The Admirals lost 5-1 on the road against the Oklahoma City Barons Tuesday night. Despite things being level after two period of play everything fell apart for the Admirals in the third period. There was a fluke bounce, a goal scored fifty-three seconds after that, miscommunication, and -lastly- a empty netter of the shorthanded variety to finish off a repeat scoreline from Sunday night.
With the first power-play chance of the night, the Barons allowed two odd-man breaks to the Admirals with the final of those chances getting converted by Austin Watson. Both Watson and Joe Pendenza were darting up ice. Watson had the puck from neutral ice all the way in on goal, didn’t pass over to Pendenza, but ripped a shot by Laurent Brossoit to score his nineteenth goal of the season. It’s the Admirals third shorthander of the season and the third allowed by the Barons on their campaign.
In the second period the Barons leveled things up at 1-1. There was a delayed penalty against Pontus Aberg coming but the Barons brought on the extra attacker and continued their attack. Jason Williams hard shot hit off of Magnus Hellberg and over to his left where Matthew Ford was waiting for the rebound tally for his fifteenth goal of the season. It was the first time that Hellberg had ever allowed a goal to the Barons in his career which snapped a personal shutout streak of 101:45 of ice time against Oklahoma City.
It was the third period where this game was blown to smithereens for the Admirals. The Barons had twenty-eight shots on goal through two period of play but the scoreline was even with the Admirals playing tight and composed defense. That all went out the window the moment the Barons took their first lead of the game.
When C.J. Ludwig unloaded a shot from the far left point the puck whistled clean over Hellberg and the net itself. However, the puck took a very awful bounce off the end boards and glass while managing to bank up and over the net and trickle down the back of Hellberg. Andrew Miller was on hand to get the final glancing touch to it to claim his twenty-second goal of the season.
It only took the Barons fifty-three seconds before scoring yet again. Chase Schaber managed to spin off a wrister off the top of the right wing faceoff circle and beat Hellberg to his glove side to make it a quick two-goal lead for the Barons on Schaber’s first goal in the AHL this season.
Things continued to go from bad to worse when the Barons netted their fourth goal of the night after a misplayed puck between Joe Piskula and Kevin Fiala. It appeared as though Piskula was just trying to clear pressure in the defensive zone of the Admirals by putting a pass off to neutral ice where Fiala was gliding from center to the right wing. As the pass came to him the puck kicked right off Fiala’s skate on the blueline and over to Travis Ewanyk who remained onsides. He powered a slap shot by Hellberg for his third goal of the season.
In desperation mode, the Admirals emptied their net with 2:21 remaining in regulation to bring on an extra attacker with an abbreviated power-play falling shortly to them afterwards. The final nail in the coffin was a long range empty net shorthanded goal scored by Ford for his second of the night and sixteenth goal of the season.
The best news that I can think up for the Admirals after tonight’s game is that they play tomorrow night. That third period display was about as shattered and flustered as the Admirals looked all season and I’d go as far as to say they shutdown after allowing those two goals in the space of fifty-three seconds. The Barons have put up five goals in all three of their games against the Ads this season. Tonight they also pounded the Ads in shots 41-24. This was a painful one. There’s only tomorrow’s road game against the San Antonio Rampage that can be thought of at the moment.
Ramblings: Prior to tonight’s game the AHL suspended Triston Grant for one-game as consequence for his actions the last time these two teams met on Sunday. Grant picked up an instigator in the final five minutes of the third period which resulted in an automatic one-game suspension under the provisions of AHL Rule 46.22. Rather than call up Josh Shalla from the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL it was Ian White filling in at right wing for the Admirals as Grant served his suspension tonight with a thinly stretched forward group. Tonight’s scratches included Mike Liambas (right-leg laceration), Miikka Salomaki (upper-body), and Triston Grant (serving one-game suspension). Jonathan Diaby returned after missing the previous two games after being injured in a fight with Daniel Maggio in Lake Erie. Mark Van Guilder played in his 366th game as an Admiral tonight which tied him with Scott Ford for the most games played by an Admiral in the AHL history of the team.
What happened to the Admirals tonight? What went so wrong in the third period? Could this be a bad sign that this road trip could be a continued rough patch for the team?