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Banner flies as Admirals tough it out in opener
Banner flies as Admirals tough it out in opener

By Jim Hodges
Virginian-Pilot correspondent
© October 13, 2012

NORFOLK

Just after serving five minutes in the penalty box for exchanging punches with Worcester's Matt Pelech, the Admirals' Troy Bodie was on the Sharks' doorstep to take a pass from Jay Rosehill.

Bodie punched the puck past goalie Alex Stalock with 10:41 played in the final period Friday, and that score, coupled with Kyle Palmeiri's open-netter, gave Norfolk a 4-2 win in its season opener at Scope.

"It was my first shift back on the ice (after the fighting penalty)," Bodie said, then laughed. "I was still feeling the effects, I guess."

On the play, Rosehill was on the right wing and just fired the puck at the crease, where Bodie was closing on the Worcester goal.

"We had been preaching, 'Just get pucks to the net, get pucks to the net,' and Rosie did a great of going down the wing," Bodie said. "It was simple, simple - just throw it to the net, and I was lucky enough to get there and throw a stick on it."

The goal atoned for the Admirals blowing a 2-0 lead after one period on a night when the only art in the building was the new Calder Cup championship banner, unfurled before the game.

The hockey played below it was more like graffiti.

Goals by the Admirals' John Mitchell and Peter Holland in the opening period were matched by those of Worcester's Travis Oleksuk and Sebastian Stalberg in the second to send things into the final 20 minutes tied at 2-2.

Tight Admirals' checking in the opening period was matched by that of Worcester in the second in 40 minutes of sometimes physical and frequently sluggish hockey, with passes behind intended receivers, shots flying everywhere – and only occasionally on net – and intermittent flashes of brilliance on both ends of the ice.

"In the second period, we were really sloppy with the puck," said Admirals coach Trent Yawney, a winner in his return to coaching the team after working elsewhere the past seven seasons. "We turned it over a lot. We tried to play a cute game.

"In the first and third, we played much more directly and were much more effective. In the second, we lost a lot of puck battles. In the first and third, we won a lot of puck battles.

It's early, but they found a way to get it back and they deserve a lot of credit for that."

The Admirals stayed in the dressing room when the banner was revealed to a crowd of 5,004, the best opening- night turnout since 2007, the first season of the team's affiliation with Tampa Bay.

The Lightning ended its affiliation with Norfolk after last season and hooked up with Syracuse.

As the night wore on, some fans exchanged information about Syracuse's game in Rochester, where the Crunch lost in a shootout.

"It was exciting," Bodie said of the win before an exuberant crowd. "I don't like to refer to last year because it wasn't us (winning the Calder Cup), but they really established this building as a tough place to play in. They love it. They're knowledgable fans.

"It's nice coming to a place that has that built in. You just want to outcheck your opponent."

The Admirals did, for the first and third periods Friday, with another game against Worcester tonight at Scope.

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