This week, the Admirals will play a New Year’s Eve game in Portland on Wednesday, travel to Worcester to battle the Sharks on Friday night and then return to Portland for a Saturday night tilt against the Pirates. Following this week, Norfolk will return to Scope for a nine-game homestand.
EAST DIVISION STANDINGS At 13-19-1-4 (31 points), the Admirals are sixth in the East Division. The Hershey Bears (23-8-0-1, 47 points) and Bridgeport Sound Tigers (21-9-1-2, 45 points) own the two highest point totals in the East Division and the American Hockey League. They are followed by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (20-11-1-1, 42 points), Binghamton Senators (17-10-3-3, 40 points) and Philadelphia Phantoms (19-13-0-1, 39 points). The Albany River Rats (11-16-3-2, 27 points) round out the division. Click here for the complete, up-to-the-minute AHL standings.
THE ADMIRALS’ WEEK AHEAD Wed., Dec. 31 … at Portland Pirates (Buffalo Sabres) … 5:30 p.m.
Fri., Jan. 2 … at Worcester Sharks (San Jose Sharks) … 7:05 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 3 … at Portland Pirates (Buffalo Sabres) … 7:00 p.m.
Norfolk is on a season-high four-game winning streak and has wins in five of its last six games.
The Admirals have allowed two or fewer goals in each of their last five wins.
Since December 12 versus Bridgeport, the Admirals have averaged four goals-for per game and only 2.2 goals-against per game. Prior to that game, they were averaging only three goals-for per game and 4.1 goals-against per game.
With his hat trick on Saturday versus Philadelphia, Steve Downie stretched his point streak to a Norfolk season-high eight games (5G, 10A). In six games with Norfolk since being reassigned by the Tampa Bay Lightning on December 12, Downie has five goals and eight assists.
The hat trick was the first for the Admirals since Brandon Bochenski netted hat tricks against the Hershey Bears in back-to-back games on December 30, 2006 at Hershey and January 3, 2007 at Scope.
Norfolk’s seven goals scored were the most since last November 21 when they also put up seven goals against the Phantoms at Scope in a 7-3 win.
Norfolk’s 23 shots in the second period on Saturday were a season high and their 48 shots in the game tied a season high.
Phantoms forward Jonathan Matsumoto’s second period goal on Saturday was the first power play goal allowed by Norfolk since December 10, ending the stretch of opponent power plays killed at 27. The Admirals have killed 32 of the last 34 opponent power plays overall.
Radek Smolenak has points (4G, 1A) in all four games with Norfolk after returning from his first career NHL call-up with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Defenseman Mike Lundin registered four assists to tie a Norfolk franchise record on Saturday versus Philadelphia.
Defenseman Matt Smaby picked up his first NHL point with an assist on Saturday night with the Tampa Bay Lightning versus the Florida Panthers.
ADMIRALS RBK/AHL PLAYER OF THE WEEK NOMINEE Steve Downie: 1 GP, 3G, 0A, 3PTS, 0 PIM Steve Downie extended his point streak to eight games with a hat trick against his former club on Saturday vs. Philadelphia. It was his first professional hat trick and paced Norfolk’s 7-2 win at Scope.
Downie now has five goals and 14 assists in just 12 games with Norfolk. He leads the Admirals with a +9 rating and his 1.58 points-per-game in a Norfolk uniform are more than half a point more than any other player. Including his four games with the Phantoms earlier in the season, Downie has six goals and 21 assists with a +12 rating in just 16 AHL games in 2008-09. His 21 assists rank in the top 20 in the AHL.
THIS WEEK ON THE ADMIRALS HOUR The Admirals Hour Radio Show will not air this week due to the New Year’s Holiday. The Admirals Hour will return on Thursday, January 8, from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. on ESPN Radio 1310.
ADMIRALS ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES CLOSED The Norfolk Admirals administrative office will be closed beginning on Tuesday, December 30 at 1:00 p.m. and will reopen on Monday, January 5 at 9:30 a.m.
ADMIRALS STREAKS AND TRENDS
Steve Downie, Eight-game point streak (5G, 10A since 11/16 at PRO)
TRANSACTIONS OF THE PAST WEEK December 26, 2008 DELETE D Matt Smaby – Recalled from loan by Tampa Bay (NHL)
December 27, 2008 DELETE F/D Brent Henley – Loaned to Mississippi (ECHL)
DELETE RW Chris Lawrence – Reassigned by Tampa Bay (NHL) to Mississippi (ECHL)
DELETE D Scott Jackson – Reassigned by Tampa Bay (NHL) to Mississippi (ECHL)
DELETE F Mathieu Curadeau – Returned on loan to Fort Wayne (IHL)
TICKETS To purchase tickets to any Admirals game, you may visit the Scope Box Office weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., visit any Ticketmaster outlet, call Ticketmaster at (757) 671-8100 or visit Ticketmaster online at www.ticketmaster.com. Don’t miss a minute of the action by purchasing your 2008-09 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!
ON THE RADIO/INTERNET All games are broadcast on ESPN Radio 1310 WGH-AM. The games are also cybercast at SportsJuice.com. Go to SportsJuice.com, or click on the link at norfolkadmirals.com. Broadcasts begin 15 minutes prior to game time.
Games are also viewable through the Internet on a pay-per-view basis through AHL Live. Visit norfolkadmirals.com and click the AHL Live banner on the left side of the site to view all Admirals’ home and away games.