ECHL Playoff Series Preview: Adirondack Thunder vs Norfolk Admirals | Round 2

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The North Division Finals will feature the top two teams from the regular season, as the Adirondack Thunder would not only win the North Division but would end up winning the Conference as well; the Norfolk Admirals would finish second in the Division but would play three fewer games than the Thunder as they were supposed to play the Newfoundland Growlers during the last weekend of the regular season before the Growlers would go under. Norfolk and Adirondack would meet eight times during the regular season, and the two teams were evenly matched. The Thunder went 4-3-0-1 in the eight-game regular season matchup.

Reinforcements and Youth Added To Both Rosters

There’s no question that the Thunder and Admirals have been evenly matched for the regular season series, but since the last time these two teams met, Adirondack’s roster has undergone many changes as five players that were in the lineup that either didn’t make the Thunder lineup or are injured; however, there were some additions to the Thunder lineup which includes, Filip Engaras, Alex Young, Ryan Conroy, Timur Ibragiomov, Colin Felix, Will MacKinnon, and Zach Walker. There’s no doubt that Adirondack has more depth heading into this series than the Admirals. Head Coach Pete MacArthur mentioned that it’s unlikely that we’ll see Ibagimov in the Norfolk series.

“For all those guys to get tested and get into this series was huge, you can’t experience the playoffs unless you’re in the game you don’t really understand everything you need to do unless your in that game and it was a very good test for us”

Darian Skeoch on the

The Admirals have two key rookies who have recently been inserted into the lineup in, Dakota Krebs and Austen Keating. Krebs played in five games with Ads during the regular season after finishing up his collegiate career at the University of Calgary, putting up two assists in five games he’s added an assist in three Kelly Cup Playoff games. Expect Krebs to be a regular in the Admirals lineup with Darick Louis-Jean out after suffering an injury on a hit from Jonathan Yantsis who would later be suspended for said hit. Keating has been a welcome addition to Norfolk’s lineup after being released from his ATO with the Chicago Wolves and joining the Admirals. The six-foot center picked up a point in his only regular season game with the Admirals and has turned it on in the Kelly Cup Playoffs as he put up four goals and two assists for six games during Norfolk’s first-round series vs Trois-Rivieres Lions.

Physicality

There’s no question that physicality is going to play a big part in this series, especially from an Admirals team that led the league with almost 1500 minutes in penalties in 69 games this year. The math comes out to almost 22 minutes of penalties per game. There’s no question that Adirondack can keep up with the physicality, but the one big thing for Adirondack is not to take the extra penalties to put themselves in short-handed opportunities.

“We gotta keep our heads, going in that’s going to be a huge point that we can’t get drawn into chippy/after the whistle stuff, getting extra penalties. I watched some of their games against three rivers and it will killing them at times, each team would take a roughing penalty then TR would take the extra on top of that and that’s what Norfolk strives on. There really good at playing that chippy game and getting you off your game and teams start to play their style and end up taking extra penalties, it’s gonna be massive for our team’s sake to stay composed to play our style of hockey

Adirondack Thunder Interim Captain Darian Skeoch on the keys against Norfolk

Adirondack will lean on guys like Zach Walker, Darian Skeoch, Colin Felix, and Will MacKinnon, who all exemplify that style of “ADK Hockey.” In the opening round against Maine, special teams hurt them, and the Thunder don’t want to give the Admirals free opportunities in what is expected to be a very even series.

Game 1 Is Key

Adirondack and Norfolk are coming into this series in two different scenarios as the Thunder come into Game 1 in different scenarios. The Thunder just finished playing five games in six days as their series with the Maine Mariners went the distance, but the Thunder have the depth to be able to deal with scenarios like this, and with a back-to-back on Friday and Saturday, I would expect to see everyone on the Thunder roster see the ice within the first two games.

Get what you need, we’re going back to work”

Zach Walker’s message to the team heading into Game 1

On the other side of the ice, Norfolk has had the week off after beating Trois-Rivieres in Game 6 on Tuesday. This shouldn’t be an issue for the Admirals, as this is how most teams’ schedules are during the regular season, with a few midweek games thrown in there. I would expect a well-rested, ready-to-go Norfolk team when the puck drops for Game 1.

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Armand Klisivitch

Inside The Rink ECHL Manager | Senior Editor Credentialed Reporter for the Adirondack Thunder & Worcester Railers.

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