Simek and Janus Help Admirals Win
Slovak Pair Key to Win
Slovaks Simek and Janus Pace Admirals Win
By Gerry Cantlon
HARTFORD, CT. – The Norfolk Admirals won 7-3 over the Hartford Wolf Pack before an announced crowd 2,938 Wednesday night at the XL Center .
The Admirals wasted little time as they attacked a depleted Hartford defense which has now given up 27 goals in their 4 game losing streak.
The two man deep attack produced their first goal at 11:57, when Slovak Juraj Simek scored his 16th goal when he took a pass from Dana Tyrell at the RW face off circle by getting Hartford goalie Chad Johnson to commit first and then fired a wrist shot over his left shoulder for a 1-0 lead.
Slovak goalie Jaroslav Janus kept the game scoreless with back to back stops on Derek Couture and Dane Byers’ rebound with 8:40 to go on his doorstep and Wolf Pack center Corey Locke’s short-handed bid off a 2-on-1 at 11:18 before Simek’s goal.
Both players both hail from the same town of Presov with Simek the older of the two.
The Admirals then increased their lead on their second power play as Brandon Bochenski picked up a loose puck in center ice went by one player, accelerated like a freight train in the Wolf Pack zone leaving defenseman Corey Potter in his rearview mirror and beat Johnson to the glove side with a quick wrister at 14:49.
“We wanted to establish things early against Hartford and having Bo (Bochenski) in the lineup certaintly gives us extra fire power,” remarked Norfolk head coach Jim Johnson.
The Wolf Pack cut the lead to 2-1 at 16:19 of the first period when defenseman Jared Nightingale had his first shot at the blueline blocked as he partially fanned on the shot,but stayed with the puck getting a second attempt off that center Brodie Dupont deflected his 11th of the year perfectly past Jaroslav Janus.
The Admirals wasted little time in regaining a two-goal lead just 53 seconds into the second period when Dana Tyrell’s shot from the left point bounced off the back boards to veteran Ryan Craig, who quickly sent a pass in front of the net to a wide-open Adam Hall who buried his 10th quickly past a startled Johnson who had no idea where the puck was.
“I’ve said from the beginning you don’t score a lot of goals in the NHL without somebody in front and that that play best illustrates it,” said Admirals Jim Johnson.
The Wolf Pack had chances on their second power play to cut the deficit, but Russian Evgeny Grachev missed an open net on a shot from the left circle at 6:20. The Wolf Pack then caught a break when Simek whistled one off the the crossbar and the rebound went to defenseman Ryan McGinnis who fired high over a wide open net at 10:40.
The Admirals made it 4-1 as defenseman Matt Lashoff, a thorn in Hartford’s side when he played in Providence, took a pass from Paul Szczechura, skated around a pair defensemen Finnish Ilkka Heikkinen and Kevin Schaeffer and fired a shot that trickled through Johnson’s 5 hole at 12:07 for his 6th of the season.
Johnson was pulled again replaced for Swedish netminder Miika Wiikman. It didn’t get any better for him.
Wiikman rejected Mitch Fadden’s rebound shot with 5:15 left in the period, but the Admirals made it 5-1 during a 4-on-4 when defenseman Scott Jackson’s shot from the left circle deflected off defenseman Nigel Williams’stick and between Wiikman’s legs at 17:52 for his first goal.
The damage was complete and the Wolf Pack chasing a last playoff position were woeful all over the ice, but especially in front of their own goal.
Janus not facing many quality chances snared a Kevin Schaffer shot with his glove hand and a Nigel Williams shot from 25 feet out during the second.
The Wolf Pack (25-24-3-4) allowed a season-high 45 shots and have yielded 27 goals in their lastest losing streak, which left them 2-8-2-0 in their last 12 games and dropped them two points behind the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Meanwhile, the red hot Admirals (28-25-3-1) have won three of four starts and are 13-2-1-1 since the All-Star break when Johnson replaced Darren Rumble as their head coach.
Two teams going in very opposite directions.
“This is the worst I’ve ever felt in decades, they outshot us (45-24), our goaltending wasn’t good, we lost the one-on-one battles and we talked about the importance of a good start, given that we had given up a goal on our first shift in the last two games, and it was (9-1) shots when they scored their first goal, ‘ said Wolf Pack head coach Ken Gernander’s whose red hot stare could have melted all the snow around the XL Center.
Asked further if he felt worse than the teams 9-2 drubbing in Hershey in December? The answer was quick.
“Absolutely, its even worse at this time of the year ( a playoff race on).”
Rookie goalie Chad Johnson took the latest loss extremely hard. He sat alone in the locker room in his full game gear a half-hour after the game in which he failed to complete for a second consecutive game.
How rough has his patch been ?
He allowed three goals on four shots in the first 5:32 of a 7-4 loss in Portland, Maine Monday. He gave up four goals on 21 shots in 32:07 i this game and 14 in total on 60 shots since he was sent down by the Rangers. That’s a 4.66 GAA and a .8444 save percentage.
A place last years top NCAA goalie with a 1.66 GAA is not accustomed to being at.
“The last three games have been my worst games of the season by far,no one is playing the way we know we can play, starting with me. I’m not where I need to be. When other guys make mistakes, other guys need to step up and play strong, and that’s not happening right now,” said an always eloquent Johnson considering his clearly dour mood.
“It’s really frustrating and disappointing the way we are playing, It’s kind of hard to explain, and I wish I knew (what was wrong) because then it wouldn’t be going the way it’s going. I’m fighting the puck, and pucks are hitting me and taking bad bounces. It’s just not going the right way right now, and all you can do is focus on tomorrow and get better.
“Things happen where you go in stretches like this, but everybody has them, even the best goalies in the world. Even they struggle sometimes, but it’s just matter of getting out of it by going back to doing the little things in practice and having good habits. Hopefully it will carry over in games, and we’ll start getting the results that we need to get. We just have to stick together and go back to basics.”
He showed just how much he cared and was bothered by spending 45 minutes in a team practice suit working off his anger by wailing pucks at the penalty box area and sideboards in an empty arena. He also had a brief chat with assistant coach JJ Daigneault.
NOTES: Several ex-Wolf Pack players dot Olympic lineups. Current player Andres Ambuhl (Switzerland) and the rest have performed for Hartford the past 13 years Ryan Callahan (USA), John Tripp (Germany), Vladimir Denisov (Belarus), Jarko Immonen (Finland), Fedor Tyutin (Russia) and Ivan Baranka (Slovakia) who replaced another ex-Wolf Pack Richard Lintner who had an injury.
Story added on 19th February 2010 at 21:43 GMT
Story submitted by: Gerry Cantlon.