This is the first season with the Norfolk Admirals as the ECHL affiliate within the Nashville Predators organization. Their 2017-18 campaign officially got underway the second weekend of October and with a lengthy five-game road trip. They finally open up the Norfolk Scope this weekend, Friday and Saturday, with home games against the South Carolina Stingrays. To prep for that I thought it would be fun to take a look into the start for a lot of names that started out in Milwaukee’s Training Camp, are playing in Norfolk now, and the two defensemen that are teetering between the AHL and ECHL at the moment.
Norfolk has started with a 2-3-0-0 (4 points) record. While up-and-down at times, and being such a lengthy road trip, it isn’t that bad of a start. That’s especially true considering the Colorado Eagles, who they just faced twice, have started the season real hot and remain unbeaten through four-games. If there was any glaring issue that could be said it is that Norfolk’s defense has allowed 3 goals or more in all five-games so far. That kind of takes the shine off of an offense that has scored 3 goals or more in all but a single of those contests.
Leading the charge in a lot of ways for Norfolk has been a duo that really impressed in Milwaukee’s Training Camp: Angelo Miceli and Trevor Mingoia. Both looked really sharp at Training Camp and possessed plenty of skill. They were both out of the running for spots when compared to the likes of Tyler Kelleher, Tyler Moy, and Stephen Perfetto. In the opening five-games with Norfolk though both Miceli and Mingoia have been outstanding. The duo have combined for 14 points (8 goals, 6 assists) while operating on the same forward line. Miceli’s start to the season meant seeing him hit the century mark for points scored in the ECHL. He now has 105 points (32 goals, 73 assists) in 98 career games in the ECHL.
Rick Pinkston elevated himself into the AHL mix with Milwaukee last season after getting signed to a PTO contract from the Manchester Monarchs. He returned on an AHL contract with Milwaukee -but- the sheer volume of defensemen on the roster meant heading back to the ECHL with Norfolk. He was named an alternate captain for the squad and has started the majority of games back on defense.
In net, Jake Paterson has made two starts for Norfolk. He lost his first outing against the Idaho Steelheads. He followed up by securing a win against the Utah Grizzlies. He has a 3.53 goals against average and 0.917 save percentage in the two appearances. He’s currently in the mix with two others competing for net time with Norfolk, Jamie Murray and Ty Reichenbach.
Meanwhile, there were a few invitees to Milwaukee’s Training Camp that did find a home through Norfolk. Erik Bradford has 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists). T.J. Melancon, a 21-year old defenseman who showed well in camp, has opened up his professional career with 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists).
Milwaukee has already seen two players cycle between the AHL and ECHL, Fred Allard and Joonas Lyytinen. Both instances for the two young defensemen being reassigned to Norfolk came because of the numbers in the AHL camp and lack of games early in the schedule. Allard was assigned first and made his professional playing debut with Norfolk on 10/13/17. He was with Norfolk for three-games and was with them for their lone wins of the season to date. Lyytinen made his North American professional playing debut with Norfolk on 10/20/17 and he scored a power-play goal on the night. He played one further game before being recalled right back to Milwaukee.
With both Allard and Lyytinen back in Milwaukee this week I had the opportunity to hear about their experiences with Norfolk. Here were the conversations with the two young defensemen:
How do you feel about the depth that the organization has from the AHL and ECHL? Would it be best for Allard and Lyytinen to play in Norfolk rather than sit out as healthy scratches in Milwaukee? Do you think there is a chance we will see Miceli or Mingoia up in Milwaukee this season?
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