By Weston DeWitt
Charleston, SC — The Norfolk Admirals came into Saturday night looking to end their nine game slump as they went up against a first place South Carolina Stingrays squad.
The Stingrays took two of three from the Admirals at the end of October at Norfolk Scope. South Carolina picked up right where they left off on October 26 and defeated the Admirals, 6-2, on Saturday night.
Leading the way from start-to-finish was South Carolina’s 22 year old goaltender, Logan Thompson. The Calgary, Alberta native allowed four goals on 22 shots in their only defeat of the season back on October 23 against Norfolk. He rebounded quite nicely and carried his team to a commanding victory on Hockey Fights Cancer Night at North Charleston Coliseum.
Thompson’s night got out to a rocky start, as Portsmouth, VA's own Ryan Salkeld scored his first goal of the season on a rebound shot to give the Admirals a 1-0 lead. The 28 year old was making his return to the lineup after missing 13 games with an upper body injury and was able to cash in on his first shift back in action.
But after that, it was the South Carolina Stingrays show as they scored five unanswered goals on Admirals goaltender, Brandon Halverson.
First, it was Max Novak converting on a power-play opportunity to tie the game up at one. Four minutes later, Mark Cooper put home the loose change on a rebound to make it 2-1. Mitch Vanderlaan and Cam Askew got in on the fun during the second period, making it 4-1 after two periods of play.
It didn’t get any better in the third, as Jaynen Rissling made the bleeding even worse for Norfolk, cashing in on his first of the season to make it 5-1. With the Admirals looking for some kind of momentum to get back into the game, Phil Hudon received a pass from Sebastian Vidmar and put it home over the blocker of Thompson to cut the deficit to three. The goal marked Hudon’s first point since October 25.
But with time not on their side, the Admirals were unable to string together a few goals to further cut their deficit. Stingrays captain Andrew Cherninchan put the finishing touches on the night for South Carolina, making it 6-2.
Halverson finished the night with 27 saves, while Thompson tallied 29 total saves in his fifth victory of the season. The Admirals led in the shot department for two periods (1st and 3rd), but were ultimately outshot by night’s end, 33-31.
With the loss, the Admirals have now fallen in their last ten contests. The Stingrays on the other hand have continued their winning ways since falling to Norfolk on October 23. They have now won seven straight games and sit at the top of South Division with a 10-1-0-0 record.
The Admirals will look to get back into the win column tomorrow afternoon at a special matinee time (3pm) when they take on the Stingrays once again. The game can be seen on ECHLTV and heard on the Admirals Radio Network.