Gudas, Radko

AHL Game Night: 11/22/10 Admirals at Checkers

Norfolk takes Charlotte to the woodshed.

NOR-7
CHA-3

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 3 goals on 27 shots for the win. It was another sub-.900 performance, but he did shut the door in the final two periods, so there's still positives to take away.

First Period
NOR Durno, (6) (Quick, Milam), 1:05
CHA Dalpe, (7) (Bowman, Rodney), 3:30 (PP)
CHA Micflikier, (9) (Boychuk, Carson), 4:37 (PP)
NOR Durno, (7) (Giliati), 8:31
CHA Samson, (12) (Nash, Boychuk), 14:07
NOR Harju, (8) (Berry, Fritz), 16:48

Second Period
NOR Vernace, (3) (Durno), 11:09
NOR Harju, (9) (Angelidis), 16:40

Third Period
NOR Wright, (5) , 1:00 (SH)
NOR Giliati, (2) (Vernace), 5:16

Chris Durno, Johan Harju, and Michael Vernace were the game's three stars. It's great to see a pair of goals by Harju. You always wonder how a player is going to respond the first time they get sent back down to the minors, especially a European player. Harju appears to have responded well. Same thing with James Wright, who had a shorty tonight in garbage time.

Stefano Giliati had 1 goal and 1 assist tonight. That's my guy. Don't look now, but the Montreal native has 5 points in 11 games this season.

As of this posting, Chris Durno and Radko Gudas are tied for second in the AHL with a +12 rating, one back of Portland's Drew Schiestel.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 11/20/10 Phantoms at Admirals

Goaltending coming together at the right time.

ADK-1
NOR-3

Dustin Tokarski allowed just 1 goal on 22 shots for the win. Tokarski also stopped a third period penalty shot by Denis Hamel, to boot. That snaps a streak of three straight games where he recorded a loss and had a sub-.900 save percentage. Between this start and Desjardins' win last night, the Admirals have to be hoping they're going to now start to get the goaltending they thought they'd get at the start of this year when, on paper, it appeared they had one of the best tandems in the AHL.

First Period
ADK Laliberte, (3) (Wellwood, Hamel), 8:05 (PP)
NOR Berry, (4) (Simek, Barberio), 19:16

Second Period
NOR Berry, (5) (Pouliot, Wishart), 18:19

Third Period
NOR Angelidis, (3) (Giliati, Gudas), 2:20

Alex Berry, Mike Angelidis, and Marc-Antoine Pouliot were the game's three stars. Don't look now, but Alex Berry has 4 goals in his last 4 games. Who'd have thunk it.

It was a pretty good night for the Lightning's two rookie d-men, too. Mark Barberio now has 5 assists and is +4 in 12 games. Radko Gudas also collected his 5th assist of the season and is +10(!) in 14 games. Not too bad for a couple of greenhorns.

And, Stefano Giliati, who I've adopted as a BP favorite, got an assist that is his 3rd point in 8 games. I like me some Stefano Giliati. He's a quick little sparkplug who's a nice mix of skill and jam.

It's a nice win for Norfolk considering that their two best shooters, arguably, (Harju and Jones) are up in Tampa right now. Yes, Adirondack is terrible, but they also beat Norfolk in OT last time out. There's nothing wrong with taking care of business.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 11/19/10 Admirals at Penguins

Norfolk makes a big time statement.

NOR-4
WBS-1

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 1 goal on 28 shots for the win.

First Period
WBS Wallace, (7) (Sterling, Hutchinson), 5:39 (PP)
NOR Durno, (5) (Fornataro), 11:43

Second Period
NOR Jones, (6) (Vernace, Berry), 0:46
NOR Jones, (7) (Quick, Milam), 12:27

Third Period
NOR Berry, (3) (Jones, Gudas), 19:19 (EN)

Blair Jones, Desjardins, and Chris Durno were the game's three stars.

Blair Jones' stat line for the season is becoming borderline ridiculous. The fourth year pro now has 7-9-16 in 12 games with a +7 rating. It's been a very different Blair Jones this season. Last year, after being sent down, his production went in the toilet, just as it did in past seasons. But Jones seems to be working even harder after being sent down this time.

