NORFOLK, VA. - The Admirals have just two games left in 2016. Let's finish this calendar year off.
THIS PAST WEEK IN ADMIRALS HOCKEY: (December 19 - December 27)5-4 L @ Greenville2-1 W @ South Carolina
Two road games were on deck and per the norm, moves happened before the tires even hit the road.
On Monday the team said goodbye to goaltender Connor Knapp. Knapp had been with the team since the summer but unfortunately found himself as the odd-man out with the recent additions of Brandon Anderson and Steven Summerhays. Knapp was 2-10-1 with a 3.65 goals against average and an .893 save percentage.
While Knapp was the only player let go of, the team became aware that recent stud T.J. Foster would not be on the trip due to the passing of his grandfather. T.J. returned to Canada for a few days to be with his family.
The newly acquired Brenden Walker will not be joining the team until after the holidays.
One new face that did join the team was Dante Salituro, who was reassigned by the Columbus Blue Jackets last Monday.
Wednesday @ Greenville: 5-4 L
Salituro now wears #9 with the team and was in the lineup Wednesday night in Greenville. The team got off to a blazing 2-0 start thanks to Jaedon Descheneau and Josh Brittain. Brittain and Brodie Dupont set up a slam dunk two-on-one for #74's first of the night and his second was a very skilled waist-high tip off of a wrist shot from the captain. Greenville got one back in transition to end the first but 2-1 after one was a welcomed start for the Ads.
Descheneau earned a helper in the second on a beautiful give-and-go with Dmitrii Sergeev for the young Russianâ€™s first professional goal. For Descheneau, it was his first ever three point pro game. 3-1 halfway through the second. All good, right?
Bang, bang, bang. Three goals within 4:06 for the Rabbits and the Admirals were on the wrong side of a 4-3 goal after two. Summerhays was in net for Norfolk, his encore performance to his first start of the season the previous Saturday's victory over South Carolina.
The one he most certainly wanted back was the fifth and final one the home team scored. A faceoff was one to his right and a routine wrister caromed off the inside of his glove and past him. That was the straw that broke the camel's back. Frankie Simonelli would score his first of the season late but it wasnâ€™t enough to muster a complete comeback.
FRIDAY @ South Carolina: 2-1 Win
After taking two out of three from the Stingrays just a week prior, this was seemingly the perfect situation to regain confidence quick following Wednesday's tough one.
Goaltender Brandon Anderson absolutely stole the show from the Admirals and was sharp from start to finish against his old team. Anderson stopped 31 of 32, including a save in the first period that we'll likely see on the ECHL's Plays of the Week this week.
Paul Rodrigues, a former Stingray himself as well, opened the scoring on a beautiful tic-tac-toe from Ben Murphy and Mikael Tam. The assist extended Tam's streak to eight points in all five of his games played with the team thus far.
Like clockwork, Murphy set up Gabriel Verpaelst from the same exact spot for the team's second goal, which came four minutes later. Murphy (#20) has become more and more of a solid addition in each game he plays.
South Carolina would get one before the second concluded and it kick-started a massive third period. The Stingrays outshot the Admirals 15-3 in the third period, completely dominating and forcing the Admirals to be extremely reliant on Anderson. Fortunately, Anderson was equal to the task the whole way and the Admirals were able to pick up a 2-1 win to start their holiday on the right foot.
LOOKING AHEAD: (December 28 - January 3)@ Elmira - Friday@ Manchester - Saturday
The team is in Elmira and Manchester on Friday and Saturday of this week. During the Rod Aldoff era, the team was 1-1 against the Jackals. Many fans have raised the point that the Buffalo Sabres affiliate are the team directly ahead of the Admirals in the standings, thus giving Norfolk the potential to escape the cellar for the first time this season. Elmira is in Reading Wednesday night, a game that could change that but also could effect how the Jackals enter Friday's bout.
Through three meetings already this season the Admirals are 0-2-1 against Manchester this year, a team the crew probably isn't eager to see again. The Los Angeles Kings affiliate has a league-leading 71 goals scored at home and it's their only matchup of the week. It's certainly a double-edged sword for certain and only time will tell if the rest is a good thing or if it was too much.
ADMIRALS LEADERS (SKATERS): Games Played: Gabriel Verpaelst and Josh Brittain (28)Goals: Brendan Walker (7 - Total) John Dunbar (7 - With Admirals)Assists: Brenden Walker (11 - Total); Josh Brittain (11 - With Admirals)Points: Brenden Walker (18 - Total) Brittain, Descheneau, MacNeil (14 - With Admirals)Power Play Goals: Brenden Walker (3 - Total); Mikael Tam (2 - With Admirals)Shorthanded Goals: Nick MacNeil (1)+/-: Ben Murphy (5 - Total; 2 With Admirals)Penalty Minutes: Gabriel Verpaelst (82)
ADMIRALS LEADERS (GOALIES): Games Played: Eetu Laurikainen (11)Wins: Brandon Anderson (2)Losses: Eetu Laurikainen (11)Minutes: Eetu Laurikainen (636)Goals Against Average: Brandon Anderson (2.76)Save Percentage: Brandon Anderson (.901)
SOMETHING YOU DIDN'T KNOW:
During our very first Admirals Insider 2.0 we revealed that we'd partnered with iSportsMedia to launch a new website for the organization. Well the time has come and we are very thrilled to share that the new site will be launched to ring in 2017. We hope you'll enjoy the new experience and want your feedback on the product. Seriously. Check it out over a few days, tell us what you like, what you don't and we'll make it the most user-friendly experience possible. Here are some things that you can expect to see changed:
Photo Galleries: Ever had your photo taken at a game and want to know where it goes? Want to see the on-ice photos taken by our team photographers John Malkowski and Jake Blankenship? Go to the press tab and hit galleries.
Updated Staff Bios: Wonder who works for the staff these days? Included with a lot of photos to put a name to a face, you'll be able to become closer with the front office and have something to chat about next time you see them out and about or at a game.
Exportable Calender: Want the Ads schedule straight in your phone or emails events list? You can now do that.
Enhanced Shop Experience: Our merchandise is about to get a lot stronger in the coming months. More options with fewer clicks.
Overall Just Cleaner Look: It's almost 2017. We're now ready for it.
Again, take a look. Let us know what you think. No reservations, email@example.com is always open.