WORCESTER, MA – Riley Armstrong recorded a hat trick and the Norfolk Admirals (13-18-1-4) surrendered five unanswered goal as they fell to the Worcester Sharks (18-16-0-1) 5-1 on Friday night at the DCU Center.
Norfolk took a 1-0 lead with Mike Lundin’s first professional goal at 13:25 of the first period. Lundin sent a slap shot from the left point through a screen and past Worcester goaltender Thomas Greiss.
The Sharks tied the game with just over a minute remaining in the opening stanza on the power play. Michael Wilson sent a shot from the left circle that Admirals goaltender Mike McKenna blocked. However, Riley Armstrong found the rebound at the bottom of the right circle and sent a quick shot past McKenna at 18:58 for his first goal of the contest.
Worcester took a 2-1 lead on Armstrong’s second goal of the game. Armstrong skated behind the net from the right circle and sent the puck toward the crease just after he crossed the goal line. The puck caromed off the left skate of McKenna and trickled across the goal line at 2:47.
Another fortuitous bounce allowed the Sharks to double their lead at 14:37. Matt Fornataro sent a shot from the top of the right circle that McKenna deflected with his blocker over the net and off the glass. The puck ricocheted off the glass and onto the top of the net before rolling over the crossbar, bouncing off McKenna’s back and rolling across the goal line.
Worcester built a 4-1 lead at 19:26 of the second stanza with a shorthanded goal. Andrew Desjardins centered a pass across the slot from the right faceoff circle toward the opposite circle. Ryan Vesce angled his stick so that the pass deflected off his backhand and past McKenna.
Armstrong finished off the hat trick at 16:40 by beating an Admirals defender to a loose puck in the crease and shooting it past new Norfolk goaltender Riku Helenius.
Mike McKenna (19 shots, 15 saves) took the loss and played the first two periods. Riku Helenius (12 shots, 11 saves) made his AHL debut by relieving McKenna at the beginning of the third period and did not receive a decision. Thomas Greiss (28 shots, 27 saves) picked up the win.
Norfolk was 0-5 on the power play. Worcester was 2-6.
The Admirals will conclude their three-game road trip tomorrow night in Portland. The puck drops against the Pirates at 7:00 p.m.
The Admirals return to Scope next week to kick off a nine-game homestand with solid home games from January 7-30. The homestand begins for Norfolk against their East Division Rivals, the Hershey Bears, on Wednesday night at 7:15 p.m.
Wednesday’s game will be Gold’s Gym Giveaway Night, Student Rush Night and Family Fun Pack Night. All fans will receive a coupon for a free one-week membership to Gold’s Gym. 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. Riley Armstrong – WOR
2. Ryan Vesce – WOR
3. Thomas Greiss – WOR
Notes … Norfolk has scored the first goal of the game in their last six games … The Admirals have fallen to 9-3-0-2 on the season when scoring first after losing their past two such games … The Admirals allowed multiple power play goals for the first time since December 6 at Bridgeport (nine games) … Armstrong's hat trick was the third three-goal game allowed by an Admirals opponent this season (Justin Abdelkader, 10/26 at Grand Rapids; Trevor Smith, 12/13 vs. Bridgeport) ... Scratches: D Ty Wishart, F Pete Zingoni, F Juraj Simek, D Andy Rogers, F Brandon Segal … Attendance: 3,174.