The Norwich Sea Captains made their first splash in the NA3HL on Saturday, visiting the Long Beach Sharks for the first of a two game series to ring in the 2021-22 season. Despite goaltender Andrew Yocum stopping 50 of 54 shots, the Sea Captains fell to Long Beach by a score of 4-1.
The Sharks struck first, and quickly, as Jake Weikel found the back of the net just 1:03 into the game. Norwich was resilient, responding just over three minutes later with Tim Hayden deflecting Trevor Souza’s blast front the point to be the Sea Captains first goal in franchise history. Jack Kinahan, Norwich’s first round pick (3rd overall) in the 2021 NA3HL draft, picked up the other assist. Mikita Miadzvedzeu put Long Beach ahead for good halfway through the period, scoring his first of two goals on the power play for the eventual game winner.
Norwich would threaten offensively, but were unable to solve goaltender Ryo Murakami in the final two periods. Adding goals for Long Beach were Ryo Yamamoto in the second period and Miadzvedzeu again in the third, both with the man advantage.
Head coach Kevin Cunningham was pleased with the team’s effort. He said, “We did a lot of things that were encouraging and that we know that we can build on. I thought Andrew Yocum played very well throughout the game and that the entire team had a very strong third period. All in all, tonight was a success; we have a hockey team that we are excited about working with and guiding to its potential.”
The Sea Captains will look to bounce back quickly with another game against Long Beach tomorrow, Sunday the 26th. Faceoff is scheduled for 7:10pm at Long Beach Municipal Ice Arena.