Admirals (26-38-6-1) vs Reading (38-24-9-0)
The Last One:
Saturday concludes the 2017-18 season for the Admirals. Norfolk (26-38-6-1) will finish the season in either fifth or sixth place in the South Division depending on the result of Saturday’s game, paired with the result of Jacksonville’s game. With 59 points so far the Admirals have already guaranteed themselves a better finish than one year ago. This is the second straight season that the Admirals have concluded the season against the Royals.
Last Time Out:
Reading scored the first five goals of the night before the Admirals got on the board as the Royals spoiled the home finale, topping the Admirals 6-2 on Friday. Kenton Helgesen and Darik Angeli got the Admirals on the board in the second and third periods, but the late tallies weren’t enough. Angeli, who netted a goal and an assist on the night, recorded his fifth two-point game of the season.
Both teams managed to strike on the man-advantage Friday night as Norfolk finished 1-for-2 while Reading was 1-for-4.
Scouting the Royals:
Reading currently holds on to the third position in the North Division with one game left in the regular season. The Royals will remain in the third spot unless Manchester loses their final two games this season, and the Royals defeat the Admirals on Saturday night. The first round of the playoffs is set to pit the Royals against either Adirondack of Manchester.
Forward Matt Willows who had 72 points in 71 games (31g, 41a) leads all Royals this season, and is second on the team against the Admirals. Willows, who recorded a three-point night against the Admirals on Friday, has six points (4g, 2a) through the first three games of the season series. Linemate Chris McCarthy has led the way with eight points (2g, 6a) in the series. Matt Wilkins, who also had a multi-point night on Friday, is tied with Willows with six points (2g, 4a).
Domenic Alberga is set to become the first Admiral since the team rejoined the ECHL to skate in all 72 games during the regular season. Before this season the most games that Alberga had played in a single season was 53, which came last year. The forward has set career highs in goals (14) assists (22) and points (36) in his third full professional season. Norfolk’s alternate captain will appear in his 200th professional game early next season.
Captain Brodie Dupont, currently on loan to Stockton, was named the recipient of the 2017-18 ECHL Sportsmanship Award on Friday afternoon. Dupont, in his second year as the Admirals captain, tallied 68 points in 68 games, while only being handed 38 penalty minutes. He is the first Admiral to win the award since it began to be handed out following the 1996-97 season. The award was voted on by coaches, broadcasters, media relations directors, and media members. Dupont joins TJ Melancon and Grant Besse (All-Rookie Team) as the third Admiral to be honored by the league this season.
Ending on a High Note:
The Admirals look to end the season on a high note, and snap a 10-game road losing streak on Saturday night. The Admirals (3-6-1-0 in the last ten) try to repeat the ending to last season, when they capped off the season by topping the Royals.