Tonight marked the official start of the 25th season of Admirals hockey, even if it meant a start on the road. Norfolk looked to start things off on a positive note in Hartford.
As you’ll recall, the Connecticut Whale have been the top Rangers affiliate for the past few years. Fans were disappointed with this half-assed attempt to remember the Whaler, and back game the Wolf Pack. With a goalie match-up of Cameron Talbot for Hartford and Freddie Andersen for the Admirals, it was going to be a tight one.
The game’s first period saw neither team make much of an impact, though the Ads found themselves on the penalty kill twice to start it off. On the first penalty kill of the game, John Kurtz found himself slashed in the face with a stick. He drew blood as a result, and went to the dressing room. No penalty was assessed. Zack Stortini made his Admirals debut with 2 (2!) fights in the first period.
With an uneventful first period done, the 2nd started. For fans at home, there was a problem where the radio feed on the Internet cut out and didn’t give the game. Much thanks to Admirals broadcaster Pete Michaud for getting that sorted out in time. Slightly past a minute in the second period, Steven Whitney took advantage of a Hartford turnover and scored the game’s first goal for the Ads. Youth will be important for this team, and Whitney’s goal is a great way to set the tone. Nothing would be as important until the end of the period. Mat Clark made a legal hit that drew ire from the opposition. He drew a weak bout with Andrew Yogan that also gave Stu Bickel an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which gave the Ads a 5-on-3 power play to start the third.
Norfolk wasted no time in the third, with Kevin Gagne, Charlie Sarault, and Rickard Rakell on a tic-tac-toe goal to extend the lead to 2-0, Ads. Despite a short tryout with the Ducks last year, it was Rakell’s first pro goal. Everything was going well until a Nolan Yonkman interference penalty which gave the Wolf Pack a power play. They took that opportunity and converted with a Danny Kristo shot from the left circle.
Flash forward to the end of the period. Hartford pulls goalie Cam Talbot, adding a 6th attacker on the ice. It’s near the end of the game, so close, like less than ten seconds left. Players attack and scramble at the net and try to get the puck in but no time and the whistle blows right before a puck slides past Freddie Andersen into the goal. It’s gotta be called dead, right? Nope. The goal is awarded to Hartford and we go to overtime.
Neither team scores in overtime, though Nolan Yonkman almost ends the game. To the shootout!
Round 1: Rakell YES / Lindberg NO
Round 2: Sarault NO / Kristo YES
Round 3: Devante Smith-Pelly YES / Yogan NO
Round 4: Whitney NO / Bourque NO
Admirals pick up their first two points, the hard way. Despite this, the Ads should have won in regulation. There was no excuse for failing to get the puck out of the zone or controlling in it on that last possession. Instead, the team set themselves up for a situation in which they could lose. The Ads need to stay out of the box, as well. Despite getting less total PIM for the same number of infractions, the Ads had 7 power plays to the Wolf Pack’s 8. Why do they want to stay out the box, besides the obvious?
A good team needs to have a lot of shots. The Ads were outshot 34-26 in regulation. Without the aid of ice time stats like the NHL, the shot count is the best we have to rely on. You aren’t going to win a a lot of games being outshot by such a margin. Here’s to more shots today.
Today’s Game: Norfolk (1-0-0-0) takes on Bridgeport (0-1-0-0) at 3PM. Check out Chirps for last night’s BPT game vs WBS.
Binghamton came back to beat Syracuse in overtime….Hershey lost to Adirondack in overtime….WBS beat Bridgeport 5-2……
As for the game were John Kurtz, Nolan Yonkman, and Garnet Exelby.