This time of year is usually cause for celebration, having fun with family and friends, enjoying all there is to experience as fall turns to winter. And while I ended up taking a week off from writing (my apologies), the Norfolk Admirals returned home from a seven game road trip having won the first game and losing the next six straight. While I there are two week's worth of games to catch up on, I'll keep it short, considering of the five games played since my last report the Admirals stretched their win-less streak to nine straight and went 2-2-0-1.
Wednesday, November 25 saw the Admirals return home from their horrid road trip to face off against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (New York Rangers). Not much worth mentioning other than the Admirals got blown out 6-0. Goaltender Ty Rimmer was stuck between the pipes for the entire game because the back-up goaltender for Norfolk that night was local off-duty police office Brian DeLoach who was signed as Rimmer's emergency backup. DeLoach got his seat on the bench because of injuries and the recall of goaltender Tyler Beskorowany who was on loan from the AHL's Springfield Falcons (Arizona Coyotes).
Let's move on quickly, players and fans alike would love to erase that game from their memories....
Friday November 27 was Norfolk's annual "Roll Back The Clock Night" event which saw hot dogs, sodas, and popcorn sold for $.50 all night While the Admirals faced off against the the Manchester Monarchs (Los Angeles Kings) for their fourth meeting of the season but first in Scope Arena. Because you know, there's nothing people want to do more the day after stuffing themselves with Thanksgiving turkey than to stuff themselves the next day with lots of hot dogs (confession--they were delicious!!). Earlier in the day Norfolk announced the signing of Nicolas Blanchard, a veteran of eight AHL seasons with a nine NHL games sprinkled in to his career. With the continued absence of core players like Greg Chase, Marco Roy, and Alexis Loiseau, Blanchard's addition was a welcome one, and right away he contributed.
Blanchard opened the scoring at 2:51 of the first period, his first ECHL goal, to give the Admirals a 1-0 lead. Manchester, winner of the three previous contests, scored four unanswered goals, giving them a 4-1 lead with just under five minutes left in the second period. Fans began comparing the game to Wednesday night's blow-out until Norfolk's Steven Whitney scored at 17:55 of the second period and 0:38 of the third period, making it 4-3. Nic Blanchard scored his second of the game at 7:49 to tie it up at 4-4. The Monarchs beat Rimmer at 10:25 for their fifth goal of the game and held on to that lead until Admirals' right wing Alexandre Ranger tied it up again at 17:54, sending the game in to OT tied 5-5. Neither team scored in the overtime period despite the Admirals being given a full two-minute power play in the extra frame. Manchester prevailed in the seventh round of the shoot-out for the 6-5 victory.
Saturday night the Admirals once again hosted the Monarchs. Tyler Beskorowany, returned on loan from Springfield, drew in to the game to give Rimmer a much needed rest. Both teams remained scoreless through the first period and through just over four minutes of the second until defensemen Ben Betker picked up his first of the season at 4:17. Manchester was able to beat Beskorowany twice in the middle frame with goals at 8:50 and 14:51, but their 2-1 lead was cut short by Norfolk's power play with Nic Blanchard's third goal of the season at the 16:07 mark. The Monarchs wasted little time in the third period, scoring their third at 1:22, and putting in their fourth at 16:47 to go up 4-2. The Admirals were able to capitalize on a late power play in the third period on a goal by Scott Allen at 19:07 to pull within one, but Norfolk could not find the equalizer. Beskorowany stopped 35 of 39 in his fourth appearance for the Admirals.
Norfolk would continue their home stand on Wednesday, December 2 to face off against the South Carolina Stingrays (Washington Capitals) with a few roster changes. On November 30th veteran defenseman Nick Pageau was assigned to Norfolk from Bakersfield after playing 12 games for the Condors, providing some much needed experience on the Admirals' blue line. On Dec 1, Bakersfield announced that they had recalled and then released forward Connor Rankin, who had appeared in 13 games with Norfolk. Finally, on Dec 2 the AHL's Springfield Falcons once again called upon goaltender Tyler Beskorowany to return home, though this time Philippe Cadorette, under contract with Norfolk this season, was finally back from injury and would be available to back-up Ty Rimmer.
South Carolina's power play struck first Wednesday night at 7:40 of the second period, but it would be their only goal of the game. Two quick power play goals from Gabriel Verpaelst and Nick MacNeil at 1:07 and 2:52 in the third period would give the Admirals the lead, and another quick strike from Radoslav Illo at 3:20 sealed the game (Note, that's three goals in just over 2 minutes). Rimmer would stop 27 of the Sting Rays' 28 shots for his first win in nine starts.
Norfolk went 1-2-0-1 in their four game home-stand.
The Admirals got on the road for just one game this past weekend, riding the bus once again to Greenville to face off against the Swamp Rabbits. It was all Norfolk in that game--two first period power play goals from Tommy Mele and Nick MacNeil, a third period goal from Scott Allen, and a 30-save shut-out from Ty Rimmer found the Admirals winning their second in a row and just their second win on the road.
--Norfolk's nine game win-less streak is the longest by any team in the history of the Admirals' franchise (to include their time in the ECHL as the Hampton Roads Admirals and the AHL as the Norfolk Admirals).
--Nic Blanchard, who attended AHL training camps but remained unsigned, who didn't play a game in North America this season until signing with Norfolk, retired after playing just four games.
--Ty Rimmer was named CCM ECHL Goaltender of the Week for Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, going 2-0-0 with a .50 goals-against average (GAA) and .983 save percentage (SV%). Of course, right after putting up those numbers, Bakersfield recalled him.
--Because of the recall of Ty Rimmer, the Admirals made a trade for Wheeling Nailers' (Pittsburgh Penguins) goaltender Adam Courchaine for "future considerations."
--Forward Scott Allen is currently riding a four game point streak.
--Through 22 games played, the Admirals are 7-14-0-1 for 15 points, "good enough" for last place in the ECHL (based on number of games played).
--Defenseman Charles-Olivier Roussel is fifth among defensemen in points with 16, third in assists with 14.
Notable skater stats for two weeks (five games):
Scott Allen (2G, 4A)
Charles-Olivier Roussel (6A)
Ben Betker (1G, 4A)
Nic Blanchard (3G, 1A)
Steven Whitney (2G, 1A)
Michael Pelech (3A)
Jordan Hill (3A)
Gabriel Verpaelst (1G, 2A)
Nick MacNeil (2G)
Nick Pageau (2A)
Tommy Mele (1G, 1A)
Alexandre Ranger (1G)
Radoslav Illo (1G)
Jonathan Lessard (1A)
Through 22 games:
Goals Leader: Tommy Mele / Alexandre Ranger (6G)
Assists Leader: Charles-Olivier Roussel (14G)
Points Leader: Charles-Olivier Roussel (2G + 14A = 16 pts)
PIMs Leader: Samuel Noreau (65 PIMs)
Nic Riopel The Norfolk Admirals ended a seven game road trip with just one win and lost nine straight before ending last week with two wins, just their sixth and seventh of the season.1-3-0-0 2.94GAA 0.902SP
Ty Rimmer 6-10-0-1 3.06GAA 0.916SP
Tyler Beskorowany 0-3-0-0 3.17GAA 0.919SP
Philippe Cadorette 0-0-0-0 11.26GAA 0.750SP
The Admirals stay on the road for their next four games and return home on December 16th for a three game home-stand.
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