1 - Norfolk has been "oh-fer" awhile on the Power Play but was finally able to cash in last night against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (New York Islanders). Norfolk is currently ranked 26 out of 30 on the Power Play, scoring only 16 times in 114 chances.
2 - Admirals winger Kyle Palmieri had two assists against the Sound Tigers Friday night, continuing to pad his stats as the second highest points leader on the Norfolk roster (9G, 10A, 19Pts).
3 - Norfolk forward Devante Smith-Pelly scored his third goal of the season on Friday. He has 11 points total on the season (3G, 8A, 11Pts)
4 - The Admirals have earned points in four of their last five games, going 3-1-1-0.
5 - Norfolk netminder Frederik Andersen has started the last five games, stopping 150 of 159 shots for .943 Save Percentage and 1.80 Goals Against.
6 - Before Friday's game against Bridgeport the Admirals' home and away records were mirrored at five wins and six losses. While earning one point in the Overtime Loss, Norfolk's home losing streak continues at six (Game in DC was considered a "Home" game)
7 - The Admirals rank seventh in the AHL in Penalty Killing, allowing only 17 goals on 120 chances, killing 85.8% of penalties.
8 - Norfolk is 8-0-0-0 when leading after two periods.
9 - The Admirals rank ninth in the league in Shots For, throwing the puck on net 725 times in 23 games (31.5 shots per game average).
10 - Norfolk defenseman Mat Clark holds the the team's worst plus/minus at minus-10.
It's a Start
There is some positivity in the locker room these days, with the Admirals winning three of their last five and grabbing seven of a possible ten points. After last night's game against Bridgeport, a game in which Norfolk dominated for just about 56 minutes of play, it would seem "better" play has returned to the ice.
Andersen's recent turn-around and the outstanding penalty kill have been the biggest contributors to the Admirals recent success. While Norfolk will be able to carry their penalty killing momentum forward, the loss of Andersen to a "day-to-day" injury puts the weight squarely on the shoulders of the talented but inconsistent Igor Bobkov.
Andersen's play in the crease generated confidence in the players in front of him to play aggressive, knowing he'd be there to bail them out. It will be interesting to see what if any mental affect having Bobkov between the pipes will cause.
While the Admirals can certainly build on the last five games, they still have to make up for the previous ten. They are still below .500 and last in their division. If their recent success can be translated in to consistent play, they can make up the ground and rise to a winning record before the end of the year.
Was it a goal?
The Bridgeport game ended with what the casual fan would describe as a controversial call. It's Overtime, it's a 3-on-3 situation, and Peter Holland is playing defense with Mat Clark against a speedy Bridgeport forward Casey Cizikas who is streaking down the wing.
Cizikas gains the Admirals blue line and gets an angle on Clark who is forced to spin around and try to ride him off the puck in to the corner. Cizikas then cuts to the front and a split second later both he and Clark bowl over Andersen who falls backward hard, knocking the net off its moorings.
The goal light is lit and the referee, who is behind the net, makes no motion other than to call the play dead. While Andersen is being attended to by trainers, the players on the bench on the crowd at Scope wait with bated breath as the referee reviews the goal from the overhead camera.
Referee Trent Knorr indicaties a goal for the Sound Tigers and therefore a win. Fans who stuck around booed, and players on the ice approached the referee to protest, but naturally the call on the ice would stand.
Fans were upset, some even stooping low enough to engage Bridgeport players as they left the ice with verbal taunts and thrown bottles and cans. An overreaction due to the replay on the big screen not showing the position of the puck, but merely that Clark rode Cizikas in to the net and over Andersen.
It should be clear, though, that fans are given the luxury of "veiled" vision and often times make calls based on emotion and not fact. In this case the only camera allowed to be reviewed by the referee - the overhead - clearly showed the puck crossing the goal line before the collision followed by the net being knocked off. It was a good goal, and in situations like that I don't envy a referee one bit.
[Ed. Note: Agreed, but no one will ever be able to convince me that Brett Hull's goal in '99 was good, even though that was the worst rule in the history of the game.]
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