Game 59: Elmira Jackals (12-38-7-1) vs. Norfolk Admirals (21-32-4-0)
7:05 p.m., First Arena, Elmira, New York
The Jackals and Norfolk Admirals shift their two-week series from Virginia to New York as they play the third and fourth head-to-head meetings in an eight day stretch, beginning Thursday night at First Arena. It also begins a season-long nine-game homestand for the Jackals, who don't play another road game until Mar. 31.
The Admirals lost consecutive games--once against the Jackals and once on the road in Reading--to close out last week, dropping to 4-6-0-0 in their last 10 games. Overall, Norfolk is 21-32-4-0 and sit in last place in the South Division and 12th place in the Eastern Conference with 46 points.
The Jackals broke a 12-game road winless streak in Norfolk last weekend and earned two wins in three full games during the week. Elmira is now 12-38-7-1 on the season. With 32 points, the Jackals are in sixth place in the North Division and 13th place in the Eastern Conference.
The Jackals host the Norfolk Admirals on their third Save-A-Lot Thursday of the season. Visit the Elmira Save-A-Lot location to pick up a voucher for a free kids ticket, good for Thursday only. Chicago-style hot dogs and Miller Lite Pounders are just $2. It's all presented by Save-A-Lot Elmira.
Last time out
Five players scored for the Jackals as they cruised past the Norfolk Admirals, 6-3, Mar. 4 at the Norfolk Scope.
The Jackals played a strong first period to open a 2-0 lead on the road. Sebastien Sylvestre started things with a power-play goal just three minutes into the game on a snapper from the right circle. Charlie Mosey bookended the period with a spin-around shot from the slot for his fourth goal of the season at 19:32. The teams traded goals in the second, with the Admirals striking on a power-play goal by Gabriel Verpaelst at 12:17, which was immediately answered on a rebound goal from Casey Thrush just 13 seconds later, giving Elmira a 3-1 lead.
The Jackals ran away with it in the third period. Ian Young began a three-goal barrage with a point shot at 6:04, which was followed three minutes later with a Matt Lane deflection goal at 9:04. Sylvestre capped the Jackals run with his second goal at 10:54, which gave the Jackals a 6-1 lead. Norfolk scored two goals in 32 seconds to get within 6-3, but that was as close as they would get.
Home at last
The Jackals have played just 25 home games in their first 58 games, tied with the South Carolina Stingrays for the fewest home games played in the ECHL. Starting this week, the Jackals play nine consecutive home games, with three games in each of the next three weeks.
In 25 home games, the Jackals are 8-14-3-0, with points in three of the last four (2-1-1-0). They have a -15 goal differential, with 70 goals for and 85 goals against. They average 2.60 goals per game on home ice, well above their season average of 2.24 goals per game. Both their power play and penalty kill are also better at home, placing in the top 10 in the league in both categories. They are at 19.7% on the power play and 86.6% on the penalty kill at First Arena.
The Jackals have seen three plays move off the roster before tonight's match against the Admirals. Yesterday, forward Matt Lane was recalled from loan by AHL-Rochester and the rookie, who had played in 45 consecutive games with the Jackals after his reassignment to Elmira, notched an assist in the Amerks win over the Toronto Marlies last night.
Earlier in the week, the Jackals released forward Robert Lepine and goalie Greg Dodds from the Amateur Tryouts, after the two rookies made the professional debuts with the Jackals last week.
Road streak snapped
The Jackals ended their 12-game road winless streak with Saturday's triumph over the Norfolk Admirals. Before their 6-3 win, the Jackals hadn't won on the road since Jan. 20 in Manchester, posting a 0-10-1-1 record during the league-long streak.
In the win, the Jackals scored a season-high six road goals, boosting their road goals per game to 1.82.
Tonight is the eighth of nine head-to-head matches between the Jackals and Admirals in 2016-17. The Admirals lead the series 4-3 through the first seven games, but the Jackals are 2-1 on home ice. Including last week's games, the teams meet four times over eight days concluding tomorrow night at First Arena.
With three assists Saturday night, Paul Rodrigues (2g, 7a) leads the Admirals with nine points in the seven games against the Jackals. For Elmira, Kyle Rankin picked up points in both games in Norfolk last week and is the top scorer against the Admirals, potting seven points (1g, 6a) in the seven game series. He's also a team-high +5 in the series.
In net, Brandon Anderson has started three games against the Jackals and is 2-1-0 with a 2.67 goals-against average and a.914 save percentage with one shutout. Philippe Desrosiers started both games last weekend and went 1-1-0 with a 4.01 goals-against average and an .849 save percentage in the two games.
Scouting the Admirals
The Admirals enter the week with four wins over their last 10 games (4-6-0-0) and back-to-back losses to move to 21-32-4-0 on the season. At 46 points, Norfolk has closed the gap to four points behind Atlanta, but remain in seventh place in the South Division. After a two-game stop in Elmira, the Admirals continue their road trip Sunday in Manchester to close the weekend.
The Admirals, who were in the cellar offensively the first few months of the season, have risen to 22nd in the league with 2.84 goals per game. T.J. Foster, acquired from Orlando, has helped boost their offense with 34 points (15g, 19a) in 35 games with Norfolk. Overall he has 39 points (17g, 22a) in 47 games between the Admirals and Solar Bears. John Dunbar is second with 33 points (15g, 18a) in 47 games.
Brandon Anderson and Philippe Desrosiers are Norfolk's two goalies entering the week. Anderson is 11-9-0 with a 3.51 goals-against average and an .890 save percentage. He has three shutouts, which came in three straight games at the beginning of 2017, including one over Elmira. Desrosiers appears to have taken the number one spot, playing in nine games with Norfolk since being reassigned by AHL-Texas. He is 5-3-0 with a 3.23 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. Mix in his 13 appearances with Idaho and he is 10-6-0-2 with a 3.56 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage.
Norfolk's power play has been on a steady incline since the turn of the calendar and they are now up to 20th in the ECHL at 15.6%, scoring on 30-of-192 power plays. They have fared well against the Jackals, potting seven power-play goals and holding a 20.6% success rate.
The Jackals power play has scored in four of the last five games and has six power-play goals in the last seven games, going 6-for-26 (23.1%) in those games. They have risen to 30-for-191 (15.7%) on the season, ranking 19th in the ECHL. They are 5-for-27 (18.5%) against the Admirals this season.
The Admirals penalty kill ranks 22nd in the ECHL at 80.4%, giving up 42 power-play goals. They have been better on the road, where they are 10th in the league at 82.8%.
The Jackals were 11-for-13 on the penalty kill last week against Norfolk, giving up a single power-play goal in both games. They are now 20th in the ECHL at 80.8% on the kill this season, but rank seventh on home ice at 85.4%.