Forget the airy questions about mirroring NHL superstars, or making casual comparisons - Norfolk Admirals forward Dana Tyrell follows his own compass.
However, the Tampa Bay Lightning prospect questioned himself and his future after a right knee injury sidelined him for six months last year.
Tyrell was on a fast track to success, earning a spot on Team Canada while leading the Prince George Cougars squad in scoring, piling up 19 goals and 21 assists in 30 games.
Then, his world would drastically change in the ensuing months.
Another successful hit for the Presov Mafia.
Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 37 shots for the win.
NOR Fadden, (4) (Jones, Szczechura), 7:51
NOR Bochenski, (20) (Parrish, Wishart), 19:11
BNG Smith, (9) (Bass, Condra), 16:32
NOR Craig, (19) (Tyrell, Hall), 7:28
BNG O'Brien, (4) (St. Pierre, Hennessy), 8:54 (PP)
BNG Smith, (10) (Condra), 9:46
NOR Mihalik, (2) (Hall, Tyrell), 17:28
Vladimir Mihalik and Ryan Craig were the game's first and third stars. Mihalik, the Luca Brasi of the Presov Mafia, has 2 goals in his last 6 games after going 51 games without a marker. More to the point, though, Mihalik is +9 so far in the month of February with 4 games with a +2 rating or better.
Dana Tyrell posted his 4th multi-point game in the past 6 outings. Ty Wishart continued to inch toward the 30 point plateau with his 27th point of the season. Brandon Bochenski became the first Admiral to hit 20 goals this season, with Craig 1 back at 19.
It's a tribute to the veteran leadership of the team that they got the young players prepared and ready to go tonight, and congratulations to Interim Head Coach Leigh Mendelson on his first AHL victory.
The win is critical, as Norfolk is now tied for 2nd place in the East Division at 66 points with Albany with the Rats holding 1 game in hand. They extended their lead to 6 points over 4th place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with the Pens having 2 games in hand and 10 points over 5th/6th place Adirondack and Syracuse with each of those teams also holding 2 games in hand. The win also might've been the final nail in Binghamton's coffin, as they are now 17 points behind Norfolk, and not even 5 games in hand seem likely to save them.
In the crossover, Bridgeport fell to Abbotsford in regulation tonight, so Norfolk opened a 3 point lead on the 5th place team in the Atlantic, and a 7 point lead on 6th/7th place Providence and Hartford with the Bruins and Pack holding 2 and 1 game in hand, respectively. If Norfolk were to fall to 4th in the East Division, they would need to finish ahead of the 5th place team in the Atlantic to make the postseason.
Now things get interesting starting Friday with the Admirals having back-to-back-to-back games. They can really damage Adirondack's chances in a big 4-point contest to start the marathon, followed by another game in Binghamton on Saturday, and then concluding with a game against Syracuse that could further winnow the field of playoff contenders in the East Division. If Norfolk were to win at least those two big 4-point games, they might be able to narrow the playoff field in the division down to 4 teams effectively fighting for 3 spots: Albany, Norfolk, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and whoever ends up being the 5th place team in the Atlantic Division. Will Norfolk's coaching situation be sorted out in the next 45 or so hours? And, with Jaroslav Janus serving as practice netminder in Tampa, will PTO Matt Lundin have to make his AHL debut in one of the weekend's three contests?
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Norfolk pulls within 2 points of 2nd place in the East Division.
Dustin Tokarski allowed 1 goal on 24 shots for the win.
NOR Craig, (18) (Tyrell), 3:39
NOR Parrish, (15) (Tyrell), 6:57 (SH)
SPR Armstrong, (4) (Chorney), 19:29 (PP)
NOR Bochenski, (18) (Parrish, Jackson), 8:09
Mark Parrish and Dana Tyrell were the first and second stars of the game. If you bought stock in Tyrell on 2/12 like we suggested here at Bolt Prospects, then know that your stock just split. He has 1 goal and 7 points in the past 5 games, including 3 multi-point nights.
Norfolk outshot Springfield 44-24 in the game. If it weren't for Devan Dubnyk, the Admirals might've pinned another 7 spot on an opponent.
With Albany losing to Portland 3-2 tonight, the 3rd place in the East Division Admirals are now withing 2 points of 2nd place in their division with the Rats holding 1 game in hand. Norfolk is now 6 points ahead of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Adirondack, with both clubs holding 3 games in hand. With Syracuse losing tonight to Lake Erie, the Admirals are also now 10 points up on the 6th place Crunch with Syracuse holding 2 games in hand. Last place Binghamton, which lost to Worcester tonight, is becoming an afterthought. They're 13 points back of Norfolk, but they still have 5 games in hand.
In the crossover, Norfolk holds a 1 point lead of Bridgeport, which is 5th in the Atlantic Division, and a 3 point lead on 6th place Providence, with the Bruins holding 2 games in hand. If the Admirals were to fall to 4th in the East Division, they would have to finish ahead of the 5th place team in the Atlantic to still make the playoffs.
Norfolk faces Springfield in a rematch tomorrow night, and will have the opportunity to pull even with Albany for 2nd place if the Rats fall to Adirondack in their 5 pm game in Albany.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Norfolk brought out the big 16 inch main guns tonight, and blasted Hartford into oblivion.
