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Admirals Stat-urday: Oh What a Finale It was!

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The Admirals skated in their last home game of the season last night in front of a sold-out crowd, wearing their hearts on their sleeves and playing arguably their best game of the season.

Forward John Kurtz collides with Phantoms netminder Rob Zepp 4-17-15
Forward John Kurtz collides with Phantoms netminder Rob Zepp 4-17-15
John Malkowski/Courtesy Norfolk Admirals

1 Last night's 4-2 win over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Philadelphia Flyers) was the first time this season the Admirals scored three power play goals in a single game, going 3-for-5 on the night.

2 Forward Ty Loney scored his second goal of the season last night. Through four games played, since being signed to an Amateur Tryout Contract (ATO), Loney has four points (2G, 2A).

3 Stefan Noesen came alive this week with three points. Last Saturday in Lehigh Valley, Noesen scored the Admirals' first goal of the game and assisted on the second. In Norfolk's home closer, Noesen put home the Admirals' eventual game winner, his second power play goal of the week and the season.

4 Rookie goaltender Ryan Faragher won his fourth game of the season and second straight last night against the Phantoms. Faragher has helped the Admirals to get points in three straight games and is 3-1-1 in five games played in April. Faragher's numbers for April: 1.16 Goals Against Average and .957 save percentage with one shutout.

5 April has been a good month to forward Antoine Laganiere. Through seven games, Laganiere has put up five points (4G, 1A), the lone assist coming on the Admirals' first goal last night. Lageniere last had an offensive "breakout" in December when he was good for seven points (4G, 3A).

6 Mike Sgarbossa has six assists through seven games in April, including two this week, one in each game against the Phantoms. Since coming to the Admirals at the trade deadline has 14 points (5G, 9A) in 19 games.

7 Center Dave Steckel scored his seventh goal of the season last night, burying a rebound from in front of the net for the Admirals' first of three power play goals, his first of the season. Steckel has three points through seven games this month, and 22 on the season (7G, 15A).

8 Defenseman Brandon Montour fell right in line with offensive production in Norfolk's two wins this week. Last Saturday, Montour put up three points (1G, 2A) including his first goal of the season, and chipped in for another assist last night, his eighth of the season. Montour has nine points (1G, 8A) through 13 games.

9 Shea Theodore put up four points this week, helping with two assists last Saturday against the Phantoms and chipping in for a goal and an assist last night. Theodore has nine points (4G, 5A) in eight apperances with the Admirals this year.

10 Defenseman Andrew O'Brien found his tenth assist on the season in last night's home finale. O'Brien, sidelined since March 18th, scored his first point since Feb 27th. He has fourteen points (4G, 10A) in 61 games for the Admirals this season.

--The "Nic Kerdiles Injury Watch" finally ended last night in Norfolk, as Kerdiles found himself in the line-up for the first time since going down with a concussion back on February 13 (a Friday coincidentally).  Kerdiles finished the game with a minus -1 one and one shot on goal.

--For just the second time this season the Admirals were able to string together a four game point streak, going 3-0-0-1 this time around and riding back-to-back wins into the season finale Saturday night on the road.

--The Admirals are on the road today to visit the Wilkes Barre-Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh Penguins) that will finish out the 2014-2015 season.  Some of the Black Aces will be on their way today to Anaheim (if they didn't leave last night) and the rest will be on their way Sunday.  Monday will be for pack-out and exit interviews.

--Max Friberg scored his sixth game-winning goal last Saturday, his first OT goal of the season.  Appropriately, he found his way on to the scoresheet again with an assist in last night's home finale.  He's all heart and has carried the weight of the oft-maligned offense this season. Of the fans polled last night, he'll be missed most of all.

--Other than not scoring the first goal or keeping their opponents from scoring any goals, the Admirals played arguably one of their best games of the season last night.  Norfolk's attack was relentless, peppering Phantoms' goaltender Rob Zepp with 44 shots to Lehigh Valley's 25.  Special teams flourished, scoring three times on the power play and stopping four out of five Phantoms' attempts with the man-advantage.

The "dust in the eye" moment last night (ok, the first one) came on an Admirals' power play.  Shea Theodore, playing defense on the right side, finds the puck on his stick at the point.  Seeing an open Mike Sgarbossa standing on the face-off circle to the left of Zepp, Theodore fakes a shot and taps the puck down low.  Sgarbossa, with a beautiful one-touch pass, lays the puck right in the wheel-house of Stefan Noesen, who is skating from the half-wall to the slot.  Without missing a beat, Noesen one-times the shot past Zepp.  It was beautiful. Three swings of the stick that were so perfectly timed it was almost a rhythm and the Admirals have a power play goal.  While it was probably the prettiest goal of the season, that wasn't the moment.

The red light goes on.  The horn sounds.  The referee points towards the goal.  The crowd goes wild.  Stefan Noesen, who spent most of last season watching his teammates from the stands, who spent better than half of this season watching his team from the stands, had the most perfect goal celebration I have ever seen.

Noesen immediately turns to the crowd and grabs the front of his jersey, tugging the logo towards the fans several times.  He follows that up by skating over to the boards, screaming at the fans and pounding his glove on the glass with them. It wasn't flashy and it probably wouldn't be noteworthy to anyone outside of Scope.  But the message it sent was loud and clear.

His celebration wasn't for him, it was for the fans.  It was to let all 8000+ fans in attendance last night know that that goal, that game, were all for them, that they wouldn't be beaten, not on that night, not in front of THEIR fans.  He knew, the players knew, this was the last dance, and damn it, it was going to be a great one.

The Norfolk Scope rocked for sixty minutes.  The players played hard for sixty minutes.  They gave the fans one last dance, and for a little while the record didn't matter, the standings didn't matter, the move didn't matter.  In that celebration as in the final stick salute to the fans, only one thing mattered.  The players, the fans, they were all Norfolk Admirals.  And they always would be.

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