The Norfolk Admirals traveled to Springfield, Massachusetts, to faceoff against the surging Falcons, affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets. After many seasons of struggling with poor talent pools, they are now one of the top teams in the league. [Ed. Note: Shouldn't be surprising. The CBJ's have been awful for years, translating into many premium draft picks. The prospects just needed to age up into the AHL level. Wait until they get in the NHL and Columbus trades them away for a bag of pucks plus Scotty Upshall.]
Igor Bobkov started in net - again - after being pulled Saturday night when he gave up 3 goals on 15 shots against the Binghamton Senators (Ottawa). Frederik Andersen started the second period and finished the game in place of Bobkov. Not much changed from Saturday night to Sunday night. Bobkov let in 4 goals off of rebounds he couldn't control, but this time, he only had 12 shots against.
Nick Drazenovic scored just 41 seconds after puck drop, on the power play, due Patrick Maroon's decision to slash a Falcon; give one of the assists on the goal to Cam Atkinson. Not done yet! Drazenovic scored, again, 9:25 into the period thanks to a lost rebound going in the back of the net; Atkinson earned his second assist of the game, putting the Falcons up, 2-0. Near the end of the period, Sami Vatanen took a hooking penalty, that lead to a Matt Calvert goal on the power play with one of the assists going to former-Admiral, Ryan Craig, and the other going to, guess who? Cam Atkinson for the third time in the game and it's only the first period. The Falcons are now up, 3-0. To add some lemon juice on to the salt into the Bobkov-created wounds, Jonathon Audy-Marchessault score goal number 4 just 48 seconds later. When this horror show of a first period came to an end, the Admirals some how out-shot the Falcons, 14-12.
The second period started with Frederik Andersen in goal. He weathered the storm much better than Bobkov did. The Admirals had three powerplay chances in the period but could not convert on any of them. They just couldn't get anything done. At one point, the Ads had a 5-on-3 and Kyle Palmieri decided to be the only player to take shots on goal. He didn't pass it to an open Vatanen or cycle the puck at all.
The Falcons went on a late power play. Springfield, unlike Norfolk, knew how to handle the man-advantage and put the final nail on top of the final nail in the coffin from the first period. Who else would score on the power play but Cam Atkinson! The second period ended and not because of the mercy rule. The Admirals were out-shot 8-11 over the 20 minutes.
In the third period, I think the Admirals just wanted the game to end. They had two power play chances and did nothing with them. Springfield seemed to back off a little as well, getting out-shot, 13-8. Falcons goalie Curtis McElhinney, former Anaheim Duck, stopped literally everything the Ads could shoot at him. [Ed. Note: I threw up in my mouth after reading that sentence.]
In 98 minutes, the total of Bobkov's time-on-ice in November, the goalie has a 6.67 GAA and a .828% save percentage. In the almost 200 minutes played in November by Andersen, he has a 2.42 GAA and a .919% SV. I really have no idea why they keep going back to the clearly struggling Bobkov game-after-game. I expect Coach Yawney to start Andersen in Monday's game versus Albany, New Jersey's affiliate; however, Bobkov is the more rested goalie in the 18 1/2 hours between the end of Sunday's game and puck drop on Monday, for the third of three games in a row.
Other Notes: I don't know if the injury to Matt Smaby meant enough to the team to impact play, but if it did have an effect, I can only imagine that feeling it is amplified with the injury to veteran player Jordin Hendry ... The Admirals called up Nick Schaus from Ducks/Admirals ECHL affiliate, Fort Wayne Komets. He should be with the team for Monday's game. Schaus has 4 assists and 4 PIMs in 9 games with the Komets. He could be what this defense needs to tighten up and keep some of these rebounds from getting into the back of the net ... Sami Vatanen on Sunday night after being scratched on Saturday game ... Luca Caputi and Chris Wagner were in the added to the lineup in place of Jay Rosehill and John Kurtz, both healthy scratches.