NORFOLK, VA. - Robbie Ftorek's first weekend behind the bench has come and gone, plus the team is off on its second-longest road trip of the season.
THIS PAST WEEK IN ADMIRALS HOCKEY (November 28 - December 4)
4-1 L vs. Reading2-1 L vs. Reading
This time last week, the Admirals were preparing to enter another weekend with Rod Aldoff behind the bench. Tuesday, that world flipped upside down. After a 2-11-4-0 start, the worst in franchise history, Aldoff was relieved of his duties. The announcement came on Tuesday morning and came jointly with the news that veteran NHL player and coach Robbie Ftorek would be taking over.
Ftorek, with over 40 years in the professional hockey industry, was brought in with hopes of turning around the Admirals season while there is still time. The coach arrived in town on Tuesday afternoon, called an immediate two-hour practice, which was then followed on Wednesday by the same.
When game time Friday came, there was considerable buzz about the change and the original Virginia Wing coming back to Norfolk. When all was said and done, the coaching change did not turn out to be an immediate change for the team. Accompanied by two power play goals and jumping out to a 4-0 lead, the lone bright spot on the series opener was Gabriel Verpaelst's power play goal in the third period. After a slow start to the season, #27 has appeared to find his scoring touch, making his presence felt on the score sheet for more than just fighting. Furthermore, considering how lacking the power play has been, getting one for the unit was big.
Saturday night was a much tighter contest with goaltenders Mark Dekanich and Connor Knapp recording magnificent performances. The power play wound up to be a disadvantage to start as a failed give-and-go wound up going down as a shorthanded tally for Reading. Nick MacNeil got it back on a deflection to start the second but a tip of their own for the visitors wound up to be the eventual game-winner. Dekanich held down the fort in the third and Reading headed back to PA with a weekend sweep.
LOOKING AHEAD (December 6 â€“ December 14)
Tuesday @ Adirondack - 7 PM ESTWednesday @ Manchester - 7 PM ESTFriday @ Manchester - 7 PM ESTSaturday @ Adirondack - 7 PM EST
The squad is already in Adirondack, less than 24 hours away from beginning its second-longest road trip of the season. Par to just about how everything has gone to start this season, the Ads will be taking on the two teams, Adirondack and Manchester, tied for first place in the North Division. Equal at 28 points, the crew largely knows what they are in for when they take on the Monarchs, who visited Norfolk Scope Arena on November 11.
Adirondack comes as the first and last part of the trip with two contests against Manchester scheduled in the middle. The Thunder are 12-4-1-3 thus far this season. Pretty good, right? Well, two-thirds of the team's success have come on the road, currently tied for the league lead with eight road wins. On home ice, the New York squad is 4-2-1-2. One of their wins came against the Elmira Jackals, a team that the Admirals were able to take down on the road earlier this year too. Certainly the Thunder's record is qualified, however the task should not be looked at as impossible.
As mentioned previously, the Admirals have already seen the Monarchs, not even a month ago. If you'll recall, the Ads led that game 4-1 halfway through and were still in search of their first home win. Flash forward an hour and a half later and the Admirals were on the wrong side of a 5-4 overtime loss. That game was a fire-starter for the Monarchs, igniting a six-game win streak for them. However, following, the six wins, they followed that with four straight losses. Four games in five days is a tough task, however if the team hung with the Monarchs once, who is to say they can't do it again?
ADMIRALS LEADERS (SKATERS): Games Played: Four Tied (19)Goals: Nick MacNeil (6)Assists: Aaron Harstad (7)Points: Nick MacNeil (12)Power Play Goals: Four Tied (1)Shorthanded Goals: Nick MacNeil (1)+/-: Alex Pompeo (+1)Penalty Minutes: Gabriel Verpaelst (62)
ADMIRALS LEADERS (GOALIES):Games Played: Eetu Laurikainen (11)Wins: Eetu Laurikainen and Connor Knapp (1)Losses: Eetu Laurikainen (7+3 in extra time)Minutes: Eetu Laurikainen (636)Goals Against Average: Connor Knapp (2.75)Save Percentage: Connor Knapp (.915)
SOMETHING YOU DIDN'T KNOW:
Last week we revealed that the third sweaters are in but now we can officially say that they'll be worn for the first time next week! Many have asked when the anchor logo would return to the ice and now you finally have an answer. As far as an exact date goes, well, that'll be revealed during the week next week and you'll just have to come join us!