NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Talk about neck-and-neck. The only thing that will separate the Norfolk Admirals and Hershey Bears come Saturday night, in all likely-hood, will be a playoff spot.
The Admirals and Bears both have identical records at 38-25, they both have 86 points in the conference standings, they’re tied for eighth and final playoff spot in the conference, and their last two game set- starting Wednesday at Scope- will all but determine who takes that final postseason spot.
“We’re hungry and we’re excited,” said Admirals center Zack Stortini, “This is playoff hockey right now and for us, that playoff mentality has already started, and everything counts.”
Each team has won three games heading into Wednesday night, but Hershey holds the divisional series edge, having only lost in a shootout on Nov. 3, 2013. Admirals head man Trent Yawney likes the way his team stayed stout through their recent 6-game road trip, in which they won 4 out of 6 games and picked up five of a possible six points.
That being said, he knows the youth his team features as well. “(Hershey’s) a veteran team,” said Yawney at Tuesday’s practice, “They’ve got a lot of guys on their team that have been through stuff like this.”
Not to mention, he’ll be without his two best players in goalie John Gibson, who was the first goalie in 29 years to record a shutout when he made his NHL debut with the Anaheim Ducks last week, and Admirals’ leading scorer Devante Smith-Pelly.
The first of the the two games will face off on Wednesday night at 7:15 while the second will start the same time on Friday night.