Not Up To The Heat; Ads lose 4-2

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The Admirals hung in there with the best in the West but came up short late. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The Admirals lost 4-2 against the Abbotsford Heat Friday night. It was a solid effort for the Ads through two periods but the Heat stuck around to haunt them in the third to take the win.

“We continually shoot ourselves in the foot,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason. “We’re not happy with obviously our situation here.”

The Abbotsford Heat were able to score an opener in the first minute of the game. A puck in the slot, played by Ben Street, fumbled on towards Sven Baertschi on the right wing side of the cage. He had no one around him by the net – and essentially scored on an empty net for his fifth goal of the season on the Heat’s first shot.

It didn’t take the Admirals long to find an answer goal. After a hard drive to the net by Colton Sissons, Vinny Saponari cradled the rebound, spun, fired, and the puck flew past Olivier Roy. It was the tenth goal of the season for Saponari.

There have been some flat offensive efforts for the Admirals in recent games. It wasn’t the problem in the first period. Despite that opening goal, the Admirals really controlled the period and outshot the Western Conference’s top team 20-8 in the period.

We also had a fight in the closing seconds of the first period between Mike Liambas and Carter Bancks. This fight happened after a huge hit by Liambas on defenseman John Ramage in the corner on the forecheck. There were some good punches landed by Liambas. Bancks was able to tug Liambas to the ice for the take down. For a quick bout – I’d call that one even.

In the second period the Admirals were able to claim the lead after a fantastic play from Taylor Beck. The 22-year old winger skated in one-on-one with defenseman Shane O’Brien. He skated right in on him, deked to the right towards the slot, used O’Brien as a screen, and fired a wrist shot hard over the glove of Roy. It was Beck’s twelfth goal of the season.

The Admirals lost their brief lead midway through the second period after Ben Street’s twenty-first goal of the season. The Heat, just earning a power-play for a questionable too many men on the ice call, broke into the zone with a two-on-zero rush led by Street. He took it all the way in on Scott Darling, flipped a backhander, and his shot hit off the cross back and down. Once that puck was in the crease it rolled back towards Darling’s right leg and he slid it into his own net.

Abbotsford was able to break the deadlock past the halfway marker of the third period in a goal very similar to their opener. Max Reinhart was able to allude Charles-Olivier Roussel and get to Darling’s doorstep with space around him. He took a pass from Markus Granlund and scored to the blocker side of Darling for his thirteenth goal of the season.

That goal would be the game-winner for the Heat – who added an empty netter from distance by Brett Olson for good measure with 0.8 seconds left on the clock. The Admirals have now lost four-straight home games.

“I think right now we’re beating ourselves,” said Anthony Bitetto. “I think we’re better than most teams. It says on the board every day playoff hockey. It’s the little things that are going to make us a playoff team and hopefully go far in the end.”

Ramblings: Scott Ford missed tonight’s game with an upper body injury. In his absence Bryan Rodney wore a third “A” patch for the Admirals alongside fellow alternate captains Mark Van Guilder and Joe Piskula.

4 thoughts on “Not Up To The Heat; Ads lose 4-2”

  1. No power play tonight. Send Rodney to Cincinnati; or maybe Albania. Use Bitetto.

    If Evason can’t turn this talented team around, he needs to go. They lack the motivation to play 60 minutes of solid hockey and it is killing them. You heard the fans booing in the last 30 seconds when the Admirals couldn’t get in the O zone with an extra attacker. Pathetic exhibition.

    The refs were a steaming pile of garbage in the third period. They did so well in periods 1 and 2, that I wonder what happened? The Ads puck carrier is hauled down behind the Heat net. The guy from the Heat had the blade of his stick stuck in the Ads skate 10 feet from the ref. Granland slashed Watson from behind twice and no call. Tousi gets hit in the head after the whistle by one guy and the second one skates up and punches him in the mouth in front of the ref (#40). No call! The Admirals should send that tape to the AHL. Two of the Ads went after one of the refs after the horn. Both of them had their sticks held, and no call.

  2. Adsfan: The refs missed a slew foot behind the play where Kevin Henderson was kicked off his feet. It was rather obvious – save for the fact all officials were watching the puck travel through neutral ice.

    The power-play has annoyed me for some time now. The set up, one man on the point (and a slow skating one in Rodney at that), almost asks the penalty kill to clear the puck where they wish or score shorthanded — which teams have done 10 times this season.

    It was a positive game through two periods. The Heat just took the third. Fairly annoying when they put up so many shots against such a good team.

  3. A solid 20 shot performance in the first. Wasted… this team is making mental mistakes, no excuse for two too many men on the ice calls. There also seems to be a lack of physical toughness, with few exceptions.
    I agree completely about the lack of power play but that has been the case before. If we plan to make the playoffs we need to get our heads straight.
    Perhaps, missing captain Scott Ford, could be part of the reason. A mere 8 shots In the final 20 minutes Definitely count against this team

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