The Norfolk Admirals came out with something to prove last night, starting with a quick break from Mark Barberio and getting 4 shots in the first minute of the game. The hitting was there early like most back to back weekend games with Ondrej Palat taking most of them but sticking with the game plan and creating turnovers. PC Labrie had an awesome period with several goal scoring chances and Conacher had a real nice one but got interfered with no call. The best forward line in this period was Mike Angelidis, PC Labrie, and Ouellet. At 13:33 remaining the Admirals got their first PP of the night with the top line again being Corey Conacher, Tyler Johnson, Richard Panik, Mark Barberio and Matt Fornataro. After a scrum in front if the net where Conacher takes a punch to the face, he gets a cross checking penalty and the puncher got a roughing. The Ads only got 1 shot off on the PP, once it ended the Crunch stepped up pressure and kept it in their offensive zone for a little bit. Ads get another man advantage at 10:03 remaining with the top line getting time again. Kostka launches a hard shot but no one was in front of the goalie leading to an easy save. The Ads get two shots on the PP making it 10-3 so far, all 3 shots from the Crunch were outside the blue line but “on net”. Now for whatever reason Jeff Dimmen has some words with Jean-Francois Jacques and they drop the gloves for Dimmen’s 4th fights and JF Jacques 5th of the year. From where I sit it looks like Dimmen handled the bigger guy well and looked to cut him over his eye a little, but Dimmen heads to the locker room (returns later). Period continues with Conacher laying a big hit on Caputi. Norfolk gets another PP at 5:23 remaining with probably he best scoring chance of the night, puck gets thrown across the middle but Palat didn’t have stick on the ice to tip it in. The ads finish the period off a little sloppy and take a penalty and give up two shots. At the end of the period Norfolk leads the shots at 13-5 and 0/3 on the PP.
The second period starts off just as physical as the beginning of the game and there is Palat getting some more turnovers, and getting a quick wrister off but the goalie handles it easily. The Ads take a penalty at 16:39 remaining, Syracuse gets good movement but no shots, and at one stoppage Palmieri has some words with the hard hitting Gudas. On the ensuing faceoff Caputi messes with Conacher and Mike Angelidis trades places and he shuts up, doing what a Captain should do. At this point the best chances for awhile happen, Angelidis gets a wrap around and hits the post, goalie loses his stick, the Admirals continue with Gudas launching a shot and the goalie getting all of it. Play continues in their zone until their goalie desperately just takes off his mask, coach John Cooper was not happy, expressing it should have been a 2 minute delay of game penalty and it should of but the referee of course disagrees. Syracuse then after the illegal but not punished stoppage starts playing better, launches a shot that sits in the crease until an Ad swats it away with his glove. The hitting picks up with the tension growing and then Gudas lays a big hit and gets called for a boarding minor. The Crunch never got a shot but the Ads take another penalty giving them a 5-3 where they get some shots until Gudas goes on 2 on 2 break and remembers hes a defenseman on a 5 on 4 PK. Syracuse scores a PP goal on the tired killers, they had 4 shots on the PP. Admirals goto another PP and just pass the puck around the entire time, no real chances to shoot. The power play would end and the Admirals would take a penalty, and kill it well. The Crunch get a nice breakaway but Jaroslav Janus stands on his head with an awesome save. I haven’t mentioned him much but JJ had a very good game. The period ends with the Ads leading shots 19-16 and 0/4 on the PP.
Unfortunately I got back to my seat late at the start of the third and missed the Syracuse goal so I can’t really elaborate on it, but it put the Ads down 2-0 early in the third. The Ads pick up their fore check keeping the Crunch in their own zone for awhile and drawing a penalty. The power play didn’t get any real chances at all, but kept it in the offensive zone wearing the Crunch out, forcing them to ice it after the PP and take their time out. Following the time out the Admirals screen the goalie and Barberio launches a laser towards net and scores through all the bodies. The sell out crowd was ecstatic, loudest I have heard at this point. About 20 seconds after the goal Norfolk heads to another power play. Syracuse at this point looked exhausted, couldn’t clear the zone at all. Lots of good shots until Panik tips in a rebound that rolled behind the goalie, initiating a “Panik Attack”. The Norfolk Scope exploded in cheering and goal sirens, my ears literally rang. The Admirals had clearly taken over at this point and Syracuse started playing a trap hockey style, waiting for odd man rushes only. Labrie has a good shot with the Crunch running around, two players end up behind the goalie trying to block shots. Matt Smaby and Johnson both receive roughing penalties after the mass hysteria in the Crunch’s zone. The Admirals then gain a man advantage and go 4 on 3, taking their time passing but no real scoring chances. All the penalties run off and the teams return to even strength. JJ is on his head again on a quick 2 on 1 break after a collapse on defense with just under 3 minutes to go. At 1:55 the puck rolls behind JJ but no Crunch in area to tip in. Regulation ends with the teams tied at 2-2, Ads leading shots 35-20, outshot the crunch 19 to 4.
Going into the over time the fans that follow hockey regularly were aware that we had taken control of first place, jumping over the baby penguins in standings win or lose. The over time was pretty much all Syracuse, ringing one off the post until just under a minute. The Admirals shot low and hard, Crunch player laid down to block and the goalie was right there. The puck gets tipped into the net, it was never covered by goalie, but the referee had terrible positioning and blew the whistle and disallowed the OT winning goal. The sold out home crowd was not impressed. The OT ends with neither team trying after that point.
Syracuse would be starting off first in the shootout. Caputi would try 5 hole and be denied. Then Trevor Smith would try 5 hole on the crunch and be denied. Jacques of the crunch would go backhand glove side and scores on JJ. Conacher goes next for the Admirals, mishandles on the rough ice and shoots wide. Gordon tries 5 hole on JJ and gets stopped. Next up is Mike Kostka, 3rd star for the AHL the previous night, he dekes hard and back hands it high and scores making it 1-1 after 3 rounds, AHL goes 5 round instead of 3 like the NHL. . Palmieri comes in deking, faking, and gets stopped by JJ. Panik then comes in quick and Tarkii of the Crunch makes an easy save. Maroon of the Crunch dekes twice left and JJ comes up with a stop. Barberio throws a little move and Tarkii makes another save. After 5 rounds it becomes sudden death. Holland dekes left on JJ and scores. Johnson shoots from far out, high blocker side and scores to keep the Admirals in it! Holzapfel dekes a lot and Janus stops it and lays down on the puck. Dimmen tries a deke and gives an easy stop. O’marra of the Crunch comes in straight and easy glove save for JJ. Palat just dekes to the right and Tarkii makes another easy save. Carle has a good try, dekes across his body, pulls the puck to JJ’s left and JJ makes a pad save. Michel Ouellet is up next and he scores in the 9th round of the shoot out winning the game for the Admirals. At this time the Norfolk Scope erupts, everyone going crazy. The single loudest moment in the years I have been there.
The Admirals secure 1st in the division by 2 points over the Penguins and now ride a 6 game win streak. JJ had an awesome game even allowing those two goals and really brought it for the shootout. The Admirals are off till Friday when they play Binghamton, Hershey(sat), and Wilkes-barre(sun), a very BIG weekend for standings. This was the second sell out game in 3 weeks after not having one in about 5 years.
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