The Admirals lost 5-4 in a shootout against the Oklahoma City Barons Sunday afternoon. The Ads trailed 4-2 late in the third period but a goal from Mark Van Guilder and an incredible goal from Simon Moser with 2.6 seconds remaining secured a point by sending the game into overtime. Unfortunately, the Ads weren’t able to top the Barons when it came to the shootout.
After coughing up two goals in last night’s first period – it was evident that the Ads wanted to attack hard to start this game. For their efforts they cracked Barons goalie Richard Bachman a heck of a lot faster than they did last night. Taylor Beck provided a cool backhanded pass across ice to Filip Forsberg who buried his sixth goal of the season. It’s only Forsberg’s second even-strength goal scored in North America – both of which have come with the Admirals.
A trend that couldn’t be corrected from last night was the Ads power-play who, like last night, failed to capitalize from a lengthy five-on-three chance. Last night it was a minute and eighteen seconds worth. Today it was fifty-one seconds worth. Both came and went without any damage done. When you get opportunities like that – they need to be buried.
Just before the final minute of the first period the Barons equalized by finishing off a three-on-two rush. Tyler Pitlick received a pass from the left faceoff circle from Jack Combs and was able to beat Marek Mazanec for his fourth goal of the season.
The lone tally of the second period came off of a rebound effort for Barons winger Jack Combs. David Musil’s hard shot from the point was mishandled with the glove by Mazanec and the puck spilled out to Combs – who finished with a backhander. The goal by Combs was his first of the season.
In the third period Marek Mazanec did something he has never done before in the AHL: he allowed goal number three. In all six starts prior to this he had allowed exactly two goals. The third goal was scored by Matthew Ford on a low wrist shot to the stick-side – his tenth of the season.
As mentioned, a real struggle all weekend long has been the Admirals power-play. They earned another five-on-three chance in the third period. It wasn’t capitalized on – but the backend to that penalty was for the Ads first power-play goal in twelve chances on the weekend. The goal was fired in from the left circle by Vinny Saponari for his fifth goal of the season.
At the time I felt this was going to be the backbreaker. Right after the Ads score on the power-play Scott Ford took a cross-checking penalty that set up an instant response for the Barons. The shot from Taylor Fedun ricocheted off of Mark Van Guilder’s leg and past Mazanec for a power-play goal – and Fedun’s sixth of the season. It was a 4-2 Barons lead with 5:12 remaining in the game.
Then some karma for Van Guilder. Having had the puck bounce off of him and in at one end – he scored down at the other end. The set up came from a good pass by Saponari that gave MVG a quality chance on Bachman. He delivered with his seventh goal of the season.
Like last night, this came down to the wire in the extra attacker situation once Mazanec emptied his net. Unlike last night, the Ads came through… with 2.6 seconds left on the clock! Huge credit on this play goes to Van Guilder winning a faceoff with 4.2 seconds remaining. The puck went back to Moser who scored five-hole for his eighth goal of the season – and queued up overtime.
The Admirals might be disappointed that, after racing back late to earn a point, they didn’t bury the Barons in the OT period. The chances were there to be taken. Beck, Moser, Watson, and Roussel all had quality scoring chances that might have finished this one off. Instead we went to the shootout.
The Barons chose to shoot first and Combs scored five-hole. Tousignant stepped up and his backhanded five-hole chance wasn’t doing. Then Ryan Hamilton scored by ringing his attempt off the post and off the back of Mazanec and in. Pressure on. Beck skated up and ripped a low wrister past the glove of Bachman. Lander was stopped by a Mazanec blocker save. Forsberg skated in and skated himself right down to the ice – falling and missing his chance. Roman Horak’s shot hit off Mazanec’s right pad. Saponari was denied with a blocker save from Bachman. Tyler Pitlick had the opportunity to clinch the win if he scored – but was stopped by a stick save from Mazanec. Moser, who tied the game with 2.6 seconds remaining, needed to score – and did score, forehander to the stick-side, to force sudden death in the shootout. C.J. Stretch beat Mazanec to the low stick-side. Miikka Salomaki needed to keep the game going by scoring – but his backhanded effort missed the net.
So, you can look at this game in the silver lining’s sense that they probably shouldn’t even have earned a point in this game. Otherwise you can just as easily look at these two games in Oklahoma City, see the shots piled up and missed chances on the power-play, and get cranky that much better results should have been had on this road trip. Three games. Two points. Short memory for now – the Ads play at home against the Toronto Marlies on Tuesday night.
Pesky Fact: Tonight’s game was a new season high for shots in a game by the Admirals with forty-five shots on goal. Colton Sissons and Scott Valentine lead the team with six shots each.
Thoughts on today’s game? Happy with escaping with the one point or disappointed? What will it take for the Ads to find success on the road? What do you make of Mazanec’s form in his two games back from Nashville? The Ads have now conceded thirty-two goals in eight January games… what’s the problem?