The Norfolk Admirals defeated the Connecticut Whale 6-3 Saturday night to propel to the top of the Eastern Division with 8 points. 3 out of 6 goal scorers for Norfolk tallied their first AHL goal Saturday night at Scope. Sami Vatanen, Chris Wagner, and Ryan Lasch were the three AHL rookies who lit the lamp for the first time in their North American or pro career. Admirals received tallies from Assistant Captains Troy Bodie, Patrick Maroon, and New Jersey native Kyle Palmieri. 23-year-old Frederik Anderson picked up his second win of the season in route to the 6-3 victory.
The Admirals would set the tone early just like they have done in games past when Troy Bodie received a pass from Admirals’ center Chris Wagner. While driving to the net, Bodie out skated a Whale defender to beat Whale goalie Stajcer glove-side at the 4:33 mark of the 1st. Bodie’s shorthanded goal was his second of the young campaign. Admirals’ captain Nate Guenin commented on Bodies’ goal saying, “It’s a big time play. Bodie is a big body and it energized our offense. It was just a work ethic goal and it was textbook hockey school there.”
The Admirals raised the bar again just 4 minutes later off a one-timer goal by 1st year North American pro Sami Vatanen. While on the 5-3 power play, the Admirals were cycling the puck inside their zone when Peter Holland sauced a pass to Vatanen who put the one-time shot past screened Whale netminder Stajcer to give Norfolk a 2-0 lead. Connecticut hit the scoreboard at the 16:00 marker of the 1st when undrafted 22 year-old Whale forward Kyle Jean redirected a Sean Collins’ shot while positioned in front of Anderson.
Ryan Lasch helped the Admirals regain their two-goal lead in the opening minute of the 2nd when he received a pass from line-mate Corey Elkins and scored on Stajcer’s high left-side. Lasch’s goal was his 1st pro goal in North America. Peter Holland also grabbed an assist on Lasch’s goal.
Five minutes after Lasch’s goal the Whale answered back with a goal of their own when Thomas sent a goal mouth shot past Anderson. Kris Newbury picked up the lone assist on the Thomas goal. Norfolk regained their two-goal lead towards the end of the second period when Admirals rookie Chris Wagner scored on his backhand when he flipped the puck glove-side past Stajcer. Wagner commented on his goal saying, “I think the puck came up the right-side and Bodie, being the big body that he is, powered through a guy. When I saw that he beat that guy, I just took off. He made a nice saucer pass and I didn’t really have time to think. I just caught it and it went backhand.”
The Whale answered once again early in the third on the power play to trim the lead back to one. Chad Kolarik sent a shot past Anderson’s blocker, picking up the assists on the goal where Pyett and Newbury. When it came down to owning the scoreboard in the third, it was all Norfolk. Palmieri and Maroon scored goals in the 3rd for Norfolk to make the final score 6-3 Admirals.
Troy Bodie completed the Gordie Howe hat track Saturday, tallying a goal and an assist along with a fight. Bodie tried to recall if it was his 1st Gordie Howe hat trick, but said that maybe was his 1st Gordie of all time! Norfolk Head Coach Trent Yawney was very impressed with the poise the team showed and seemed happy they are finding different ways to win games.
When asked about being more defensive on special teams Wagner declared, “ We didn’t do a great job last night. We watched some video today and Haviland spoke to Bodie and I saying we needed to pay attention to our detail. I definitely did a better job today. We added 2 points today and you can’t ask for much better than that.” When talking about the power play Wagner said, “it’s definitely starting clicking and that’s how the momentum swings.”
Norfolk was 3-8 on the power play and Connecticut was 1-7 on the on the P.P. Connecticut netminder Scott Stajcer took the loss and faced a total of 31 shots. Admirals’ goalie Frederik Anderson was credited with the win. Norfolk also took all 3 Stars–Bodie, Wagner, and Vatanen. The Admirals will now make the long trek to St. Johns Newfoundland, Canada to take on the Ice Caps in a series of back to back games. Saturday the puck will drop at 6:00pm EDT and on Sunday the tilt is at 2:30 EDT.
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