The Admirals saw action in four games this week, losing just their second at home, winning their first on the road, but picking up just four points out of eight in the first three games of a long seven game road trip.
The Norfolk Admirals began their four-game week at home Tuesday to face off against the Elmira Jackals (Buffalo Sabres) for the first time this season. As has happened nine times out of twelve games played this season, the Admirals found themselves on the board first and early in the third period on a goal by Josh Currie. Elmira went up by a goal, beating Admirals' netminder Ty Rimmer once in the first period and again in the second. Norfolk's Tommy Mele would tie the game at two a piece just over a minute in to the third period, but the Jackals beat Rimmer twice more on goals just :15 seconds apart. Winger Jonathan Lessard gave the Admirals hope with his first of the season with just over half of the third period left to play, but the 4-3 score would stand and Norfolk was handed its second home loss of the season. Biggest statistic of the night was the 44 shots on goal Ty Rimmer faced, giving up just four goals. That's a heck of a work-out for any goalie, and it wouldn't be the only firing squad a Norfolk net-minder would see on the week.
The bad luck continued when on Thursday both Greg Chase and Marco Roy were recalled by the Bakersfield Condors (Edmonton Oilers) and the Admirals would find themselves on the road without two of their most dependable players and 12 of the Admirals' 93 points.
Friday was the first of the three-in-three on the road, and the Admirals found themselves back at it against the Elmira Jackals. Norfolk would win the game decisively with goals from Jordan Hill, Tommy Mele, Alexandre Ranger, and Steven Whitney, despite only 17 shots on goal to Elmira's 37. The Jackals found the back of the net with seven minutes remaining in the third period, beating Ty Rimmer who came in to relieve an injured Nic Riopel just under half-way through the third period. Riopel stopped 27 of 27 for the win and Rimmer stopped nine of ten in relief, a combined 37 shots against. The win was the Admrials' first on the road.
The team bus packed everyone in after Friday's game for the drive to Reading, PA to face off against the Reading Royals (Philadelphia Flyers) for the first of back-to-back games in Reading on Saturday night. Both teams were scoreless through the first period with the Royals out-shooting the Admirals 20-8. Alexandre Ranger put the Admirals on the board at the mid-way point of the second period with a play goal, but Reading would respond three minutes later to tie it up. A Josh Currie goal at the 17:55 mark of the second period would give the Admirals a 2-1 lead going in to the intermission, but it was Reading who came out in the third period hungrier for the win. It took the Royals almost 13 minutes to tie the game at two but just three more minutes to put the winner in behind Ty Rimmer, a power play marker that came off an ill-timed delay-of-game penalty by Ben Betker. The Royals threw 46 shots at Rimmer, the second time this week he faced 40 or more shots. The Admirals managed 25.
Sunday afternoon the Royals again played host to the Admirals. So stop me if you've heard this one before--Norfolk scored the first goal of the game. Alexandre Ranger put home his fifth goal of the season on the penalty kill, stealing the puck at his own blue line and beating Jackals' goaltender Martin Ouellette. The Admirals held the lead going in to the first intermission, finally out-shooting their opponent 16-11. Reading tied the game at 12:48 of the second period but the Admirals would strike just two minutes late on a goal from recently signed defenseman Samuel Noreau to go up 2-1. The lead lasted just two minutes when Reading tied the game at two for the final tally of the second period, out-shooting the Admirals 15-4. The third period was all Royals, grabbing the lead just 1:30 in and sealing the 4-2 victory with an Empty Net, Short-handed goal at 18:58. Ty Rimmer stopped 31 of 34. Another game, another two goals given up in the third period.
So what are some big take-aways from the week?
--The Admirals have only won once out of six road games while winning four of six at home.
--Ty Rimmer can't catch a break, leading the ECHL with six losses DESPITE being second in the league with 338 saves.
--Norfolk is second in the league in penalty minutes, averaging 18:58 per game through 12 games. There must be heated seats and appetizers in the penalty boxes to want to spend that much time there.
--The Admirals have won five games when scoring the first goal nine times through 12 games.
--Norfolk is averaging 29 shots per game but giving up 37. The Admirals are last in the league in shots against (and is it any wonder with this week as an example?)
--The Admirals have yet to come back when trailing at the end of the first or second periods.
Notable skater stats for the week:
Alexandre Ranger (3G, 1A)
Josh Currie (2G, 1A)
Tommy Mele (2G, 1A)
Jonathan Lessard (1G, 2A)
Charles-Olivier Roussel (3A)
Samuel Noreau (1G, 1A)
Steven Whitney (1G, 1A)
Michael Pelech (2A)
Marcus Hinds (2A)
Gabriel Verpaelst (2A)
Jordan Hill (1G)
Ben Betker (1A)
Radoslav Illo (1A)
Through 12 games:
Goal Leader: Josh Currie (6G)
Assist Leader: Charles-Olivier Roussel (7A)
Points Leader: Josh Currie (6G + 6A = 12 pts)
PIMs Leader: Gabriel Verpaelst (32 PIMs)
Ty Rimmer: 4-7-0-0 2.96GAA .920SP
Nic Riopel: 1-1-0-0 1.71GAA .951SP (with Norfolk)
The Admirals stay on the road this week for the remaining four of their seven game road trip. Wednesday Norfolk faces off against the Adirondack Thunder (Calgary Flames) followed by another three-in-three against the Manchester Monarchs (Los Angeles Kings) Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
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