In their 15th home opener at the Times Union Center, the Albany River Rats out-skated, out-shot, out-played and if nothing else out-dressed the rival Norfolk Admirals. Albany had the bunting out, new glass and new seats for the 6,258 who caught this one. However as well as the Rats played, they almost never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
The Rats had multiple chances to capitalize whether in odd-man situations or even-strength, they just couldn't quite finish despite the barrage of pressure and shots on Norfolk goalie Ryan Munce. Both Munce and Rats goalie Michael Leighton put on quite a clinic, with each making 30 plus saves and thus earning "three stars" honors.
As for the scoring, the chances were there but both teams were only able to muster one goal a piece. In the first period the Admirals struck with a 5-on-3 power-play goal from defenseman David Schneider. Late in the 2nd the Rats would hit back with a power-play goal of their own, when Jerome (send it in Jerome!) Samson re-directed a loose puck and found nothing but white lace, netting his second goal of the season to knot things up 1-1.
Both squads went back and forth in the 3rd and in OT, until the game went into a shoot-out. That's when on the 4th Norfolk shot Marek Kvapil slid one by the former Admirals goalie Leighton for what ended up being the winner as no-one on the Rats could convert and thus the final was 2-1 Admirals over the River Rats.
While it was unfortunate to see Admirals picking up an extra point after being out-played by the River Rats, the River Rats still do pick up that point and move to 1-1-0-1 (3 pts) on the young season putting them in sole possession of 4th place in the AHL's Eastern Conference Eastern Division, five points back of the division leading Philadelphia Phantoms.
Parting Shots: Hey Norfolk, the Salvation Army called and upon further review they say you can keep those "who killed the couch" jerseys. The hockey purist will tell you how they feel about having cheerleaders, but if you're going to have them can they at least show some more skin than say a cheerleader would in Saudi Arabia? Finally (and this is a hockey-wide issue) I'll never understand why any rink north of the Mason-Dixon line turns into slush before May.
Be there or B2: The River Rats next home-game will come against the Manchester Monarchs on Friday October 19, 2007 at 7:00 PM. Or you can watch the game or listen on the web via B2 Networks or listen to the game locally on ESPN Radio 104.5 FM The Team or in case of a baseball playoff programming conflict 1300 AM.