The Norfolk Admirals hosted the Charlotte Checkers Friday night in downtown Norfolk. Admirals head coach Trent Yawney elected to start Frederik Andersen in goal; while Checkers coach Jeff Daniels countered with John Muse. After tonight’s contest, the Checkers return home to the Times Warner Cable arena as the host to the Oklahoma City Barons on Sunday and Monday.
Charlotte lit the lamp early as Marc-Andre Gragnani’s cross-ice feed found the tape of Checkers left-winger Chris Terry who got the better of Andersen on a 5 on 3 power play. Zac Dalpe put the Checkers in the driver’s seat early beating Andersen once again. Dalpe blasted a shot from the left faceoff circle that eluded Andersen on his blocker side. Admirals left-wing Brandon McMillian echoed Dalpe’s goal seconds later. McMillian hustled the puck past Checkers goalie John Muse pulling the Admirals within one. When the buzzer sounded, the home club had the upper hand in shots 15 to 9.
Admirals Brandon McMillian scored his second goal of the night as he found the equalizer for Norfolk at the 3:17 mark of the second. Dan Sexton hooked up McMillian with a tape to tape pass. McMillian tickled the twine on a spin-o-rama move. Goals came in bunches for Norfolk. Seconds later Admirals center Chris Wagner tallied his fourth goal of the season. Norfolk’s leading scorer Peter Holland doubled his club’s lead later in the second. Holland roofed his shot while crowding Muse’s crease pulling Norfolk ahead 4-2. Charlotte’s Chris Terry almost had his second tally of the night on another 5 on 3 power play; however; referee Joe Sullivan reviewed the goal and ruled the Norfolk net was dislodged before the puck scampered across the goal line. Once again, Norfolk ruled Charlotte in shots 26-16 when the second stanza came to a close.
Holland’s second goal of the night stretched Norfolk’s lead by three goals midway through the third. With less than a minute remaining in play, Holland added insult to injury scoring his third goal of the night completing his hatrick. Charlotte was 1 for 8 on the P.P. while Norfolk missed on 8 opportunities. The Admirals peppered their opposition 38 to 23.
With the win tonight Andersen’s record now reads 13-10-2-1. Losing goaltender John Muse suffered his first loss of the year. His track record reads 3-1-0-0.
Admirals center Chris Wagner shared his thoughts on the goal stating, “We had a strong forecheck all night. Kurtz chipped it in deep. Jordan just threw it in and it went in. I didn’t see the puck to be honest.” Wagner has also been summoned to play on both the P.P. as well as the P.K. When asked if he is getting more comfortable with the pro game he responded, “It’s definitely has been a grind for me. You only play 34 games in college. It’s been a transition, but I’m more comfortable now. All coaches are helping me and the older guys are too.”
Brandon McMillian commented on his second goal of the night saying, “It was good board work. I think Sexton just tried to put it on net and the puck was just sitting in the slot and I gave the D-man a little stick lift and turned around quickly and shot as quickly as I could. “
Norfolk is pushing towards the playoffs at the moment as confirmed by Holland comments, “We’re looking at the standings and making a push that’s for sure. Anything less than getting in the playoffs is a failure for us.” Norfolk’s continue their playoff push Saturday night in Hershey, PA.
Follow Ted on Twitter- @bauerhockeydude