Chris Rutsch photo
The last thing a hockey fan wants to hear at a game is (pick one):
1) The annoying Scout mom behind you, yammering the entire time and shouting for the game to be stopped because one of the players lost his helmet
2) The dead silence after the visiting team scores the game-winning goal in overtime
3) Rascal Flatts' cover of "Life Is A Highway"
4) Fucking anything by Avenged Sevenfold
Unfortunately for me, I was treated to all four last night, as the Wolf Pack lost 1:14 into OT to the Norfolk Admirals, 4-3.
The game was exceptionally physical from the start, including a scrum involving most of the players from both sides just 4 minutes into the game that led to a handful of roughing penalties being handed out, and Norfolk's Colin Fraser getting tossed for being the third man in. The checking throughout the game was fierce, as was the shoving and pushing-- a holdover from the back-to-back games the two teams had just played against each other the weekend before.
The Wolf Pack built a 2-0 lead in the first period, causing Norfolk to pull their starting goalie, Mike Ayers, but the Admirals chipped away to tie it up, 2-2, in the second. The first Norfolk goal came on a power play that never should've happened, as Dale Purinton was called for goaltender interference on a play (see photo above) where Dale was shoved from behind as he was bearing down on the net with the puck on his stick, unable to avoid bumping into goalie Corey Crawford as Crawford was making the save. Normally a lumbering defenseman who skates with two left feet, Purinton spent a lot of time at the forward position for the second straight game, for whatever reason.
Norfolk's third goal came early in the third period when Darius Kasparaitis badly overskated his man, a mistake that allowed Brandon Bochenski to skate in alone on Steve Valiquette with enough time to put two shots on net, scoring off his own rebound. Hartford's Ryan "Who da man?" Callahan tied the game a few seconds later, but Bochenski scored again in overtime to win it for Norfolk. Bochenski's OT breakaway came after Jarkko Immonen and Marvin Degon had a two-on-one opportunity fail when Martin St. Pierre lifted Immonen's stick from behind, sending the puck the other way.
"Missed it by this much" (Chris Rutsch photo)
It defintely seems like the Wolf Pack have stepped up their play this week since Kasparaitis joined the team, although the story in this morning's paper says that Kasparaitis is one of the players in Jim Schoenfeld's (and Don Maloney's) doghouse now, along with Dubinsky (a healthy scratch), Hugh Jessiman (benched along with Kasparaitis in the third period), and Immonen. Pack assistant coach Ken Gernander said in the paper, pointedly, "Everyone is making issues about a young team and development, but Norfolk (who are 8-0-1-1) have only a few veterans, also. Everybody is going to be held accountable. We have a necessary requirement of thought, effort and commitment to your teammates. When those things don't get met, we have to do something." To which Bruce Berlet wrote, "It will be interesting to see who plays today when the Pack visit Bridgeport."
With alll of that, the worst news of the day came when Steve Valiquette told G12 before the game that he took all of his Lokomotiv Yaroslavl jerseys from last season with him, meaning that they probably won't be out on the market for collectors. I guess that explains why Valiquette is still wearing his socks from Lokomotiv-- he probably has a whole trunk full of them that he wants to get rid of.