Norfolk Admirals clinch playoff berth

By Corine Gatti

The Norfolk locker room is happy.

“We’re excited and there is a lot of energy. We knew we had to win t and we did the small things right,” said center Peter White.

Ten points behind first place Philadelphia in mid- February and despite call-ups and untimely injuries-the Norfolk Admirals are 8-1-2 in the last 11 games clinched a playoff for the second year of the franchises existence and extended their winning streak to six last weekend.

Norfolk swept their two home games by defeating the last place Portland Pirates 1-0 Friday and Philly 6-0 on Saturday and sent the reeling third place Philadelphia to another loss with a 4-0 victory on the road Sunday night. With their sixth straight win and only allowing one goal in the last three games, the Admirals now lead the former first place team by seven points.

Portland 1 Admirals 2

With a stellar performance from Craig Anderson and goals from Valerie Zelepukin and Quintin Laing gave the Admirals more room to breath in the Southern Conference.
Quintin Laing put the first goal on the board for Norfolk on a power play at 15:29 of the game. Norfolk who out shot Portland by 12 by the second period constantly bombarded the goalie and defense.

With consecutive shots amiss, veteran Valerie Zelepukin found the back of the net in the last three minutes before intermission. However, Anderson lost his shut out in the last few seconds of the third period. “The kid played a heck of a game and we work together to do the little things right,” said Jean-Yves Leroux who had assist in the second period. Anderson who is fighting for hockey time with Michael Leighton recorded his eighth win.

Philadelphia 0 Admirals 6

Valerie Zelepukin Mike Peluso both had a pair of goals and Michael Leighton posted his fifth shut out
of the year to defeat a reeling Philly, team 0-6.
With help from NHLers Peter White, (18 points in 18 games) Mike Peluso (5 points in seven games) both just came from the parent Chicago and gives the young team more depth.

The Phantoms defense scrambled but was unable to stop Zelepukin who from the point who posted his seven goal of the season on the first power play goal of the night.
Mike Peluso chipped for his first goal of the night in the second period and Leoux made it 3-0 Admirals. Mike Peluso, Kent Huskins and Vern Fiddler each had goals in the third.