Final Score: Syracuse 2 Norfolk 1
There were some noticeable changes to the lineup tonight as Stefan Warg and Igor Bobkov were both sent down to the Utah Grizzlies. The move was made in an effort to get both players more ice time. In addition to the player movement there was a "C" on the ice tonight. The Admirals finally decided to give out the captain's C to Garnet Exelby
Historical note: Many of the current Syracuse Crunch players played in Norfolk a few years ago. This has assisted in fueling a slight rivalry between the two clubs and it shows when they take the ice.
First Period: Both teams came ready to play and just 21 seconds into the game John Kurtz dropped mitts with Syracuse's Mike Angelidis which put them both on five min fighting minors.
Syracuse's J.T. Brown went five hole on John Gibson to score the game's first goal at 1:53 (he had some help from Nolan Yonkman). The goal came off of a deflection when Yonkman was trying to clear out the puck.
Syracuse touts the #2 offense in the league, with two of the top three scorers in the league on their roster. Conversely, the Admirals have the league's top penalty kill unit.
Max Friberg took a careless high sticking minor which yielded nothing. All the while both teams were moving quickly and smoothly. The Admirals were looking great and keeping pace with Syracuse, and even out skating the Crunch at times.
With about five and a half minutes to go, newly signed Admiral, David Steckel won an offensive zone face-off getting the puck to Steven Whitney for the one timer that sailed into the back of the net. She was a textbook beaut of a shot.
Just over a minute later, Exelby was looking to lay a hip check on a Syracuse player but instead got hit with a bigger surprise. Eric Neilson went down hard and his teammate Geoff Walker didn't like it. Walker and Exelby went at it with a major right handed shot landing squarely on Walker as the pair continued to go at it. Exelby managed to wrestle Nielson down to ice level. Both players were assessed with five for fighting, though Exelby was also charged with a major penalty for clipping, which carries an automatic game misconduct. The replay showed nothing malicious, just an unfortunate occurrence. And with that, the Admirals finished the game without a Captain. Nielson did return to the game later.
Nearing the end of the period there was another odd occurrence. Joe Mormina attempted a big hit on Antoine Laganiere that missed and he went down holding his knee as Laganiere skated off unaware of the attempt. Trying to stick up for his teammate, Walker, did retaliate on Laganiere and ended up with nothing more than a last minute penalty.
Gibson ended the period with a glove save directly timed with the intermission horn. The Crunch were out shot by the Admirals, 10-8 in the period.
Second Period: Both teams seemed to be a little more settled in during the second. There wasn't as much pushing and shoving. There also wasn't as much shooting, The Crunch edged the Admirals in shots for the second period, 9-6. The defense did a wonderful job keeping the Crunch out of the center and most shots were coming from the left side out near the face-off dot by Danick Gauthier.
Neither tendie was overly challenged during the second, so they had a chance to breathe. Admirals' penalties were kept to a minimum (two) for the period.
There was a moment that caused the arena to gasp. Kevin Gagne took what appeared to be a fore-arm to the neck/throat/jaw are and drew the penalty.
Alex Grant fired off a couple close shots during the power play. One was off the pipe.
Third Period: Another fairly uneventful period in the books. Both teams were moving well and keeping the pace of the game moving. Both teams sank into a more defensively minded game and were playing simply to protect their goal and prevent puppies.
Laganiere is a fairly poor skater, by many accounts. His skating ability seems to have really stepped up and his foot game has drastically changed. He was playing hard and trying to make things happen. Charlie Sarault was also sneaking and lurking around just making plays. Jamie MacQueen had some great and quick releases on his shots and passes.
At 17:58 the Crunch managed to catch a break and a strange deflection goal which went past Gibon to bring the Crunch to a 2-1 lead.
With just over a minute left in the game the Admirals pulled Gibson for the extra attacker, to no avail. Gagne did manage to get a beautiful pass straight to the stick of Chris Wagner, though it didn't go in the net. The game ended with Syracuse edging the Admirals in shots with 26 compared to 24.
The Good: The usual suspects managed to keep themselves in check and out of the box.
The Bad: The guys really need to work on getting more shots on goal.
The Ugly: Both goals were deflected off Admirals before beating Gibson.
3rd: The Maxime Sauve- Peter Holland- Friberg line for being -2 tonight with a special shout out to Friberg for having a penalty in each period.
2nd: Exelby for carelessly getting booted from the game on a bad penalty.
1st: Nolan Yonkman for tipping the first Syracuse goal into the net past Gibson while he was screening his own tendie.
The Admirals play again on Saturday 9 November facing the Syracuse Crunch again at the Scope Arena. Puck drops at 7:15 EST