NORFOLK - Norfolk Admirals winger Kyle Wanvig scored the first short-handed goal of his eight-season pro career in last Saturday’s season-opening 4-3 loss to Philadelphia.
What took him so long? Simple. It was the first time he’d ever been called on to kill penalties. Wanvig, acquired by Tampa Bay from Atlanta in February and one of the Lightning’s last cuts, added a full-strength goal in the third period.
“A nice, positive start for me, but it would have been better if we had won the game,” he said.
Wanvig volunteered to help kill penalties.
“This is a fairly young squad and I thought I could do the job,” he said. He didn’t know then how exhausting it would be.
“That was probably the most ice time I’ve ever played,” he said. “Being a big guy, playing in the corners and in front of the net, it took some getting used to.”
Wanvig can expect to spend more time on special teams. Philadelphia scored three power-play goals, while Norfolk was 0 for 7 with the man advantage. Philadelphia led, 3-0, before Wanvig poke-checked the puck from a defenseman, deked Phantoms goalie Brian Boucher and scored shorthanded.
“We had the same problem, getting down early, last year,” said Wanvig, who scored 11 goals in 23 games for Springfield last season.
“Philadelphia got a lucky first goal (Peter Zingoni beat Admirals goalie Karri Ramo with a floater from the point only 77 seconds into the game). We’ve got to weather the storm and find a way to keep the puck out.”
Wanvig has spent time in the NHL in three of the past four seasons, including all of 2004-05 with Minnesota.
“I was the last cut with Atlanta last year and one of last forwards cut this year,” he said. “I used to worry about that. Now I just try to do the best I can and hope somebody notices.”
ADMIRALS NOTES: The Admirals have six days off and then play three games in three days starting Friday night in Bridgeport, Conn. They play Saturday night in Albany, N.Y. and Sunday afternoon in Springfield, Mass. Coach Steve Stirling said he’ll play as many players as much as he can to preserve stamina, but his first priority is winning games. Ramo will start two and possibly all three games.
“I’ve done it before,” Stirling said of playing the same goalie three consecutive nights. “If anybody can, it’s Ramo. But if he sees 40 shots on Friday, I might sit him on Saturday.”
The Admirals are carrying 25 players, and all could make the trip. You never know who may get called up to Tampa Bay or sent down to Mississippi, he said.
The Admirals were involved in three fights against Philadelphia, but don’t expect that to continue. A spearing penalty on Karl Stewart that resulted in a game misconduct that fired up the Phantoms.
“This is a tough division, but we have more than enough toughness,” Stirling said.
Wanvig’s goal was one of two shorthanded tallies on the night for Norfolk, tying a franchise record. Twenty-year-old right wing Chris Lawrence also netted a shorthanded marker for his first professional goal … The Admirals opened the season on the road in Philadelphia for the second consecutive season … The loss in Philadelphia ended a nine-game winning streak for the Admirals against the Phantoms … Approximately 100 fans watched the game live at Baxter’s Sports Lounge in Downtown Norfolk via the B2 Networks in the first “Admirals B2 Night at Baxter’s” of the season … Norfolk is now 4-3-0-1-0 in regular season openers, including a 2-1-0-1-0 record when starting the season on the road … Norfolk has never started a season with two consecutive losses.
MISSISSIPPI NOTES: The Mississippi Sea Wolves of the ECHL open their pre-season schedule this weekend with games against a pair of Central Hockey League opponents. The Sea Wolves play the Texas Brahmans on Friday and the Austin Ice Bats on Saturday. The Sea Wolves are training in Beaumont, Texas … Mississippi has 20 players in camp. Goaltenders Jonathan Boutin and Morgan Cey were assigned Oct. 4 from Norfolk. Boutin appeared in 37 games with Springfield of the AHL last season and was considered a strong candidate to win the backup job in Norfolk this year. Cey spent most of the last season with Johnstown of the ECHL … The Sea Wolves will hold their season-ticket party Oct. 14 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Biloxi.