The good feelings left behind by Sunday’s 3-1 win over Abbotsford were nowhere to be seen last night.
The Admirals opened their four-game road swing with a 7-1 stomping at the hands of the Monsters.
It was a performance eerily similar to the Ads’ 8-2 loss to Charlotte five nights earlier, as Jeremy Smith faced a season-high 39 shots from Lake Erie, while his teammates struggled offensively in support.
Bill Thomas and David van der Gulik each picked up four points in the win over the Ads, as Calvin Pickard scored his 14th win in net this season for the Monsters, stopping 22 of 23 shots.
Thomas got Lake Erie on the board first with a wrist shot from the right circle that beat Smitty at the 15:24 mark of the first period. Harrison Reed scored just over two minutes later with a snapshot from the top of that right circle to give the Monsters a 2-0 lead.
Van der Gulik put in the rebound from a Thomas shot 1:42 into the second period, extending the Lake Erie lead to three goals.
Michael Liambas tried to spark the Ads by battling with Daniel Maggio, and at 6:41 Juuso Puustinen rattled home his eighth goal of the season off the crossbar to cut it to 3-1.
Unfortunately, that would be Milwaukee’s only goal as the Monsters ran away with the victory.
Lake Erie’s Luke Walker quickly killed any momentum gained off the Puusty goal less than a minute later, answering with a shot off the crossbar from the right circle to beat Smitty.
With the 4-1 hole already dug, Lake Erie tacked on three more power play goals from van der Gulik, Thomas Pock and Brad Malone in the third period to smother the Admirals.
Scott Ford’s return to the lineup wasn’t a happy one, as the former Ads captain made little impact on the outcome. He left the game in the second period, and we’ll keep you updated on his status. It’s not fair, of course, to single him out on a night when Milwaukee just wasn’t on its game. (He was -1, and the entire roster was -15.)
Looking at the stats, this one just wasn’t pretty all around. The Ads went 0 for 3 on the power play, and the offense clearly wasn’t consistent enough to get into a rhythm. Adding to that, there were quite a few odd-man rushes created by bad turnovers on the Ads’ end.
It’s tough to blame the PK when the Monsters didn’t break through on the man-advantage until the game was all but decided. But it didn’t do much to help things down the stretch, surrendering three goals in four total PP opportunities.
Evason said the decision to start Magnus Hellberg last Sunday was “an easy one.”
Smitty’s struggled mightily (to say the least) in his last two games, and he sure was stricken by that right circle tonight. Why do you think they went with him over Hellberg? It seems the Ads have been able to support the big goalie a lot more than Smith this season.
My biggest question is why? How do you go from beating the North division leader with Hellberg in net to dropping an absolute laugher to the third place team in that division with Smith?
Do you think not being the go-to starter that he was at the beginning of the season has thrown Smith off his game?
It’s not that he hasn’t had his brilliant moments. He has. It’s just that the team’s played better overall (especially recently) with the other guy between the pipes for some odd reason.
Why do you think that is?
If we’ve learned anything about Dean Evason, its that he’s quick to throw losses like this out the window. Do you think that’s best at this point, or is there something Milwaukee should take from this?