On Sunday, the Norfolk Admirals hopped on the bus after a horribly played game versus Springfield and traveled to Albany, New York. The Ads were point-less going into their third game in as many days. Hoping to salvage at least one point in their fourth and final game of the Northeast swing, Norfolk hit the ice against the Albany Devils (New Jersey) on Monday.
The first period started with more of the same: no dominant play by the Admirals and no scoring. That changed 13:27 into the period. Luca Caputi scored his first goal of the season with Ryan Lasch getting the assist. Chad Wiseman of the Devils tied it up almost two minutes later on an even-strength goal. The Admirals had three power play chances in the period but couldn't score on any of them. The team is still struggling with the man advantage. At the close of the period, the game was tied, 1-1.
The second period was another forgettable period of hockey. Not much happened until the teams played some 4-on-4 hockey. The Devils had a 2-on-1 break. Gabe Guentzel was the only Ads' player back and he failed to stop a Steve Zalewski pass to Tom Sestito for the goal. Emerson Etem was the closest help for Guentzel, but even with his speed, he couldn't close the gap quick enough to break up the play. Baby Devils up, 2-1.
The rest of the period was reminiscent of the beginning of the season for the Admirals. They had a very aggressive forecheck and started getting more and more scoring chances. But the period would still end 2-1 in favor of Albany, with the Ads out-shooting them, 14-12.
The third period started off with a bang. Just 32 seconds in, Peter Holland tied the game up with his team-leading sixth goal of the season on a Devante Smith-Pelly helper. Minutes later, the Devils committed two penalties on one play, sending the Admirals to a 5-on-3 power play. Norfolk coach Trent Yawney took a timeout to set up a play. Holland won the faceoff back to Sami Vatanen, who would make a cross ice pass to Kyle Palmieri, who proceeds to put the puck into the back of the net. Admirals take the lead, 3-2. Since Palmieri's goal happened just three seconds into the 5-on-3, the Ads had almost a full 5-on-4 power play still on the clock.
59 seconds in to the second power play, Caputi made a pass from behind the net to an on-rushing Palmieri. Kyle flipped the puck up high and over Devils' goaltender, Jeff Frazee, to put the Admirals up 4-2.
From what I saw, the Admirals went quickly into the 'lets not lose' formation after going up two goals - it never works. Norfolk's lead lasted about 11 minutes. Almost immediately after the Ads went on the power play, the Devils scored a short-handed goal, making it 4-3. Adam Larsson tied the game with three and a half minutes left in regulation.
The game was still tied after three period, sending it into overtime. Both teams had a couple of quality chances. With one minute left in OT, the Admirals went on the power play. This is where they would get their best shots on goal. In one minute, the Ads were credited with 5 shots on Albany's goaltender. The goalie stopped every one of them. On to the shootout!
In the AHL, each team gets five shooters:
Clutch goal by Patrick Maroon for the ugly win.
So, the Admirals managed to squeeze two points out of eight on one of the worst road trips Admirals fans had seen in a while. They surrendered 17 goals in only 4 games. Just for a comparison, Springfield, who shutout the Admirals on Sunday, have given up 17 goals all season.
In training camp, I thought this team would be much, much better on defense than they have performed.
One good thing is that the next two games will be back home at the Scope, where the team has played much better and with more confidence. The only negative is the team they'll be facing on Friday and Saturday - the first place, Springfield Falcons.
Notes: Kyle Palmieri's two goals tied him with Peter Holland for the team lead at 6 goals each ... Holland's 6 goals and 8 assists makes him the Admirals points leader at 14 ... DSP has 6 assists on the season ... After the massive goals against scored on the road trip, only eight players have a positive plus/minus rating, including Jordan Hendry, who is injured.