All (mostly) good news: Norfolk postgame

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Had a little good news-bad news chart ready to roll for the gamer if this thing ended up an Admirals win.

They generated lots and lots (and lots) of chances in the third. But they didn’t bury them. They kind of got a dose of bad luck on that go-ahead Admirals goal. But, you know, play to the whistle. They got called for a late penalty… but they got called for a late penalty.

They’d have deserved better. But Mike Halmo scored again, and they wound up getting what they probably deserved.

Two’s a streak, technically. The feeling is a far cry from how it felt around here earlier in the week.

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You have to love that Justin Johnson celebration. Pound in the rebound, raise your hand, rush to the boards as kids rush to celebrate with you, and pound the glass three times.

His contributions don’t often come on the scoresheet, but it’s nice to chip in there.

“It’s fun. It’s always nice to score,” said Johnson, crediting Alan Quine (twice) with getting the puck there. “Your teammates treat you really well.”

Johnson had played 43 games without a goal since his last one, Dec. 26, 2011, for Manchester against Providence. He had three the year before, his first AHL season, including a power-play goal against Bridgeport in one of the Monarchs’ several big wins that year over the Sound Tigers.

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The penalty kill, technically, has allowed at least one in eight of the nine games this year. But tonight’s was (a) kinda fluky, an odd play along the boards that turned into an open shot from the slot that forced Anders Nilsson to handle it awkwardly for a poke-in rebound; and (2) with three seconds left on the PK, as they changed. And last night’s was in the third period of a 7-0 game. Different circumstances than some of the others, and a couple of good games on the kill.

“We’re starting to identify players in certain roles,” Pellerin said. “It’s taken a while. Doug Holewa has done a great job working with our guys, having structure in practice, getting those repetitions in practice.”

Nilsson was strong, as well, for the second night in a row; the old “your goalie has to be your best penalty killer” line. But there were some good things around him, too, including a couple of good reads by John Persson, one of which turned into a shot that hit a post.

“I feel me and Sunny had a good effort there,” Persson said. “It’s a great job by the coaches: We’ve watched a lot of video.”

Igor Bobkov, off the bench, made a couple of big saves on that Bridgeport penalty kill, one on a Halmo breakaway, the other I think Nick Larson. If it’s 3-0 there, it could be different. (Not that John Gibson was awful. Was pretty good in the first, actually.)

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Strome’s week, in three games: two goals, six assists for eight points. Halmo’s week: five goals, three assists for eight points.

Linesman Kevin Redding took a nasty bump in that mayhem in front of the benches in the third, which turned into Dave Steckel’s wide-open pass from Garnet Exelby for the go-ahead goal. Hopefully he’s feeling OK quickly. That was a wacky play, certainly, with both teams mid-change, throngs around that area, more than a dozen players on the ice and a linesman down and injured.

Arthur Staple suspects someone finally gets the call on defense this week.

Replay scoreboard: With 12:43 left in the second, Nilsson stopped Richard Rakell’s wraparound and sat there on the goal line with it. Ref Ryan Murphy gave it a look but didn’t need much time to wave it off.

The Admirals are headed out to Hershey for a game tomorrow, and then the Bears’ next game is next Saturday against Bridgeport.

Big game for Kevin Poulin and the Islanders.

Stockton’s playing now, again; Kirill Kabanov has a goal, and Ben Rosen has an assist at this writing. They won last night. Meanwhile, Sean Wiles is evidently out hurt in Reading.

Team’s off tomorrow. More Monday unless warranted.

Michael Fornabaio

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