The Norfolk Admirals began their first season as the AHL team for the Anaheim Ducks this week to very successful results.
[Ed. Note: My bad on not posting this last week. Pretend the series against the Whale hasn't happened yet.]
The Admirals started their Calder Cup defending season on a high note by beating the Worcester Sharks in two straight games. Both started off well, but the Admirals made it harder on themselves than it should have been.
The first game was barely won in regulation. The Sharks dominated the second period and tied the game up 2-2. Troy Bodie fought in the 3rd frame to pick up the energy of his team. After the penalty ended, Bodie skated out of the box and scored the game winner off on a Jay Rosehill assist. Hopefully clutch scoring is a frequent thing with this line all season.
In the second game, the new Admirals physical play showed with a fight in the first 26 seconds of the period. Bracken Kearns, a former Ad, charged a Norfolk player and John Mitchell took exception to it. Kearn's penalty lead to a power play where Patrick Maroon would score the first of his two goals on the night. Kyle Palmieri and Peter Holland received the assists. Worcester would recover and take a 2-1 lead at the end of the first period.
Maroon and Mitchell scored in the second to regain the lead for the Ads, 3-2. This would be Mitchell's second goal of the weekend.
The Baby Sharks tied it up late in the 3rd after the Admirals began to play to not lose the game. Worcester out-shot the Ads 19-5 in the period and 45-29 total after regulation. As a fan, this was one of my main concerns with the team. The old Ads held the [prior Anaheim affiliate] Syracuse Crunch to some really low shot totals last year. If you aren't getting shots on goal, you aren't scoring; my one cliche phrase for the article.
The scratches were the same for both games: Luca Caputi, Gabe Guentzel, John Kurtz, Garrett Klotz, Matt Kennedy and Nick Schaus. Matt Kennedy and Nick Schaus would be sent down to the Fort Wayne Komets of the ECHL.
Line Combinations and Cumulative Stats vs. Worcester Sharks
Patrick Maroon - Peter Holland - Kyle Palmieri: 6 points; 4 goals, 2 assists, plus-5 and 13 PIMs
Brandon McMillan - John Mitchell - Devante Smith-Pelly: 6 points; 2 goals, 4 assists, minus-2 and 7 PIMs
Emerson Etem - Corey Elkins - Ryan Lasch: zero points; minus-1 and 2 PIMs
Jay Rosehill - Chris Wagner - Troy Bodie: 3 points; 1 goal, 2 assists, plus-4 and 11 PIMs
Matt Smaby - Mat Clark: 1 point; 0 goals, 1 assist, minus-1 and 0 PIMs
Sami Vatanen - Jordan Hendry: 1 point; 0 goals, 1 assist, minus-1 and 2 PIMs
Hampus Lindholm - Nate Guenin: Zero points; plus-6, 2 PIMs
Maroon - Holland - Smith-Pelly
Etem - Elkins - Lasch
Palmieri - Vatanen
Guenin - Lindholm
Wagner - Bodie
Smith-Pelly - McMillan
Mitchell - Elkins
Smaby - Clark
Hendry - Vatanen
Mat Clark - Very sturdy defender; likes to use size to overpower forwards.
Hampus Lindholm - Had a quiet two games; a very smooth skater and is pretty much never out of position.
Nate Guenin- Always on the ice with Lindholm providing veteran leadership and dependability to help Hampus' rookie season be successful.
Jordan Hendry - the stay-at-home defender will make it easier for Vatanen to be the offensive weapon he is projected to be; very rarely makes a bad play.
Sami Vatanen - playing at least one shift on every penalty kill and power play; loves joining and starting offensive odd-man rushes; loads of ice time for a rookie.
Ryan Lasch - hasn't been productive yet; had a couple good chances over the weekend, though.
Brandon McMillan - provided a good assist on Saturday's game; plays well with his linemates.
Chris Wagner- he's the smaller, faster guy on his line with Bodie and Rosehill; matches up well and isn't afraid to try and hit guys.
Patrick Maroon - 2 goals on Saturday; brings a nice scoring touch to a power play that needs it.
Troy Bodie- had a fight and a goal but fell an assist short of the Gordie Howe hat trick Friday night.
Kyle Palmieri - playing really well; had an assist and empty net goal on Saturday. Plays as the 4th forward on the PP back on the blue line with Vatanen.
Peter Holland- scored a goal and created a couple quality chances by being strong on the forecheck.
John Mitchell - two goals and a fight over the weekend; a big guy who is responsible with the puck.
Matt Smaby - he and Clark are the traditional kind of defensive pairing; big, strong and won't take bad penalties.
Emerson Etem - quiet weekend; likes setting up in front of the net and screening the goalie. I think he will be rewarded for his efforts soon.
Frederik Andersen - After seeing a preseason game and the game he started on Friday, he is the better of the two goalies.
Devante Smith-Pelly - playing out of his mind right now; definitely looks like he be in the NHL this season, but I think he would benefit from a full AHL season with top line ice time.
Igor Bobkov - didn't have a terrible game, stopped 42 of 45 shots, and had some big saves in the shootout. Two of the three goals were due to very poor rebound control.
Jay Rosehill - he has a point on the season and hasn't taken any game costing penalties; looking like a good signing already.
Corey Elkins - didn't make a big splash this past weekend; took many important faceoffs.