[Ed. Note: All stats and notes current as of Saturday morning. Apologies for the delay in publishing. -CK]
1 Enforcer Zack Stortini scored his fourth goal of the season against the Springfield Falcons (Columbus Blue Jackets) last Sunday. Not normally known for his scoring, Stortini currently leads the league in Penalty Minutes (245) and Major Penalties (27), and is first among active skaters in Minor Penalties (35).
2 Goaltender Viktor Fasth, assigned to Norfolk on a conditioning stint, won two consecutive games against the Charlotte Checkers (Carolina Hurricanes) Wednesday and the Manchester Monarchs (Los Angeles Kings) Friday, giving up just two goals in both games. Fasth is 2-1-0-0 in February with a 2.34 Goals Against Average and a .917 Save Percentage.
3 Rookie forward Max Friberg has three points in three straight games (3A) since being moved to play with Rickard Rakell and Emerson Etem. He has 11 goals and 17 assists on the season.
4 Defenseman Alex Grant is fourth among defensemen in shots with 137 and is averaging almost three shots per game this season. [Ed. Note: as opposed to his two shots, two goals in two games with the Ducks. -CK]
5 Sami Vatanen, playing in his first game since bringing home a Bronze Medal in the Olympics, scored his second goal of season Friday night against Manchester. Vatanen has two goals and five assists in seven games this season.
6 Rickard Rakell scored a goal and added two assists Friday night against the Monarchs. Rakell has an interesting streak going--three goals in three games, and all three have been the game-winners! Rickard Rakell leads the league in Game Winning Goals with six and is currently fifth among active rookies in points with 37 (14G, 23A).
7 Antoine Laganiere scored his seventh goal of season versus the Checkers on Wednesday. It was his only goal and only point since January 19 but Laganiere finished February at an even plus/minus.
8 Gritty forward Chris Wagner scored his eighth goal of season against Springfield last Sunday and has put up a goal in three consecutive weekends.
9 Emerson Etem went four games between goals before notching his 13th last night against the Monarchs. Etem had only goals the entire month of February but managed to pick up eight points in nine games.
10 The Admirals are currently ranked tenth in the AHL in Penalty Minutes, finally slipping under the 20 minute average per game they've been at almost all season. In 55 games played they have amassed 1081 penalty minutes, 278 majors, 79 minors, nine 10- minute misconducts, and four Game misconducts.
--Jessie Blacker hasn't been back in the line-up yet since taking a vicious hit back on February 14th. No timeline yet on his return, though he is still around the rink on game nights and is in good spirits.
--The Admirals currently have three goaltenders on their roster--Viktor Fasth, John Gibson, and Brad Thiessen. Fasth should be making his way back out to Anaheim very soon, which in turn would mean the demotion of Frederik Andersen, and again the Admirals would be back to three goalies. I've said it before--if the Ducks are going to make a trade to clear room between the pipes, Andersen is the guy who goes. Hiller, contract or no, will be ridden as far as he will take the Ducks in to the post season. Fasth hasn't stayed healthy enough this season for a team to take a chance. Gibson, unless there's some blockbuster talent coming back the other way, is off the table. Just one week left to decide...
--I have to say I was disappointed in the readers (jokingly) as the Admirals did not get a lot of social media "love" during last night's game against the Manchester Monarchs. For all the hatred I see from Ducks' fans towards LA Kings' fans, I thought for sure there would be at least some trash talk going on! No matter though, as the "baby" Ducks stayed true to form with their parent club and handed the AHL's number one team a loss Saturday. The Admirals also gave the AHL's number four team a loss last Sunday and between the game in Springfield, a win Wed against Charlotte, and last night against Manchester, the Admirals picked up six huge standings points, bumping them up to second in the East Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference after being out of playoff contention a little over a week ago. Six points separate Second and Ninth Place. No room for errors.
--Veteran Nolan Yonkman said last night post-game that everyone needed to "Do your job, do what you do well" when asked about the highs (and lows) that come after games against big teams. It's a pretty simple concept, but coming from a veteran like him who contributes so little in the offensive scheme but logs a lot of minutes every night, it's the kind of message that can and should be embraced by everyone on the team. It's the kind of message that doesn't need to be verbalized but is expected to be listened to every game. It becomes even more important during these last few months of the season as nine teams are battling hard for just eight playoff spots. Don't do too much, don't play it safe or be tentative. The Norfolk Admirals have shown that their game is just as good as the best teams in the league when they play it. At this point in the season, Coach Yawney's pre-game talk should simply be the words of of the great Herb Brooks. He should walk in to the locker room and simply say, "Play your game."
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