AHL Game Night 3/21: Devils at Admirals

On any given night, this depleted Admirals team can still jump up and get you.

LOW-1
NOR-6

Marc Denis stopped 34 of 35 shots for the win including a stellar 19 save first period to help hold the Admirals in the game until they settled in during the second period. With a .934 save percentage in March, the veteran goaltender has raised his AHL save percentage to .905 on the season.

First Period
NOR Smolenak, (12) (Jones, Kvapil), 18:11 (PP)

Second Period
LOW Bergfors, (10) (Murphy, Ruggeri), 9:27 (PP)
NOR Keller, (13) (Hurley, Lawrence), 12:09
NOR Smolenak, (13) (Kvapil, Kearns), 17:00
NOR Segal, (8) (Kearns, Egener), 19:29

Third Period
NOR Jones, (14) (Segal, Tyrell), 3:05
NOR Klinkhammer, (11) (Keller), 19:24

Radek Smolenak, Denis, and Brandon Segal were the game's three stars.

Congratulations to Dana Tyrell on his first pro point. The speedy forward also had 1 shot on goal in the game.

They haven't been as consistent night to night as one might like, but these young Admirals forwards are quietly putting up some numbers and building up some momentum heading into camp next season.

Smolenak, who played himself out of Norfolk at the start of the season, has now caught Justin Keller in goals and sits just one back of Blair Jones, bolstering his bona fides as the organization's purest sniper prospect currently under contract. Since January 18, Smolenak has 13 goals and 22 points in 29 games. If he were play a full 80 game AHL season at that pace, he would score about 36 goals in a season.

Jones, who rode a 13 game pointless streak into February 8th, has 7 goals and 17 points in his last 21 games. That translates to 65 points over the course of a full season.

Justin Keller, who has been fairly consistent offensively since a slow first month of the season, has 4 goals and 13 points in his last 17 games. That pro-rates to 61 points.

Even Rob Klinkhammer is getting in the act, with 3 goals and 4 points in his last 5 games and Chris Lawrence now has 3 assists in the last 4 games.

So, despite losing Paul Szczechura, Norm Milley, Andy Rogers, and Mario Scalzo to injury AND losing Junior Lessard, Alexandre Picard, Karl Stewart, and Matt Smaby to recall, AND losing Jay Leach to a trade, AND seeing Kyle Wanvig put up an anemic 1 goal and 3 points in the last 12 games, these young forwards are doing some business offensively.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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What a Difference

Went to Wednesday night's game. Just got outclassed by a superior team. And Stirling benched Wanvig and Keller.

Well tonight was a different story. Yes Lowell has a worse record than even we do. But this team came out to play tonight. Good hustle and hard effort for three periods. Pete's analysis is on the money. Smolenak, Jones and Klinkhammer have made a strong case for next year. Denis was excellent in goal. One unsung player is Bracken Kearns. He hustles and does the little things that help out but don't show up in the box score. Keller seemed to learn his lesson from the other night.

Tyrell showed some real flashes why he is going to be a good one. He does have a set of wheels and seemed to get more comfortable out there as the game went on. Hurley was pleasant surprise. Real solid game, no big mistakes and he's good on his skates as well.

Wanvig was a healthy scratch tonight. He's been dogging it lately and it's frankly time for him to go somewhere else. Yes he has 51 points, but his lack of hustle and poor attitude make him expendable. Stirling put the players out there tonight who want to play hard and the score reflected that.

RE: Wanvig

Sounds like a player heading across the pond for next season.

Smolenak

Really glad to hear Smolenak has turned his game around. I was worried reading about him earlier in the year and figured he would be just another bust in the organization. Looks like the light bulb has come on and he's starting to "get it". It'd be a big boost to the organization if he can keep this up next year and realize his potential to be a top 6 forward in the NHL. Nice to see Jones has turned it around since his funk. He should be a serious contender for a roster spot next season and actual icetime instead of the less than a minute he was getting here earlier in the year.

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