NORFOLK, VA – Steve Downie tied a Norfolk franchise record with four assists and Justin Keller netted a pair of goals as the Admirals erased a two-goal deficit. However, Bridgeport’s Trevor Smith netted a hat trick – including the tie breaking goal late in the third period – as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (18-7-1-2) defeated the Norfolk Admirals (9-16-1-4) 6-4 on Saturday night at Norfolk Scope Arena.
Bridgeport capitalized on a pair of deflections off Admirals defenders to take a 2-0 lead. The Sound Tigers scored on the game’s first shot, as Chris Lee’s shot from the right point deflected off an Admiral in the right circle and beat Admirals goaltender Mike McKenna 30 seconds into the game. Rob Hennigar’s shot from the high slot ramped off an Admirals stick and got past McKenna’s stick at 8:16 for a two-goal Bridgeport lead.
The Admirals struck back just over two minutes later. Steve Downie sent a pass across the slot to Jason Ward at the edge of the left faceoff circle. Ward fired a quick wrist shot past Bridgeport goaltender Peter Mannino at 10:31 for his first goal of the season.
The Sound Tigers restored their two-goal lead less than four minutes later when Jeff Tambellini found the rebound of a Ben Walter shot in the goalmouth and shot it through McKenna’s legs at 14:21.
The Admirals answered back with less than two minutes remaining in the period. While behind the net, Downie spotted Chris Lawrence racing down the slot. He centered the puck to the slot and Lawrence fired home his first goal of the season at 18:30.
The Sound Tigers briefly stretched their lead to 4-2 at 14:07 with Trevor Smith’s first goal.
However, a pair of goals by Justin Keller under a minute apart tied the score at 4-4 after two periods. Keller’s first goal came as he was stationed near the crease by the left leg of Mannino. Downie centered the puck from behind the net and Keller redirected it top-shelf at 16:34.
The Downie-Keller connection reaped dividends once again at 17:13. This time, Downie sent a pass from the left faceoff dot toward the right circle and Keller one-timed it past Mannino for his third goal of the season.
However, the Sound Tigers out-shot the Admirals 12-4 in the final frame and Smith netted two goals to put Bridgeport over the top. The go-ahead goal occurred when Brett Skinner’s slap shot deflected off Jeremy Colliton to Smith on the doorstep and Smith sent a quick shot past McKenna. Smith then completed the hat trick with an empty-net goal with 0.5 seconds remaining.
Mike McKenna (26 shots, 21 saves) was saddled with the loss. Peter Mannino (25 shots, 21 saves) picked up the win.
Norfolk was 0-3 on the power play. Bridgeport was 0-5.
The Admirals’ five-game homestand concludes next week with a pair of games against the Albany River Rats. The puck drops against the AHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday and Friday nights at 7:15.
Wednesday’s game will be Student Rush Night and Family Fun Pack Night. With Student Rush Nights, students in high school and college may purchase $8 white level tickets by presenting their school IDs at the Scope Box Office after 2:00 p.m. on the day of the game. With Family Fun Packs, you receive four red level tickets, four hot dogs, four popcorns and four sodas for only $48 – that’s a saving of $37! Family Fun Packs are available at the Scope Box Office or online at ticketmaster.com. For more details, please visit norfolkadmirals.com.
To purchase tickets to any Admirals game, you may visit the Scope Box Office weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., visit any Ticketmaster outlet, call Ticketmaster at (757) 671-8100 or visit Ticketmaster online at www.ticketmaster.com. Don’t miss a minute of the action by purchasing your 2008-09 season tickets today. Stop by the Admirals’ Administrative Offices at Scope, call (757) 640-1212 weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or visit norfolkadmirals.com anytime!
1. Trevor Smith – BRI
2. Steve Downie – NOR
3. Justin Keller – NOR
Notes … Steve Downie has now tied the franchise record for assists in a single game both by a Norfolk Admiral and by a Norfolk opponent. He also netted four assists at Scope on October 29 while playing for the Philadelphia Phantoms … Justin Keller recorded his first two-goal game as an Admiral. It was his second such game as a professional and first since he played for the Springfield Falcons on November 12, 2006 at Portland … Jay Rosehill has assists in three straight games (2A) for his first career AHL point streak … The Admirals’ NHL parent club, the Tampa Bay Lightning, assigned defenseman Mike Lundin to Norfolk earlier in the day. Lundin, who arrived at Scope less than two hours before game time, made his AHL debut and assisted on Norfolk’s first goal … Scratches: F Pete Zingoni, F Brent Henley, C Mathieu Curadeau, D Scott Jackson … Attendance: 4,234.