Admirals (14-19-5-1) at Swamp Rabbits (18-19-3-1)
Bon Secours Wellness Arena
Last Time Out:
Grant Besse scored his second game-winning goal of the season with 0:22 left in overtime to push the Admirals to a 3-2 victory over the South Carolina Stingrays. The game was the third straight meeting between Norfolk and South Carolina to need overtime, but it was the Admirals first victory over the Rays.
Norfolk got on the board first just 1:12 into the opening period courtesy of Patrick D’Amico’s ninth goal of the season. Just like the night before though Norfolk would need another third period comeback to tie the game and send it into overtime. Unlike Friday night though the Admirals would tie the game up midway through the third, and not in the final minute. Alex Pompeo’s power play tally snapped a five-game scoreless draught on the man-advantage and forced the extra period. The Admirals pushed into overtime for the eighth time in the last 11 games, this time coming out victorious.
Scouting the Swamp Rabbits:
Greenville’s Caleb Herbert leads a Swamp Rabbit offense that is averaging just under three and a half goals a game with 42 points (18g, 24a). The forward, recently returned from the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL) is tied for sixth in the ECHL in points, one ahead of Norfolk’s Brodie Dupont. Branden Troock is second on the team in points (37) and goals (16). Greenville has two other players (Evan Jasper, Joe Basaraba) who have surpassed the ten goal mark this season.
With netminder Brandon Halverson recalled to Hartford, Ty Rimmer is the only netminder with significant playing time in the ECHL this season. Rimmer has appeared in 23 games posting a record of 11-8-0-1, with a 3.66 goals against average and a 0.907 save percentage. Rookie Zoltan Hetenyi, recently signed after beginning the season with the Knoxville Ice Bears of the SPHL, has appeared in one game stopping 23 of 25 shots in an OT loss.
Norfolk won the only previous meeting this season between the teams 5-2 on January 9 in Greenville. Since returning to the ECHL the Admirals lead the series with the Swamp Rabbits, going 7-5-1-0. Additionally Bon Secours Wellness Arena has been good to the Admirals as Norfolk has won four of the six meetings in Greenville, and taken a point in one other.
Norfolk’s Domenic Alberga, who began his professional career with Greenville, leads all skaters in the series after netting a three-point night (1g, 2a) against the Swamp Rabbits. Three other Admirals (Melancon, Dupont, Harrison) netted multi-point games in the victory. No Swamp Rabbits picked up more than one point, and only four players found the score sheet in the loss. Forwards Jack Nevins and Carter Sandlak scored the Greenville tallies in the first meeting.
Norfolk’s power play goal in the third period on Saturday night stopped a three-game skid on the man-advantage that saw the Admirals go 0-for-13 on the power play. Prior to the five-game cold-streak Norfolk had converted at least once in seven consecutive games. The Admiral power play currently ranks 15th in the ECHL at 17.0%. Through 39 games the Admirals have scored 30 power play goals, only eight short of the mark of 38 achieved by the Admirals last season.
Saturday night was the eighth time in the last 11 games that the Admirals have played more than 60 minutes to decide a winner. With 13 games having gone into overtime the Admirals have played more extra hockey than any team in the ECHL except Utah (14 gp). The mark of 13 is only two games away from the total of 15 that the Admirals played during the 2016-17 season. During the 2016-17 season it Greenville (18) who played the most overtime games in the ECHL. Two seasons ago it was another South Division foe, Atlanta, who played the most overtime games (19).