Admirals (25-37-6-1) vs Kalamazoo (34-28-4-2)
Saturday night marks the Admirals second to last home game of the regular season. After tonight’s game Norfolk will wrap up the home portion of the regular season on April 6th as the Admirals host the Reading Royals on Fan Appreciation Night.
Last Time Out:
A pair of late second period tallies ended up being the difference as the Wings topped the Admirals 3-2 on Friday night. Kalamazoo struck first under four minutes into regulation getting a tally from Jimmy Mullin, his 20th of the season, to take the 1-0 lead. The lead would hold up until the final two minutes of the opening frame as Jamie Murray and Joel Martin put on a show, combining to make 23 saves in the opening frame. Late in the period Max Cook redirected a pass from Kenton Helgesen into the top corner of the net. Cook’s fourth of the season sent the teams into the break knotted up at 1-1.
The rest of the scoring for the night came in the middle period. TJ Moore gave Norfolk the lead with a power play goal 5:19 into the second, giving the rookie points in three straight games. The middle part of the period would once again go without any scoring, however this time it was the Wings who would break the drought. Taylor Heinonen took a wrist shot from the top of the circle that found a way through traffic, and deflected off the shoulder of Murray and into the net. Shortly after Josh Pitt would tally the eventual game-winner after a scramble in front of the cage. Norfolk outshot the Wings 17-7 in the final stanza, but was unable to beat Martin as the Admirals fell 3-2.
Scouting the Wings:
Kalamazoo currently holds the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division. With four games left on the schedule the Wings (74 pts) are three points ahead of both Indy and Kansas City. This season the Wings have put up one of the league’s best offenses, averaging 3.59 goals per game, the fourth best mark in the ECHL. That offense has been led by Josh Pitt, who netted the game-winner on Friday. Pitt has posted 54 points (31g, 23a) in 60 games for the Wings this season. Right on his heels is linemate Justin Taylor, just one point back (32g, 21a, 53 pts). Rookie Brendan Bradley, who leads the team with a plus-20 rating, is the only other Wing with more than 50 points (51). Altogether 14 different Wings have reached double digits in goals this season.
Friday Night Debut:
Forward Jordan Haskell became the 51st player to skate in a game for the Admirals this season when he made his professional debut on Friday night. Haskell joined the Admirals after finishing up his college career at Hobart College where he appeared in 91 games, netting 41 points.
Getting Moore on the Board:
TJ Moore’s second period goal on Friday gave the rookie points in each of his last three games, and four points in his first seven professional games. Moore (3g, 1a) has a pair of power play goals for the Admirals since joining the team after finishing his college eligibility with Holy Cross.