Final Score OT: Norfolk 3 Portland 2
Scratches: Stefan Noesen (knee) Ryan Parent, Stefan Warg
- Norm Ezekiel was assigned to the ECHL Utah Grizzlies
- Sami Vatanen went back to Anaheim
- Rikard Rakell returned to Norfolk
- Brett Skinner was released from the Admirals
- Tonight was Jessie Blacker's first game with the Admirals
- Frederik Anderson did not spread the Anaheim flu through the Norfolk Admirals
- Joe Cramarossa is now back to wearing a regular visor.
- Tonight is the first time in 3 years the Admirals have played against Portland
- Tonight was Military Appreciation night
- Tonight was trading card night- the first group of team cards was given away to the first 2500 people who entered the arena
Starting lineup: John Gibson in goal with John Kurtz/Rakell/Max Friberg up front and Kevin Gagne and Mat Clark on defense
Both teams came out ready to play tonight. Every time I watch the Admirals they seem to be skating faster; they also seem to fall down a lot more. In his first game with the team, Blacker showed exactly why he was targeted in the trade for Peter Holland. Blacker is fast, he's got a hockey IQ that's through the roof, he's strong with the puck and he's got moves. He has long powerful strides that keep you from realizing how fast he is, until there's no one around him. He is also an extremely strong east to west skater. I think there are some Admirals players who are going to have to catch up to him; both in speed and skill.
It didn't take Zack Stortini long to get into a pushing match and at 11:44 he got his first penalty, five for fighting. I can't really complain too much about this penalty, there was a lot of dirty play going on at ice level.
Portland put the Admirals on the first power play of the night two minutes later, they didn't convert. There were four first period penalties and Storini's was the only one on the Admirals! That's an impressive feat for the guys.
Nearing the end of the period there was mayhem in the arena and on the ice. Gibson was completely taken off his feet in the net with no interference call. The puck was cleared the length of the ice where Maxime Sauve was trying to fight in the corner. His feet were kicked out from under him and he was held down on the ice, no penalty again.
The period ended with no score and the Admirals out shooting the Pirates 13 to 4.
The second period was all about Portland. The Admirals seemed to slow down and sit back on their heels a bit. They also spent half the period fighting to get Portland players to let go of their sticks and getting back up off the ice after being tripped. I'm all for letting the guys play but there has to come a point when you realize that someone just has to go in the box.
Portland made it on the scoreboard first at 11:24 then again at 15:48, neither goal was pretty. They were just the result of fighting in the crease. Despite the goals, Gibson played phenomenally.
The teams split penalties in the second, each team took a two minute minor and a five minute fighting minor. Surprisingly, it wasn't Stortini who took the fighting penalty; it was Clark. He was overly tired of the pot shots the Pirates were taking. Clark isn't really a fighter but he tries hard. He doesn't get a lot of big punches in but he always manages to not go down on the ice first.
With 20 seconds left in the period, Kurtz managed to find the back of the net to bring the Admirals within one goal. Jamie MacQueen and Blacker registered the assists. Blacker's first point with the Admirals in his first game.
Despite being out shot 11-6 by the Pirates, the Admirals seemed to be faring alright.
Just wow! The period rolled on quickly and with a lot of action. Both teams were shooting, both teams were fighting, and both teams were showing they were there to win.
Throughout the third period, the Pirates looked a lot like an NHL team in Pennsylvania who wears orange on the ice and fights a lot. Not very skilled but their goalie kept them in the game.
Stortini took two early penalties, one for elbowing and one for fighting. The elbow was a bad cheap shot but the fighting was a little unnecessary. A roughing minor at most honestly, he was sticking up for Charlie Sarault who was getting run-over horribly.
The tying goal came early, from the stick of Alex Grant. The puck got loose and Grant blasted it straight into the net, there was smoke coming off the puck (ok maybe not literally but that makes the story better!) The shot was blasted from out past the hashmarks and was assisted by Steven Whitney and Garnet Exelby.
That goal really got the Admirals moving and they were a team possessed on the ice. They were moving and skating and shooting and fighting for the puck. Gibson made amazing saves, even out of position, by making himself as big as possible in the net.
The Admirals managed to edge the Pirates in shots 12 to 11 in the period.
I'm not a huge fan of overtime for two reasons: First, it's only five minutes long (that's not enough time to pick your nose). Second, it's 4 on 4 play.The Admirals dug deep to play the extra period and it showed. they were moving the puck well and playing hard.
Portland took a tripping penalty and put the Admirals on an overtime power play. The puck was moving well and everyone was trying to figure out something for themselves. Rakell had a good shot but he seemed to be playing on the wrong side. the second time he turned half way around and capitalized. The Game winner convincingly hit the net off a pass from Kevin Gagne to Grant before the slapper from Rakel. The Admirals had the only two shots on goal in the overtime but it was enough to win.
We won AND for the first time this season we out shot and opponent! 33 shots to 26 shots
We need to cut out the senseless penalties again, someone get Stortini a leash please.
The referees who couldn't make a call to save their lives.
The 3 Stars:
3rd star: Ethan Werek (POR)
2nd Star: John Kurtz
1st star: Rikard Rakell
Most Valuable Ducklings:
Gibson for his outstanding performance in goal facing 33 shots.
Grant for posting a goal and an assist,
Rakell for his OT game winner.
The Admirals play the Phoenix Coyotes affiliate again Saturday night at home. Puck drops at 7:15pm EST