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Admirals Stat-urday: Goal Well Dries Up

The Admirals have lost two in a row and are now 2-3 on the season through two weeks. Since Chris Wagner's four goal weekend and promotion over a week ago, the Admirals have only scored five goals in three games and won just one.

Charlie Sarault fights for the puck in the face off circle while flanked by defensemen-turned-winger Kevin Gagne Oct 18.2014 versus Manchester Monarchs
Charlie Sarault fights for the puck in the face off circle while flanked by defensemen-turned-winger Kevin Gagne Oct 18.2014 versus Manchester Monarchs
Courtesy John Wright/Norfolk Admirals

1 Recently recalled Alex Krushelnyski and David Pacan saw their first games of the season last night against Providence Bruins (Boston Bruins).  Aaron Rome, also recently signed to a PTO, did not dress.

2 Antoine Laganiere scored his second goal of the season last Saturday night against Manchester Monarchs (LA Kings).

3 Nic Kerdiles got his third and fourth assists of the season in the Admirals 4-2 loss last weekend.  He now has four points on the season (4A).

4 Goaltender Jason LaBarbera got his second start of the season last night against Providence and with the loss is now 1-1 with a 4.03 GAA and .884 save percentage.

5 Brad Winchester scored his first goal of the season in the 4-2 loss to Manchester.  He is currently on a point streak at Scope, picking up five points in four games played and leads all Admirals in points (1G, 4A).

6 John Gibson allowed four goals on 27 shots in the second of a home and home series against Manchester.  While on his two game conditioning stint he went 1-1, allowing six goals in two games with a 3.05 GAA and .902 SV%, leading the Admirals in each of those categories.  He was recalled by the Ducks last Sunday.

7 Norfolk has allowed seven more goals against than they have scored (12-19) and are averaging 2.40 goals per game versus allowing 3.80 goals against.  If former Coach Yawney's rule of "First team to three goals wins" is true, the Admirals and their fans are in for a long season.

8 While eight different Admirals have two points or more, only two on the current roster, Matt Bailey and Antoine Laganiere, have multiple goals (2G).

9 The Admirals don't seem to start off games well, having allowed nine goals against in five first periods this season.  They also have yet to score the first goal in any game.

10 Norfolk has picked up just four of a possible ten points through five games and are last in the East Division.

--For those keeping score at home, the Admirals are now down two big guns, Max Friberg (dislocated elbow) and now Stefan Noesen, who was knocked out of last weeks game and the rest of the season with an achilles tendon injury.  Noesen was slated to play for Norfolk last year but was kept out of the regular season due to an injury, and he no sooner scored his first professional goal before sustaining yet another season ending injury.  It looks like for now Noesen has taken up the mantle of "that guy."

--While Norfolk has taken some big hits to the forward ranks, they continue to have an over-abundance of defensemen, so much so that Coach Skalde is forced to scratch healthy forwards from the line-up just to get defensive prospects in to a few games.  Last Saturday defensemen Kevin Gagne and Jesse Blacker saw time on the wing.  Blacker, who has played in only two games this season after playing in every game he was healthy for last season, has apparently been bumped down the depth chart.  Gagne has been dressed in all five games and though he has played primarily on the point, playing on the wing is not unfamiliar territory for him as Coach Yawney played him there in several games last season.  With veteran defenseman Aaron Rome signed earlier this week, it will be interesting to see how Skalde continues to juggle the line-up, trying to find some chemistry (and some consistent defense) while ensuring that Ducks' prospects actually get in games to develop.

--The injuries to Friberg and Noesen and recall of Chris Wagner have decimated Norfolk's forward depth.  Earlier this week the Admirals called up forward Alex Krushelnyski from ECHL affiliate Utah Grizzlies and right wing David Pacan from the Cincinnati Cyclones.

Krushelnyski, 23, receives his first trip to the AHL after two games this season with the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL. The rookie forward had an assist in each of his first two professional games, for two points to begin the season. He played two seasons at the junior level in the United States Hockey League and moved on to Colorado College for four seasons of collegiate hockey.

Pacan, 23, makes his way back to Norfolk following time spent in the preseason with the Admirals.  The Ottawa local performed at nearly a point-a-game pace as a rookie for Cincinnati and then-head coach Jarrod Skalde in 2012-13 with 14 goals and 52 points in 57 games. That season, Pacan was the club's second-leading scorer in both the regular season and playoffs when he posted nine goals and seven assists to help the Cyclones into the Kelly Cup semifinals. He collected 13 goals and 45 points last season in the ECHL for Kalamazoo and recorded two assists in 12 career AHL games with San Antonio and Utica.

--What's wrong with Mat Clark?  Last season Clark missed all but 23 games due to injury, and his return this season was supposed to be a huge addition to the Admirals' defensive corps, even providing Anaheim with a healthy defensive defenseman in case of the need for a call-up.  However, his play in the first five games has been everything but good.  Clark has been on the ice for 11 of the 19 goals scored against Norfolk.  Two weeks ago he threw a puck from behind his own net right to the slot for an easy goal, and last weekend he was in the wrong place at the right time to deflect a weak shot  from the high slot past Gibson.

He is often caught out of position and seems to be a second behind in his decision making, often misplaying the puck or forcing bad plays.  His level of effort is there, in fact, his attempts at physicality are often the cause of his over-playing the body and effectively take him out of the play.  His minus-5 is second on the team, and the only reason the number is so low is due to him being on the ice for special teams goals against.

The coaching staff isn't worried, and to be honest I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, but at some point the organization is going to have to decide whether or not to dress him and his liability over other prospects that need to develop and need to crack the line-up.

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