The Norfolk Admirals won Game 2 of the Calder Cup Final beating the Toronto Marlies 4-2 in front of a capacity crowd at Norfolk Scope.
The biggest difference between the first two games was that Game 2 didn't have as many power plays as Game 1. The first two periods of Game 2 were remarkably light on penalties, which was a nice change from the night before.
Head coach Jon Cooper pretty much agreed. "The difference between the [two games] clearly was that both teams played a little bit of hockey. I'm sure the John Brophy fans out there were probably a little sour that they didn't get what they saw [the night] before, but it was two teams wanting to win a hockey game."
That wasn't exactly the story for the third period, though. But despite the multiple penalties in the third, each team ended up with only four power plays. The Admirals weren't able to capitalize on any of them, while the Marlies scored on one of theirs. The only power play goal came in the first period.
Even still, as with the first game, Norfolk carried the play for most of the game. The Marlies goalie, Ben Scrivens, was amazing. Though the Marlies lost the game, he was easily their best player.
The first period had great flow; there were few breaks in play and few penalties. About the only serious issue was the fact that the Toronto net kept coming off its moorings. Some of that was due to the Admirals crashing the net, but Scrivens caused some of those breaks in play as well.
"I think Scrivens played extremely well, and then Richard Panik - big time goal. He's a big time talent and he scored a big time goal. He got the crowd right into it. Got to give Toronto credit; they got into a little trouble there in the first and then got the power play goal," Cooper said.
The second period was the flip side of the first. Toronto had some momentum and were carrying the play more evenly with Norfolk. And there were multiple breaks in play - at least for the last part of the second. There were some false starts in the faceoff circles a number of times, pucks kept getting shot out of the rink.
Much of the third had a lot of penalties. There were some 5-on-3s, as well as some 4-on-3s, going on. Most of those were in Toronto's favor. Things finally settled down in the last eight minutes or so, however. Jay Rosehill from the Marlies actually head-butted Jean-Philippe Cote, in front of an on-ice official, no less. Both ended up getting two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct, which made little sense.
The Admirals had four different goal scorers - Panik in the first, Alex Picard and Brandon Segal in the second, and Trevor Smith in the third. Mike Angelidis, Evan Oberg, and Keith Aulie each had two assists.
The game was exciting, and the home crowd definitely appreciated the on-ice efforts of the Admirals.
"It's an unbelievable feeling any time you can make the Finals. And playing in front of those fans out there is just...you know.... Words can't express how great it is to see it packed in there. It was electric," said Segal.
The best player on the ice for the Admirals was Dustin Tokarski. The Marlies finally put some pressure on him in this game, and he came up big for them. The best skater that didn't get on the score sheet was Alex Killorn, who had six shots on goal, despite not getting much to show for the effort.
Going into Game 3, up 2-0 in the series, Tokarski doesn't think playing in Toronto will be much of an issue for Norfolk. "It'll be in a good environment. But you know, [this game] was in a great environment, too. The guys came out, played hard, played a simple game, and got 'er done. So I don't think that'll be too much of an issue for most guys."
The series now shifts to Canada, with Game 3 being played there on Thursday, 7 June. Game time is 7 pm Eastern. We will have a game thread up and ready at 6:30 pm.