ECHL: Norfolk Admirals Announce Kelly Cup Playoff Roster; Series Preview vs. Trois-Rivieres Lions

Latoya Foutnier/InsideTheRink

Norfolk and the surrounding cities in the 757 have been waiting for this moment for years. It has been exactly ten years since the city of Norfolk has witnessed playoff hockey. The 2013-14 season saw the then American Hockey League (AHL) Norfolk Admirals lose in round two of the Calder Cup Playoffs, four games to two against the Saint Johns Icecaps. Since re-joining the ECHL for the 2015-16 season, it has been a difficult journey watching the Norfolk Admirals play below .500 hockey year after year. This year is different. The Admirals finished in second place of the North Division in the Eastern Conference, just eight points back of the Adirondack Thunder, who played three more games. They will be taking on the Trois-Rivieres Lions, who finished right behind them in third. The series begins in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada, on April 17 due to the Virginia International Tattoo happening at Norfolk Scope Arena at the same time. This will be the Lions’ second appearance in the Kelly Cup Playoffs in three seasons. Having lost their only series in the playoffs in seven games, the Lions will look to lean on that playoff experience.

The Admirals had their North Division rival’s number all season long, going 7-1-0-0 (4-1-0 at home, 3-0-0 away) in the series. The Admirals’ only loss to the Lions came on November 24, 2023, inside Norfolk Scope in their second meeting of the season. Trois-Rivieres would win the game 5-3. The Admirals’ power-play was electric in the series, going 29.6% (8-for-27), and their penalty kill was 79.3% (23-for-29).

Tuesday, the Admirals announced their Kelly Cup Playoff roster. It will consist of 12 forwards, 7 defenseman and two goalies. The Admirals also have three players listed on their roster as playoff-eligible reserves due to being called up to their American Hockey League affiliate, Manitoba Moose.

Forwards

#8 Denis Smirnov, #12 Danny Katic, #13 Keegan Iverson, #15 Mathieu Roy, #16 Keaton Jameson, #17 Austen Keating, #21 Sean Montgomery, #22 Stepan Timofeyev, #25 Brandon Osmundson, #26 Thomas Caron, #27 Gehrett Sargis and #94 Brady Fleurent

Defense

#2 Darick Louis-Jean, #4 Carson Musser, #5 Simon Kubicek, #6 Dakota Krebs, #14 Connor Fedorek, #18 Andrew McLean and #23 Josh McDougall

Goalies

#1 Yaniv Perets and #30 Oskair Salinen

Playoff Eligible (Currently with Manitoba)

#10 Mark Liwiski, #24 Carson Golder and #93 Dmitry Kuzmin

Players to Watch

A couple notable players throughout the season series for the Admirals are Mathieu Roy and Andrew McLean. Roy would lead the way for the current roster in the season series posting two goals and six assists for eight points while being a plus three rated player in eight meetings.

McLean has been outstanding on defense for the Admirals all season long. Throughout the campaign, the Waterford, MI native played in 65 games, putting up career-high numbers. McLean registered eight goals and 25 assists with a plus 19 rating. McLean would post six assists and a plus-six rating against the Lions.

Admiral’s rookie Brandon Osmundson has been a huge story for the team this season. In the first 16 games of his first full professional year, Osmundson posted an incredible nine goals (led Huntsville at the time) and four assists for 13 points for the SPHLs Huntsville Havoc. Osmundson would earn a call-up to his hometown team on December 11. The Chesapeake native continued putting in the hard work and it all payed off as he was inserted into the lineup for 43 games this season with the Admirals posting nine goals and 20 assists for 29 points while being one of three on the team to be a plus 20 on the season.

The Admirals will look to Timofeyev and Katic to continue leading the way for this club. In his second year, Timofeyev played in 62 games, posting 20 goals and 33 assists for 53 points. All were ECHL career highs for the St. Petersburg, Russia native.

Katic is in his second professional season, both with the Admirals. Last year was a decent year for the Porcupine, Ontario native. Katic played in 67 games, putting up 18 goals and 22 assists for 40 points. This year, Katic turned things around even more. In 60 games played, Katic recorded 24 goals and 26 assists for 50 points, going from a minus 16 player last season to a plus 20 player this season.

The Admirals will look to keep doing what they have been doing best: get the early first-period leads and continue the pressure. When leading after one period of play, the Admirals went 25-4-3. The Admirals will want to continue holding onto the lead in the second period as they have gone 31-1-3 heading into the third frame. If they can do this, it will make it even more difficult for Trios-Rivieres as they have struggled to climb back into game while trailing after 40 minutes of play going 1-21-2.

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Zachary Alvarado

Inside The Rink journalist covering the Wheeling Nailers and Norfolk Admirals of the ECHL. I am a Duquesne University Sports Information and Media major graduating in December. I have been passionate about hockey since I was 4 years old.

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