Norsemen Still in Playoff Huntby Matt MacInnis | April 11, 2007, 5:30 PM ET
With a 5-2 win over the woeful Hamburg Gladiators, the Vancouver Island Norsemen have moved themselves within two points of the final playoff spot in the Canadian conference. With nine games remaining the Norsemen trail the Whitehorse Huskies, who have a game in hand, by two points. David Vyborny led the Norsemen with two goals and an assist en route to earning the First Star award for the game. Between the pipes it was rookie David LeNeveu who was in to fill the void the past few games while the tandem of Vesa Toskala and Andrew Raycroft sat out with injuries. Raycroft is now back to 100 per cent and is expected to start the next few games. The Norsemen have two games against the Wheat Kings and Huskies respectively, plus single games against the Mustangs, Empire, Gladiators and Titans, meaning the team has five of its final games against the three teams that are immediately ahead of them in the standings. Unfortunately, the team has a 1-3 record thus far against both the Wheat Kings and Huskies – something that will have to change or the team will be enjoying Victoria’s beautiful golf courses in early spring. With 72 points, Vyborny has moved himself into eighth position in league scoring while winger Tomas Holmstrom is tied for 12th in goal scoring. The ultimate fate of the team may rely on Raycroft, whose durability has been a major concern. However, in his 16 appearances, he’s put together a 6-3 record with a solid .919 save percentage and 2.45 GAA. The team has also called up defensively-responsible veteran centre Mike Ricci to play on the third line and kill penalties. Youngster Ryan Kesler has been sent to the farm as the team hopes to become more difficult to score against. The Norsemen have tomorrow off before playing the Empire, who they have struggled against this season, on Friday.