So, Steve Oleksy goes up to Washington and Nate Schmidt comes down to Hershey. And continuing with this odd weekend of hockey, a Washington Capitals' regular leads the Bears to a win. Saturday night was Nate Schmidt's opportunity to get some extended playing time and he wracked up 2 goals and an assist in a 3-1 win over the Norfolk Admirals.
What a difference one year of NHL experience makes. Schmidt had as many goals in one game back as he did in 38 games last season. It's amazing to see how much his skill level has increased in comparison to other AHLer's. There were moments last night when Schmidt skated the puck up the ice and just blew by everyone like they were standing still.
Also, the other Hershey defensemen should take note of his shot from the point. He has a quick release that is powerful and accurate, which were key contributors for his 2 goals. In fact, it didn't seem like any of his shots were blocked. And by the end of the game, Schmidt, along with Chris Brown, led the team with 5 shots a piece.
Credit should also be given to Brandon Anderson as he made his first career AHL start and only allowed 1 goal on 30 shots. While he didn't have to be spectacular, Anderson played consistently solid throughout the game and fought off some very good chances by the Admirals.
On a side note, I knew that Dany Heatley was picked up by the Anaheim Ducks in the off-season but wasn't aware that he was sent to Norfolk in early December and then placed on waivers. He's played about a hand full of AHL games so far. As is usually the case when a high profile player is down in the minors, everyone wants to take a piece and put him in his place. Heatley came out playing physical and got into a brief scrap with Kris Newbury early on. For the most part, Heatley was quiet last night with only 1 shot.
Both Justin Peters and Nate Schmidt will play in this afternoon's part two against the Admirals. Afterwards, it appears everyone will be re-assigned to their respective teams. Let's hope to make this a 3-for-3 weekend.