The Admirals lost 4-3 on the road against the Lake Erie Monsters Thursday night. This game saw the Admirals lose a two-goal lead that they established in the first period before withering under relentless pressure from the home-side Lake Erie.
This game may have started with a good minute of in-zone pressure and a power-play for the Admirals but the Monsters quickly found themselves up in faceoff wins and shots. Against the run of play, Taylor Aronson threw a puck from the blue line and into traffic standing in front of Roman Will’s net. The puck was redirected by Felix Girard and put the Admirals up 1-0 on his third goal of the season.
For a second consecutive game the Admirals tallied a power-play goal. Pontus Åberg was the last man at the end of a great series of quick passes to put away his team leading eleventh goal of the season. Brendan Leipsic’s primary assist was a quick one-touch pass to Åberg on the opposite wing after getting a puck from Miikka Salomaki.
Åberg was then on the receiving end of something else. Mitchell Heard hit the Swede from behind and sent him head first into the boards. This triggered Jimmy Oligny to drop the gloves with Heard and, fight card-wise, it was an even bout. Oligny fell down initially but regained his balance and both put in some decent work on each other. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the AHL reviews the hit Heard dished out on Åberg.
With under three minutes remaining in the second period the Monsters finally put a puck past Marek Mazanec. Sam Henley’s rush into the zone was disrupted when he lost control of the puck which proceeded to skip around the skates of Aronson and Oligny. Heard was in the right place at the right time to control and fire a wrist shot to the glove side of Mazanec to score his second goal of the season to tighten the Admirals lead to 2-1.
In the third period Salomaki was caught in the face by Stefan Elliott’s stick. He went down hard and left the ice with his blood on it and in quite distress. The resulting four minute power-play came and went with an added four-on-four section following a slashing call against Rich Clune.
Then the second fight of the game broke out after a drive to the Monsters net between Girard and Maxim Noreau. The two grappled and didn’t seem to quite land anything. Girard gets bonus points for the firm take down. As far as fights go. There wasn’t too much in this one.
After wave upon wave upon wave of Monsters offensive pressure they finally equalized. The Admirals had iced the puck and the resulting faceoff was won, spun, and fired in on Mazanec by the Monsters. Heard’s shot to the net was deflected by Paul Carey for his seventh goal of the season to make it 2-2.
The countless waves of attack by the Monsters were then met with some serious mental errors on the part of the Admirals. Salomaki, in his own attacking zone, was called for a slash after knocking a stick out of the hands on a backcheck. It took forty-four second into that power-play but the rifle shot of Elliot put the Monsters up 3-2 with only 1:56 left in regulation. The goal for Elliot goes down as his seventh of the season.
It was then very apparent that the Admirals brains had switched off entirely. Only twenty-four seconds after allowing the go-ahead goal the Admirals went from trailing by one-goal to two-goals. Mazanec hadn’t even had the chance to get out of his net for the last ditch push before Andrew Agozzino zipped his fourth goal of the season in to make it 4-2 in a matter of seconds.
Despite this deflated third period, that only saw four shots on goal, the Admirals managed to claw one back with fifty-five seconds remaining. Åberg hammered a shot from the point and found a deflection from Austin Watson to make it a 4-3 game on the strength of the Michigan native’s tenth goal of the season.
In the end, the Admirals dropped their tenth decision in twelve games. They have only seven points from their last twelve games and continue to sputter in form. From the highs of Tuesday. To the lows of tonight. It is getting to the point when you just do not know which Admirals team is going to show up anymore.
Ramblings: Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals included the likes of Joe Pendenza, Garrett Noonan, and Johan Alm. Ian White made his Admirals debut tonight. He was paired with Anthony Bitetto at the start of the game and appeared to hop around quite a bit.
Thoughts on tonight’s game? How deflating is this result given last game’s performance and the Admirals first period effort? Who is to blame for the lack of energy and creativity in tonight’s contest? What could have been done to slow down the Lake Erie Monsters pressure?