Norfolk, VA – The Admirals conclude the home portion of the 2017-18 schedule on Friday night at the Scope taking on the Reading Royals. Norfolk has two games left in the season, and will wrap up the season on Saturday night in Reading.
Admirals (26-37-6-1) vs Reading (37-24-9-0)
Fan Appreciation Night:
Friday night concludes the home portion of the regular season as the Admirals host the Reading Royals on Fan Appreciation Night. The first 3,000 fans through the doors at Friday’s game will receive a 2017-18 team photo. Throughout the rest of the night fans will have opportunities to win an assortment of prizes.
Last Time Out:
Ty Reichenbach stole the show making 46 saves on 47 shots as the Admirals topped the Kalamazoo Wings 2-1 on Saturday, snapping a five-game losing streak. After just over 38 minutes of scoreless hockey TJ Melancon got the Admirals on the board. The defenseman’s 15th of the season broke a scoreless tie with 1:57 left in the middle stanza. The lead wouldn’t hold up when the teams headed into the second intermission. Justin Taylor got the Wings on the board with 0:23 left in the period to retie the game.
The tie held till just over the midway point of the final period. Alex Pompeo took a pass from Domenic Alberga and spun at the left dot, wristing a shot that beat Joel Martin, and giving the Admirals a 2-1 lead. Reichenbach shut the door the rest of the way, stopping all 17 shots faced in the third period.
Scouting the Royals:
Reading has clinched a spot in the Kelly Cup Playoffs, and finds themselves in a battle for positioning, heading into the final two games of the regular season. Reading (83 pts) is two points back from the second seeded team in the North Division, Adirondack, and three points back from division leading Manchester.
Matt Willows leads the Royals with 69 points (30g, 39a) through 70 games this year. The forward is the only Royal to surpass the 60-point mark, and one of only two players to have appeared in all 70 games this season. Steven Swavely, who has 27 points on the season, enters the weekend one of the hottest Royals, having scored in three of his last four games.
Patrick D’Amico enters the final two games of the regular season with a career-high five-game point streak (1g, 4), and seven points in his last seven games. The forward has already set career highs in assists (24) and points (36). With two games left in the season D’Amico is one goal shy of tying his career high in goals (13) which came during his rookie season with Atlanta.
Forward Grant Besse and defenseman TJ Melancon were honored on Wednesday afternoon when they were named to the ECHL All-Rookie team. The team, selected by the ECHL coaches, broadcasters, media relations directors, and media, is made up of three forwards, two defensemen, and one goaltender. Besse, who leads all ECHL rookies in points with 62, ranked second on the team in points prior to signing a PTO with Cleveland. Melancon, who has been recalled to the AHL on three different occasions this season, has 15 goals and 43 points in 58 games.
Besse and Melancon were joined by Wheeling’s Reid Gardiner, Cincinnati’s Justin Danforth, Kalamazoo’s Aaron Irving, and Worcester’s Mitch Gillam on the All-Rookie Team.
Friday night will feature a trio of pro debuts for the Admirals. Forward Taylor McCloy and netminder Dillon Kelley each signed with Norfolk after concluding their college careers with Adrian College (NCAA). McCloy netted 110 points in 99 games during his four years at Adrian College. The former Adrian Bulldogs will be joined by forward Sammy Banga who will make his professional debut after spending five seasons with Brock University. Banga, who appeared in 129 games with the Badgers, netted 109 points (46g, 63a).