Keller, Justin

AHL Game Night 4/5: River Rats at Admirals

Paul Szczechura brings the house down in the home finale.

ALB-2
NOR-5

Marc Denis stopped 27 of 29 shots for the win.

First Period
NOR Segal, (11) (Rosehill), 13:35
NOR Kearns, (9) (Wanvig, Keller), 17:09

Second Period
ALB Mormina, (4) (McLeod, Blanchard), 0:11
ALB Blanchard, (9) (Ward, Murray), 8:12

Third Period
NOR Keller, (14) (Szczechura, Segal), 2:38
NOR Szczechura, (14) (Quick, Jones), 4:29 (PP)
NOR Szczechura, (15) (Wanvig, Schneider), 19:07 (EN)

Justin Keller, Szczechura, and Brandon Segal were the game's three stars.

The Admirals finish the season 18-19-3 at home.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night 3/15: Pirates at Admirals

Unfortunately, injuries on the backline may finally be catching up to Norfolk.

POR-5
NOR-3

Marc Denis allowed 5 goals on 23 shots for the loss before being pulled for Jonathan Boutin who stopped all 4 shots he faced.

First Period
POR Bouck, (7) (St. Jacques, Ebbett), 5:35 (PP)
NOR Henrich, (14) (Keller, Wanvig), 17:11

Second Period
POR King, (26) (Bouck, Festerling), 12:58
POR Birner, (7) (Ferguson), 13:38
NOR Wanvig, (20) (Henrich, Mihalik), 14:44

Third Period
POR St. Jacques, (7) (Miller, Bootland), 1:14
POR Bouck, (8) (Ebbett, Ferguson), 7:05
NOR Keller, (12) (Jones, Lawrence), 17:45

Justin Keller and Adam Henrich each checked in with 1 goal and 1 assist in the game. Kyle Wanvig and Henrich were named the game's second and third stars.

Keller now has 12 goals and 33 points in 60 games with a +5 rating. A season ago in Springfield, Keller played exactly 60 games but only managed 24 points and had a -11 rating. The improvement is obvious.

Prior to this season Henrich had just 13 goals and 38 points in his entire AHL career of three seasons and 102 games. This season Henrich already has 14 goals and 31 points in 40 games, and there is still a chance he will double his career statistical output by the end of the year. Again, the improvement is obvious.

A year ago, as a rookie, Blair Jones had 5 goals and 21 points in 45 games (.467 PPG). This season, Blair Jones has 13 goals and 35 points in 63 games (.556 PPG). Again, the improvement is obvious.

A season ago, as a rookie, Radek Smolenak had just 1 point in 20 games. This season, the big winger has 11 goals and 21 points in 45 games. Again, the improvement is obvious.

Coupled with a strong rookie campaign by Vladimir Mihalik (now a team leading +9 among defensemen), the organization is looking less and less like the disaster the local and national media was making it out to be just a month or two ago. In fact, I dare say, it's difficult to claim that there isn't progress being made in Norfolk, even with the defeat tonight.

Eventually, some of that progress will find its way onto NHL ice.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night 3/7: Phantoms at Admirals

Home sweet home.

PHI-2
NOR-4

Marc Denis stopped 42 of 44 shots faced for the win, and is playing really well of late.

First Period
NOR Segal, (6) (Kearns, Smolenak), 6:17
NOR Henrich, (11) (Wanvig, Keller), 13:11 (PP)

Second Period
NOR Jones, (13) , 4:37
PHI Matsumoto, (17) (Laliberte, Gauthier), 8:23 (PP)

Third Period
NOR Smolenak, (10) (Jones, Scalzo), 3:18 (PP)
PHI Laliberte, (3) (Matsumoto, Powe), 14:34

Denis, Blair Jones, and Radek Smolenak were the game's three stars.

Tonight was the Ads' first game back at The Scope after the annual marathon known as the circus road trip. The road trip was modestly successful, considering the team lost 2/3 of its top line to a call up and an injury. Still, there's no doubt that the Admirals are a much better team at home and the team put a really good first period together tonight to jump out to a 2-0 lead and Denis helped make it stick. Denis pulled his save percentage for the AHL season up above .900 tonight, which is a welcome sign.

A night like tonight also gives you a lot of hope that the youngsters on this team are starting to get it. Jones and Smolenak each chipped in 1 goal and 1 assist, Adam Henrich potted a goal, and Justin Keller added a helper. With Junior Lessard in Tampa and Paul Szczechura on the shelf injured it would be easy for the Ads to pack it in right now. But, the kids are stepping up a little here and taking more reponsibility on their shoulders. Good.

Don't look now, but Vladimir Mihalik is sitting on a +7 rating, which is somewhat phenomenal for a guy who plays 20 minutes a night on a team that's 11 games under .500 and has been outscored by 38 goals this season. This young man is going to be a beast in two or three years.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night 2/20: Admirals at Sound Tigers

Tough third period.

NOR-3
BRI-4

Marc Denis allowed 4 goals on 25 shots in the loss.

First Period
NOR Keller, (10) (Scalzo, Kearns), 1:42
BRI Keith, (8) (Pitton, Colliton), 17:32

Second Period
NOR Smolenak, (5) (Szczechura, Lessard), 0:31
BRI Jackman, (7) (Keith), 1:49
NOR Kearns, (3) (Schneider, Keller), 10:57

Third Period
BRI Okposo, (7) (Fraser, Bentivoglio), 4:26 (PP)
BRI Keith, (9) (Bourne, Smith), 8:30

Justin Keller was named third star of the game with 1 goal and 1 assist.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night 1/23: Admirals at Bears

Break up the Admirals.

NOR-3
HER-2 (SO)

Marc Denis allowed 2 goals on 27 shots in regulation and overtime before stopping 4 of 4 shooters in the penalty shot session for the win.

First Period
NOR Lessard, (12) (Smolenak), 1:22
NOR Szczechura, (4) (Keller, Schneider), 8:19 (PP)

Second Period
HER Boumedienne, (2) (Beagle, Lepisto), 10:50

Third Period
HER Fehr, (1) (Boumedienne, Lepisto), 9:05 (PP)

Ordinarily, a shootout win wouldn't be such a big deal, but considering Hershey has tortured Norfolk most of this season in a way reminiscent of how Providence used to torment Springfield, a win is sweet indeed.

AHL all-star Justin Keller was named first star with an assist and the sealing goal in the shootout. Marc Denis received third star of the game honors.

Don't look now, but Radek Smolenak has 1 goal and 4 points in his last 3 games.

The Admirals outshot Hershey 39-27 in the game. Now if they can just get Blair Jones back on track.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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