HERSHEY, PA – Goals by Blair Jones and Bracken Kearns would not be enough as the Norfolk Admirals (18-22-2-5) fell to the league-leading Hershey Bears (33-12-0-4) 4-2 on Saturday night at Giant Center.
The Admirals took a 1-0 lead on the power play 6:50 into the first period. Justin Keller got the puck to Blair Jones between the hashmarks for a slap shot that beat Bears goaltender Michal Neuvirth stick-side.
Hershey tied the game at 1-1 less than five minutes later when Andrew Gordon found a loose puck in the slot and sent a snap shot past the glove of Norfolk netminder Mike McKenna at 11:57.
Norfolk reclaimed the lead while skating shorthanded under a minute later. Brandon Segal and Bracken Kearns broke in on Neuvirth two-on-one. Segal sent a pass from the left circle to Kearns in the opposite circle, and Kearns sent a backhander through Neuvirth’s legs at 12:51.
However, Hershey would capitalize on the same man advantage 42 seconds later. Gordon sent a shot from the right circle that would have gone wide into the left corner. However, the puck caromed off an Admirals defender in the slot and went into the net at 13:33.
The Bears took a 3-2 lead with another fortuitous bounce 1:54 into the second period. Mathieu Perrault attempted a wraparound shot from behind the net that ricocheted off a Norfolk defender into the net.
The Hershey lead doubled late in the middle stanza. Jay Beagle accepted a Chris Bourque pass in the slot and sent a backhand shot past McKenna glove-side at 16:16.
Norfolk sent nine shots on Neuvirth in the final frame but were unable to close the gap.
Mike McKenna (35 shots, 31 saves) saw his five-game unbeaten streak come to an end with the loss. Michal Neuvirth (27 shots, 25 saves) got the win.
Norfolk was 1-6 on the power play. Hershey was 2-10.
The Admirals return to Scope on Friday and Saturday nights to face off against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The puck drops on both nights at 7:15 p.m.
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. Andrew Gordon – HER
2. Kyle Wilson – HER
3. Bryan Helmer – HER
Notes … Mike McKenna’s five-game unbeaten streak came to an end … With an assist tonight, Justin Keller now has points in four straight games (2G, 4A) and five of his last six games (2G, 6A) ... Bracken Kearns tied his AHL career high with his eleventh goal of the season. Kearns now has points in seven of his last ten games (5G, 4A) … The tally was Kearns’ second shorthanded goal of the year – the most for Norfolk ... With a goal tonight, Blair Jones tied Brandon Bochenski for the team lead in scoring with 33 points. Jones now has points in four of his last six games (4G, 3A) … Hershey’s Alexandre Giroux saw his team-record 22-game point streak end tonight. The Admirals also prevented Giroux from scoring a goal on January 21 in Norfolk to snap his AHL record-setting 15-game goal-scoring streak … Scratches: F Jason Ward, F Chris Lawrence, F Grant Potulny and D Andy Rogers … Goaltender Karri Ramo served the third game of his six-game suspension … Attendance: 10,001.