Christmas Day precedes four-game road trip to end 2015
NORFOLK, Va. – The Norfolk Admirals hosted two of their division foes for a three-game homestand that began Wednesday night against the Reading Royals, where they posted a 6-3 loss. The Admirals went on to split a pair of games with Adirondack over the weekend, falling 5-3 Friday night before redeeming themselves on Saturday to defeat the Thunder, 2-1.
The first matchup against the Royals ended with the Admirals being shut out 3-0 in the third period. Reading was first to strike at 12:35 in the first, but Alexandre Ranger responded with Norfolk's first tally when Radoslav Illo fed him the puck in the middle where it found Ranger's stick at 15:42 in the opening frame. The period concluded 2-1 after Reading netted their second goal of the night with a shot from Cam Reid at 17:59. The Royals moved ahead by two at 4:02 in the second, but the Admirals fired back at 6:19 when Illo scored to close the gap to 3-2. Steven Whitney tied things up with a goal at 9:26 in the middle frame. After a line brawl that amounted to a total of 54 combined penalty minutes, the teams entered the third tied 3-3. Reading posted three more goals and held the Admirals scoreless during the remainder of the night, resulting in a 6-3 loss.
Norfolk faced Adirondack for the first of two back-to-back weekend games Friday night, where they suffered another defeat in the third period. The Thunder lit the lamp first at 10:52 in the opening period with a shot from Gunnar Hughes from the hash marks. Norfolk evened things up at 17:35 after a wrister from Jonathan Lessard went top shelf. Adirondack took back the lead with 1:33 left in the first when Ben Johnson slapped one from the slot, edging them into a 2-1 lead. The Thunder lead grew to 3-1 at 4:26 in the second period, but Lessard converted again for the Admirals after he collected Tommy Mele's deflected shot at 18:24 in the middle frame to make it a 3-2 count to start the final period. Captain Jordan Hill tied things up 3-3 early in the third after cleaning up a failed attempt from Alexis Loiseau, but the Thunder responded with a pair of markers in the remaining seven minutes to seal Norfolk's 5-3 defeat.
Saturday night marked the second of two against Adirondack and the last of the three-game homestand, which resulted in a 2-1 victory for Norfolk. The Admirals scored first on a two-on-one rush early in the opening frame. Nick Pageau recorded his first goal as an Admiral with help from Steven Whitney to put Norfolk up 1-0. Pageau netted his second goal of the night at 9:05 in the first period, putting the Admirals up 2-0 thanks to another assist from Whitney. Adirondack was only able to tally one goal at 16:15 in the first, resting the score 2-1 through the remainder of the night. Neither team tallied a single penalty minute, and for the first time in Norfolk's season, they participated in a game without a penalty.
The Admirals celebrate Christmas before going to Charleston to play the South Carolina Stingrays on Saturday and Sunday.
ON THE RADIO/INTERNETAll regular-season games will air live on 1650 AM WHKT "The Answer" and online at 1650theanswer.com. ECHL.TV will also carry online video of every Admirals game on a pay-per-view or season pass basis. Fans can log in to watch, listen or get more information about ECHL.TV's online audio and video features at ECHL.TV. Also, Buffalo Wild Wings on Monticello Avenue in Norfolk and Laskin Road in Virginia Beach will show Norfolk Admirals away games during the 2015-16 season.
STANDINGS UPDATEAt 10-18-0-1 (21 points), the Admirals are 5th in the East Division and are in 13th place in the Eastern Conference. Below are the current ECHL Eastern Conference standings:
Eight teams in each conference shall qualify for the 2016 Kelly Cup Playoffs. Following the conclusion of each team's 72-game regular season, the three division winners in each conference will be seeded 1-3 (in order of regular-season points) and the next five best teams (in order of regular-season points) will be seeded 4-8.
THE ADMIRALS’ WEEK AHEADSat., Dec. 26 ... at South Carolina (Washington Capitals) ... 7:05 p.m.Sun., Dec. 27 ... at South Carolina (Washington Capitals) ... 3:05 p.m.
