Peter Holland Takes a Face Off - John Wright/Courtesy of Norfolk Admirals
Three wins in a row, four of the last five and a 6-2 routing of the fourth place team in the AHL. Is Norfolk finally on the right path to the playoffs?
1 - Forward Peter Holland, recently returned to Norfolk from Anaheim, scored his first AHL hat trick during the Admirals routing of the Charlotte Checkers (Carolina Hurricanes) on Friday night. Holland leads Norfolk in goals (19) and points (38).
2 - Rookie Chris Wagner, who had the game winning goal against Charlotte Friday night, is third amongst rookies in Minor Penalties with 23.
3 - In the Admirals recent three game winning streak, right wing Dan "Sexy" Sexton has quietly amassed 5 points (1G,4A).
4 - Forward Brandon McMillan has four goals in his last three games including a two goal effort in the win against
Charlotte Friday night.
5 - In his last six appearances (one in relief), goalie Frederik Andersen is a perfect 5-0-0. In the six games, Andersen has two shut-outs, a .963 SV% and 1.06 GAA. He is second overall among AHL goalies in goals against and save percentage and leads all rookie goaltenders in those same categories.
6 - The Admirals won six games out of eleven in February, taking 13 of a possible 22 points. February marked the second highest point production month of the season outside of December, when the Admirals won seven of twelve and had 15 of a possible 24 points.
7 - Forward Josh Brittain continues to make the most of his ice time in Norfolk, scoring a respectable 7 goals and 3
assists in ten games, including a late third period game winning goal on Wednesday against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh Penguins). Brittain has three game winners this season.
8 - The 2-1 win in Wilkes Barre-Scranton made the eighth consecutive game the Admirals have won over the Penguins at the Mohegan Sun Arena, dating back to 2011-2012 when they swept all five meetings there through the first three meetings on the Penguins' home ice this season.
9 - Nine different Admirals had points in Friday's game against Charlotte, including six players with two or more points.
10 - Norfolk's work on special teams is paying off--currently the Admirals are ranked tenth in the AHL on the Penalty Kill, shutting down 226 of 268 attempts for an 84.3% efficiency rating.
-- Has the message "finally" gotten through? After Friday's game Coach Yawney made a pretty simple statement, "There is no message. Look at the standings. It's not so much about X's and O's in messages as it is about will." Peter Holland followed up with "Guys are positive and holding each other accountable--it's not coming from the coaches so much as it is the guys on the bench, and the guys want to play for each other. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel and there's something to play for every night. This is our playoffs now and we just have to keep pushing."
Three wins in a row including a grind out win against the Pens and a rout of the Checkers this week would seem to indicate the Admirals aren't just talking any more. Brandon McMillan brought it home. "It used to be we'd go down a goal and say to ourselves 'Here we go again.' It's not like that anymore. Right now we're saying, 'That's not going to happen anymore.' If we keep playing the same way, we know we'll have a chance to come back."
The Admirals seem to have found consistency, and if they can carry the play they've had from the four wins in five games, they might just get to the end of that tunnel and continue on down the tracks in to the post season.