Norfolk Admirals Weekly
NORFOLK, Va. - The new year brought the Lehigh Valley Phantoms to Scope Arena to take on the Admirals last weekend, and they'll continue a nine-game divisional stretch with a trip to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania tonight to take on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
The weekend brought two overtime periods and a three-round shootout, both won by the Phantoms who have now won four out of the eight meetings the two will have this season.
Friday night it looked as though the Admirals were going to have the upper hand when Dany Heatley opened up the scoring in the first period. His power-play goal gave goaltender John Gibson the first point of his professional career when he hit Nic Kerdiles at the Lehigh Valley blue line with a stretch pass. Kerdiles raced through the right circle before sliding a pass across the top of the crease to an oncoming Heatley. Norfolk's advantage lasted well into the third period until the Phantoms struck twice. More than halfway through the period, Brandon Alderson slipped a shot underneath Gibson's right arm, and five minutes later Jason Akeson lit the lamp on a shorthanded breakaway to give Lehigh Valley the lead. Heatley stole the show once again on the man advantage when he pounded one past goaltender Rob Zepp to tie the game with just 35 seconds left and send it to overtime. In the extra session, Nick Cousins sniped a puck into the top corner to beat Gibson and win it for the Phantoms just 2:32 into overtime.
The following night was the same match-up, and Norfolk looked for redemption against Lehigh Valley. The game played out in almost the exact same fashion as Friday. Emerson Etem would notch a power-play goal just 45 seconds into the second period for the first lead for either team. Though, with just 30 seconds left in the period the Phantoms answered. Zack Stortini stuffed two attempts into goaltender Jason Labarbera's pad before elevating his third effort to tie the game just before the period finished. The third period started similarly to the previous one. William Karlsson snapped a wrister past Zepp a mere 46 seconds into the period, but Petr Straka responded for Lehigh Valley with a marker 1:04 later to tie up the hockey game. The rest of the period went scoreless, and the teams went into overtime or the second straight night. The extra time proved insufficient in determining a winner so a three-round shootout commenced. Zepp didn't allow a single shot through. The same couldn't be said for LaBarbera. He saved the first two, but Akeson's try fooled him in the third round and Etem's effort to extend the shootout found iron. Norfolk ended the weekend with a pair of 3-2 defeats, but did manage to pocket two points.
The Admirals can redeem themselves as they take on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the Mohegan Sun Arena tonight at 7:05 p.m.
ON THE RADIO/INTERNET
All regular-season games will air live on 1650 AM WHKT "The Answer" and online at 1650theanswer.com. AHL Live will also carry online video of every Admirals game on a pay-per-view or season pass basis. Fans can log in to watch, listen or get more information about AHL Live's online audio and video features at ahllive.com.
Tune in live to 1650 AM "The Answer" every Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. for the "Admirals Hour" with the "Voice of the Admirals" Pete Michaud and the "Original Admiral" Dennis McEwen. Michaud and McEwen discuss the latest in Norfolk Admirals hockey, speak with guests, update you on the Anaheim Ducks, as well as answer any calls during the show. Ask Pete and Dennis your questions by calling in to the studio at 757-454-1650.
At 12-19-1-2 (27 points), the Admirals are in 5th place in the East Division and are in 15th place in the Eastern Conference.
Eight teams in each conference shall qualify for the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs. Following the conclusion of each team's 76-game regular season, the three division winners in each conference will be seeded 1-3 (in order of regular-season points) and the next five best teams (in order of regular-season points) will be seeded 4-8.
THE ADMIRALS' WEEK AHEAD
Tues., Jan. 6 ... at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh Penguins) ... 7:05 p.m.
Fri., Jan. 9 ... at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh Penguins) ... 7:05 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 10 ... at Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals) ... 7 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 11 ... at Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals) ... 5 p.m.
- Former Admiral defenseman Shea Theodore captured gold last night in a 5-4 win over Russia in the championship game of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. Theodore finished with a goal and assist and had the second-highest plus-minus rating on Team Canada (12).
Lehigh Valley felt Dany Heatley's presence Friday night as the four-time NHL All-Star scored twice in his third game as an Admiral. Heatley capped a savvy play made by goaltender John Gibson to stretch the puck up to Nic Kerdiles tagging up onside at the Phantom blue line as the visitors got fresh legs on the ice during their penalty kill. Kerdiles drove down the right wing and crossed the puck to the outstretched stick of Heatley who poked a shot past Rob Zepp for the goal. His second marker came on a timely power play with 35 seconds left in regulation to tie the game and send it to overtime. Emerson Etem made an immediate impact upon returning to Norfolk from Anaheim. Etem turned in a goal and an assist in another 3-2 defeat to Lehigh Valley, this time in a shootout. The Long Beach, California native trickled a puck through Zepp to open the game's scoring in the middle frame and helped William Karlsson give Norfolk its second lead of the night in the third period. Etem has five points in six games this season with the Admirals.
Goals: Louis Leblanc (11)
Assists: Brendan Bell (16)
Points: Nic Kerdiles (19)
Games: Brendan Bell, Nic Kerdiles, Dave Steckel (34)
PP Goals: Louis Leblanc (5)
SH Goals: Chris Wagner (2)
+/- Rating: Jared Nightingale (1)
PIM: John Kurtz (95)
GAA: John Gibson (2.36)
Spct: John Gibson (.928)
Wins: Jason LaBarbera (3)
Losses: Jason LaBarbera (5; 1 in OT)
GPl: Jason LaBarbera (9)
Minutes: Jason LaBarbera (493:11)
ABOUT THIS WEEK ' S MATCHUPS
The Admirals embark on a four-game divisional road trip up to Pennsylvania, beginning this evening against the Penguins and concluding with a back-to-back against the Bears over the weekend. Norfolk lost to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the clubs ' most recent contest, but also enjoyed a sweep earlier this season. Hershey holds a series advantage of 2-1-0-0, though the two teams ' last meeting was decided by a lone goal.