ADMIRALS SPOTLIGHT• Defenseman Nick Pageau scored his first two goals as an Admiral Saturday night in the 2-1 victory over Adirondack. Both goals came in transition with Pageau finishing from each side on the rush. Forward Steven Whitney assisted on both of Pageau's markers and is now tied atop the stat sheet with defenseman Charles-Olivier Roussel for the team lead in points (19).
ADMIRALS’ LOG• Jonathan Lessard returned to the Admirals' lineup on Friday after a two-game absence and posted his first two-goal performance and third multipoint outing this season. Though the St. Eustache, QC product only has five goals and 11 points through 24 games, four of those goals and an assist have came against the Adirondack Thunder. He became the 11th Admiral this season to reach double digits in points accrued. If Lessard can find some consistency, Norfolk's arsenal on the offensive end could go three lines deep.• Bryan McGregor made his Admirals debut on Saturday versus Adirondack in a 2-1 win for Norfolk. He did not register a point, and had two goals and three helpers for five points in 18 games with the Brampton Beast. The Admirals acquired McGregor from Brampton on Friday for future considerations.
NORFOLK LEADERSGoals: Tommy Mele (10)Assists: Charles-Olivier Roussel (17)Points: Charles-Olivier Roussel, Steven Whitney (19)Games: Five players tied (29)PP Goals: Nick MacNeil (3)SH Goals: Four players tied (1)+/- Rating: Radoslav Illo (2)PIM: Samuel Noreau (100)GAA: Nic Riopel (2.94)Spct: Adam Courchaine (.905)Wins: Adam Courchaine (3)Losses: Ty Rimmer (10)GPl: Adam Courchaine (6)Minutes: Adam Courchaine (332)
ABOUT THIS WEEKEND’S MATCHUPSThe Stingrays will host the Admirals for the second time this season for a weekend back-to-back. South Carolina (15-10-2-1) sits in 3rd for the South Division, while Norfolk (10-18-0-1) is fifth in the East. The Stingrays have a duo of very solid netminders in Vitek Vanecek and Mark Dekanich, who are sixth and 10th in the ECHL in GAA. Dekanich's .921 SV% is 11th in the league while Vanecek's .917 mark is 16th. A SPHL transplant mans the crease for Norfolk currently, as Adam Courchaine is 3-3-0 in six appearances for the Admirals this season. These two clubs have only met twice, yet both results were identical by score, but not by winner. The season series is split 1-1 and both contests were 3-1 finals. Norfolk's strength has been special teams, and the Admirals boast the ninth-best power play and are fifth overall on the penalty kill in the league. Capitalize on the man advantages and playing sound defense while shorthanded will be instrumental in a victory over the Stingrays. South Carolina has a reputable penalty kill that finds itself in ninth, but is among the worst teams in the ECHL when on the power play. They rank 26th out of 28 clubs.
SOUTH CAROLINA LEADERSGoals: Brett Cameron (8)Assists: David Pacan (12)Points: David Pacan (28)Games: Three players tied (28)PP Goals: Three players tied (2)SH Goals: David Pacan (2)+/- Rating: Joey Leach (14)PIM: Bobby Shea (63)GAA: Branden Komm (1.67)Spct: Branden Komm (.932)Wins: Vitek Vanecek, Mark Dekanich (6)Losses: Vitek Vanecek (6)GPl: Vitek Vanecek (14)Minutes: Vitek Vanecek (808)
**UPCOMING EVENTS AND PROMOTIONS**
January 2 - Health and Wellness NightMake this the year you stick to your New Year's resolution. We help you get started by bringing local clinics and fitness centers to Scope so you can decide which is the best fit for you.
TICKETSIndividual tickets are on sale now at the Scope Box Office, all Ticketmaster Outlets, charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000, and online at ticketmaster.com. Don’t miss a minute of Admirals action by purchasing your season tickets today. 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.