Kevin Quick now has 7 assists in his first 14 games this season and a +7 rating. His AHL career high in points was 9 points in 49 games in 2008-2009. I'm legitimately interested in seeing if Quick continues to improve and starts to knock on the door for an NHL cup of coffee in the second half of this season, because I really believe he's a perfect fit, stylistically, for what Guy Boucher is trying to do in Tampa Bay. Radko Gudas is another guy who, after my trip to Norfolk, I think could really fit what Boucher is doing a year or two down the road. He got his fourth assist tonight in this, his rookie campaign and he's a really nice +8. The guy was a big plus player in junior too, you'll recall, with a +45 in Everett last year.

There's just so many players down in Norfolk legitimately knocking on the door for the NHL, and another wave of guys like Quick and Gudas potentially coming in behind them. It's taken over four seasons, between that last year in Springfield when the 2005 draftees like Jones came in and the three subsequent years in Norfolk, to get to this point, but the future is finally here, and it's exciting times.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10/30/10 Pirates at Admirals

Norfolk's weekend has the sour taste of a two point weekend that should have been a four point weekend.

POR-7
NOR-6

Dustin Tokarski allowed 7 goals on 29 shots for the overtime loss. Rebound control was the culprit. With the exception of the last goal, he was making the first stop and his positioning wasn't bad. But, he was kicking rebounds up the slot and the Admirals defense was not clearing them out. I thought he played better than Desjardins did last night, but neither was acceptable, obviously.

First Period
POR Mancari, (7) (Byron), 3:27
NOR Szczechura, (5) (Giliati, Mihalik), 5:36
NOR Roy, (2) (Barberio, Szczechura), 13:27

Second Period
POR Whitmore, (4) (Turnbull), 2:01
NOR Simek, (3) (Pouliot, Harju), 6:30
NOR Fornataro, (3) (Szczechura, Wright), 13:47

Third Period
POR Whitmore, (5) (Crawford, Turnbull), 9:36
NOR Wright, (3) (Szczechura, Fornataro), 10:03 (PP)
POR Stuart, (3) (Brennan, Biega), 10:29
NOR Harju, (5) (Simek, Pouliot), 11:28 (PP)
POR Turnbull, (1) (Roloff, Whitmore), 12:59
POR Schiestel, (2) (Roloff, Turnbull), 14:54

Overtime
POR Gragnani, (3) (Mancari, Biega), 1:05

Paul Szczechura was the game's second star. Juraj Simek was, in my opinion, the best Admiral tonight. He showed excellent hand-eye coordination batting a puck out of air for his goal, and that line he has with Pouliot and Harju in one of the best in the league right now.

Through two periods, the defense was much improved tonight. I don't know if that's a function of Mike Flanagan being back to run the defense after Steve Thomas did it last night, but they were better at taking care of details within five feet of their own blueline, with the exception of Portland's first goal. The last period was just the intersection of a team letting its foot off the gas once Harju scored on a semi-soft goal to make it 6-4 and some bad luck with rebounds going right onto Pirates' sticks. The biggest play of the game was the 2-on-1 goal Portland scored to make it 6-5, where Michael Vernace got completely lost. I'm not surprised he was -3 tonight. He's struggling with his positioning and the way he surrenders the blueline on the rush, they might need to start calling him Versailles.

My revalation of the night was Stefano Giliati, who is a speedy little sparkplug who was either generating scoring chances or popping people all night long. He got his first point as an Admiral tonight, and I was impressed. I'm surprised they don't play him more.

I liked the way rookies Mark Barberio and Radko Gudas played. Barberio ended up a team high +2 along with Mihalik, and although his skating is mediocre, he's outstanding at reading the play in the offensive end. He's a very crafty player. He has a ways to go, but I enjoyed what I saw. Gudas appeared in both games this weekend, and he was quiet for most of five periods of hockey, but he was very visible in the third period tonight. He and Wishart are the only two Admirals who routinely step up at their blueline and give a pop, but what surprised me about Radko was how he carried the puck offensively a couple of times. The skill set is there, and it's real. Like Barberio, he's a couple of years off, but there's something to work with there, and he and Mihalik make a decent little pairing. The reunification of Czechoslovakia going on with that pairing.

It makes me puke that a goaltender as bad as Leggio managed to backdoor his way into two wins this weekend. That's annoying.

I'll be leaving Norfolk tomorrow morning, but I just wanted to close by encouraging Lightning fans to make the trip if you're looking for a weekend trip. This is an entertaining team, with the highest scoring offense in the league, and this is a good town. I enjoy coming to Norfolk because it reminds me a lot of Tampa, and I think you'll feel the same way to if you come up here.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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