On Wednesday, the Connecticut Whale and Norfolk Admirals played game 5 of their Eastern Conference Semi-Final series (ECSF series ‘I’), at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT. The teams battled for a 3-2 series lead, and in the end it was the Admirals who were victorious, 4-0.
The Admirals rode goaltender Jaroslav Janus’ 22-save shutout to victory, as the 22-year-old netminder made his first appearance of the series. Janus was named the games second star for his performance.
Norfolk opened the scoring at 15:15 of the first-period, on a goal by winger Alexandre Picard, his fifth of the post-season. Picard’s goal came on a wraparound attempt, as the 26-year-old forward picked-up a loose puck behind the Whale net, skated it in front and slid a shot past goaltender Cam Talbot near the left goal-post to give the Admirals a 1-0 lead. Norfolk forward Pierre-Cedric Labrie recorded an assist on the tally.
Shortly after the goal was scored, the Whale received a major blow to its offense when winger Andre Deveaux exited with an apparent upper-body injury. Deveaux was hit hard from behind by Norfolk forward Ondrej Palat, and left the ice-surface bent over. No penalty was assessed to Palat on the play.
Each team received one power-play during the period but failed to convert. The Whale created several odd-man rushes early in the frame, but could not find a way to beat Janus.
The second period was controlled mostly by the Admirals, who finished the period with 15 shots to the Whale’s seven. Norfolk sustained a strong offensive pressure during the period, and mustered one goal early on at the 2:43 mark.
Picard was the goal scorer once again for the Admirals, as the winger made a diving play in the offensive zone to knock a rebound past Talbot for his second goal of the night, sixth of the playoffs, and a 2-0 Norfolk lead.
The original shot was taken by defenseman Scott Jackson, who Talbot denied with a stick-save. Picard chased down the rebound and after being hooked to the ice by Whale defenseman Jared Nightingale, the Norfolk forward reached his stick out and tapped the puck behind Talbot for the goal.
Connecticut received the period’s only power-play, but could not generate any chances or any goals and entered the third period trailing, 2-0.
In the third period, Deveaux returned to the Whale bench and appeared a few times during the period—mostly on Connecticut’s two power-play’s—but the Whale’ offense struggled to find a consistent forecheck, and that would cost them the game.
While Janus continued to turn away Whale shots, the Admirals offense added two more goals to the score-sheet.
First it was Palat, who scored on a rebound at 14:06. It was Palat’s third goal of the playoffs, and the assists were credited to Tyler Johnson and J.P. Cote. Then at 19:54, Labrie banged in his third playoff goal to give the Admirals a 4-0 win. Mike Angelidis and Brendan Segal recorded the assists.
Janus was the games second star, while Picard received the honors of first star and Palat was the third star…Kris Newbury, J.T. Miller, Marek Hrivik, Tim Erixon, and Andreas Thuresson led the Whale in shots for the game with three each…Talbot made 32 saves in the loss, and will need a major bounce-back performance in game 6 for the Whale to have a chance at keeping their season alive…the Whale power-play was 0-for-4 in the game, while its penalty-killing was 3-for-3…
The Whale and Admirals will meet on Friday at 7:30pm (ET) in Norfolk, Virginia, for game 6 of the series, as the Whale attempt to force game 7.
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