Admirals (23-31-5-1) at Adirondack (33-21-3-3)
Cool Insuring Arena
Last Time Out:
The Admirals scored three times in a 3:03 span, cutting the Brampton lead to one goal but the comeback came up just short falling 4-3 to the Beast on Friday night. The Beast scored twice in each of the first two periods to give themselves a four-goal cushion heading into the final frame.
Tommy Schutt got the Admirals on the board just over six minutes into the third scoring short-handed. The short-handed tally got the Admirals offense rolling. Two and a half minutes later Grant Besse notched his 28th goal of the season to bring the Admirals within two. Just thirty seconds later Sam Ftorek cut the lead to one, with his first goal as an Admiral. Ftorek’s tally would be the last as the Admirals offense came up just short of completing a comeback.
Friday night was also only the second time in the last six games that the Admirals power play was held scoreless. Ty Reichenbach stopped 32 of 36 shots in the loss.
Adirondack holds the upper hand in the season series, having won four of the first five matchups. Since Norfolk rejoined the ECHL the Thunder have been a thorn in the Admirals side, winning 16 of 23 matchups.
Adirondack’s Brian Ward leads all scorers in the series with seven points (4g, 3a) through five games. Grant Besse ranks second having recorded five points (3g, 2a). The Admirals rookie is one of three Norfolk players who have scored three times in the season series joining Darik Angeli and Michael Young. Shane Conacher (2g, 3a), Terrence Wallin (2g, 3a) and Mathieu Brodeur (5a) have all also netted five points in the season series. Overall six different Thunder skaters have netted a pair of goals in the season series.
Scouting the Thunder:
Adirondack finds themselves in the midst of the North Division playoff race as they sit in second place. The Thunder are currently three points back from North Division leading Manchester, while only three points clear of fourth place Wheeling.
Shane Conacher leads the Thunder averaging over a point per game with 49 points (12g, 37a) in 43 games. Jame Henry, the only player to appear in all 60 games for the Thunder this season, ranks second on the team with 46 points (18g, 28a). Adirondack has a total of five players who have surpassed the 40 point mark this season. Drew Fielding leads all Thunder netminders this season, having appeared in 26 games. Fielding is 14-8-2-0 with a 3.26 goals against average and a .895 save percentage for the Thunder.
A midweek victory for Atlanta pushed the Gladiators lead on the Admirals to seven points for the fourth and final spot in the playoffs. Atlanta, who has played one more game than the Admirals. Norfolk, who currently holds the fifth spot in the South is one point ahead of sixth place Jacksonville, and three points ahead of seventh place Greenville.
Besse Leads the Way:
Grant Besse’s goal on Friday night gives the forward the most goals by an Admiral in a single season since Cory Conacher and Tyler Johnson led the way for the Admirals en route to a Calder Cup Championship. Besse’s 28 goals is tied for the best among all rookies. The forward is also tied for the rookie points lead with 59 points (28g, 31a).