Some things are better, some are not
After a disastrous Florida road trip, the Admirals were looking to get back on track in their only game of the week. Strange, yes, but this ECHL scheduling. Norfolk played host to the Quad City Mallards, who are in their second season as an ECHL squad. Ty Rimmer and company desperately wanted a win.
Norfolk managed to outshoot the Mallards in the first period, and were rewarded with the first goal. Marco Roy was looking to pass across at the right circle, and he found Alexis Loiseau. Loiseau would deflect it in for his first goal of the game and his professional career. His night would not end there. After a penalty expired, but before the Quad City player could fully rejoin the action, Loiseau would score from near the right post.
The third period proved to be a haunting one for the Ads. Loiseau had several close opportunities during one possession to make it 3-0 but kept hitting the post. As a result of playing in their own zone for too long, the Ads would give up golden chances to the Mallards and took a costly penalty. The Mallards scored on the man advantage and cut it to a 2-1 lead. With the goalie pulled, Norfolk would then cede a tying goal to Quad City.
Norfolk experienced their first 3-versus-3 overtime of the season, with both teams trading chances. Neither team scored, as both Ty Rimmer and Steve Michalek were excellent all night. The shootout came next. Alexis Loiseau would finally find his elusive third goal to give Norfolk its second win on the season. Despite a horrific road trip, the Ads are 2-1 on home ice. Norfolk needs to take advantage of pretty awful goaltending situations for South Carolina and Greenville next weekend to try to bring home a couple wins.
Offense is not the greatest for the Ads, but I think that will come. Norfolk has played some pretty strong goaltenders this season. Outside of Wheeling’s Brian Foster, each goaltender has at least a .900 save percentage. Defense is definitely a concern. Ty Rimmer continues to be a very solid and consistent goaltender, at least for 50 minutes or so. Rimmer definitely needs the defense to step up and play on the other end of the ice. Dennis McEwen made a comment that he thought the team was too “scrambly” in their own end during the end of the second and third periods. Norfolk needs to stick a smart structure and take the puck out of the zone with purpose in these situations. Next week presents the Ads with their first three-in-three of the year: home against Greenville and Wheeling before Sunday date with the South Carolina Stingrays. I’d like to see Norfolk win all three of these games, of course. If I’m realistic, 4/5 points would be the best and I’d settle for just 4 points on the weekend. In the meantime, Norfolk might need to find someone to play behind Rimmer if Bakersfield/Edmonton continues to sit Eetu Laurikainen while Ben Scrivens and Laurent Brossoit take the roster spots. Seriously: let Laurikainen play somewhere. I don’t think he’s nursing an injury and keeping him on the plane or bus or whatever and not doing anything doesn’t help his development. Split him with a decent-enough goaltender and create a strong platoon. We’ll see what happens in the upcoming week.