…until Friday night, at least. A weekend primer.
Last night, the Hershey Bears traveled to Lewiston, Maine to take on the Portland Pirates. Only one point behind Norfolk, the Bears had a great chance to take a mid-week lead in the standings. Despite getting out to a 2-1 advantage in the first, the Pirates would lose after Hershey struck back for 2 goals in the second.
Norfolk now stands with a game in hand on the Bears going into this Friday. If the Admirals win against Adirondack (and they should), they will gain their one-point advantage back over an idle Hershey team. The true challenge comes in the weekend sets, when both the Bears and Admirals have games. Norfolk definitely gets the worse end on Saturday, having to face a superb Binghamton team at Broome County Arena, while the Bears take on a Worcester Sharks team that has a very outside shot of getting into the playoffs. Sunday is a bit more even, with the Admirals and Bears both getting non-contenders in Hartford and Bridgeport respectively.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bears get a sweep this weekend and total 6 points for the week while the Admirals get 4. A result like this still leaves the Admirals one point behind the Bears. If the Admirals and Bears both win out, then Norfolk will retain that one point lead.
Norfolk played a very chippy 2-game set against the Adirondack Phantoms in December at Scope. The Admirals would split the series, 1-1. William Karlsson is expected to make his Admirals debut this Friday.
Expected Goalie: John Gibson, .917 SV%
The division leading B-Sens made the trek down to Norfolk only two weeks ago. They decisively took the Friday game before a wild Saturday night. Chris Wagner recorded his first career hat trick in a game that eventually went to overtime, where the B-Sens won. Norfolk has not beaten Binghamton since opening night in Norfolk. Alex Grant scored 2 points against his old team in the Friday night victory.
Expected Goalie: Brad Thiessen, .931 SV%
The Wolf Pack came in and again split a weekend series with Norfolk. John Gibson posted a shutout in the Friday night game, with Chris Wagner scoring the game’s only goal. On Saturday, Trent Yawney elected to play Gibson again. Norfolk’s rookie netminder would not last the night, being replaced in the 2nd by Brad Thiessen. Thiessen would go on to stop all 10 shots he faced.
Expected Goalie: Gibson