Admirals Stat-urday, Playoff Edition: End of Round 2, Season

Norfolk Scope 2013-2014 - Courtesy John Wright/Norfolk Admirals

The Admirals took the series against the St John's Ice Caps out to six games, but couldn't manage to keep the puck out of their own net and saw their season come to an end last Friday night.

1 Shea Theodore scored his first professional goal in Norfolk's 3-2 OT win last Tuesday night.  Theodore played in
four games of the St John's (Winnipeg Jets) series and put up points in the final three of the series, posting one goal and two assists for three points.

2 Veteran defenseman and Alternate Captain Nolan Yonkman, a stalwart on the game-day roster throughout the
playoffs, was a healthy scratch in the final two games of the series.

3 Steve Eminger, second in the league among defensemen in minor penalties with seven, had three between games four through six.

4
Stefan Noesen, out virtually all of the regular season due to injury, had two points through the final three games of the series, putting up assists on Tuesday and Friday night against the Ice Caps.  He finished the post season with four points in four games.

5 The Admirals gave up five goals in games four and six, losing 5-1 and 5-2 respectively.

6
Andre Petersson scored his first of the playoffs and Norfolk's only goal last Monday in a 5-1 loss, then added
his second in overtime to keep the Admirals alive the next night in a 3-2 win.  Peterssen would end the playoffs as
the Admirals' points leader with six points (3G, 3A).

7
Stefan "Didn't get a chance to talk about him all season so we're making up for it now" Noessen had a team high
seven shots on goal in Norfolk's Over-time win Tuesday night.

8 Norfolk goalie Brad Thiessen, called upon when John Gibson was summoned to Anaheim, did not have a memorable post season appearance.  His record in the final three games of the series was 1-2, the lone win a 73-min stand in which he stopped 36 of 39 shots, his only game of the series that resembled his form from past post-seasons.  He gave up 12 goals total, had a .886 save percentage and a 4.00 Goals Against Average.

9 Nine rookies suited up for the Admirals final playoff game.

10 Norfolk maintained their highly effective penalty kill through the final three games of the series, allowing only two goals on 16 short-handed situations.  Through ten playoff games, Norfolk gave up six goals on 48 penalty kills, good enough for 87.5% through both rounds.

--It's a little late, but I didn't think too many people would notice, what with a Game 7 over the weekend and the recent announcement of everyone's favorite GM getting another four years to run the organization (too soon?).  Yeah, figured I could take a couple days before I put anything up, needed some time myself to recover.  So, here we go.....

--Game 4, the second of three games to be played at Scope, an opportunity to take advantage of home ice, a chance for the Admirals to even up the series at 2-2.  Instead, put very simply, the Admirals got their butts kicked up and down the ice, getting punched in the teeth five times.

St. John's scored just over four minutes in to the first period and added a second ten minutes later and took a 2-0 lead in to the second period despite only putting nine shots on goal. The Ice Caps came out firing from the first intermission and put two more in within the first four minutes of the second to go up 4-0.  Norfolk's only goal was scored by Andre Petersson, almost a wasted effort since the Admirals couldn't build any momentum and went in to the second intermission down 4-1.  It would take St. John's another 15 minutes, but the Ice Caps decided to put one more behind netminder Brad Thiessen, who was good for 23 saves on 28 shots.  To be honest, John Gibson could have been between the pipes for this game and it wouldn't have mattered, as St. John's owned the ice in Norfolk Scope and a 3-1 series lead.

Game 5.  Tuesday night, Scope Arena, a must-win for the Admirals.  In traditional fashion, the Ice Caps came out of the gate flying, taking a little over six minutes to beat Thiessen for their first of two goals of the game.  Both teams went back and forth the remained of the first until Max Friberg was able to beat Ice Caps' goalie Michael Hutchinson at 18:11 of the first, and the teams would retreat to the locker rooms tied 1-1.  St John's and Norfolk stayed deadlocked through the next 20:38 when rookie defenseman Shea Theodore scored his first professional goal to put the Admirals up 2-1.  The Admirals seemed to have the game in hand, holding the Ice Caps at bay until just past the 17 minute mark when St. John's center Eric O'Dell put his second of the game past Thiessen to tie the game and force overtime.  Andre Petersson scored his second of the post season with a rare power-play goal at 13:10 of the overtime period to force the series to a Game 6 and a return to Mile One Centre.

Game 6, another do or die for Norfolk.  The Admirals and the Ice Caps exchanged goals in the first and second period for a 2-2 game, with both teams scoring on the power play.  St John's would take the lead and never look back at 17:03 of the second period, then go on to add two more goals at 3:27 and 4:08 of the third.  The buzzer sounded at Mile One Centre and when the Admirals looked up, it was all over and on to the hand-shake line.

The Admirals were outscored 20-13 in the series and allowed five goals three different times.  St. John's was simply too fast for the Admirals and did not allow them to get in to their game save for Game 5, and even then Norfolk's one goal lead wasn't able to stand up in the waning minutes of the third period and the Admirals' needed extra time to close the deal.

For what it's worth, the mere appearance of the Admirals in the playoffs was a victory in and of itself, and knocking off the Number One seed in the Eastern Conference was no small task either.  Despite the final scores, Norfolk was never outmatched by the Ice Caps, merely outplayed.  Some may blame it on coaching, some may blame it on call-ups.  At the end of the run however, the Admirals and their fans can look back on their season and be proud, can look back and see the 14 other teams they left behind to play just a little more hockey, and look ahead to next season with the experience and determination to make it back.

--Come back this Saturday for a season recap and final thoughts!

Follow me on Twitter: @VAPuckhead

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