Norfolk Admirals – Week in Review:
By: Brad Johnson
This past week the new-look Norfolk Admirals jumped out to a 4-0 start on the season with a pair of home wins against the Worcester Sharks and Connecticut Whale. While the names on the back of the sweaters are different, the crest on the front remains the same, which means the incredible consecutive regular season winning streak extends to 32 straight. Norfolk hits the road for the first time this season, playing a pair in Newfoundland on the “Rock” against the St. John’s Ice Caps. Last season the Admirals swept the Ice Caps out of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference Finals, however, most of the Admirals personnel this season were members of the Syracuse Crunch team that lost in the opening round of the playoffs at the hands of the Ice Caps. The Admirals will return home to face the Binghamton Senators on November 2nd and 3rd.
Kyle Palmieri (2g, 4a) and Sami Vatanen (1g, 5a) lead the team in scoring with 6 points. Corey Elkins and Patrick Maroon are tied for the team in goals with each having 3 apiece. Rookie Chris Wager has an impressive +5 rating through the first four games on the season and also netted his first professional goal in Saturday's 6-3 win. Igor Bobkov (68 Saves on 75 shots, 3.24gaa, 0.907%) and Frederik Andersen (51 saves on 56 shots, 2.51gaa, 0.911%) have split the goaltending duties registering two victories apiece.
10/12/12 - Admirals 4 vs. Sharks 2
On October 12, 2012 Admirals fans saw their team return to the ice for the first time since capturing the 2012 Calder Cup Championship, however, as most everyone in the AHL hockey world knows by now this past offseason featured an affiliation swap between the Anaheim Ducks and Tampa Bay Lightning. This essentially means that the players whom won the Championship for Norfolk back in June are now members of the Syracuse Crunch and the players wearing Crunch sweaters last season are now officially your Norfolk Admirals. At the end of the day the game of hockey is a business and we must move forward. Fans that were able to attend opening night saw a very brief Calder Cup Championship “Celebration”. The Admirals management made the best of a difficult situation, as there were no returning players from the Championship team; the Admirals front office brought the Calder Cup to center ice and dropped the Championship Banner from the rafters. Following a loud applause and acknowledgement from the stands it was time to officially move forward and your 2012 Norfolk Admirals were introduced onto the ice.
John Mitchell opened the scoring just 2:07 into the 2012 campaign off a beautiful give-and-go from Devante Smith-Pelley. Peter Holland picked off a pass in the neutral zone and broke in alone across the blue line firing a wrist shot past Stalock the Sharks netminder to give the Admirals a 2-0 lead at the 12:47 mark of the opening period. From that point the Admirals remained in control as they went onto win the contest by a 4-2 count.
10/13/12 - Admirals 4 vs. Sharks 3 - Shootout
The following night it was once again the Admirals opening the scoring early, Patrick Maroon scored on a deflection just 1:11 into the contest, however, it was a much tighter contest and for much of the game the Admirals found themselves in their own defensive end. Despite being outshot 45-29 the Admirals escaped victoriously while completing the sweep of their opening weekend series against the Sharks by way of the shootout. Both teams played a physical contest with big hits coming from both benches. In my opinion the Sharks held the advantage most of the night and kept pressing all night long. Bobkov appeared to be shaky at times with his rebound control but he never folded. Bobkov was absolutely stellar and a difference maker in the final twenty minutes as the Sharks swarmed the net outshooting the Admirals 19-5 in the 3rd. Bobkov was even bigger in the Shootout turning aside 4 of 5 shots to earn the W in his Norfolk debut. The Admirals franchise winning streak was extended to 30 consecutive regular season victories as Norfolk defeated the Worcester Shark 4-3 in the shootout.
10/19/12 Admirals 5 vs. Connecticut 4 – Overtime
Friday night was the Corey Elkins show. Elkins began the scoring after a sound defensive play at 1:02 of the opening period. The Admirals would hold a 4-2 lead heading into the final 20:00 of play where it was former Admiral and 2012 Calder Cup Champion Brandon Segal lighting the lamp twice for the visitors to force the extra period and earning the Whale their first point on the season. The celebration was short lived as Elkins would close out the scoring in dramatic overtime fashion; Lasch worked the puck to Vatanen whom quickly sent a pass to an un-defended Corey Elkins who wasted no time burying his third goal past a sprawling Missiaen for his third goal of the night, completing the Hat Trick and leading the Admirals to victory.
10/20/12 – Admirals 6 vs. Connecticut 3
The Norfolk Admirals, top affiliate 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 once again 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 story of the night was special teams, Norfolk went 3/8 with the man-advantage and added 2 short handed goals on their way to a 6-3 victory.