Despite multiple games that could have gone either way, including two extra-time sessions against the Phantoms, the Admirals have not had the success they seek in the win-loss column. Good luck is bound to come their way, however, as their point-producers have picked up the pace. No one is hotter than Max Friberg and Chris Wagner, who have combined for 13 points in their last eight games. Friberg ' s recent NHL debut did not sour his scoring touch, and he is fifth in Admirals scoring despite playing in 18 fewer games. Dany Heatley helped the Admirals to a point in Friday night ' s game when he buried two power-play goals against Lehigh Valley, most notably one with just 35 seconds left to send it to overtime. Brendan Bell suffered a skate to the face on Friday, but the close call has not affected the scoresheet, as the defenseman put up an assist the next night and has five in his last six outings. He leads the team in assists with 16. Norfolk will need to overcome its road woes: the club has emerged victorious in just three games this season as the visitors through a total of 16 contests.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has not wavered from its top spot in the East Division since early November, and it holds a five-point cushion over second-place Hershey. Although the Penguins lost on Saturday, they have gained at least a point in their last four tilts, as well as a 167:24 shutout streak by goaltender Jeff Zatkoff. Zatkoff has had an impressive year overall, boasting three shutouts, a 1.69 goals-against average (GAA) and a .932 save percentage (SV%). He is tops in the AHL in SV% and GAA, and is tied for second in shutouts with three. Along with Zatkoff, the Penguins have allowed the fewest goals so far this season with 75. Rookie Jean-Sebastien Dea is second on the team in points, but currently suffers from a seven-game drought. Conor Sheary and Tom Kostopoulos have picked up the slack, racking up 13 points in their last nine games. Expect defenseman Brian Dumoulin to be on the right side of the ice, as he ranks second in the AHL in plus-minus with +21 and only 10 penalty minutes. Fortunately for the Admirals, four of the Penguins top-eight scorers are up with Pittsburgh, and their home special teams rank in the bottom 15.
Goals: Bryan Rust, Conor Sheary (10)
Assists: Derrick Pouliot (13)
Points: Derrick Pouliot (20)
Games: Dominik Uher (34)
PP Goals: Jean-Sebastien Dea (5)
SH Goals: None
+/- Rating: Brian Dumoulin (21)
PIM: Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (117)
GAA: Jeff Zatkoff (1.69)
Spct: Jeff Zatkoff (.932)
Wins: Jeff Zatkoff (11)
Losses: Matt Murray, Jeff Zatkoff (8; 2 in OT)
GPl: Jeff Zatkoff (19)
Minutes: Jeff Zatkoff (1133:56)
The Bears have enjoyed similar fortune as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, picking up four of a possible six points last week to keep them in second-place in the East Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference. With netminder Philipp Grubauer out with an injury, Pheonix Copley has risen to the challenge, going 3-0-1 in his last five games, including a 2.03 goals-against average and .920 save percentage in that span. Keeping points leader Tim Kennedy quiet is a necessity: the centerman collected 13 points in December alone. Kris Newbury remains dominant on the scoresheet, posting three points on the week, and has gone a point-per-game in his last four. Hershey has a knack for drawing first blood and leads the AHL with 23 first-goals in addition to a 14-6-3-0 record when scoring first. The Admirals face a tough task on the power play, since the Bears are a nearly unbeatable 89.0% while a man down at home and the best in the league overall on the penalty kill (88.7%). Norfolk must also find ways around Hershey ' s stingy defense, which ranks second in the AHL in goals allowed (2.24) and third in shots against (26.85).
Goals: Kris Newbury (11)
Assists: Tim Kennedy (25)
Points: Tim Kennedy (27)
Games: Tim Kennedy, Tomas Kundratek, Casey Wellman (34)
PP Goals: Stanislav Galiev (8)
SH Goals: Chandler Stephenson (1)
+/- Rating: Jon Landry (9)
PIM: Steve Oleksy (80)
GAA: Pheonix Copley (2.00)
Spct: Philipp Grubauer (.922)
Wins: Philipp Grubauer (11)
Losses: Philipp Grubauer (13; 4 in OT)
GPl: Philipp Grubauer (24)
Minutes: Philipp Grubauer (1437:48)
**UPCOMING EVENTS AND PROMOTIONS**
Saturday, January 17 vs. Hartford Wolf Pack
- Pink in the Rink to benefit the Tidewater Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure
We paint the ice pink in support of the search for a cure for breast cancer! This event has sold out the past two years, so secure your seat to the Admirals annual Pink in the Rink Night by visiting the Scope Box Office, any Ticketmaster outlet, ticketmaster.com, or charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000.
Individual tickets are on sale now at the Scope Box Office, all Ticketmaster Outlets, charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000, and online at ticketmaster.com. Don't miss a minute of Admirals action by purchasing your season tickets today. Stop by the Admirals' Administrative Offices at Scope, call (757) 640-1212 weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or visit norfolkadmirals.com anytime.
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