NORFOLK, VA – The Norfolk Admirals will prepare for one of the busiest stretches of their 2008-09 schedule this week, beginning with a tilt against the Hamilton Bulldogs on Friday night at Norfolk Scope Arena.
The Admirals will begin a stretch of seven games in nine days on Friday night when they host the Hamilton Bulldogs at Scope for the first time in franchise history. They will then hit the road to close out the weekend in Hershey Saturday night and Bridgeport Sunday afternoon.
EAST DIVISION STANDINGS At 19-24-2-5 (45 points), the Admirals are in seventh place in the East Division. The division is led by the Hershey Bears (35-12-0-4, 74 points). They are followed by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (32-16-1-2, 67 points), Binghamton Senators (27-16-5-3, 62 points), Bridgeport Sound Tigers (28-17-3-2, 61 points), Philadelphia Phantoms (27-22-1-1, 56 points) and Albany River Rats (21-23-3-2, 47 points). Click here for the complete, up-to-the-minute AHL standings.
THE ADMIRALS’ WEEK AHEAD Fri., Feb. 13 … vs. Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal Canadiens) … 7:15 p.m. | GET TICKETS Sat., Feb. 14 …at Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals) … 7:00 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 15 … at Bridgeport Sound Tigers (New York Islanders) 4:00 p.m.
Prior to playing against Bridgeport on Friday night, Riku Helenius’ last professional start came on December 17, 2008, with the ECHL’s Mississippi Sea Wolves versus the Florida Everblades. Since then, he had appeared in just two games in relief – his AHL debut on January 2 with Norfolk at Worcester and his NHL debut on January 30 with Tampa Bay versus Philadelphia – prior to his first shutout on Friday night in his first AHL start.
Helenius’ 41 saves on Friday night marked the second time in AHL Admirals history that a goaltender posted more than 40 saves in a shutout. The record belongs to Michael Leighton, who stopped all 44 shots in Binghamton on April 9, 2004.
At 20 years, 11 months and five days old, Helenius became the third-youngest goaltender to post his first Norfolk shutout in AHL Admirals history, behind only Leighton (20 years, four months and 28 days on October 17, 2001 at Albany) and Craig Anderson (20 years, six months and four days on November 25, 2001 at Hershey).
Norfolk held Bridgeport’s power play – which entered Friday’s game with the ninth-best ranking in the AHL – scoreless in 12 chances between Friday and Saturday.
Goaltender Mike McKenna, who has won 11 games for Norfolk this season, recorded his first NHL win – a 28-save shutout – in a 1-0 victory for the Lightning over the New York Islanders on Saturday night.
Justin Keller’s six-game point streak (3G, 5A) came to an end in Norfolk’s 5-0 loss to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Sunday.
The shutout loss was fourth for Norfolk this season and was the first since December 7 at Hershey.
Defenseman Josef Melichar, who was acquired by the Lightning from the Carolina Hurricanes in a trade yesterday, made his Norfolk debut on Sunday in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He was recalled by the Lightning earlier today.
Left wing Wade Brookbank, who was acquired by the Lightning in the same trade as Melichar, was assigned to the Admirals earlier today.
Goaltender Tyler Sims made his AHL and Admirals debut in relief on Sunday in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton after serving as the backup goaltender for the previous five games. Sims stopped 6 of 7 shots in 10:36 of work.
Norfolk will play its eighth game on a “Friday the 13th“ since joining the AHL this week. The Admirals are 6-1-0-0-0 in their previous seven games played on that date.
Of the teams who have been members of the AHL in each season since Norfolk joined the league in 2000-01, Hamilton is the only team that has never visited Scope. That will change on Friday. The Admirals made their first trip to Hamilton on October 18, dropping a 6-3 decision.
Hamilton goaltender Marc Denis went 11-17-2 with a 2.91 goals-against average and .910 save percentage with Norfolk last season.
ADMIRALS RBK/AHL PLAYER OF THE WEEK NOMINEE Riku Helenius: 3 GPI, 1-2-0, 2.49 GAA, .933 SV%, 1 SO Admirals goaltender Riku Helenius made his first three AHL starts last week and was impressive. On Friday night, he became the second AHL Admirals goaltender to record more than 40 saves in a shutout and the first to record a blanking in his first start by stopping all 41 shots in a 3-0 win over Bridgeport. Saturday night, he stopped 25 shots in a 3-2 loss to the Sound Tigers. Between the two games, Helenius was instrumental in holding Bridgeport’s power play 0-12. Sunday evening, Helenius made 31 saves in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton before being relieved in a 5-0 loss.
