Final Score: Norfolk 0 Syracuse 4
The attendance for tonight's game was reported as 5,303. Compared to teams like Charlotte and Hershey that's not much, but it's a good 1,000 people above average. A team making it's name for OT and shoot outs this season didn't live up to that tonight.
Garnet Exelby was not on the ice or the bench tonight and Joe Cramarossa was still wearing the full face shield as a residual of the facial injury suffered a few weeks ago.
What do you say about a period with two minor penalties and only 15 shots combined? Well, the Admirals did a good job of staying out of the penalty box for a change.
Jamie MacQueen had the only Admirals penalty of the period. It was a minor for elbowing at 5:20 which led to the Syracuse goal at 5:36. Syracuse didn't waste time getting a soft shot past John Gibson early in the game. Thus far in the season, we have seen Gibson let in an early goal, sometimes two, and then tighten up his bootstraps to lay down the law. This was not to be the case tonight.
The game started off tight with both teams moving well and moving fast. The Admirals were fighting for pucks in the corners and keeping up with the Crunch well. But as the period moved on, it seemed as though the Admirals were having a very difficult time clearing the puck and keeping control of the tempo. Syracuse out shot the Admirals 8 to 7.
Syracuse came out of the room quick and looking for blood. They immediately went to work firing shots at Gibson. Syracuse had sharp passes and were very controlled. They set the tempo and forced the Admirals to conform. Norfolk had four penalties in the period, the first of which was assessed to Steven Whitney for tripping. I've yet to figure out how you trip a guy who was already laying on the ice but, I'm not a referee.
A minute later, at 8:19, Zack Stortini took a charging penalty. If any other player had made the same play it would have been waived off with nothing more to say, in my opinion of course. However, Stortini being the guy that he is, got a penalty even though the replay shows a Syracuse Crunch player who was falling before contact.
Stortini saw his opponent falling and actually made a move to turn his body sideways in an effort to dodge the falling Syracuse player, but still caught his head. The rule is written rather openly but the puck was away from the play at the point the player was falling and Stortini was turning away. At least the refs only gave Stortini a two minutes.
As soon as Stortini stepped out of the box he was so focused on checking the closest player to him into the boards that he wasn't paying attention and the Crunch scored their second goal at 10:25 in the period.
The third Syracuse goal came at 11:13 in the period. This goal was promptly followed by Stortini and Eric Neilsondropping mitts as soon as the puck dropped on the face off. It was no surprise really, these two were chirping each other all night. It wasn't a fair battle, Stortini clearly had the upper hand and was quite proud of himself for taking Neilson down. In the course of the fighting, each player lost his helmet. Neither player removed a helmet voluntarily in the fight, at 12:07, yet both were assessed with minors for game misconduct in addition to their 5 minute fight penalties, another poor implementation of a rule.
Regardless of rule (mis)interpretations, both players sat and watched as the Crunch scored their fourth goal at 12:48 in the period. With each goal, Gibson looked a little slower to respond and a little more out of place.
Syracuse fired off 10 shots to the Admirals' 9 shots during the period.
The Admirals managed to stay out of the box and were the recipients of three power plays, not that they were able to convert. There were a limited few moments when the team looked like they wanted to come do what they had been training for. Overall, the team looked like guys who weren't "losing an edge" but rather guys who never found their edge. Bodies were all over the ice from not being able to skate and there were plenty of times I thought I was watching a movie or a soccer game based on all the dives and foot plays occurring. The guys looked very tired and lazy; they couldn't clear the puck or complete passes. The final shots were 27-19 in favor of Syracuse.
3rd star (SYR) David Gauthier
2nd star (SYR) Dana Tyrell
1st star (SYR) Vladislav Namestnikov
3rd: The "skill players" who didn't show up to play tonight. It was terrible...
2nd: Gibson for looking like the kid you stick in the outfield during pee wee baseball chasing butterflies and not paying attention to what was going on around him. He seriously looked, at times, like he was bored and not paying attention to the game. I think he may have learned a valuable lesson in why it's a good idea to switch out goalteners for back to back games.
1st: it's tough to say but I guess the refs who couldn't make a correct tripping call and for their extremely lose implementation of the rules.
The Admirals play again on November 13th @ Manchester. it's an early morning game, 10am EST you can listen on the WXTG FM mobile app.