For many Kings fans in Southern California, Eric Belanger was just a prospect that people heard about from the local drivetime radio guy. Belanger was the answer to any question about the Kings farm system, even after injuries put his future as a King in doubt. Now, as the Kings have shown some life in the playoffs, Belanger is listed among the reasons for the Kings resurgence.
Eric Belanger was thought to be the playmaking center that the Kings wished for. He was a point-a-game plus as a junior and his skill was talked as he rose through the Kings farm system. Then a series of bizarre injuries and illnesses caused many to consider his slight build (6’0, 177) and his bad luck a precursor to a lack of durability. When Belanger finally resurfaced in Lowell last season his start was unspectacular at best. As Belanger got back into playing shape and his injuries were healed, he showed a new side of his game- a side that would take him to the NHL.
In camp last fall, the Kings saw the new Eric Belanger. Not the playmaking center but rather a hard-nosed, two-way center who could handle the puck and even deliver checks. Belanger’s versatility got a quick workout. In a one-month period, he was the Kings first line center, Lowell’s second line center, a healthy scratch for the Kings to the checking center alongside Stu Grimson and Ian Lapperriere.
Ever since the opening month, Belanger has been a mainstay in the Kings lineup. Belanger finished the regular season with 21 points in 62 games and was a +14. He saw time on all special teams a Read more»
The Admirals came on Easter Sunday leading the series of QuarterFinals against the Cincinnati Might Ducks 2-1. They captured the “W” Friday thus winning 6-3. Saturday night, despite out shooting their opponents by twenty-five, ill advised passes lack of solid defense and lagging behind in the first rounds gave Norfolk lose 3-4.“ We are fighting for our lives out there,” said Center Geoff Peters who has been 3-0 in the series. This statement became a theme for the next two games and so was excitement.
And for the 2,000 roaring fans they got all their money’s worth. The Admirals came back from three-goal deficit and won the series in overtime 4-3.
Norfolk went to the locker behind by three goals after the first. Within minutes, goalie Michel Larocque had two goals that were both driven into the right corner of the net. What seem to be a devastating first period for the boys in the blue, they returned to their dressing room again after the second with a total of eighteen shots which three goals were capitalized. “Once we got our momentum, things kept going and going. We got the puck in the net and we were rewarded in the second for it,” said Ajay Baines who had an assist on the tying goal. And that reward paid handsomely.
With over 23 home victories in the regular season, home ice has been a problem in the last three games. But with their come from behind win over the Ducks, Norfolk has proved that they will not go down with out a fight. Mark Bell cashed in two of the three goals and defense arose out of sleep. “We were down by th Read more»