Helenius has a 1-2-0 record with a 2.55 goals-against average and .931 save percentage with one shutout for the Admirals this season. His shutout streak lasted 96:45 spanning three games since his AHL debut on January 2 in Worcester.
PARKING AVAILABLE AT RADISSON HOTEL A significant amount of parking spaces (based on availability) are available for Admirals games this season at the Norfolk Radisson Hotel. Parking spots will be opened to Admirals fans for $5 per game. The Norfolk Radisson Hotel is located immediately across Brambleton Avenue from Norfolk Scope Arena. Fans who would like to take advantage of this opportunity are asked to enter the Brambleton Avenue parking entrance. A sign will be posted at that entrance.
Please note that there is an event at Chrysler Hall on Friday night occurring simultaneously as the Admirals’ game against Hamilton. This will likely lead to increased parking congestion.
THIS WEEK ON THE ADMIRALS HOUR Tune in to the Admirals Hour on Thursday evening at 6:00 p.m. on ESPN Radio 1310 WGH-AM. “The Voice of the Admirals” Pete Michaud will be joined in the studio by Admirals forwardsJay RosehillandJustin Keller. If you have a question for the show, please call (757) 497-1310 during the show or email email@example.com prior to 2:00 on Thursday afternoon.
ADMIRALS STREAKS AND TRENDS
Justin Keller, Points in 7 of last 9 games (3G, 7A since 01/17 vs. WOR)
Brandon Segal, Points in 4 of last 7 games (1G, 3A since 01/23 vs. LE)
Zenon Konopka (Points in 5 of last 7 games, (2G, 5A since 01/23 vs. LE)
TRANSACTIONS OF THE PAST WEEK February 7, 2009 ADD D Josef Melichar – Loaned by Tampa Bay (NHL)
February 8, 2009 ADD F Erik Johnson – Signed to Professional Tryout Contract (PTO)
DELETE F Erik Johnson – Released from Professional Tryout Contract (PTO)
February 10, 2009 ADD LW Wade Brookbank – Loaned by Tampa Bay (NHL)
DELETE D Josef Melichar – Recalled from loan by Tampa Bay (NHL)
THIS WEEK IN ADMIRALS HISTORY (FEBRUARY 9 – 15) February 9, 1990 … Admirals 9 vs. Nashville Knights 4
F Trevor Jobe scores four times and C Murray Hood adds a goal and three assists as the Admirals rip the Nashville Knights, 9-4, at Scope. Jobe joins teammate LW Tom Bissett, who had scored six goals in a game earlier in the year against the Greensboro Monarchs, as the only Admirals to score four or more goals in a game during the club’s first season.
February 11, 2000 … Admirals 3 at Trenton Titans 1
G Jan Lasak stops 20 of 21 Trenton shots to lead a stellar defensive effort in the Admirals’ 3-1 victory over the Titans at Sovereign Bank Arena. C John Parco has a goal and an assist, defensemen Ryan Gillis and Gerard Adams each have a goal and RW Rick Kowalsky chips in two assists. The win comes in the 800th game (regular season & playoffs combined) in franchise history.
February 13, 2004 … Admirals 4 at Lowell Lock Monsters 1
February 15, 2008 … Admirals 4 vs. Worcester Sharks 2
In a contest highlighted by a goalie fight, six ejections and 154 penalty minutes in the third period alone, the Admirals claim a 4-2 win over the Worcester Sharks at Scope. D Mario Scalzo, RW Kyle Wanvig, C Paul Szczechura and RW Norm Milley score while C Blair Jones has three assists. A line brawl erupts to start the third period, capped by a fight between Norfolk G Jonathan Boutin and Worcester G Thomas Greiss. Boutin gets the win and has 20 saves on 21 shots.
TICKETS To purchase tickets to any Admirals game, you may visit the Scope Box Office weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., visit any Ticketmaster outlet, call Ticketmaster at (757) 671-8100 or visit Ticketmaster online at www.ticketmaster.com. Don’t miss a minute of the action by purchasing your 2009-10 season tickets today. Season tickets start at just $42 per month! Stop by the Admirals’ Administrative Offices at Scope, call (757) 640-1212 weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or visit norfolkadmirals.com anytime!
ON THE RADIO/INTERNET All games are broadcast on ESPN Radio 1310 WGH-AM. The games are also cybercast at SportsJuice.com. Go to SportsJuice.com, or click on the link at norfolkadmirals.com. Broadcasts begin 15 minutes prior to game time.
Games are also viewable through the Internet on a pay-per-view basis through AHL Live. Visit norfolkadmirals.com and click the AHL Live banner on the left side of the site to view all Admirals’ home and away games.