It was another night of intense ice hockey at the Norfolk Scope as the Admirals battled against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for game 4 of their Calder Cup playoff series. The Penguins opened and closed out the scoring, ultimately gaining the win at 4-2 and tying the series at 2-2.
Marc-Antoine Pouliot had a goal and an assist. Pouliot’s assist (still pondering that one, since I didn’t see Harju touch the puck) was a beauty. While holding off a Penguin defender with one hand, Pouliot shot the puck with his other hand toward the net, where Harju was standing by to see it home.
The Admirals remained minus four players due to injury, previous and from Tuesday night’s game. In addition to Mike Angelidis and Alex Berry, Paul Szczechura and Chris Durno did not appear on the ice. There was hope when Angelidis was spotted in the pre-game warm-ups. Let’s hope he returns to the ice on Friday.
It was dismaying, in the least, to hear that Blair Jones was a healthy scratch in Tampa Bay’s game against Pittsburgh. Mattias Ritola served only 4 shifts of play, for a total of 2:26 ice time. That amount doesn’t even justify the flight down to Tampa, who took the 3-2 loss against Pittsburgh in a second overtime.
No one wants to see the Lightning struggle or lose in the playoffs, but really? Couldn’t they have done without these two leading goal-makers? Would Jones and Ritola have been the difference in the Admirals’ game 4 last night? No one can make that wager and it shouldn’t be heaped upon Tampa or any individual player, especially considering the talented depth of the Admirals. However, the question lingers. Let’s just hope the two forwards are returned for Norfolk’s game 5 on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Lightning reassigned defenseman Charles Landry to the Admirals from the Montreal Juniors. Landry made his professional debut in last night’s game. Also re-appearing in the line-up was ECHL call-up Alex Hutchings. Additionally, the not oft-seen Levi Nelson and Tim Marks have joined the on-ice ranks with some frequency and have put forth a great effort.
All-in-all, game 4 was another challenging, hard-hitting nail-biter. And I do mean, hard-hitting. I mean, did you hear those boards thundering throughout the game? The Admirals did show some improvement on the boards, digging deeper and more aggressively for possession of the puck. There were plenty of scoring chances with 36 shots on goal, but Brad Thiessen held up the final defense for the Penguins. Dustin Tokarski made 29 saves but couldn’t hold back those four Penguin shots.
Join the Norfolk Admirals for game 5 against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the Norfolk Scope on Friday, April 22. The puck drops (and maybe a few gloves as well) at 7:30 p.m.
For more information about the AHL Calder Cup playoffs, visit the AHL website.
For more information about the Norfolk Admirals, visit their website.