NORFOLK, VA – Goals by Mike Lundin and Justin Keller staked the Norfolk Admirals (19-23-2-5) to a 2-0 lead in the second period. However, Joe Joensuu netted the Bridgeport Sound Tigers’ (28-16-3-2) third unanswered goal with 57 seconds remaining in regulation to defeat the Admirals 3-2 on Saturday night at Norfolk Scope Arena.
After a scoreless opening period, the Admirals used a power play to take a 1-0 lead early in the second stanza. Brandon Bochenski sent a slap shot from the top of the right circle that Bridgeport goaltender Tobias Stephan blocked. Mike Lundin found the rebound at the top of the crease and fired it high over the outstretched blocker hand of Stephan at 4:46.
Norfolk’s lead doubled less than two minutes later. Scott Jackson blocked a Bridgeport shot in front of Norfolk netminder Riku Helenius. The puck caromed to Brandon Bochenski in the high slot, and Bochenski fired a pass up ice to the Bridgeport blueline to spring Justin Keller on a partial breakaway down the right wing. Keller cut across the low slot and eluded the poke check of both a pursuing defender and the goaltender before depositing a shot into the net past the right leg of Stephan at 6:18.
The Sound Tigers cut their deficit in half at 16:25 of the middle period. Mike Iggulden sent a shot from the right faceoff circle that deflected off the skate of an Admirals defender in the low slot and went through the leg pads of Helenius.
Bridgeport tied the game 11:43 into the final frame. Andrew MacDonald sent a shot from the right point that bounced off Helenius. Jeremy Colliton found the rebound in the low slot and sent a quick shot past Helenius blocker-side.
Jesse Joensuu netted the game-winning goal with 57 seconds remaining in regulation. He skated from the left wing behind the net and emerged at the top of the right circle where he sent a wrist shot through traffic and past a screened Helenius for the go-ahead tally.
Riku Helenius (28 shots, 25 saves) suffered the loss. Tobias Stephan (32 shots, 30 saves) got the win in his AHL season debut.
Norfolk was 1-5 on the power play. Bridgeport was 0-4.
The Admirals will travel to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton tomorrow for a 5:05 p.m. faceoff against the Penguins. They will return to Scope next Friday night to face off against the Hamilton Bulldogs 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 2009-10 season tickets today. Season tickets start at just $42 per month! 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. Jesse Joensuu – BRI
2. Justin Keller – NOR
3. Jeremy Colliton – BRI
Notes … Norfolk held Bridgeport’s power play – which entered Friday’s game with the ninth-best ranking in the AHL – scoreless in 12 chances between Friday and Saturday … Riku Helenius’ shutout streak ended at 96:45 spanning three games since his AHL debut on January 2 in Worcester … With a goal tonight, Justin Keller now has points in six straight games (3G, 5A) and seven of his last eight games (3G, 7A). His assist streak ended at four consecutive games (5A) ... Brandon Segal’s point streak ended at three games (1G, 2A) … With a pair of assists tonight, Brandon Bochenski has points in nine of his last 12 games (7G, 6A) … Zenon Konopka has points and assists in three straight games (0G, 3A) and points in five of his last six games (2G, 5A) … Mike Lundin has points in four of his last five games (1G, 4A) … Earlier in the day, the Admirals’ NHL parent club, the Tampa Bay Lightning, assigned defenseman Josef Melichar to the Admirals. Melichar, who was acquired by the Lightning from the Carolina Hurricanes in a trade earlier in the day, will join the Admirals in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton tomorrow … Goaltender Mike McKenna, who has won 11 games for Norfolk this season, recorded his first NHL win – a 28-save shutout – in a 1-0 victory for the Lightning over the New York Islanders tonight … Scratches: F Bracken Kearns, F Jason Ward, F Chris Lawrence and F Grant Potulny … Attendance: 4,468.