Game #55Admirals (21-27-5-1) vs. Icemen (18-28-4-3)Veterans Memorial Arena7:30 pm
Last Time Out:South Carolina scored with less than two minutes to play in regulation as the Stingrays topped the Admirals 3-2 on Tuesday night. The defeat halted the Admirals win-streak at three games.
Grant Besse got Norfolk on the board first just 4:29 into regulation with his team leading 24th goal of the season, but South Carolina struck twice before the end of the period to take a 2-1 lead. That lead would hold till midway through the third period. Darik Angeli found the back of the net for his 19th goal of the season, tying the game at 2-2. The deadlock lasted for five minutes before Danny Federico’s one-timer beat Jamie Murray to give the Stingrays the lead. Tuesday’s game wrapped up the season series with the Stingrays.
Head-to-Head:Norfolk and Jacksonville will face off once more after Friday’s game, coming on March 18 at the Scope. Each team has won three of the first six matchups, however Norfolk is the only team to have lost in regulation. The Icemen’s 5-2 victory on February 14 is the only of the first six matchups to not go into overtime. Norfolk won the most recent matchup 5-4 on Sunday afternoon in Norfolk.
Brodie Dupont heads into Friday averaging over two points a game (13 pts) in the first six games of the season. Darik Angeli is the top scorer in the series, having scored five goals through the first six games. The Norfolk winger has added five assists giving him ten points on the season series. Jacksonville is led by Jimmy Lodge who has eight points (4g, 4a) in the six-game set. Defenseman Christopher Dienes ranks second on the team with seven points, despite not having scored a goal against the Admirals this season.
Netminders Colton Phinney and Austin Lotz have each appeared against the Admirals this season, Lotz has won each of his two starts while Phinney is 1-0-2-1 in four appearances.
Scouting the Icemen:Four of Jacksonville’s top five scorers this season are rookies. Elgin Pearce, 39 points, leads the Icemen in points and is tied for the team lead in goals (15). Centermen Jimmy Lodge ranks second on the team and is the only other skater with more than thirty points this season (33). Defenseman Christoper Dienes has been an assist man for the Icemen, dishing out 20 assists this season which is tied for second best on the team. Netminders Colton Phinney and Austin Lotz have played the majority of the minutes this season for the Icemen. The two netminders have combined to play in 43 of the 53 games and have 15 of the 18 wins.
Finding the Back of the Net:Grant Besse’s team leading 24 goals this season is just one goal away from tying the amount of goals scored by the team’s leading scorer in each of the last two seasons. Both TJ Foster (16-17) and Robbie Czarnik (15-16) led their respective teams in goals with 25. In addition, if Besse tops 27 goals he will be the first forward to do so since Tyler Johnson (31) and Cory Conacher (39) during the Admirals Calder Cup Championship season.
Sticking with the Leaders:Brodie Dupont is currently three points back in the race for the ECHL scoring title. The Admiral captain, who has yet to miss a game this season, is currently tied for third with 58 points. Dupont, who also ranks fourth in assists (39), has 99 career ECHL points in 94 games.
Standings Update:Going into Friday’s game against Jacksonville the Admirals are currently four points back from Orlando for the fourth and final playoff spot in the South Division. Behind Norfolk in the South Division is Greenville, four points back, and Jacksonville, five points back.
Orlando, who plays Florida on Friday night before hosting the Admirals for a pair of games, is five points back from Atlanta who is in third place. Both Norfolk and Atlanta have 18 games remaining in the regular season.