Admirals are "Special" in their 6-3 victory over the Whale; improve to 4-0 on the season.
Written by: Brad Johnson
Last night the Norfolk Admirals, top affilate of the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Connecticut Whale, whose NHL parent club is the New York Rangers by a 6-3 margin. The Admirals start mirrored that of each of the previous three games, as the Admirals were the first team to the find the back of the net to start the game. Norfolk has begun the season 4-0 for just the second time in franchise history. The Admirals went 3/8 with the man-advantage and also added 2 short handed goals showing it is possible to defend against that potent Connecticut power play group.
Norfolk found the back of the net at the 4:33 mark of the opening period. With Norfolk on the PK it was First Year pro, Chris Wagner making a sound defensive play by stealing the puck in the neutral zone and sending a quick feed to Troy Bodie who broke free of a hold by Connecticut defenseman Blake Parlett, with the delayed penalty call forthcomthing, Bodie powered past former Admiral Mike Vernace and in alone across the Connecticut blue line firing a wrist shot over the glove of goaltender Scott Stajcer to give the Admirals the early lead, a lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the night. The Admirals have now scored first in each of their four games this season, with a goal being scored within the first five minutes of each conest.
The Admirals jumped out to a two-goal lead while on the power play just over 4 minutes later. This time with the Admirals controlling the puck, Holland a cross ice pass to the point where Vatanen had plenty of room to one-time a blast through traffic that found the back of the net for a 2-0 lead at 8:03
Connecticut got on the board with 4:00 remaining in the period. Collins sent what seemed to be a harmless shot from the point but Kyle Jean re-directed the puck just enough to change the angle as it was deflected into the net behind Andersen to cut the Whale lead 2-1 following 20:00 of play.
It took just :29 seconds into the 2nd period for the Admirals to regain their two goal advantage. Elkins made a beautiful play behind the Connecticut goal, breaking free of a defender while controlling the puck he sent a tape-to-tape pass out to Ryan Lasch who wasted little time snapping a wrist shot over the shoulder as it deflected off the crossbar, and into the twine past Stajcer for a 3-1 Norfolk lead.
At 5:31 of the period it was Connecticut making a sound defensive play in the neutral zone forcing an Admirals turnover, taking advantage of a 2 on 1 break and a crisp pass from teammate Kris Newbury, it was Christian Thomas scoring blocker side on Andersen to cut into the Admirals lead.
With the Admirals killing a penalty, Norfolk won the faceoff in their own end and it was Troy Bodie chipping the puck off the glass and powering past a Whale defender, Bodie quickly skated to the puck near the right point, sending a saucer pass to Wagner who took the puck on his back hand and scoring glove side for his first professional goal. The goal was the Admirals second shorthanded tally on the night which came at 18:08 of the second stanza giving the Admirals a 4-2 lead after 40:00.
In the third period, it was the visitors with the quick start. Just 35 seconds into the final frame, Connecticut took advantage of a power play goal as it was Kolarik scoring to cut the lead to 4-3 with plenty of time remaining for another potential comeback.
The strong start by the Whale was short lived as the Admirals did not let up defensively for the rest of the period and controlled the tempo for the remainder of the contest. Norfolk took advantage of a power play of their own, while enjoying a two man advantage the Admirals cycled the puck with consistency. Vatanen took a shot through traffic, Stajcer stopped the inital shot, however, Maroon was patiently waiting and banged home the rebound chance to make the score 5-3 at 13:42.
With time winding down in the game it was Palmieri who closed out the scoring with just 45 seconds remaining. The puck caromed off the boards and onto the stick of Palmieri who took a quick wrist shot and scored five-hole to put the final nail in the coffin.
Scott Stajcer turned aside 25 of 31 Norfolk Shots in the losing effort, while Andersen denied 32 of 35 shots to secure the victory.
Click here for the offical AHL Box Score:
The Admirals have started a season 4-0 first just the second time in their history. Previous season in which they started 4-0 was the 2010-2011 campaign.
Norfolk has scored first in each of their four games this season. Each goal has come within the first five minutes of the opening faceoff
Holland (2g, 3a) and Palmieri (2g, 4a) have recorded a point in each of the Admirals four games to start the season.
Chris Wagner, Sami Vatanen and Ryan Lasch each scored their first career AHL goals.