Peter Holland, we hardly knew ye. The Toronto-area native got first star against Providence and then got traded the next day to the Maple Leafs. The Admirals were close to abysmal once again.
Friday’s game against the PBruins saw a rejuvenated Admirals team. Holland was back from a trip with the Ducks, and Frederik Andersen and Sami Vatanen were placed on the Admirals due to a number crunch at the NHL level. Andersen was made a back-up, while Vatanen got right back into it on the defensive side.
Norfolk came out firing early in the first period. Peter Holland found the net about 8 minutes in and gave the Ads an early 1-0 lead. It wouldn’t last very long, as Providence’s Mike Moore would fire right back. Despite that, it was all Admirals in the first period. Steven Whitney would tap home a Vatanen shot, then Max Friberg would knock one in six seconds later. Destined to get one of his own, Vatanen fired what would be the game-winner with about three minutes left in the period.
It was probably the best period of hockey the Ads had played since the home opener. To top it off, they scored all of their goals 5v5, outshot Providence 20-8, and didn’t take a penalty. In statistics, that’s what’s called an outlier.
Providence, in the second, would add a goal on a 5-on-3 advantage, Norfolk would take more penalties, and ultimately get outshot in the frame 18-10. John Gibson is this team’s best player and the next best isn’t close. I’d say the next best player is Rickard Rakell but he’s currently in Anaheim.
Third period came and what a terrible display it was. Norfolk had been outshot in every game coming into this one, yet no periods seemed especially crazy. Well, the Ads got outshot 24-4 in this period, and once again got bailed out time and time again by Gibson. PBruins would add another goal late in the period to make it 4-2.
Game is getting close to the end, a minute left. Providence pulls Niklas Svedberg to get the extra attacker. Nick Johnson scores a goal to bring it within 4-3. Turns out there are only 4 seconds left. After the whistle, someone apparently takes the stick out of Gibson’s hands. Garnet Exelby is none too pleased and then takes a slash at a Bruin and then gets a game misconduct. He’s the team’s captain.
Going into this game, Peter Holland had already been traded to Toronto. Norfolk was without its biggest offensive threat and had nothing to go for it but the goaltending. At least Manchester had their injury problems and were down to 16 dressed skaters. Apparently that was too many for the Admirals.
Not even two minutes into the game, the Monarchs struck first. It was not going to be a great night for the Ads. After fending off the Monarchs for much of the period, they eventually gave up a power play goal on a Jamie MacQueen penalty.
Norfolk needed to rally in the second period and make something happen. A power play opportunity is just what was called for. Alex Grant fired a shot that was eventually tipped in by Chris Wagner to cut the deficit in half. As the power play giveth, the power play taketh.
After a second period that ended 2-1, the Admirals were obviously trying for an all-important tying goal. Another power play was assessed to the Admirals. Instead of getting another goal off a Grant or Vatanen shot, they gave up a shorthanded goal to the Monarchs. All hope was not lost for visitors in blue. In a surprise to many, Antoine Laganiere got his first goal to make it 3-2.
With three minutes or so left in the game, the Ads were getting great pressure in the Monarchs zone. It felt like a goal was going to come as long as they could continue to get pucks on the net. Then something monumentally dumb happened. Steve Whitney was assessed for a hooking penalty, which was bad enough. Then, he decided to yell with the refs and that’s just not the right thing to do. He was assessed another 2 for unsportsmanlike conduct and then a game misconduct for abuse of officials. Don’t blame Whitney-he was just following the example of his captain, Garnet Exelby.
The Admirals lost. At least they tied their opponent in shots this time.
Matt Beleskey finished up his rehab assignment….Jesse Blacker will be on the roster this week…Ads come back home and play Portland next weekend…John Kurtz wore the other A with the departure of Peter Holland….Here’s an article by James Mirtle on Holland’s first game…