MILWAUKEE – Friday night 5-1 loss to Grand Rapids. Sunday afternoon 5-1 loss to Grand Rapids… I’m seeing a pattern here…
The Admirals certainly had momentum on their side, as the team snapped the IceHogs six-game win streak last night with a 3-2 win at Rockford. Jeremy Smith got the win between the pipes, stopping 22 of 24 shots he faced. Brad Winchester, Daniel Bang and Patrick Cehlin all scored for Milwaukee, which Cehlin’s marking his second in as many games. Prior to Friday night’s goal, Cehlin has been in an offensive slump, going 27 games without a goal dating back to December 9th against the Charlotte Checkers.
One hundred and thirty five miles south of the Ads game, Grand Rapids played their second of the weekend, dropping a 4-1 decision at Peoria Saturday night. Netminder Petr Mrazek gave up three goals, and Peoria’s Evgeny Grachev added an empty netter for good measure.
And then there was Sunday afternoon.
Andrej Nestrasil put Grand Rapids on the board early in the first with a bad angle shot on Smith stick side. Jeff Hoggan put their second on the board with six to go after redirecting a Nathan Paetsch wrister from inside the blue line. It was a strange goal all around, and although it appeared to be played with a high stick, AHL goal reviews don’t allow for that “type” of review.
Coach Evason, your thoughts please:
“We thought it was a high stick. We’ve obviously had an opportunity to look at the replays and yes, it was a high stick.”
Was their a video replay on the goal?
“You can’t review on the goal because the camera is over the net. In the NHL you can, but we just don’t have the capabilities to do that here.”
Oops. Moving right along…
If anyone had a good view or how the goal happened, it was goaltender Jeremy Smith. I spoke with him after the game to get his perspective.
“It was a point shot, and it was going over my head and I was in the butterfly with my glove next to my ear and above my head, and I thought it was going to go over the net. The guy in front of me (Grand Rapids forward Jeff Hoggan) tipped it, and it was clearly going over my head and it ended up in the net. There is no way that he could tip it up and over me and still have it go in… so ultimately, he tipped it down. If he tipped it down, his stick must’ve been over the net if it’s over my head.”
Now it’s your turn. What are your thoughts on the goal?
The defensive woes continued into the second period… Smith a foot in front of the crease, the rest of the team gave the Griffins waaaaaaaaay too much time/too many chances in the slot and Tomas Jurco sailed one over Smith’s left shoulder.
Fret not, Admirals fans. Victor Bartley put Milwaukee on the board midway through the third with a beaut of a wrister from the slot. Honorable mention goes to Chris Mueller, who sent a nice pass up from behind the Griffins net to set Bartley up for the tally. I say “fret not” to reference the fact that at least we didn’t walk away with a goose egg, not that a magical comeback happened. All that happened was that Milwaukee went on to take multiple penalties that ruined any chance of putting together a comeback. The Admirals put 35 shots on McCollum, but at the end of the day, if your defense isn’t in order and the lamp doesn’t light, 35 shots just doesn’t matter.
Post season is roughly six weeks away, and already the playoff picture is shaping up (early stages people, early stages…). Your thoughts, Jeremy Smith:
“It is a rollercoaster, you’ve just got to ride it out. There are peaks and valleys, and never get too high or too low. I think as long as we give it all we’ve got every night and leave it all on the table, that’s all we can ask for.”
Other notes on today’s game for your reading pleasure:
- Today was the battle of the American goaltenders. Both Jeremy Smith (Detroit, Michigan native) and Tom McCollum (Amherst, NY) represented the USA in the World Juniors (Smith in 2007/08 and McCollum in 2006/07 and 2008/09).
- The Admirals recalled F Jack MacLellan from ECHL Cincinnati yesterday morning. He was on hand for last night’s game in Rockford.
- Here’s Steff in the post-game clamoring again about Austin Watson. What ever happened to the Puustinen-Watson-Bang line? After Bang went down with an injury, the line never quite made a comeback. With the offensive woes plaguing the team as of late, is it time to return to some of the tried-and-true lines of past games?
“We thought Watson’s line was likely our best line tonight with Cehlin and Bang, Cehlin scored a really nice goal last night, and they’ve played very well the last two nights. We’ll shift people around for sure, obviously with Beck out it hurts our offensive attack, there’s not question about that, but we’re constantly working to try and find combinations that’ll give us results.”
- According to Evason, Ford is closer to returning to the line up than Beck is. Ford, who was acquired in mid-February, is skating in practice but has no time table for returning to the lineup.