BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – Blair Jones tied the game early in the second period and had the game-ending shootout conversion as the Norfolk Admirals (32-26-3-1) topped the Binghamton Senators (22-29-3-3) 3-2 on Saturday night at the Broome County Veteran’s Memorial Arena. The Admirals will continue a five-game road trip with game four tomorrow afternoon against the Syracuse Crunch.
The Senators took a 1-0 lead 2:05 into the game with a shorthanded goal. Zack Smith stole the puck from an Admirals attacker in the neutral zone and sped into the Norfolk zone along the left wing. He fended off an Admirals defender with his right arm and controlled the puck with his left arm on his stick, sending a shot into the outstretched right leg of Norfolk netminder Dustin Tokarski from the left edge of the slot. However, Smith quickly found his own rebound in the slot and swept it past the right skate of Tokarski and into the net.
Norfolk tied the game at 1-1 midway through the opening frame with a highlight-reel goal from leading scorer Brandon Bochenski. Bochenski entered the attacking zone with a defender on both his right and left side. As the puck began to elude his control due to the infringement of the Binghamton defensemen, Bochenski reached his stick out with his left hand and chipped a backhand shot under the right arm of Senators goaltender Chris Holt. The goal at 7:53 was Bochenski’s 21st of the season.
However, Binghamton re-claimed the lead at 16:05 of the first period off an Admirals turnover. Jim O’Brien stole the puck between the circles in the Norfolk end and rifled a quick wrist shot past Tokarski blocker-side.
The Admirals tied the game at 2-2 early in the second stanza. Juraj Simek entered the attacking zone along the right wing and attempted a shot from the right point that was blocked. Blair Jones found the loose puck in the high slot and sent a heavy wrist shot over Holt’s glove and under the crossbar for his seventh goal of the season.
The score would remain 2-2 through the remainder of regulation and a five-minute overtime, sending the game into a shootout.
Norfolk’s Paul Szczechura and Binghamton’s Denis Hamel each converted for a 1-1 score after two rounds of the shootout.
After Tokarski stopped Team Latvia Olympian Kaspars Daugavins in the top of the third round, Juraj Simek scored in the bottom of the third round – his fifth shootout goal in five tries this season – to give Norfolk a 2-1 edge.
Tokarski then stopped former NHL leading goal scorer Jonathan Cheechoo in the top of the fourth round, allowing Blair Jones to end the shootout by scoring in the bottom of the fourth round for a 3-1 shootout score and a 3-2 game victory.
Dustin Tokarski (37 shots, 35 saves) earned his 21st win of the season. Chris Holt (45 shots, 43 saves) took the shootout loss.
Norfolk was 0-3 on the power play. Binghamton was 0-2.
The Admirals will continue a five-game road trip with game four tomorrow afternoon against the Syracuse Crunch.
The Admirals will return to Scope on Friday and Saturday next week for a pair of pivotal East Division matchups against the Albany River Rats. On Friday, the Admirals and the Norfolk Department of Public Health will team up to offer free H1N1 flu vaccinations to all fans in attendance. Then join us on Saturday for American Cancer Society Relay For Life Night. Special discounted fundraising tickets are available with proceeds going back to the American Cancer Society. For more information or to purchase your vouchers, contact your Relay For Life team leader or the American Cancer Society at (757) 493-7940. The top two selling teams will compete in an intermission broomball game.
For a complete schedule and details of the promotions, please visit norfolkadmirals.com or call (757) 640-1212.
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. Dustin Tokarski – NOR
2. Zack Smith – BNG
3. Brandon Bochenski – NOR
NOTES … The third-place Admirals (32-26-3-1, 68 points in 62 games) remained two points behind the second-place Albany River Rats (32-23-3-3, 70 points in 61 games), who defeated the Manchester Monarchs tonight on the road … Norfolk also maintained a six-point lead over the fourth-place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (30-27-1-1, 62 points in 59 games), who defeated the Providence Bruins at home tonight … Juraj Simek is tied for the American Hockey League lead in shootout conversions (5), shootout shooting percentage (100%) and shootout winning conversions (3). He has scored in all five shootout games Norfolk has played this season … With a goal, Brandon Bochenski has points in all six games (5G, 3A) since returning from Tampa Bay last week … Prior to scoring in the second period tonight, Blair Jones went 24 games between goals with the Admirals since scoring on November 27 vs. Albany ... Scratches: Mark Parrish, Justin Keller … Attendance: 4,234.