Unfortunately, injuries on the backline may finally be catching up to Norfolk.
Marc Denis allowed 5 goals on 23 shots for the loss before being pulled for Jonathan Boutin who stopped all 4 shots he faced.
POR Bouck, (7) (St. Jacques, Ebbett), 5:35 (PP)
NOR Henrich, (14) (Keller, Wanvig), 17:11
POR King, (26) (Bouck, Festerling), 12:58
POR Birner, (7) (Ferguson), 13:38
NOR Wanvig, (20) (Henrich, Mihalik), 14:44
POR St. Jacques, (7) (Miller, Bootland), 1:14
POR Bouck, (8) (Ebbett, Ferguson), 7:05
NOR Keller, (12) (Jones, Lawrence), 17:45
Justin Keller and Adam Henrich each checked in with 1 goal and 1 assist in the game. Kyle Wanvig and Henrich were named the game's second and third stars.
Keller now has 12 goals and 33 points in 60 games with a +5 rating. A season ago in Springfield, Keller played exactly 60 games but only managed 24 points and had a -11 rating. The improvement is obvious.
Prior to this season Henrich had just 13 goals and 38 points in his entire AHL career of three seasons and 102 games. This season Henrich already has 14 goals and 31 points in 40 games, and there is still a chance he will double his career statistical output by the end of the year. Again, the improvement is obvious.
A year ago, as a rookie, Blair Jones had 5 goals and 21 points in 45 games (.467 PPG). This season, Blair Jones has 13 goals and 35 points in 63 games (.556 PPG). Again, the improvement is obvious.
A season ago, as a rookie, Radek Smolenak had just 1 point in 20 games. This season, the big winger has 11 goals and 21 points in 45 games. Again, the improvement is obvious.
Coupled with a strong rookie campaign by Vladimir Mihalik (now a team leading +9 among defensemen), the organization is looking less and less like the disaster the local and national media was making it out to be just a month or two ago. In fact, I dare say, it's difficult to claim that there isn't progress being made in Norfolk, even with the defeat tonight.
Eventually, some of that progress will find its way onto NHL ice.
Box score from TheAHL.com.