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March 21, 2009

Kowalski Stops 37 as Admirals Edge Penguins 2-1

NORFOLK, Va. – Craig Kowalski made 37 saves to lead the Norfolk Admirals past the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 2-1 on Saturday night at Norfolk Scope Arena.

Norfolk (29-35-3-5) took a 1-0 lead with a shorthanded tally 11:01 into the first period. Justin Keller stole the puck from a Penguins attacker in the Admirals’ zone and broke into the Wilkes-Barre zone two-on-one with Pete Zingoni. Keller sent a shot from the left faceoff circle that eluded the glove of Penguins netminder Adam Berkhoel for his sixteenth goal of the season.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (43-24-2-2) struck back later in the opening frame. Admirals goaltender Craig Kowalski went behind the net and attempted to clear the puck from behind the goal line along the boards. However, Luca Caputi intercepted the puck and centered it into the slot. Mark Letestu collected the pass and fired a shot over Kowalski’s right shoulder at 17:19.

The Admirals reclaimed the lead 3:52 into the second period on the power play. Brandon Bochenski sent a shot from the top of the left circle that went through traffic and between the blocker and right leg of Berkhoel on its way into the net for his team-leading 27th goal of the season.

That goal would prove to be the game-winner, as the Penguins fired 14 shots on Kowalski in the third period but none found their mark.

Craig Kowalski (38 shots, 37 saves) earned the victory in his first Admirals start at Scope. Adam Berkhoel (30 shots, 28 saves) was saddled with the loss.

Norfolk was 1-4 on the power play. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was 0-6.

The Admirals will host the Grand Rapids Griffins, AHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, next Friday night at Scope. The first 2,000 fans through the gates will receive the first set of Admirals trading cards. Following the game, fans are invited to skate on the ice with the Admirals in our final post-game skate of the season.

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 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 anytime!

Three Stars:
1. Craig Kowalski – NOR
2. Justin Keller – NOR
3. Mike Lundin – NOR

Notes … After scoring his second shorthanded goal of the season tonight, Justin Keller has points in three straight games (1G, 2A) and has points in 13 consecutive home games (10G, 7A) … Zenon Konopka’s nine-game point streak (4G, 8A) ended. Konopka now has points in 13 of his last 16 games (5G, 13A) … Brandon Bochenski netted his sixth game-winning goal of the season – good for an eighth-place tie in the AHL. Bochenski has points in four of his last five games (2G, 3A) … Scratches: D Ty Wishart, F Bracken Kearns, F Jason Ward, F Grant Potulny and D Scott Jackson … F Steve Downie missed the game due to suspension … Attendance: 4,539.

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