The Admirals lost on the road 4-2 against the Hamilton Bulldogs Friday night. Things started off badly with quick penalties taken and two power-play goals scored by the Bulldogs to give them an edge early on.
“When you have to kill six minutes in the first seven you lose a lot of guys,” cited assistant coach Stan Drulia after the game on Sports Radio 1250 WSSP. “You have to work so hard on the PK. We had a couple of guys miss some assignments and they were fortunate enough to score. We had a hard time recovering from that.”
The game started off poorly for the Admirals with two quick penalties taken inside of five minutes. The opening penalty kill from a Charles-Olivier Roussel hooking call went well – with no shots on goal. The following penalty kill from another hooking call, this time to Patrick Cehlin, led to the Bulldogs opening goal. Michael Bournival beat a sprawling Marek Mazanec for his first goal the season.
Then we had a fight between Mike Liambas and Nick Tarnasky following a hit along the boards. It ended with a takedown by Tarnasky and an additional roughing minor to Liambas.
With that extra roughing penalty to Liambas added – the Bulldogs were able to score their second power-play goal of the first period. Greg Pateryn’s shot from the blue line was able to whistle over Mazanec to make it 2-0 Bulldogs off of two power-play goals inside nine-minutes. It was Pateryn’s eleventh goal of the season.
In the second period the Bulldogs kept the pressure on. Taylor Beck was forced into a turnover and the puck came to the tape of Bournival on a breakaway. Miikka Salomaki took him down and Bournival was awarded a penalty shot. On his attempt, he beat Mazanec to the glove side with a wrister from between the circles for his second goal of the game to make it a 3-0 scoreline.
The Admirals finally had a response and a response from an unlikely source. Mathieu Tousignant held the puck behind the net after a Roussel feed down low. He passed it out in front of the net and picked up Mike Liambas who fired a quick shot for his third goal of the season.
Any momentum that could have been gained from that was quickly squashed when the Bulldogs tallied their fourth goal of the game less than two-minutes later. There was a small pile up around Mazanec and Tarnasky was able to slide a puck underneath the Czech netminder for his twelfth goal of the season.
“That’s tough,” said Drulia. “You just get a little bit of a spark there to make it 3-1. Even on their fourth goal we do a lot of good things. [Patrick Cehlin] gets in a shooting lane, blocks a shot, and [the puck] manages to find an open guy in the slot. Pretty tough to rebound from there.”
With the game winding down, Tousignant was getting his chirping game going and found himself on the receiving end of an elbow with a scrum unfolding around the incident. Subsequently, the Admirals wound up with a five-on-three power-play opportunity with 5:18 remaining in the game.
Taylor Beck was able to score quickly on the initial five-on-three to make it a 4-2 game. Beck received a pass from Bryan Rodney and flicked a wrister past Dustin Tokarski, off the post, and in for his thirteenth goal of the season.
That’s how this game would end. It would seem the real undoing in this game comes from a poor start that allowed the Bulldogs to grab three quick power-play chances and get two goals off of those chances. They might have entered the game with the second worst power-play in the AHL but, if you give any team chances like that in quick succession, it is asking for trouble.
Ramblings: Taylor Beck, who was questionable heading into this game, did play tonight. This meant the lone scratches were Michael Young (healthy) and Joonas Jarvinen (injured). In Calgary, Calle Jarnkrok made his NHL debut with the Nashville Predators – and picked up his first NHL point with an assist. Also in Calgary, former-Admiral Victor Bartley scored his first career NHL goal. In Cincinnati, Magnus Hellberg made his first start returning from an ankle injury he sustained in January. Hellberg allowed four goals from thirteen shots, was pulled from the net, but did pick up the win in a 7-5 thrill ride in Cyclones-land.
Thoughts on tonight’s performance? Was the absence of Calle Jarnkrok and Colton Sissons that big of a factor? What needs to change by tomorrow afternoon’s contest against the Toronto Marlies to change the tide?