Admirals (13-19-5-1) vs Stingrays (24-9-3-1)
Last Time Out:
A furious comeback in the last minute of the game saw the Admirals tie the game with less than a second remaining in regulation before falling on Friday night in the extra period.
After being stymied for 59 minutes Norfolk pulled the goalie for the extra attacker. Grant Besse wound up for a slap shot from the point and released a hard, low shot. Positioned in front of the net, Thomas Frazee tipped the puck past Parker Milner cutting the lead to 2-1. Off the ensuing draw the Admirals sent Ty Reichenbach to the bench for the extra attacker once more. With the puck in the left corner TJ Melancon sent a shot towards the South Carolina cage. Sprinting off the bench Domenic Alberga found the rebound right in front and tapped it past Milner with 0.5 seconds left in regulation. The Admirals headed to overtime for the seventh time in the last ten games.
In the extra period it was Kris Bindulis who ended the game at the 1:45 mark, giving the Stingrays their fourth straight victory over the Admirals. Norfolk managed to pick up a point for the 10th time in the last 12 games.
Scouting the Rays:
Forward Kelly Zajac leads the Stingray offense against the Admirals with six points (3g, 3a) in the four-game set. Zajac is currently second on the Stingrays in scoring with 28 points (8g, 20a) in 35 games. Captain Joe Devin has led the South Carolina offense in 37 games with 30 points. Devin has four points (1g, 3a) against Norfolk this season. Former Admiral Steven Whitney currently has the hot hand for the Rays with 16 points (7g, 9a) in his last 11 games. The forward netted a pair of assists last night.
Netminder Parker Milner got the call between the pipes last night appearing in his 17th game of the season. Milner is 12-3-2-0 on the season with a 2.43 goals against average and a .913 save percentage. Milner is joined in a crowded crease by Capitals prospect Adam Carlson (3gp, 0-0-0-0) and Jeff Jakaitis (17 gp, 11-5-1-0).
Last nights’ game was the 12th overtime game that the Admirals have played this season, and the seventh overtime game in the last ten games. Norfolk is 4-5 in games that have ended in overtime, while going 2-1 in a shootout. Only two teams have gone past regulation more times than the Admirals through the first half of the season. Utah (14) has played more overtime games than any other ECHL team, while Colorado (13) is right on their divisional foes heels.
Quick Strike, Pt. 2:
The back-to-back goals for the Admirals last night marked the fifth time in the last six games that the team has scored two goals in less than three minutes. Last nights’ goals, coming 0:19 apart are the quickest that Norfolk has scored two goals in that six-game span. It is also the quickest that the Admirals have scored two goals all season long.
Back and In a Rhythm:
Since returning to the Admirals from a brief stint with the Belleville Senators (AHL) defenseman TJ Melancon has notched points in six of his seven contests with the Admirals, while posting a plus-one rating. Melancon, who has 21 points (6g, 15a) in his rookie campaign, was no stranger to the scoresheet during his junior hockey career, which wrapped up last season. In his final year with Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL) Melancon led all QMJHL defenseman in goals (19). His six goals and 21 points this season leads all Norfolk blueliners this season.
On the Road Again:
Saturday night wraps up the home portion of the Admirals January schedule. Norfolk will hit the road again for another five-game, seven day, road swing that will take the Admirals to Greenville, Atlanta, and North Charleston. After the upcoming swing the Admirals will spend most of February at home playing nine straight home games, and nine of 13 games in the month at home.