Last night, the Admirals took on the Albany Devils in the second game of a weekend series. Special teams played major roles in leading Norfolk to a victory on Friday. On Saturday the penalty kill was once again called on to stand up and do some work as the Admirals gave up two penalties in the first period.
The Admirals played extremely flat in the first two minutes but were able to weather the storm from the surging Albany team thanks to the special teams and Igor Bobkov who seems to have gotten back onto the path of awesomeness. After the slow start, the Admirals showed they were the better team with tons of scoring chances although not many shots were put on net.
In the second period Norfolk gave the Devils two more power plays but Albany couldn't do capitalize. It's worth mentioning that Albany has the worst power play in the league with an 8.4% conversion rate. This period was the only period of the night that Albany out-shot the Admirals and they did it 10-8.
Going into the final frame everything was on the line for both teams. Bobby Butler for the Devils ended Bobkov's shutout hopes 4:42 into the period. The home fans got to see a desperate Admirals team for the rest of the period, the opposite of the way they played Friday night to finish off the game.
The Ads just couldn't seem to beat Kinkaid until Emerson Etem tied the game with 33 seconds to go and Bobkov pulled for the extra attacker. Sami Vatanen's shot went wide of the net, where Patrick Maroon centered it to Etem for the goal. The key to the whole play though, was that Rod Pelley won all three faceoffs in the offensive zone while Bobkov was on the bench; he made it all happen.
In overtime Etem was at it again, before many people could calm down from the game tieing goal . Peter Holland won the opening faceoff and Etem used his blinding speed to instantly get behind the defense, deke Kinkaid, and score the game winning goal just six seconds into overtime. It was the fastest period opening goal in AHL franchise history for the Admirals.
The Admirals are off for the holidays and gave the best gift we fans could have ever wanted, a team that is .500 with plenty of hockey to go.
Next weekend they play Syracuse on Friday, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday and Springfield on Sunday. All of these games are very, very important and can tell everyone more accurately where this team stands as of now. Syracuse is the top team in the conference and Springfield sits just a point behind them.