Let's face it, the three goals and emotional third period made this game a lot closer than it should have been. The Aeros got away from playing responsible hockey, turned the puck over time and time again, and the Admirals pretty much routed them with five easy goals on Matt Hackett.
They had absolutely no answer for the line of Steve Begin, Mike Bartlett and Andreas Thuresson.
Begin finished with a goal and two assists, and Bartlett and Thuresson added a goal and an assist apiece as the Admirals now lead the best-of-seven series two games to one.
Kind of masking one breakdown after another were the two goals in the third period. Scandella made it 3-2 on a pretty power play goal, and Palmer's breakaway might go down as one of the strangest in a long time. It was clearly a goal, and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED how the replay folks played it over about three times, including the last two in super slow motion.
But both times the Aeros scored, the Admirals answered very quickly, knocking out any and all momentum. I hate to point fingers, but facts are facts. The same three forwards (O'Sullivan, Wellman and DiSalvatore) were on the ice for Milwaukee's last two goals.
Mike Yeo did not throw any of his players under the bus, but he did not mince his words when talking about the mental breakdowns and turnovers.
“Every chance they got, for the most part, came off turnovers,” said Yeo. “That is just guys (not) being ready, being focused out on the ice and knowing what they are supposed to do.”
Another good one from Yeo:
“It’s not like (Milwaukee) did anything fantastic out there,” added Yeo. “What they got, we completely gave them. We had guys that turned pucks over like crazy, and that played right into their game.”
O'Sullivan is getting a few points this postseason, but Wellman and DiSalvatore have just four points (COMBINED) in the playoffs. Earl and Peters and Gillies are all getting a few points, but Noreau (three points in seven games) is another scoring threat that is being neutralized.
Scandella, DiSalvatore and O’Sullivan all finished with a plus-minus rating of minus-three on Tuesday. Wellman, Spurgeon and Bagnall each finished minus-two. Earl stood out with three assists and was named the game’s third star. He was one of just five players to finish even on the night; no one was on the plus side of the score sheet.
It was a bad night for the boys, and I am sure they'll play better on Thursday. But playing better might not be enough. They probably need to win the next two, and if they lose Game 4, they are going to need three straight wins, including two in a row at Bradley Center.
Practice is tomorrow at Toyota Center, and Gillies had some good words about what needs to be done.
"We’ll have practice tomorrow, get rid of some bugs, and we’ll come out hard on Thursday," he said.