Norfolk, VA — The Norfolk Admirals came into Wednesday night not having tasted victory since October 23 against the South Carolina Stingrays. The club had lost 11 straight contests and lost four pivotal pieces in Ben Holmstrom, JC Campagna, Sebastian Vidmar and Roman Ammirato in the process.
Due to the injuries, the Admirals brought in Joe Masonius, Sam Povorozniouk and Zach Franko to fill the voids. Back on their home ice after two gut-wrenching losses to South Carolina, the Admirals took care of business Wednesday night and defeated the Maine Mariners, 6-1. Roman Durny made his third start of the season and looked to rebound after being pulled in his last start in an eventual 5-0 loss.
The 21-year old rookie goaltender did just that, and then some.
Alex Jaeckle got the party started just 17 seconds into the first period when his shot from the point got past the glove of Maine goaltender, Tim McCollum. River Rymsha and Phil Hudon picked up the helpers on Jaeckle’s second goal of the season. That’s all the scoring that would take place in the first period, as the Mariners outshot the Admirals, 12-6, in the opening frame.
The Admirals looked to build off the momentum of the 1,392 in attendance at Norfolk Scope and pad their lead to two. But Tom Hart hushed the crowd just 14 seconds into the period with is first professional goal to tie the game up at one. With the game now locked up at one, the Admirals went on the power play and at the 6:01 mark of the period, Alex Rodriguez cashed in. The Miami, FL product scored his fifth goal of the season to give the Admirals their lead back. Norfolk went 1-for-3 on the man advantage in their victory.
With the lead back in their possestion, the Admirals didn’t let up and were determined to stop the losing streak in its tracks. With that in mind, former Mariner Johnny Coughlin scored his fourth goal of the season on a beautiful goal from the circles to make it 3-1. Coughlin would go on to receive a third man on the ice misconduct in the third period and be ejected from the game.
In the third period, the Admirals pressure continued, as Brayden Sherbinin was on the backdoor and put home the shot for his second goal of the season. Sherbinin hadn’t scored scored since November 6 in Wichita and was playing the forward position tonight due to the injuries up-front. Rodriguez and John Gustafsson would add two more goals to make it 6-1, which led to the Admirals snapping out of their funk. The Admirals went a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill, while Durny made 25 saves in his first professional victory.
“I saw some calmness from him (Durny),” said Admirals assistant coach Ryan McGinnis. “For a 21-year old to go in there and play well and be calm, he improved as the game went along and he knew his angles. There are power plays in certain positions to shoot the puck and he was very sharp on that puck coming through. And he didn’t overdo it, he wasn’t trying to do too much, he stayed him.”
With the losing streak now out of the way, the Admirals will look to build consistency moving forward. Norfolk will take on Maine once again on Friday, then once again on Saturday.
“We kept coming in waves,” said Admirals assistant coach Ryan McGinnis. “Forget the score and the result, we played together and you saw a level of togetherness that helped us have success. Shift after shift, there was positivity on the bench and putting pucks in areas they should go which opened up our game and speed. It all kind of came together tonight. Now, it’s about staying humble and building from this.”