Game Day: Gladiators Come to Town for Pair of Games
Norfolk, VA - The Norfolk Admirals head into the last 15 games of the regular season with a weekend set against the Atlanta Gladiators, who the Admirals trail by only nine points for the fourth and final playoff spot in the South.
Admirals (21-30-5-1) vs. Atlanta (27-28-1-2)
Last Time Out:
The Admirals took a 3-2 lead into the third period, however three unanswered goals by Orlando helped the Solar Bears top the Admirals 5-3 on Monday night. The loss sent the Admirals home from a four-game road trip nine points back from the fourth and final playoff spot in the South Division.
Orlando took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission but Norfolk got all its offense in the middle frame. Darik Angeli got the Admirals on the board just over eight minutes into the period sending a wrist shot from the top of the right circle past MacKenzie Skapski. Less than two minutes later the Admiral power play evened the game up courtesy of Domenic Alberga. Perched on the top of the crease, Alberga collected a rebound and quickly knotted the game at 2-2, his ninth goal of the season. Late in the period the Admirals power play got another opportunity, and capitalized. Darik Angeli tucked a back-hand shot five-hole to give the Admirals the 3-2 lead heading into the third period.
In the final period the Solar Bears scored twice in a two-minute span to retake the lead midway through the period. An empty netter with one minute left capped off the scoring. Jamie Murray finished the night with 41 saves, topping the 40 save mark for the sixth time this season.
Atlanta heads into the weekend having won three of the first four games in the season series. The weekends set of games concludes the season series between the teams. Since rejoining the ECHL the Admirals have claimed a point in all four games played against the Gladiators in Norfolk, however winning only one.
Phil Lane, who has skated in three of the four games, leads all skaters with seven points (3g, 4a). The forward is one of three Gladiators with multiple goals in the season series against the Admirals. Grant Besse ranks second among all skaters and leads Norfolk with six points (3g, 3a) in the season series. Behind Besse there are four different Admirals who have recorded three points in the season series (Angeli, Harrison, Alberga, Melancon). Jamie Murray and Ty Reichenbach have each started two games against Atlanta this season.
Scouting the Gladiators:
The Gladiators currently hold the fourth and final playoff spot in the Southern Division, only nine points ahead of the Admirals.
Lindsay Sparks leads the Gladiators offense with 53 points (12g, 41a) in 51 games this season, and is the only Gladiator to have surpassed the 50 point mark this season. Phil Lane (46 pts, 26g, 20a) ranks second on the team, and is one of only two other active Glads with more than 30 points.
Netminders Dan Vladar and Sean Bonar have each seen extensive time in the Glads cage this season. Bonar (11-6-0-1, 2.51 GAA, .924 SV%) leads the ECHL in shutouts with five. Vladar (14-15-1-0, 2.99 GAA, .909 SV%) has skated in 33 games for the Gladiators and is 1-1-0-0 in two games against the Admirals.
In and Out:
Thursday evening the Admirals made a pair of roster adjustments, trading forward Thomas Frazee to Allen and activating Kenton Helgesen from IR. Helgesen, who has not played since Dec. 21, had five points (3g, 2a) in 18 games with the Admirals after joining the Admirals. The forward had one assist in two games with the Orlando Solar Bears to begin the season. The Fairview, AB native is expected to be available when the Admirals take the ice on Friday night.
Frazee, sent to Allen in exchange for future considerations, had 22 points (6g, 16a) in 34 games for the Admirals. The forward began the season with the Atlanta Gladiators notching 15 points (5g, 10a) in 12 games to start the season.
The Admirals are hosting the Kelly Cup this weekend as the first stop on the five-city Kelly Cup Tour. Named for Patrick J. Kelly, the first commissioner of the ECHL, the Cup is awarded each season to the ECHL's playoff champion. Fans will be able to see and take photos with the cup throughout Friday and Saturday's games.
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