SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Matt Fornataro’s go-ahead goal with 2:23 left in regulation completed a comeback from a 2-0 deficit as the Norfolk Admirals (18-23-2-0) defeated the Springfield Falcons (14-23-8-2) 3-2 on Friday night at the MassMutual Center. The win was the first as a professional head coach for Jim Johnson and was the first professional victory for goaltender Jaroslav Janus.
The Admirals will continue a seven-game road trip tomorrow night against the Manchester Monarchs. They return to Scope on Wednesday, February 3 to face the Hershey Bears.
The Falcons took a 1-0 lead just 1:29 into the game. Liam Reddox won a race to the puck behind the net guarded by Admirals goaltender Jaroslav Janus. Reddox quickly centered a pass into the slot. Colton Fretter one-timed the pass into the net between the left leg and glove of Janus.
Springfield doubled its lead midway through the second stanza. Geoff Paukovich sent a shot on Janus from the slot that bounced off the netminder and caromed back into a maze of bodies in the low slot. Rick Cleaver found the rebound and poked it into the net at 9:17.
The Admirals responded just over a minute later. Mark Parrish accepted a Mitch Fadden pass in the left circle. Parrish then sent a wrist shot over the right shoulder of Springfield netminder Jean-Philippe Levasseur at 10:33 for his tenth goal of the season. The assist was Fadden’s first professional point.
Fadden took little time in gaining his second point of the evening by assisting on the game-tying goal just over two minutes later. Ty Wishart accepted a Matt Fornataro feed at the top of the right circle and sent a wrist shot top shelf into the corner of the net over the glove-hand of Levasseur at 12:54.
The Admirals completed the comeback with only 2:23 left in the third period. Ty Wishart sent a shot from the high slot toward the net. Fornataro, who was stationed at the edge of the slot near the right hashmarks, extended his stick to re-direct the puck on its way past Levasseur and into the net.
Jaroslav Janus (19 shots, 17 saves) earned his first professional win. Jean-Philippe Levasseur (36 shots, 33 saves) was saddled with the loss.
Norfolk was 0-4 on the power play. Springfield was 0-3.
The Admirals will continue their seven-game road trip tomorrow night against the Manchester Monarchs. The puck drops at 7:00 p.m. All games are broadcast on STAR 1310-AM, star1310.com and ahllive.com.
The Admirals will return to Norfolk Scope Arena to kick off a six-game homestand on Wednesday, February 3 against the Hershey Bears.
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 1-800-745-3000 or visit Ticketmaster online at ticketmaster.com. Don’t miss a minute of the action by purchasing your 2009-10 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. Matt Fornataro – NOR
2. Ty Wishart – NOR
3. Jean-Philippe Levasseur – SPR
NOTES … Jim Johnson earned his first professional head coaching victory in his debut as head coach of the Norfolk Admirals. Johnson was named Norfolk’s head coach last Saturday after Darren Rumble was relieved of his duties … Jaroslav Janus picked up his first professional victory in his sixth professional game with the Admirals. Janus improved his goals-against average to 2.20 and his save percentage to .917 … After being held scoreless in his first 15 professional games, Mitch Fadden recorded his first professional points with two assists tonight … Matt Fornataro’s first goal as an Admiral was also his first career AHL game-winning goal. Fornataro notched his first point as an Admiral with an assist on Ty Wishart’s second period goal … Ryan Craig made his debut as the captain of the Norfolk Admirals. Craig was named captain earlier today ... Ben Eaves worked his first game as Norfolk’s Strength and Conditioning/Video Coach after being hired earlier this week … After scoring just one goal in 61 games with Norfolk as a rookie last season, Ty Wishart netted his seventh goal in his 42nd game with the Admirals this season … Fifteen of Norfolk’s 18 skaters recorded at least one shot on goal in the game … Defenseman Kenny Macaulay was released from his Professional Tryout Contract (PTO) earlier today … Attendance: 3,062.