NORFOLK, Va. – The Norfolk Admirals (38-35-3-3) fell to the Hershey Bears (60-16-0-3) 6-1 on Friday night at Norfolk Scope Arena. The Admirals and Bears will meet again tomorrow in the 2009-10 regular season finale for both clubs.
The Admirals have fallen two points back of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and the Lowell Devils for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot. The Sound Tigers and Devils are currently tied for fourth in the Atlantic Division.
The only way that the Admirals can qualify for the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs is if they win tomorrow’s game against Hershey and either Bridgeport or Lowell loses both of its final two games this weekend. Bridgeport plays tomorrow versus Manchester and Saturday versus Hartford. Lowell is at Portland tomorrow and versus Providence on Sunday.
The Bears got on the board first with an Alexandre Giroux power play goal 9:40 into the game. Chris Bourque sent a pass from the top of the left circle to Giroux at the top of the right circle. Giroux one-timed the puck past a screened Dustin Tokarski to give Hershey a 1-0 lead.
The Admirals leveled the score at 1-1 just over a minute later on Mitch Fritz’s second goal of the season. Tim Marks sent a shot from the right half wall that bounced off Hershey goaltender Braden Holtby and landed on the ice between the goalmouth and the bottom of the right faceoff circle. Fritz found the rebound and punched it into the net at 10:56.
Giroux gave the Bears a 2-1 lead just 4:44 into the second stanza on an odd-man rush. Keith Aucoin carried the puck into the attacking zone at the high slot and sent a pass to Bryan Helmer in the left circle. Helmer quickly sent the puck back across the slot to Giroux for a back-door tap-in past Tokarski’s right leg.
Giroux completed the hat trick less than four minutes later. Aucoin sent a pass from the top of the left circle toward the bottom of the right circle where Giroux one-timed it over Tokarski’s left leg at 8:35.
Ashton Rome made it 4-1 Bears at 9:19 when he sent a shot from the right circle that sailed over the left shoulder of Tokarski.
Just over two minutes later, Hershey’s lead became four goals when Steve Pinizzotto sent a pass from the right circle to Andrew Joudrey in the slot for a shot over the right leg of Tokarski at 11:27.
The Bears capped scoring 6:18 into the third period with an Andrew Gordon power play goal. Aucoin sent a pass from left circle to Gordon to attempt a backhanded redirection. The puck instead hit Tokarski’s right leg and bounced about a foot back into the crease. Gordon backhanded the rebound past Tokarski’s right leg for a 6-1 Hershey lead.
Dustin Tokarski (29 shots, 23 saves) took the loss. Braden Holtby (24 shots, 23 saves) earned the win.
Norfolk was 0-3 on the power play. Hershey was 2-5.
The Admirals will conclude their 2009-10 regular season by hosting the Hershey Bears tomorrow night at Scope at 7:15 p.m.
The Admirals will close out the 2009-10 regular season schedule by thanking the most important members of the team – the fans – with Fan Appreciation Night. Come out for a fun night of hockey and you may leave with exciting prizes!
Also tomorrow, the first 1,500 fans through the gates will receive an Admirals mini stick courtesy of Uncle Bob’s Self Storage.
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. Alexandre Giroux – HER
2. Keith Aucoin – HER
3. Chris Bourque – HER
NOTES … Dustin Tokarski started his 14th consecutive game, extending his own AHL Admirals franchise record for consecutive starts and tying Corey Crawford’s AHL Admirals record for consecutive appearances … Hershey became the first team in the 74-season history of the American Hockey League to win 60 games in a single season … Scratches: Kevin Quick, Dave Cowan, Blair Jones, Matt Case, Juraj Simek, Richard Panik, Jaroslav Janus, Taylor Vichorek … Attendance: 4,752.