Hopes were high coming into Friday night's game with the Norfolk Admirals splitting the previous weekends games in St. John's; highlighted by goaltender Igor Bobkov putting on a show Sunday earning a shutout. However, Friday's game against the Bimmington Senators (Ottawa) would be marred with sloppy, and maybe even lazy, play.
Early in the first period, the Admirals went on the power play. They had four shots on goal with several quality chances that just couldn't find the back of the net. The power play was one of the only highlights in the first period.
From that point on Norfolk took two penalties; Jay Rosehill and Troy Bodie went off for roughing, and the Baby Sens took the period over. Binghamton outshot the Admirals 15-11 in the period. Bobkov, with an assist from the goal posts, helped to keep the game at 0-0.
The Ads could not get out of their zone at all. Referencing a Jim Hodges article and in my Admirals Aftermath weekly review comments, Hockey Duckie pointed out the team struggled at practice. So much so, that coach Yawney left the ice in frustration and his assistants finished the practice.
To start the second period, the Admirals came out looking slightly better. Emerson Etem's season long hard work thus far, finally paid off with his first goal. Etem used the same move twice on Baby Sens goaltender Robin Lehner. On the second attempt, the puck slipped through Lehner's pads for the goal. Sami Vatanen and Luca Caputi received the assists.
About eight minutes later, Bimmington tied the game up on the power play. Not to be out done, Peter Holland scored a power play goal of his own two minutes later on a sweet pass from Sami Vatanen and Kyle Palmieri. Bimmington finished strong, though, by add two more goals to their tally. Those two goals allowed by Bobkov should have been routine stops, but he just couldn't get in front of them. It was definitely another night of shaky goaltening after he played so well in his previous game.
As seems to be the trend, the Admirals were out-shot 27-25, and after two frames, the score going into the third was 3-2, in favor of the Baby Sens. making the score at the end of the period 3-2 and the Admirals being outshot, 27-25.
The third period started off with a bang as Etem scored another hard earned goal, his second on the night. The Sens were holding the puck up along the boards trying to get it out of the zone, Etem went in hard and loosened the puck. Etem sped to the net where a Caputi pass would set up Etem's tally.
The rest of the period was a let down. The Admirals didn't get a second shot on goal until 13 minutes into the period. This team is really struggling with closing out games. I don't know if its the youth or what, but its a struggle every game.
Bimmington scored with over 12 minutes left in the game. The Admirals had no answer for points, despite some very late Baby Sens' penalties. As the clock winded down, the Ads had a 6-on-4 for a minute, but the visiting team kept the puck behind the goal line. The Senators won 4-3, outshooting the Admirals, 37-31.
The baffling thing right now is that Yawney has been known to be a defensive coach, but his team is having to try and out-score the opponent every night, instead building a solid defensive game. The goaltending isn't shining too brightly, even though both goalies only have one loss. The scoring is definitely there, especially with Vatanen who is Top 5 in scoring overall and as a defenseman [Ed. Note: MF-er Justin Schultz is in the lead]. Hopefully this team can figure out the defensive woes soon or it could turn to out to be a very long season.
The Admirals take on the Baby Senators again Saturday night at 7:15 PM ET (4:15pm PT). Listen live on 1021 The Game or watch on AHL Live