2024 Norfolk Admirals vs Trois-Rivières

Norfolk Vs. Trois-Rivières ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs Matchup Preview

Norfolk Vs. Trois-Rivières ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs Matchup Preview

The Norfolk Admirals will face the Trois-Rivières Lions in the first round of the 2024 Kelly Cup Playoffs.

Apr 16, 2024 by Justin Cohn
Norfolk Vs. Trois-Rivières ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs Matchup Preview

The Norfolk Admirals will face the Trois-Rivières Lions in the first round of the 2024 Kelly Cup Playoffs. This is the first of the two North Division semifinals. The other features the Adirondack Thunder and Maine Mariners. 

Veteran ECHL writer Justin Cohn breaks down the series and tells you what you should keep an eye on during the series.

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North Division Semifinals

No. 2 Norfolk Admirals (41-21-7) Vs. No. 3 Trois-Rivières Lions (31-30-8)

  • Game 1 – Wednesday, April 17 at 7 p.m. ET at Trois-Rivières
  • Game 2 – Friday, April 19 at 7 p.m. ET at Trois-Rivières
  • Game 3 – Saturday, April 20 at 7 p.m. ET at Trois-Rivières
  • Game 4 – Wednesday, April 24 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Norfolk
  • Game 5 – Saturday, April 27 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Norfolk (If Necessary)
  • Game 6 – Sunday, April 28 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Norfolk (If Necessary)
  • Game 7 – Wednesday, May 1 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Norfolk (If Necessary)

Norfolk And Trois-Rivières Top Scorers

Norfolk’s Stepan Timofeyev had 20 goals (seven game-winners) and 53 points during the regular season; Trois-Rivières’ Jakov Novak had 30 goals (nine game-winners) and 56 points during the regular season.

What You Need To Know About The Norfolk Admirals

What a season it has been for the Admirals, who have been in the ECHL since 2015, yet they are going to the playoffs for the first time. 

In fact, before this season, the Admirals had never finished better than fifth in a division, and that was in the team’s inaugural year. 

The Admirals’ ascension really goes back to last season; Jeff Carr took over as coach in November 2022 and really was able to use the second half of the campaign to develop the nucleus that has had so much success. That includes players such as Timofeyev, forward Danny Katic and defenseman Carson Musser. 

The Admirals haven’t played since April 6, due to scheduling changes caused by the Newfoundland Growlers being removed from the league, and it’ll be interesting to see if Norfolk can continue its torrid pace, as it had been on a 6-0-1 tear.

What You Need To Know About The Trois-Rivières Lions 

The Lions have been hard to decipher this season. 

With a 9-1-0 start under new coach Ron Choules, they surprised most everyone, but an ugly 4-0 loss to the Worcester Railers on March 2 sent them five games below .500, and it seemed they were headed for the cellar. 

They finished strong, though, with 2-0 and 4-0 victories over the Railers, and could make some noise, if their defensive play remains sound. That’s largely because the offense, which ranked 23rd during the regular season with 2.96 goals against per game, probably isn’t going to scare anybody. 

Beyond Novak, Alex-Olivier Voyer (20 goals during the regular season) and Cedric Montminy (19 goals) are the real offensive threats, but they need people to cover the space behind them – Montminy is minus-26.

Two Players To Watch In Norfolk-Trois-Rivières Series

Norfolk’s Keaton Jameson really came into his own in the playoffs last year for Utah, when he had one goal and four points in six games, played strong defense and won a bevy of faceoffs. He was one of the Admirals’ big acquisitions last summer and hasn’t disappointed with 12 goals and 38 points in 63 games. 

Trois-Rivières’ Zachary Emond may be the hottest goalie in the league heading into the playoffs; he stopped all 32 shots he faced in the final two games of the season, both shutouts. It was his third shutout in his last five starts, and he hasn’t allowed more than three goals in any of his last six games.  

X-Factor For The Norfolk-Trois-Rivières Series

Trois-Rivières’ defense. 

Norfolk has the fourth-best offense in the ECHL – averaging 3.55 goals per game – though it lacks much flash beyond Timofeyev and Katic. 

There’s just a lot of balance offensively, and guys like Mathieu Roy and Denis Smirnov can burn you. 

The question is if the Lions’ defense will be able to handle the speedy Norfolk forwards. 

Defenseman Brycen Martin will be a key player in shutting down the Admirals, and offensive-minded blue-liners, such as Miguël Tourigny and Chris Ortiz, are going to have to make sure they mind both ends of the ice.

Norfolk Admirals Vs. Trois-Rivières Lions Predictions

The time off is a smidge concerning, and so is the wacky 3-4 formatted series that begins in Quebec, but the Admirals have been chugging along nicely. Their roster is solid in all facets and built for the playoffs, complete with a defensive corps that will play physically. 

It’s no small thing that the Admirals have chucked their culture of losing, and they’ve shown nothing for me to believe the postseason stakes will be too big for them. Admirals in six games.

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