Jaroslav Janus allowed 3 goals on 24 shots and bathed in sweet, sweet goal support for the victory.
NOR Simek, (16) (Jones, Tyrell), 11:57
NOR Bochenski, (17) , 14:49 (PP)
HFD Dupont, (11) (Nightingale, Roche), 16:19
NOR Hall, (10) (Craig, McGinnis), 0:53
NOR Lashoff, (6) (Szczechura, Bochenski), 12:07 (PP)
NOR Jackson, (1) (Bochenski, Parrish), 17:52
NOR Craig, (17) (Tyrell, Lashoff), 1:18
HFD Crowder, (11) , 12:45
NOR Wishart, (8) (Szczechura, Lashoff), 17:37 (PP)
HFD Nightingale, (2) (Owens, Brashear), 19:45
Brandon Bochenski, Ryan Craig, and Matt Lashoff were the game's three stars. It's a shame the Admirals can't keep all this weaponry past the end of the Olympic break, because they're terrifying now that they've got Parrish and Bochenski in the fold, Lashoff is playing better, and guys like Tyrell and Fadden are starting to show their potential. Bochenski set the all-time Norfolk Admirals record for goals scored in the AHL with his first period marker.
Norfolk outshot Hartford 45-24 in the game. Awesome.
Ty Wishart is now up to 8 goals and 25 points for the season. The goal of a 30 point season is in the crosshairs.
Paul Szczechura has 1 goal and 9 points in 9 games since being sent back down to Norfolk, including 3 multi-point games in his last 5 outings.
Juraj Simek, the Don of the Presov Mafia, has goals in 4 of the past 5 games and 4 goals and 6 points in his past 6.
Tyrell has 2 multi-point games in his past 3 outings and 1 goal and 5 points in his past 4.
Lashoff has 2 goals and 7 points in his last 6 games.
Norfolk moves back to within 4 points of Albany for 2nd place in the East Division with the Rats holding 1 game in hand by virtue of their victory and Albany getting pasted 9-2 tonight by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The 4th place Pens are 4 points behind Norfolk with 2 games in hand. Norfolk is also 6 points up on 5th place Adirondack with the Phantoms holding 3 games in hand. 6th place Syracuse is 8 points back with 2 games in hand. Last place Binghamton is fading, 11 points back of Norfolk with 5 games in hand.
In the crossover, Norfolk holds a 3 point lead over Providence, Hartford, and Bridgeport with the Bruins holding 2 games in hand and the Wolf Pack and Sound Tigers each with 1 game in hand.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
No Lashoff? No Parrish? No problem.
Jaroslav Janus allowed 1 goal on 27 shots for the win. He's now 5-6-1 on the season with 1 shutout, a 2.01 GAA, and a rock solid .925 sv%. He's actually got better numbers than Tokarski.
LOW Palmieri, (18) (Vasyunov, Walter), 12:48
NOR Fornataro, (7) (Craig, Fadden), 17:33
NOR Simek, (15) (Szczechura), 12:16
NOR Craig, (15) (Tyrell, Szczechura), 17:25
NOR Craig, (16) (Fadden, Wishart), 18:39 (PP)
NOR Mihalik, (1) (Tyrell, Hall), 16:01
Ryan Craig, Paul Szczechura, and Vladimir Mihalik were the game's three stars. It was another banner night for the Presov Mafia between Janus' win, and both Juraj Simek, and Mihalik's goals. Mihalik's marker was his first of the season, and with a +3 night he jumped to +1 for the season.
Lowell got former Lightning d-man Cory Murphy back for this game, so they dressed 5 natural defensemen for this game rather than the 4 from last night, but it didn't matter. Even with Matt Lashoff out for a second straight game attending to family matters and Mark Parrish held out, presumably for a recall to the Lightning, the Admirals still dominated the Devils.
Norfolk remains in 3rd place in the East Division, 4 points behind 2nd place Albany, which dismantled Binghamton 7-0 tonight. Albany holds 1 game in hand. They widened their lead on 4th place Adirondack to 6 points after the Phantoms fell to Portland 5-4. Adirondack has 3 games in hand. They are now tied at 52 points with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton after the Penguins upset Hershey 5-0 tonight. So the Pens are 6 points back of Norfolk with 2 games in hand. In 6th place is Syracuse, which lost 2-0 tonight to Manchester. They're 8 points behind Norfolk with 2 games in hand. All the way in 7th place in Bighamton, which is now 11 points back of Norfolk with 5 games in hand.
Norfolk's win moves them 1 point ahead of the 5th place team in the Atlantic Division, so the Admirals are starting to take the crossover off the table. Even if they finish 3rd in the East Division, finishing ahead of the crossover 5th place Atlantic team is critical for the Admirals if they want to avoid a date with Hershey in the first round of the playoffs. 5th in the Atlantic is now a 3-way logjam with Providence, Hartford, and Bridgeport all at 57 points. Providence knocked off Springfield 3-1 tonight and Bridgeport beat Hartford 6-4 to create the three team pile-up. Both Providence and Hartford have 1 game in hand on Norfolk.
Norfolk's next game is on Monday, which will be an epic clash in Albany against the River Rats. An Admirals win could pull the team to within 2 points of 2nd place in the East Division.
Box score from TheAHL.com.