NORFOLK, VA – Admirals captain Zenon Konopka set the tone for the game with a goal only eight seconds after the opening faceoff and added another tally as the Norfolk Admirals (15-19-1-4) topped the Manchester Monarchs (17-17-0-5) 4-3 on Friday night at Norfolk Scope Arena.
The Admirals opened scoring with the fastest goal to start a game in AHL Admirals history. Brandon Bochenski sent a shot from the top of the right circle that deflected three times – first by Grant Potulny near the bottom of the right circle, then by a Manchester defender in the low slot and then by goal scorer Zenon Konopka just inside the goalpost at the right leg of Manchester goaltender Jonathan Bernier. Konopka’s eighth goal of the season came just eight seconds into the game.
Norfolk’s lead doubled late in the opening stanza on a power play. Chris Gratton centered the puck from the right corner to Potulny in the bottom of the right faceoff circle. Potulny sent a wrist shot under the glove hand of Bernier at 17:06.
Another quick strike gave the Admirals a three-goal lead just 50 seconds into the second period. While skating on the power play, Bochenski emerged from the left corner and approached the goalmouth, sending a pass between a defender’s legs and across the crease. The pass found Konopka on the backdoor, and Konopka fired the puck past the left leg of Bernier for his second goal of the contest.
The Monarchs got onto the board 15:09 into the second period while skating with a five-on-three advantage. Matt Moulson fired a shot from between the hashmarks that beat Norfolk goaltender Mike McKenna high on the glove-side.
Manchester drew to within a goal of Norfolk just 1:42 into the final frame. Ryan Murphy deflected a centering pass out of the air and past McKenna.
However, the Admirals restored their two goal lead less than three minutes later. Bracken Kearns stole the puck from a Monarch in the neutral zone and broke into the attacking zone along the right wing. His initial shot from the faceoff circle went off a defender’s stick into the boards in the right corner. However, the rebound came back to Kearns who chipped a shot over Bernier’s left leg and under his glove at 4:10.
Trevor Lewis netted a power play goal with a shot from the right dot at 13:57. However, the Monarchs could not get the equalizer past McKenna as the Admirals held on for a 4-3 win.
Mike McKenna (29 shots, 26 saves) earned the win. Jonathan Bernier (27 shots, 23 saves) got the loss.
Norfolk and Manchester were both 2-6 on the power play.
The Admirals’ nine-game homestand continues on tomorrow night with a 7:15 rematch against the Manchester Monarchs.
Saturday night is Cheesy Noisemaker Night. Fans are encouraged to bring boxes of macaroni and cheese to the game. During the game, show your Admirals spirit by using the boxes as noisemakers. After the game, drop the macaroni and cheese off at designated locations throughout the arena. The Tidewater AIDS Community Taskforce (TACT) will distribute the food to those in need in the Hampton Roads area.
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. Zenon Konopka – NOR
2. Brandon Bochenski – NOR
3. Matt Moulson – MCH
Notes … Chris Gratton extended his scoring streak to five games (1G, 4A) with an assist and has points in seven of the nine games he has appeared in for the Admirals this season (1G, 7A) … Zenon Konopka’s goal eight seconds was the fastest goal to start a game in AHL Admirals' history. However, it was not the fastest to start a period in AHL Admirals history. The previous fastest goal to start a game was 14 seconds by Brandon Bochenski on 12/16/06 at Springfield. The fastest goal to start a period remains seven seconds after Casey Hankinson’s third period goal on 11/10/00 at the Saint John Flames … Justin Keller hit the post on a third period penalty shot attempt. Norfolk is now 9-19 on penalty shot attempts since joining the AHL in 2000-01 … After going 37 games without a penalty shot for or against Norfolk this season, the Admirals have had penalty shots in back to back games ... Scratches: F Radek Smolenak, F Pete Zingoni, F Juraj Simek, D Andy Rogers, F Brandon Segal … Attendance: 4,318.