Not very good.
As I write this, the Norfolk Admirals are down 5-2 to the Orlando Solar Bears (Toronto) (Ed. They lost 6-3). Now, this is pretty awful because it puts the Ads at 1-4 on the year, which is a terrible record. Norfolk needs to better than that to get to the playoffs. What went wrong?
Norfolk has scored 0, 4, 1, 3, and 2 goals so far in their short season. In the game they scored 4 goals, they actually won. In the high-scoring ECHL, you can’t do this–without goaltending. Edmonton draft pick Greg Chase has been consistent, along with Josh Currie. Outside of that, the scoring is sporadic with no one truly picking it up. Shooting 6.8% will hopefully turn upwards as the season continues. They’ve been doing decently enough in the shot category.
Norfolk’s penalty door is revolving. Tonight alone, the Ads have given Orlando 5 power plays. Tuesday was worse, as the Admirals gave Florida six power plays. Norfolk only allowed 1 goal on those 6 opportunities, but that’s not a situation you want to be in. Not to mention Greg Chase taking a ridiculously terrible game misconduct penalty–he has to realize he’s worth more to the team on the ice.
By which I mean shorthanded goals. Norfolk allowed a shorthanded goal in both games against Orlando. Stopping a shorthanded opportunity on Thursday would have allowed the Admirals to possibly tie the game, and avoid a prolonged empty net situation. If tonight’s shorthanded goal is removed, it’s 5-3 (including the ENG), which doesn’t really help at all but makes the margin a little bit less sloppy.
Ty Rimmer’s save percentage in the CHL/ECHL: .906, .889. Those are not strong numbers. ECHL goalies don’t need to be at a constant .925, but they do need to be somewhere around .915. Rimmer is now sitting at .908 after tonight’s game. which isn’t promising. Norfolk can only live with this if they find a way to constantly score goals–somehow. The best option at the present would be for Eetu Laurikainen to be assigned to Norfolk, with Ben Scrivens finally seeing the game day roster in Bakersfield. Laurikainen has an .818 save percentage in one game with Bakersfield–he might need to start in the ECHL and work his way up, like Laurent Brossoit.
Philippe Cadorette‘s first start was rough. The rookie gave up 3 goals on 9 shots and lasted only half a period. He’ll get another shot, most likely, but he has to improve.
so is there any good here
Norfolk isn’t getting constantly outshot. Instead, they’re playing up to their opponents and trying to win the game. Sometimes this isn’t so–the game at Florida is an indication, though the Ads were really only outdone in the third. However, they get in their own way as listed above. If they keep pressing, the goals will come. It’s preventing the goals that will be a problem going forward.
the answer is…
Finding goaltending and growing. Norfolk is a young team, that’s for sure, but they still have to win. Unlike the AHL, the ECHL is filled with trades everyday. Tom Mele coming over for Jordan Kremyr is the norm, not the exception. Something might happen which benefits the Admirals. It might be a long season.