A rivalry could be rekindled this weekend.
Last season the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Norfolk Admirals became archenemies. The teams faced each other 10 times and many turned out to be fight-filled affairs.
But this season things are a bit different. Norfolk had a roster overhaul in the offseason when its parent club switched affiliations with Syracuse, and the new-look Admirals have only faced the Penguins twice this season.
That will change this weekend, however, as the Penguins travel to Norfolk for a pair of back-to-back away games against the Admirals.
The Penguins will face the Admirals three times in the next four games, and head coach John Hynes said the frequent visits should breed intensity.
The weekend is going to be a great trip because we're going to very good venue against a division rival that we haven't faced a lot this year, he said. The more you play a team in a short amount of time things heat up and become more intense.
Although the Penguins have only faced the Admirals twice this season, both contests were hotly contested.
In the first meeting on Dec. 29, the Admirals beat the Penguins 3-2 in Wilkes-Barre with an overtime power-play goal. On Jan. 15, the Penguins earned a 4-2 win thanks to a three-goal outburst in the third period.
Since the lockout the Admirals have lost several key players, including Kyle Palmieri, Emerson Etem and Sami Vatanen.
Still, Hynes doesn't think the Admirals are a weaker team by any means.
The systems and style of play are the same, he said. It's still going to be a tough weekend.
A weekend that will have a playoff-like atmosphere, according to forward Riley Holzapfel.
I'm sure when you play the same team over and over things get a little heated and intense, he said. They are going to be clutch games and a good test for us.
The Admirals are in last place in the East Division with 39 points. They are the fifth-most penalized team in the AHL with 923 PIMs.
The Penguins were 2-8 against the Admirals last season.
7:35 p.m. today
D Dylan Reese was recalled by Pittsburgh on Wednesday after the Penguins traded D Ben Lovejoy to Anaheim. Reese leads all Wilkes-Barre/Scranton blueliners with 15 points (3-12-15) in 39 games.