What does this mean?
Norfolk’s return to the ECHL came closer to fruition with the team playing an actual game Saturday night against the Reading Royals at Santander Arena. It is Norfolk’s only preseason affair before opening up against old rivals Wheeling Friday night at Scope. Eric Veilleux played a traditional 12 F/ 6 D lineup. ECHL rules dictate that teams can only carry 20 players on the active roster (21 for the first month). However, teams are limited to 18 players for games, including 2 goalies. Teams are then limited to 16 skates, with many teams preferring an 10 F/ 6 D lineup. Further, as this is a preseason game, nothing is truly of consequence.
According to the Ads, EV went with this arrangement for tonight’s game:
If you can’t see the tweets:
Norfolk didn’t get off to a great start as Reading’s Ian Watters notched a marker just 1:18 into the game. The Admirals would respond with a strong 1st period, scoring two goals. Marcus Hinds would find the net first, followed by his linemate and Captain Jordan Kremyr. The Ads would generally be the better team in the period, leading the scoring 2-1 along with a 15-12 shot advantage. Things were looking good!
Then the second happened. Despite finishing the period with a 13-9 SOG advantage, the Ads were horrific on special teams. Norfolk allowed the Royals to score a Power Play goal and Shorthanded Goal, both to Mike Pereira. Reading added to this with an even-strength goal off the stick of Tyler Gjurich. After stopping 15/19 shots, Ty Rimmer was pulled for rookie Phillipe Cadorette. Cadorette would stop each puck he saw in the 2nd period. One-time AHL Ad Steve Whitney would add a power play goal to make it 4-3 Royals at the end of the second period.
Norfolk’s third period was…interesting. Cadorette was the best player in the frame, stopping 9/10 Reading shots while the Ads managed to muster up only 4 shots. Norfolk did make it count, with Whitney adding another tally to make it 4-all. Both teams were close to making it to overtime until defenseman Joe Marciano accumulated a cross-checking minor. AHL vet Geoff Walker cashed in, making it 5-4.
High-scoring hockey is likely the norm, not the exception in the ECHL. I doubt this is the lineup the Ads stick with, especially with Alexis Loiseau (AHL contract) scratched, as well as players like Jonathan Lessard, Josh Currie, and Michael Pelech not in the lineup. Given the limits of roster space, many players are now fighting for a job. I forecast a lot of fluctuation there. Defense is likely set with those pairings, perhaps with Jordan Hill changing as an extra.
Ty Rimmer’s track record is not excellent in goal. Preseason should not be extrapolated into regular season performance, it’s hard not to do so. Phillipe Cadorette and performed admirably, stopping 11/12 shots he faced in the game. Rimmer definitely gets the start in goal on Friday; EV probably has more confidence in Cadorette if things go sour.
Penalty killing definitely needs work. Norfolk, for the most part, stayed out of the box. The Ads were on the kill twice tonight, both as a result of Joe Marciano penalties. Marciano isn’t a heavily penalized player to begin with but Reading cashed in on both of his penalties. The Ads will have to work on that as a team.
I’m not sure what the ECHL will bring for the Admirals this season, nor do I know who will be on the team until Wednesday, when opening day rosters are due. Here’s to it, though.
Norfolk signed Maxime Legault to a contract. He’s a decent AHL vet and last played in the ECHL two years ago, scoring 42 pts in 66 games for Gwinnett (now Atlanta). Legault played tonight, nothing to report however.