Orlando, FL — The Norfolk Admirals came into Amway Center on October 18 and played spoiler against the Orlando Solar Bears with a 3-2 victory. Brandon Halverson stood on his head for 60 minutes, making 49 saves in the teams’ first victory of the season. That was the only road game the Admirals had won on the season.
That is until Tuesday night.
The Admirals started off their Thanksgiving week with a bang and played spoiler once again. This time, pulling out a 4-2 victory over the Solar Bears in their home barn once again.
Roman Durny was making his fifth start of the season, looking to rebound from last Friday’s performance in which he allowed six goals on 28 shots. For Orlando, Zach Fucale was making his second straight start and his second against the Admirals this season. Phil Hudon was slated to return to the lineup after missing Saturday’s game. He dressed for the game but ultimately did not see the ice in Tuesday’s game.
Just like their first matchup back in October, it was the Admirals who struck first on the night. Just two minutes in, the Solar Bears took a elbowing penalty and that proved costly, as Alex Rodriguez cashed in on a pass from Josh Holmstrom to make it 1-0 Admirals. The goal marked Rodriguez’s team leading seventh goal of the season. Sam Povorozniouk picked up the secondary helper on the goal, which brings his assist total to six in his four games played with Norfolk.
The rest of the period went scoreless, with the Solar Bears getting the majority of the chances. They led in the shot department 13-9 after one period of play.
Charlie O’Connor scored his first goal of the season on the same Amway Center ice surface back in October. He would pick up his third goal of the season and give the Admirals a 2-0 lead at the 4:03 mark of the period. Ryan Salkeld would get the assist on the goal. With all the momentum in their favor and Durny stopping everything that came his way, it seemed like the Admirals were going to coast to their fifth victory of the season.
But the Solar Bears would not roll over easily.
Just a minute later, Mikhail Shaligin would cut the deficit to two with his third goal of the season. Then at 13:39, Tristin Langan would tie the game up with his ninth goal of the season. Just like that, the lead was squashed and forced the Admirals to come up with a new gameplan of attack.
“Not a whole lot was said after that period,” said Admirals defenseman Brayden Sherbinin, was playing his fourth straight game at the forward position. “We just needed to keep sticking to our plan, which was getting pucks deep then to the net because this goalie was struggling tonight."
After ten minutes of back and forth action in the third, Johnny Coughlin picked up the puck and banged home his sixth goal of the season. With the goal, Coughlin now sits atop the ECHL in goals by a defenseman. Over the next seven minutes, Durny would keep every shot that came his way out of the net. Zach Franko would put the finishing touches on the Admirals fifth win of the season with an empty-net goal.
With the win, the Admirals have strung together their first winning streak of the season and have now won three of their last four games.
“The mood is great on this team right now,” said Sherbinin. “The morale is so high and the guys are in such better moods. It’s fun to come to the rink when you’re winning."
Durny would finish the night with 34 saves and picking up his second victory of the season.
“The defenders did a really good job of boxing out the forwards and clearing out the screens for me to see,” said Durny. “Honestly, they (Orlando) played the exact style that fits me perfectly. They weren’t waiting for anything. They came into our zone and shot quickly. It’s going well for me right now.”
The Admirals struggled in the special teams department against the Maine Mariners in their three game set last week. They were able to get one power play goal tonight. As for the penalty kill, the Admirals killed off two huge man-advantage opportunities for the Solar Bears.
The Admirals are back in action tomorrow night against the Atlanta Gladiators. Puck drop is set for 7pm form Atlanta, GA. Weston DeWitt will be on the air with the call of the game, starting with the 6:40pm Pregame Show.