Norfolk avoided last place today. They can’t stop the inevitable.
Ryan Faragher is a first-year pro goalie out of St. Cloud State University. He’s spent most of the year with the Utah Grizzlies, helping that team in their ECHL playoff race. Due to a series of goalie transactions, Faragher found himself backing up Jason LaBarbera and getting the start on Sunday against Bridgeport. Thanks to stopping 27 of 29 Sound Tiger shots, “Fedz” helped the Ads pick up two points. A continent away, the Anaheim Ducks were busy tending to their AHL team.
Hold that–their future AHL team, which was playing at the time. Amid great fanfare, the Ducks announced that the ghosts of the AHL Admirals will be called the San Diego Gulls next season. There was much rejoicing amidst the Internet, with people proclaiming they loved the history. San Diego citizens are understandably happy about seeing a new hockey team. It’s a fun sport, they didn’t wish for anyone to lose their team, they’re just happy to have one.
Except that’s where something is missing. Anaheim executives have yet to say anything about the relationship they had with Norfolk, which was possibly their strongest. The Admirals are placeholders, a collection of people furthering their career under the guise of development. Ducks brass said all the right things today for the people of San Diego, but remember, they’re just words.
Max Friberg, Charlie Sarault, and Stefan Noesen scored goals en route to a 3-2 Ads win. Noesen and Sarault both had two goals this weekend, which is a needed boost for an Admirals offense. Noesen’s unfortunate injury history definitely leads to a series of “What Ifs” that will most likely never be answered. All that can be asked is that Noesen finally gets to play a one-hundred percent healthy season next year.
He’ll do it in San Diego, as a Gull. Noesen-and other Ducks prospects-will be moved to the West Coast and there is nothing to be done about it. Today marked the final occasion: another terribly kept secret in this saga. Anaheim made boasts of support, things that they never really showed in their previous AHL stops. The Samuelis and the Ducks organization were playing another game today: how hard they could spin the PR in their favor. Words about competing for championships, building a hockey culture in San Diego, all of that.
Both the Sound Tigers and the Admirals had 8 power plays apiece, including some 5-on-3 time. Norfolk managed a perfect penalty kill after a disappointing special teams weekend against the Worcester Sharks. On the man advantage, the Ads would score twice, including the game-winner by Max Friberg.
Power plays happen all the time in sports, whether it’s the AHL West or the Chargers trying to leverage moving to LA for a new stadium. The fan is generally left out, because the fan can only be a profit margin. It’s disappointing, but that’s the truth.