Norfolk ends its regular season this week with three games. Two of them are against the rival Hershey Bears at Scope, followed by a trip to Binghamton on Saturday.
The Admirals’ quest for a playoff spot has reached a very clearly defined juncture this week. The easiest way for the team to get in is to secure two regulation victories, at home, against the Hershey Bears this week. It is not going to be an easy task. Gone are leading goal-scorer Devante Smith-Pelly and top goalie John Gibson, called up to the Anaheim Ducks. In their place, Emerson Etem and Brad Thiessen have stepped up to fill those gaps.
New faces like Nic Kerdiles, William Karlsson, and Shea Theodore have been asked to contribute in their first taste of AHL action. The first real test of this happened over the past weekend, where Norfolk went 2-0-1, securing 5 out of 6 points. Thiessen put on a ridiculous performance, playing three games in three days and giving up a total of 4 goals. As much as the Ads could control themselves, they could not prevent Hershey from gaining traction. Right now, both teams are tied in points with the Bears holding the tiebreaker.
It’s simple: beat Hershey, twice, without going to overtime. What happened last time?
The last time these two teams met was a Sunday afternoon game at Giant Center. Etem lead the way, with 3 points including 2 goals. What was most notable about that game, though, was the goal from Bears defenseman Tyson Strachan. On a penalty kill, Strachan launched the puck 180 feet down ice, where John Gibson could not handle it and let it slip in. It would only make the margin of victory smaller for Norfolk. Those kinds of mistakes can not happen tonight or Friday.
mark fistric on long-term injured reserve
Norfolk got another bit of reinforcement this week with the addition of Anaheim Ducks defenseman Mark Fistric on a conditioning assignment. The veteran blueliner is a stay-at-home player who has generally been good at driving possession for his career. While he does not score a lot, he does keep the puck out of his team’s end of the ice. The situation is incredibly weird as the Ducks are already in the playoffs (and start tonight) while the Admirals are still fighting to make it in. What I wonder about is who Fistric will replace, as he’s an upgrade over a few players. Nolan Yonkman was scratched Sunday, and I wouldn’t mind seeing that role being filled by Fistric.
with Yonkman out on Sunday, Zack Stortini wore the 2nd A….. Fistric will wear 25 for the Admirals…. Teigan Zahn and Norm Ezekiel were sent back to Utah… Frederik Andersen will start game one for Anaheim…