Saturday, the Norfolk Admirals saw their eight in a half month streak come to an end — a 32 game winning streak that dated back to Feb. 10th. The last blemish on the Admirals’ record was a loss from last season, on Feb. 5th, against the Springfield Falcons.
It was the St. John Ice Caps, the Winnipeg Jets‘ affiliate, on their home ice — the Mile One Arena Centre in Newfoundland, Canada — who handed the Admirals their first loss of the 2012-2013 season and snapped their remarkable feat.
As a result of a slow start, both teams were held scoreless after the first period. The Admirals were guilty of playing sloppy in their own end and with hardly any effort involved. Their effortless performance showed, giving the Ice Caps three opportunities on the power play. Luckily for the Admirals, the Ice Caps didn’t convert on their special teams, but they did lead in shots on goal, 16-5, given from those chances.
The second period showed sparks on offense. The Ice Caps opened up the scoring with a Zach Redmond’s goal. Jason Jaffray poke checked the puck away from a Norfolk defenseman and Redmond picked it up for a quick shot that went past Andersen. Minutes later, the Admirals gave the Ice Caps another chance to convert on the power play and they did. Jaffray’s initial shot was blocked by Andersen, but he got his own rebound and slipped one under the goaltender’s pads.
With 13:44 left in the second, the Admirals’ hope to continue their winning streak became dim. Then in the final minute, Anaheim Ducks’ Devante Smith-Pelly tallied his first goal of the season — in a group effort from Hampus Lindholm and Patrick Maroon.
Leading up to the third, the Admirals were outplayed even though they were only behind by one — the Ice Caps took a commanding lead in shots, 30-14. Almost midway in the third, Will O’Neil found a loose puck and put one in from the left circle. But a late power play chance for the Admirals paid off with a goal from Sami Vatanen. Vatanen, set up by Smith-Pelly, fired a slap shot that a screened Mark Dekanich had no chance on.
The Admirals outshot the Ice Caps in the third, 16-13, but it was too little too late. The Admirals deserved their first loss; they did it to themselves. A sluggish start and carelessness will do that to a team.
All good things must come to an end; hopefully, the Admirals can turn around and put together another winning streak and many more to come.
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