AHL Game Night 10/20: Senators at Admirals
Tomorrow's headline: Admirals Killed by Self Inflicted Wounds.
NOR Taylor, (2) (Wanvig, Jones), 3:59 (PP)
BNG Hamel, (1) (Nikulin, Bois), 5:12
BNG Bois, (2) , 10:19 (SH)
BNG Mauldin, (1) (Zubov, Lee), 0:42
BNG Bass, (2) (Kinch, Zubov), 17:43
BNG Hamel, (2) , 6:51
Let me just say first I don't think this was a case of being outclassed by the Senators by any means. The Sens did not have a heavy zone time advantage on the Ads in the first two periods. They didn't skate circles around Norfolk. The Admirals simply made too many mistakes, some of them unforced, that ended up in the back of their net.
Justin Taylor's probably not going to have an easier power play goal all year (thank you Geoff Waugh for the stupid fight instigator penalty) than the one he got early in the game. Taylor was uncovered in the slot and Binghamton allowed a simple passing play from behind the net and Taylor easily put it home. Unfortunately that was the last goal Jeff Glass, who was very good when he needed to be, would allow.
Binghamton's first goal came on a very passive play by the pairing of Schneider and Lampman. The Sens came over the line on what appeared to be a harmless 2-on-2 play and criss-crossed very slowly just inside the Norfolk blueline on a slow developing play you could probably have timed with a sun dial. However, for some reason, Schneider and Lampman kept backing in and backing in eventually allowing Denis Hamel to get the puck at the right wing circles with all the time in the world to shoot it and at the AHL level Hamel is a sniper and he beat Ryan Munce cleanly.
The second goal for Binghamton came shorthanded on a play where Bryce Lampman tried to carry the puck out of his own zone and simply was stripped by Dany Bois right outside the Norfolk blueline and Bois walked in and beat Munce on the breakaway. Truly a boneheaded move by Lampman, who Steve Stirling told me this morning has not played up to the level he should, and he definitely didn't in the first period tonight.
Norfolk then proceeded to quickly give up the third goal to Binghamton within the first minute of the second period as Mauldin put in a puck off a goal mouth scramble.
Mind you, things hadn't totally unravelled at that point and Norfolk actually came very close to getting back within one goal on a power play later in the period on a very nice backdoor feed where Dan Jancevski was robbed blind by Glass.
Then with under three minutes to go in the second period some sloppy play in the neutral zone led to a Binghamton 2-on-1 that turned into a partial breakaway that Cody Bass potted to really put the nail in the Ads' coffin.
Even then after two periods the shots were only 20-17 in favor of the Senators and, as I said, the Admirals were not being completely outclassed. They were just relentlessly shooting themselves in the foot over and over and over again. So it was very disheartening to see the lack of effort by the team in the third period when they were outshot a staggering 16-1. They. Gave. Up. Period, point blank. Other than Wanvig and Collymore I can't recall anyone else who really tried to do anything other than get back to their apartment ASAP in that third and there ought to be some shame in that locker room for that.
It's easy to go to work and do your job, any job, when things are going well. What makes a professional a professional are the things they do when there is adversity involved and they still work hard and perform their duties to the best of their abilities. That did not happen tonight at all in the third period, and the Norfolk crowd was rightfully disgruntled (read: completely pissed) by it. They paid full price for their tickets and only got 2/3 of an effort.
Jonathan Boutin played well in the third period under quite a bit of duress with the exception of his unforced puckhandling gaffe that gave Denis Hamel a very easy, gift wrapped second goal of the game. Still, I came away from this weekend with nothing positive to say about the goaltending situation with Munce and Boutin. The Jekyll and Hyde routine by the skaters in front of them left me apprehensive about how the rest of the early season is going to unfold.
Andy Rogers got into the lineup for the first time this season tonight as Coach Stirling scratched Justin Keller. It was interesting after talking to Coach Stirling this morning I sort of had the Cliff's Notes version of what to look for as far as deficiencies in certain players' games, and Rogers went by the book. His decisions with the puck were sometimes very questionable tonight. Also, Marek Kvapil had a couple of plays where he was not strong getting plays out of his own zone along the boards and found himself busted down to the third line for parts of the game for it.
It occurs to me Zbynek Hrdel is the opposite of the Andre Roy human victory cigar in Tampa. When Hrdel is playing that's Stirling telling you he doesn't have much faith in the way his more skilled youngsters are playing, and Hrdel played an awful lot tonight.
Kudos to Vladimir Mihalik for trying to settle business with Jeremy Yablonski tonight. Demerits for getting whipped by the smaller man in the fight.
It was a sad walk to the car as I'll be leaving Norfolk tomorrow night to head home. I dropped a dollar in the street musician's jar and hoped for some kharma for the Admirals.
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.