2024 Norfolk Admirals vs Adirondack Thunder

Adirondack Vs. Norfolk: 2024 ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs North Division Finals

Adirondack Vs. Norfolk: 2024 ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs North Division Finals

The Adirondack Thunder will meet the Norfolk Admirals in the North Division Finals of the 2024 ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs.

May 2, 2024 by Justin Cohn
Adirondack Vs. Norfolk: 2024 ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs North Division Finals

The Adirondack Thunder will meet the Norfolk Admirals in the North Division Finals of the 2024 ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs.

In the opening round of the playoffs, top-seeded Adirondack defeated the Maine Mariners in the best-of-seven series 4-3, and Norfolk topped the Trois-Rivières Lions 4-2.

The South Division Finals will feature the two-time defending-champion Florida Everblades against the Orlando Solar Bears, the Central Division Finals will include the Toledo Walleye and Wheeling Nailers, and the Mountain Division Finals will see the Kansas City Mavericks face the Idaho Steelheads.

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North Division Finals

No. 1 Adirondack Thunder (43-18-11) Vs. No. 2 Norfolk Admirals (41-21-7)

Game 1 - Friday, May 3 at 7 p.m. ET at Adirondack
Game 2 - Saturday, May 4 at 7 p.m. ET at Adirondack
Game 3 - Wednesday, May 8 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Norfolk
Game 4 - Friday, May 10 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Norfolk
Game 5 – Saturday, May 11 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Norfolk (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Tuesday, May 14 at 7 p.m. ET at Adirondack (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, May 15 at 7:10 p.m. ET at Adirondack (If Necessary)

Adirondack And Norfolk Top Scorers

Adirondack’s Tristan Ashbrook had 32 goals and 57 points during the regular season, and he has five goals and seven points in the playoffs; Norfolk’s Stepan Timofeyev had 20 goals (seven game-winners) and 53 points during the regular season, and Carson Musser, Austen Keating and Danny Katic have six points apiece in playoffs.

What You Need To Know About The Adirondack Thunder

It’s going to be wild just to see the Thunder playing someone other than the Mariners after 11 straight games between the teams. 

Adirondack is a team built for the postseason – it plays a methodical, grinding style of hockey – so in many respects, it looked as advertised against the Mariners. But the Thunder let a less-talented team hang around far too long in that series, too.

The 2-0 victory in Game 7 took a turn when Ryan Wheeler scored from close range 11:30 into the second period. Wheeler is a player I’ve raved about all season for the gritty, shot-blocking style he plays. But that was as a defenseman. He’s been at forward for weeks and is seeing top-line play. 

That kind of sums up the Thunder; they’re versatile and just find ways to win, even with some vagabond pieces merged with proven scorers, such as Yushiro Hirano and Shane Harper.

Ashbrook is another great story. He was in the Fort Wayne Komets’ training camp and didn’t make their roster – granted, he was injured, and they didn’t get to see much – but few could have foreseen this kind of season.

What You Need To Know About The Norfolk Admirals

This is a very rested team that has played only nine games since March. I’d say the time off would be a disadvantage, but the Admirals looked energetic, physical and determined against Trois-Rivières.

The offense comes at you in waves; the Admirals had seven multi-goal scorers in the first round. 

Musser and Katic are exciting players, Brady Fleurent has been playing well with three goals and five points in the playoffs, and Yaniv Perets had some big moments in net.

It’s the defense that can be dicey – it allowed the Lions to score three or more goals in four games – and the health of defenseman Darick Louis-Jean will be a topic. He suffered a brutal hit from behind in Game 5 from the Lions’ Jonathan Yantsis and was stretchered off the ice, though he was released from a hospital the next day. 

Yantsis was suspended 10 games by the ECHL. 

If Louis-Jean is able to play, he adds a physical, two-way presence for the Admirals.

Two Players To Watch In The Adirondack-Norfolk Series

Adirondack goalie Isaac Poulter had three shutouts against Maine, including a 21-save showstopper in Game 7. He played 28 games this season in the AHL, so I shouldn’t be totally surprised, but his .958 save percentage is pretty sick. He’s only faced more than 26 shots in the playoffs once so far, though, and I’d expect Norfolk to test him a little bit more in this series.

Norfolk’s Stepan Timofeyev was playing in the Federal Prospects Hockey League as recently as the 2020-2021 season, but he’s developed into one of the ECHL’s most dangerous players. He’s particularly opportunistic around the net and not a liability defensively – he was plus-15 during the regular season – and uses his limited 5-foot-9 size to his advantage by slithering into dangerous areas.  

X-Factor In The Adirondack-Norfolk Series


This is uncharted territory for Norfolk, which joined the ECHL in 2015 but didn’t make the playoffs until this season. 

Jeff Carr somehow didn’t finish in the top 5 in Coach of the Year voting – I voted him for first – but he’s done a great job of putting together and coaching a team that hasn’t been fazed by the stakes of entering ECHL relevancy.

Carr was a head coach in the Southern Professional Hockey League for five years, and he won 2 of 6 playoff series with Knoxville, and he seemed to have this Norfolk team well prepared for the Lions. That’s going to have to continue against a Thunder team that is much more formidable than Trois-Rivières.

In the regular season, Carr was 5-3-0 against Adirondack’s Pete MacArthur.

MacArthur, who finished third in the Coach of the Year voting behind Greenville’s Andrew Lord and Kansas City’s Tad O’Had, has had the Thunder on an upward trajectory since they snuck into the playoffs in 2023. 

As a head coach, he’s 1 for 2 in playoff series, but experience as a player from 2008 to 2022 counts for a lot. 

This will be a test going into a series so soon after Wednesday’s Game 7, but he’s got home-ice advantage and the hotter goalie. And the way his team steamrolled Maine in the decisive game shows he’s got the Thunder players believing in what he’s selling.

Adirondack Thunder Vs. Norfolk Admirals Prediction

There’s much to like about Adirondack, especially the goaltending it’s been getting, but Norfolk had a more impressive first-round performance. And there’s this: the Admirals are 26-7-3 since Jan. 27. By comparison, Adirondack is 19-13-8.

Norfolk is going to overpower Adirondack and win this series in six games. 

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