Game 28: Elmira Jackals (6-16-5-0) vs. Norfolk Admirals (6-18-4-0)
7:05 p.m., First Arena, Elmira, New York
The Jackals play their final home game of 2016 as they host the Norfolk Admirals for the third time this season Friday night at First Arena. The teams split their first two matches, which came during the Jackals home opening weekend Oct. 21-22.
The Admirals have three wins in their last five games, with all three wins coming against the South Carolina Stingrays. At 6-18-4-0, Norfolk is in last place in the South Division and the Eastern Conference with 16 points. After tonight's game, the Admirals travel to Manchester to face the Monarchs tomorrow.
The Jackals came out of the holiday break and opened the final week of 2016 with a 5-0 loss to the Reading Royals at Santander Arena Wednesday night. They are now 0-4-1-0 in their last five games and at 6-16-5-0 overall, the Jackals have 17 points, which puts them sixth in the North Division. Elmira concludes the calendar year tomorrow night in Wheeling.
Jackals Pregame at 6:50 p.m. Radio: 1410 WELM
Last time out
The Jackals fired just 16 shots on goal, and they were all turned aside by Drew Fielding, as the Reading Royals routed Elmira, 5-0, in the first game after the holiday break Wednesday at Santander Arena.
In a first period that saw both teams receive three power plays, including a 5-on-3 for each side, the Royals emerged with a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes. Late in the period Olivier Labelle tapped in a cross-ice pass at 16:38 for his fourth goal against the Jackals in three games this season.
The Royals expanded that lead in the second period with two quick goals less than a minute apart. Ryan Penny got the first one, to give Reading a 2-0 lead, when he scored on a rebound after Jason Kasdorf stopped a breakaway chance. Moments later, Florian Iberer blasted a one-timer from the right circle at 8:36 to make it 3-0 Royals. Robbie Czarnik tacked on two goals in the third for Reading to cap a 5-0 final.
The Jackals were shut out for the fifth time this season Wednesday night in Reading, throwing just 16 shots on goal against the Royals. Four of their five shutouts have come away from First Arena, with the only home shutout coming Oct. 22 vs. Norfolk.
On the season, the Jackals are averaging just 2.30 goals per game, which is 26th in the league, only ahead of Norfolk (2.25).
The Jackals offense is polar opposite at home vs. on the road. At First Arena, Elmira has scored 38 goals in 13 games, a 2.92 average. However, on the road the Jackals have scored just 24 goals in 14 games, a 1.71 average.
Tonight is the third of nine head-to-head matches between the clubs in 2016-17 and the first since the teams met Oct. 21-22 during the Jackals' home opening weekend. Elmira won the first game, 3-2, before the Admirals responded with a 2-0 win the next night.
Both rosters have undergone extreme makeovers since they last played in mid-October. Just eight skaters for Elmira and 10 for the Admirals that appeared in one of those games is currently on the active roster for either team.
Among those currently still with their teams, Tyson Fawcett leads Jackals players with two points (1g, 1a) against Norfolk. Andy Iles is the only active goalie with an appearance against the Admirals, after he allowed one goal in the 2-0 loss. For Norfolk, Mike Seidel leads the team with two points (1g, 1a) against Elmira and neither of their current goalies were on the roster at the start of the season.
Scouting the Admirals
The Admirals have three wins in their last five games, with all three wins coming against the South Carolina Stingrays. This stretch has doubled the Admirals' win total on the season, giving them a 6-18-4-0 record and placing them in last place in the South Division with 16 points.
Norfolk is last in the ECHL at 2.25 goals per game. Their new leading scorer, Brenden Walker, hasn't played a game yet for the Admirals after he was acquired in a trade last week. Walker had 18 points (7g, 11a) in 22 games for Rapid City, but that point total leads all Admirals players. T.J. Foster is second with 15 points (6g, 9a), with 10 points coming in just eight games with the Admirals.
In goal, Norfolk's two active goalies have combined for just five games played. Brandon Anderson is 2-0-0 in three appearances with the Admirals, posting a 2.76 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage since being acquired in a trade with Reading. Steven Summerhays, picked up in a trade from Tulsa, is 1-1-0 with a 3.54 goals-against average and an .877 save percentage in his first two games with the Admirals.
The Admirals power play is last in the ECHL, converting on just 7.7% of their power plays. They have scored a league-low seven power-play goals in 91 chances this season, including one in five opportunities against the Jackals. They are just 2-for-36 (5.6%) on the power play away from home.
The Jackals power play went 0-for-4 in their last game against Reading and they are 17th in the ECHL at 15.3% (13-for-85). However, they rank fourth in the league at home, going 8-for-34 (23.5%) in 13 games at First Arena.
Norfolk's penalty kill checks in at 21st in the ECHL, allowing 21 power-play goals in 103 chances this season. The Admirals are slightly better on the road, successfully stopping 81.4% of opposition power plays, giving up eight of their 21 power-play goals away from the Norfolk Scope.
The Jackals were a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill Wednesday and are 27-for-29 (93.1%) in the last seven games. They only allowed a power-play goal in one of those seven games, giving up two Dec. 16 at Manchester. Elmira is 10th in the ECHL at 84.9%.