a winnable game half way into the third period. But the Admirals gave up three goals in a 3:54 span of the third, letting the Rivermen pull away in what became a 5-2 victory.
With Chris Mueller, Ryan Ellis, and Jon Blum in Nashville, the corresponding roster moves have made them an even younger team. And it was obviously going to be an adjustment replacing their production. They were responsible for 18.8% of all shots on goal this season for the team, and 16.6% of all points this season.
The Admirals had 17 shots on goal all game against Oklahoma City last week. The Rivermen put 18 on Jeremy Smith in just the first period tonight. One of them was off the stick of Andrew Murray, as his low slapper from the left wing gave Peoria the lead just over 10 minutes into the game. Murray capitalized off of a turnover by Scott Valentine at the Rivermen blue line, and got his shot off just before Valentine and Joonas Jarvinen could catch up and close in.
Adam Cracknell scored a power play goal with 1.5 seconds left in the 2nd period, deflecting a Mark Cundari shot from the right point.
You don’t like those last second goals against, but we’re certainly fond of early period goals for. Austin Watson scored a neat goal 1:24 into the third on an odd-man rush with Taylor Beck. Beck’s shot missed the net, but the rebound bounced off the back end boards and into the air, right to Watson. He batted it out of the air and into the net for his 13th of the season. It made the score 2-1 with 18:36 to play. Not a pretty game to that point, but still a winnable game.
After the Watson goal, the Admirals had a couple of power play chances, but couldn’t do anything with them (negating the second one with a Latta hooking penalty). And Peoria extended their lead on a penalty shot at 12:02. Sergey Andronov was awarded the attempt after Anthony Bitetto took him down (and after there was no-goal ruled on the play…the referee went under-the-hood to verify it was no goal). Smitty went for the poke check, and Andronov swooped around and went high for what turned out to be the game winning goal.
2:55 later, Evgeny Grachev blew past Ads defeseman Charles-Olivier Roussel, and all alone in front of the net, he put a backhander over Smitty’s glove.
61 seconds later, Cody Beach scored his first AHL goal deflecting a shot from Brent Regner as he was posting up against Taylor Beck in front of Smitty.
Scott Valentine had a slapper from the point that beat Mike McKenna glove side with 1:26 to play to cap the scoring.
– Admirals have been outshot 87-49 over the last 7 games in the 1st period. Outshot 39-25 in the game tonight.
– They’ve allowed a power play goal in their last five games. Probably the nicest thing I can say about their own power play tonight was that they were awarded five of them.
– Jeremy Smith lost in regulation for the first time since December 7th against Rockford.
– If it makes you feel any better, Oklahoma City got skunked by the Charlotte Checkers 7-0. Think we’ll have some adjustment pains? THEY will have some adjustment pains.
– Back at it again Saturday against the IceHogs. Think we’ll see Magnus in net tomorrow? Smitty had to work a lot harder than he should have had to tonight. But that can happen when a third or your defensive corps are called up to Nashville at once.