HERSHEY, Penn. – Ryan Craig and Mitch Fadden scored third period goals as the Admirals again attempted to erase a three-goal deficit in the final period of play. However, the rally came up just short for the second game in a row as the Norfolk Admirals (37-34-3-3) fell to the Hershey Bears (59-15-0-3) 3-2 on Sunday evening at Giant Center.
The Admirals (80 points in 77 games), who return home next week to close out the regular season schedule on Wednesday against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and then host the Bears on Friday and Saturday, remain two points out of the final East Division playoff spot currently occupied by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (82 points in 77 games).
Hershey took the lead 11:00 into the game. Jay Beagle attempted a shot from the left faceoff circle that was deflected wide of the net to the right of Norfolk netminder Dustin Tokarski. The puck bounced off the end wall and into the back of Tokarski’s right leg before resting on the goal line near Tokarski’s left leg. Mathieu Perrault was the first player to get to the loose puck, and he tapped it over the goal line for a 1-0 lead.
Cody Eakin doubled the Hershey lead in the middle of the second stanza. Patrick Wellar sent a high wrist shot from the top of the slot that Eakin redirected into the top of the net past Tokarski’s glove at 12:53.
The AHL’s leading goal scorer, Alexandre Giroux, put the Bears up 3-0 less than five minutes into the final frame. Perrault sent a backhand pass from the bottom of the right circle into the slot. Giroux sent a forehand shot beneath the outstretched left leg of Tokarski at 4:45.
Norfolk mounted their comeback attempt less than three minutes later beginning with captain Ryan Craig’s team-leading 23rd goal of the season. He skated into the attacking zone along the left wing and sent a forehand shot from the left circle that snuck past goaltender Braden Holtby short-side at 7:24.
The Admirals then made it 3-2 less than a minute later after winning a faceoff. Matt Fornataro deflected a point shot on goal that ricocheted off Holtby into the slot. Justin Keller got the rebound and sent another shot that bounced off Holtby. Mitch Fadden then found a second rebound and sent it past Holtby at 8:16 for his seventh goal of the season.
Despite pressuring the Bears for much of the last ten minutes of the game, they were unable to get the equalizer as they fell 3-2.
Dustin Tokarski (30 shots, 27 saves) took the loss in his twelfth consecutive start. Braden Holtby (25 shots, 23 saves) got the win.
Norfolk was 0-3 on the power play. Hershey was 0-5.
The Admirals will conclude their 2009-10 regular season next week with a three-game homestand beginning Wednesday against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins before they host the Bears on Friday and Saturday nights.
Wednesday’s game against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will be will be another Family Fun Pack Night and Student Rush Night. Family Fun Packs include four discounted Red Level Tickets for just $48 plus four free hot dogs, four free popcorns and four free sodas. Fans get all of that for just $48 – that’s a savings of $37!
Student Rush Nights, brought to you by Pit Bull Energy Drink and Baxter’s Sports Lounge, provide $8 White Level Tickets (normally $12) for high school and college students with a valid current high school or college ID. In addition, when you buy a Student Rush Night Ticket, you get a buy-one, get-one free offer for the next Student Rush Night. On top of that, you get discounted food at Baxter’s Sports Lounge (located right across the street from Scope) on the day of the game.
Admirals Family Fun Packs are available at the Scope Box Office, all Ticketmaster Outlets, charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000 or online at Ticketmaster.com. Student Rush Night Tickets are available ONLY at the Scope Box Office after 2:00 p.m. on the day of the game.
For complete details of all promotions, ticket offers and giveaways, 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 2010-11 season tickets today. Affordable monthly payment plans are available for a limited time only! 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. Mathieu Perrault – HER
2. Cody Eakin – HER
3. Patrick Wellar – HER
NOTES … The Admirals held the league’s #1 power play at bay with five Hershey power plays killed – including four in the second period alone … With their win tonight, Hershey added to their long list of broken AHL records by recording their 34th home victory of the season – the most in the 74-season history of the American Hockey League … The Bears posted a 5-0-0-0 record against Norfolk at the Giant Center this season … Scratches: Kevin Quick, Dave Cowan, Ty Wishart, Blair Jones, Matt Case, Juraj Simek, Richard Panik, Jaroslav Janus, Taylor Vichorek … Attendance: 9,017.