The Norfolk Admirals looked to yet again try and end their losing streak, the longest since 2008, against a Hershey Bears team that has uncharacteristically struggled through the start of the season.
The first period was a pretty good example of what this team can do, at least for the first six-to-seven minutes of the game. The Admirals played well in their own defensive zone and Igor Bobkov came up with some good saves. All lines were running at full steam. The newly formed line of Patrick Maroon - Brandon McMillan - Emerson Etem impressed me the most with their hard forecheck and a couple decent scoring chances.
However the Admirals progress stopped after captain Nate Guenin took a penalty. On the penalty kill, the Ads couldn't get out of their own zone. At one point, Norfolk went around 10 minutes - at least - without a shot on goal. In the final minute of the period, a sloppy line change lead to an easy Hershey goal. Norfolk was out-shot in the period 13-7.
The Admirals tied it up in the second period. Kyle Palmieri scored his seventh goal of the season with Peter Holland getting the assist. Another monster night for Holland. Peter lead the team with eight shots-on-goal and was the only Admirals' player above an even plus/minus at plus-1.
Five minutes later, Hershey scored back-to-back goals. The first goal against was a shot Bobkov should have easily stopped. The second, he looked to be screened a bit. Either way, he is a big goalie at 6'6" and should be able to cover angles a bit better; same goes for Andersen at 6'4". The Bears out-shot the Admirals 13-7 for the second period in a row.
The Admirals tried, yet again, in the third period to make a comeback. They pulled within one goal, thanks to John Mitchell's fourth on the season. Gabe Guentzel and Guenin earned the assists. The Ads had two power play chances after this goal but continued to struggle on the special teams. The power play is now 24th in the league with a 14.4% success rate.
With three and a half minutes left, Hershey scored another goal, widening the gap to 4-2. The Bears sealed the deal with an empty netter with 22 seconds left in regulation. Final score: Hershey wins, 5-2. [Ed. Note: Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau was in attendance for the game. No word on how many f-bombs were dropped in the post game locker room discussion.]
So the Admirals drop their sixth game in a row and have now lost nine of their last 10 games. The only win was over last place Albany in the shootout. The last time the Admirals went seven games without a point was 2002, the last time Coach Yawney was in Norfolk. In the past 5 games the Ads have lost by five goals four times, they just can't break out of this funk yet but I hope it happens soon.
As one could imagine its starting to get ugly on the social media sites, fans saying they'll never come back; people calling Syracuse's team their Admirals; constant bickering about everything. [Ed. Note: And people say OUR fans are bandwagoners...] The forward lines that were used in this game were pretty good, I thought. Everyone seemed to have good chemistry and all lines played pretty well. I think there might be a couple losses left in this streak, it seems unavoidable now, but I think the team is starting to click a little. But these days everyone is an expert. Pro-tip: I am not an expert and won't ever claim to be.
On Saturday, the Admirals take on Bridgeport before heading to Hershey to try and tie up the season series with the Bears. Then on Thursday (Dec. 6), Jen and I will high five in DC. I really hope we upset every single Caps fan there. I think I may get a press pass but am unsure as of now. She definitely has one and can maybe have a game day thread for the festivities. [Ed. Note: Yes, yes, and yes, provided I have a reliable internet connection.]