The Connecticut Whale, affiliate of the New York Rangers, had yet to win a game coming into Friday's tilt. For the 4-0 Admirals, this should be pretty easy, right? Think again. The Admirals, once again, had below average second and third periods, making the game much closer than it should have been. [Ed. Note: Ducklings don't fly far from the nest...]
A common theme for this new Admirals team is scoring early, and they did the same on Friday night. Just a minute and two seconds into the game, the otherwise quiet forward, Corey Elkins, scores his first goal of the season after a nice poke check in the Whale defensive zone.
At the third minute of the game, the Whale's Matt Gilroy scored a power play goal after Jay Rosehill took a lazy hooking penalty. Chad Kolarik and Kris Newbury provided the assists.
Elkins would continue the back and forth battle with Gilroy and score - again - 9:47 into the period. Sami Vatanen and Nate Guenin with the assists. After outshooting the Whale 11-6, the first period ended 2-1 in favor of the Admirals.
The second period would start off with a bit of a scare as Matt Smaby was severely injured; he couldn't put weight on his left leg at all. [Ed. Note: Smaby was out of lineup a majority of last season after having surgery on his hand injured in a fight.]
Chris Kreider boarded Brandon McMillan just 3:38 in the the period, giving Kreider a five minute major and a game misconduct. The Admirals struggled for most of the power play; shooting only got a couple shots on net. Of the few good scoring chances, Kyle Palmieri had most of them.
Connecticut's Gilroy scored his second power play goal of the night, to tie the game up at 2-2, a little less than halfway through the second. About three minutes later Jay Rosehill would give the Admirals the lead again after a good play from Troy Bodie and Ryan Lasch. Bodie and Rosehill both have an assist and a goal which is wonderful surprise this early on. Peter Holland would add a power play goal minutes later with assists from Palmieri and Vatanen. Those two are showing up a lot on score cards so far. The period would end with the Admirals up 4-2, after being outshot in the period 13-6, a common theme I hope they correct sooner rather than later.
Former Admirals forward, from the team that won the Calder Cup last season, Brandon Segal would score four minutes into the third period to put the Whale within one. The period seemed to fly by. In the 18th minute, Brandon Segal would score again to tie up the game 4-4. This goal was a very, very soft goal given up by Igor Bobkov; who seems to not focus well at times. The Admirals would coast into overtime after outshooting the Whale 9-8.
The overtime period was dominated by the Admirals. The Whale had a hard time getting out of their zone, just like they did most of the first period. With just 30 seconds left in OT, Elkins would score the game winner, giving him a hat-trick on the night, after a sweet passing play from Lasch to Vatanen. Sami was going down the left wing hard and made a perfect pass to Corey, who then showed enough patience to let the Connecticut goalie make his move so he could go up high.
The surprise of the game, and season so far, is how well the Bodie - Wagner - Rosehill line in playing. Bodie has a good all around game so far, not getting caught to far forward or turning it over and he is drawing penalties. He was rewarded with some penalty kill time to show coach's faith in the alternate captain.
Bobkov, however, is giving me gray hair. The rebound control needs tons and tons of work. Lots of pucks will drop right in front of him, he'll either make no movement at all or won't deflect a puck into the boards. He'll just let it land around the goal mouth some where.
The Admirals take on the Whale again tonight at 7:15pm ET and some fireworks may happen with some of the overly physical play the Whale decided to go with last night. The Admirals lead the east division as of now.
Official Three Stars of the Game:
1. Corey Elkins (3 Goals)
2. Sami Vatanen (3 assists)
3. Brandon Segal (2 goals and got an awesome cheer from fans for his hard work last season)
Dulin's Top Three Perfomers
1. Corey Elkins - the team will need his scoring all season if the goaltending doesn't straighten out.
2. Sami Vatanen - he is coming into his own now and the rest of the league should be scared. I've never seen an offensive defenceman hit like this guy does.
3. Kyle Palmieri- only had an assist on the night but he had a lot of good chances.
[Ed. Note: Where the heck did Corey Elkins come from??]