Things are going from bad to worse for the Anaheim Ducks AHL affiliate, Norfolk Admirals. After starting the season 4-0, the Ads have dropped seven of their last 10 games. Time to sound the alarm?
After a decent showing by Norfolk Admirals goaltender Frederik Andersen at home Friday night, the coaches felt Igor Bobkov needed to get back between the pipes for a rebound game and possibly build some confidence. Personally, I disagree with the decision but I do not get paid a lot of money to develop future NHL players.
52 seconds after the puck dropped, the Admirals went on the power play. The team's special teams continued to struggle and the Ads were unable to take advantage. As is becoming routine for Bobkov, he was off to another shaky start on Saturday. A little under five minutes in, the rookie net-minder allowed a Dalton Smith goal on the Springfield Falcons (Columbus) third shot of the game.
Following the goal, Pat Maroon went to the box for roughing. Springfield's power play ended 20 seconds later when Falcons goalie Paul Dainton played the puck outside the trapezoid resulting in a delay-of-game penalty. Playing four-on-four, Chris Wagner tied the game for the Ads by collecting and shooting the rebound from a Mat Clark shot on the blue-line. Just before the end of the period with the Falcons on the power play, John Moore put the puck behind Bobkov. The period ended with Springfield leading the Admirals in shots, 15-9, and goals, 2-1.
The game wouldn't pick up again until 5:39 into the second.The Falcons Tim Erixon scored an even-strength goal with Jonathon Audy-Marchessault (JAM) receiving his second assist of the night. Including his goal on Friday, JAM skated away with a three point weekend against Norfolk.
Shortly after, Jay Rosehill took a terrible tripping penalty while in the NEUTRAL zone.With play stopped, Norfolk's John Kurtz absolutely laid into Falcons dance partner, Michael Chaput. At one point, Chaput tried to turtle, but Kurtz picked him right up and literally punched him back down to ice level. This fired up the Ads a little bit but they still had to kill off the ridiculous Rosehill penalty; fortunately for the Ads, the PK was successful.
Peter Holland brought the Admirals within one of Springfield with just over half the game remaining. Kyle Palmieri and Rosehill earned the assists on the goal. The Admirals held tight later in the period after Rosehill received a double minor for check to the head and unsportsmanlike conduct. Soon after, Matt Smaby - his first game back since being injured - committed a cross checking penalty. Remarkably, the team played really well on the two minute 5-on-3. Bobkov came up with some big saves and had quite a bit of luck go his way. The Ads out-shot the Falcons, 12-8, but still trailed on the scoreboard, 3-2.
Most of the third period was played in the Springfield end, with the Falcons playing to not give up anymore goals.Other than two early Norfolk power plays, the Falcons were pretty darn good at limiting the chances. Nick Holden scored for the Falcons at the 14:08 mark, increasing the lead over Norfolk, 4-2.
Late in the third, Kyle Palmieri was against the boards digging for the puck as Dalton Prout cross-checked him a good 10 times. Eventually, both players received off-setting minors for slashing (Palmieri) and cross-checking (Prout). With less than five minutes to go, and the Admirals frustration level beginning to hit its limit, Patrick Maroon disagreed with a call and was immediately thrown out of the game and given a 10 minute misconduct for "Abuse of the Officials".
The Admirals drew a penalty for a late game power play. The Ads had no choice but to pull Bobkov, for a 6-on-4 advantage. To add salt to the wound, the Falcons scored a short-handed, empty-net goal, to cement their 5-2 victory.
Following the fifth goal, Brandon McMillan and Devante Smith-Pelly were tossed and given 10 minute abusing the officials misconduct. Palmieri was tossed, too, but was given a 10 minute misconduct for unsportsmanlike conduct. After the final buzzer, head coach Trent Yawney went to the zamboni tunnel where the officials go to get to their locker room, to talk to the zebras; however, the officials would not come off the ice until he walked away. He was not a happy man.
The Admirals had a massive meltdown. We won't know until Wednesday if it was for better or for worse; all misconducts could earn suspensions. maybe sooner if they can suspend for those misconducts.
The Admirals need to bounce back next Wednesday, as they take on the rival Charlotte Checkers. It's gonna be a really sad Thanksgiving if they don't.
Notes: Peter Holland and Kyle Palmieri remain tied for the team lead in points at 14 ... Bobkov is now 49th out of 50 goalies in the AHL with a 3.79 GAA and .894 SV% ... The Admirals are .500 on the season and have lost seven of their last 10 games ... Norfolk is fourth out of five in the division and ninth in the conference ... Only four teams have more goals-against than the Admirals.