ECHL Playoffs: Norfolk Admirals vs. Trois Rivieres Lions Game 4 | 4/24/2024

Norfolks' Carson Musser goes through the line after scoring against Worcester.
Photo Credit: Rich LeBlanc | Inside The Rink

The Norfolk Admirals weathered a late comeback attempt from the Trois-Rivieres Lions to win the game 6-3 inside Norfolk Scope Arena in downtown Norfolk, VA, Wednesday night. They can close out the series on Saturday, April 27, after going up in the series 3-1.

The Admirals started the game hot playing simple but smart hockey which led to them scoring four goals in the first 21 minutes. Costly turnovers and complacent play nearly cost the Admirals as Trois-Rivieres stormed back to make it a one-goal game with 11:33 left in the game.

Yaniv Perets played exceptionally stopping 29-of-32 in the winning effort, including many grade-A scoring chances and killing any momentum Trois-Rivieres were mustering up.

First Period

Down 2-1 in the series and not wanting to be on the brink of elimination come Saturday, the Lions needed to come out hot out of the gate and did just that. Trois-Rivieres were firing shots on net from every angle to start the game. Through the first 1:40 of the period, the Lions put up five shots, but it was Norfolk goaltender, Perets, who was up for the early task of turning all five shots aside.

The Lions did not stop there as they would outshoot the Admirals 12-3 through the opening 9:28 of the game but were unable to get anything by Perets. On just their fourth shot on net, the Admirals opened the scoring at 10:58 of the first. Darick Louis-Jean found an open Andrew McLean at the blue line and moved the puck up to him. McLean would make a beautiful shot-pass right in front of the net for a tip by Gehrett Sargis to get the Admirals on the board with a 1-0 lead.

Just 40 seconds later, the Admirals extended their lead to 2. Off a shot from the blueline by Josh McDougall, Austen Keating redirected the puck and past the glove hand of Lions’ goaltender, Zachary Emond. McDougall and Danny Katic were credited with the assists on the goal.

After that, it was all Admirals, as they would keep the Lions to just one shot for the next 8 minutes and 11 seconds. The Admirals, however, only put two shots on net, but one would find the back of the net at 18:27 as Sargis scored his second of the period to put the Admirals up 3-0. The Ads would win a defensive zone faceoff and break the puck out. Mathieu Roy tipped an incoming pass over the head of a Lions’ defender and found Keating. Norfolk had a 2-on-1 break with Keating carrying the puck and made a beautiful sauce pass right on the tape of Sargis, who buried it under the crossbar.

The Admirals took a 3-0 lead into the first intermission despite being outshot 14-8. Norfolk killed off the only penalty called in the first period.

Second Period

After a late first-period goal, the Admirals were not satisfied there. Only 22 seconds into the second, the Admirals scored to make it 4-0. Thomas Caron located a loose puck in the neutral zone and shot out of a cannon to use his speed and beat the Trois-Rivieres defender. Instead of trying to make a move, Caron used his speed to keep Emond guessing and riffled the puck over his shoulder after Emond went down into a butterfly early.

A frustrated Lions team found themselves in penalty trouble early. The Admirals were unable to convert on the man advantage, giving the Lions momentum.

Trois-Rivieres finally broke through to cut its deficit to three at 7:02. Off a blocked shot by the Lions, Nicolas Guay picked up a loose puck to quickly move it ahead to a streaking Cedric Montminy. Montminy had a wide-open look at the net on a 2-on-1 down the Admirals’ way and put a perfectly placed shot above the pad on the short side of Perets.

Norfolk was unable to get anything going as Trois-Rivieres was smothering the Admirals, making it difficult for them to get any shots on net. The Admirals mustered just one shot in 10 minutes from the time of the goal, and it was an easy handle for Emond.

Perets bailed out his defenseman numerous times to keep the Admirals up 4-1.

Jacob Pauquette had the first good opportunity in the build-up off a neutral-zone turnover by the Admirals, but Perets was able to turn the grade-A scoring chance away. Trois-Rivieres regained possession of the puck to keep the pressure on and have Norfolk scrambling in its zone. The Admirals were able to gain possession and chip the puck out into the neutral zone, but the Lions’ excellent transition game made the Admirals pay.

At 15:07, the Lions were able to beat a hot Perets again off a rebound and bring the game back to a two-goal deficit. Brycen Martin cut into the center of the ice right in front of Perets and shoot low on the left side. Perets made the save, but the rebound was kicked right out to a trailing Jakov Novak who banged a shot off the inside of the post and into the net.

Novak of the Lions would be called for a five-minute major and a game misconduct for slashing at 17:04. After being checked into the boards by Stepan Timofeyev, Novak was not happy as he baseball swung his stick at the knee of Timofeyev. The Admirals instantly peppered the net with shots to start their five-minute powerplay. Norfolk put up six shots in the final 2 and a half minutes, but Emond shut the door, keeping the score at 4-2 heading into the second intermission.

Shots for the second were 11 a piece, with Trois-Rivieres leading the shot total, 25-18 through 40 minutes. Admirals were 1-for-1 on the penalty kill and 0-for-1 on the powerplay.

Third Period

The puck dropped for the third period, and the Admirals had powerplay time carry over from the five-minute major at the end of the second. The Admirals were unable to convert on the powerplay as Trois-Rivieres kept Norfolk to the outside to force shots from unideal places by the Admirals. The Lions sacrificed their body on multiple occasions to keep themselves within striking distance for a comeback.

Off a defensive zone faceoff in the Admirals’ zone, the Lions brought the game to within one at 8:27. Trois-Rivieres’ Nolan Yaremko tied the stick up of Admirals’ forward, Brandon Osmundson, to allow for Alex-Olivier Voyer to come in and find an idle puck. Yaremko backed up to allow himself space to receive a pass from Voyer to then give the puck back to Paquette on the blueline. Paquette shot the puck to the glove side through three Admirals’ bodies and a moving screen to beat Perets who was unable to locate the shot.

Yaremko took a costly penalty when he was called for tripping at 14:53 putting the Admirals on the powerplay. After struggling all series and game on the powerplay, Norfolk needed just 35 seconds to finally get on the board with a powerplay goal to extend its lead to 5-3. Katic received a drop pass from Brady Fleuernt just inside the Trois-Rivieres blue line. Katic stopped up waiting for a passing option, and Simon Kubicek opened up dead center in the middle of the ice along the blueline to riffle a laser one-time shot on goal. Emond could not pick up the shot as it beat him on the glove side through two Trois-Rivieres players screening him.

Norfolks’ Louis-Jean put a stamp on the Admirals’ win with an empty-net goal at 17:24 to make it a 6-3 game. Louis-Jean made a tremendous diving play off a defensive zone faceoff to knock the puck out to center ice. Louis-Jean would get up from the ice and beat Trois-Rivieres to the puck in the neutral zone. Louis-Jean threw the puck on net from behind the red, and luckily for him and the Admirals, hit the open net.

Norfolk outshot Trois-Rivieres 11-7 for the period, but it was the Lions who put more shots on net for the game outshooting Norfolk by a slim 32-30 margin. The Admirals went 1-for-4 on the powerplay in the third period, going 1-for-5 in the game. Norfolk killed off both powerplays the Lions had in the game.

What’s Next

With a 3-1 series lead, the Admirals can close out the series in front of their fans on Saturday, April 27, in Norfolk Scope Arena in downtown Norfolk, VA. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05.

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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