WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – Radko Gudas’ first professional goal was the go-ahead tally in the third period as the Norfolk Admirals (17-6-4-1) defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (21-6-0-0), 7-4, on Saturday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza to sweep a home-and-home set between the clubs.
Norfolk drew to within three points of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for the best record in the American Hockey League after a game that featured an AHL Admirals franchise record 235 combined penalty minutes. Next up for Norfolk is a pair of home games against the Albany Devils on Friday and Saturday at Scope.
Mark Barberio also scored his first professional goal, Troy Milam scored twice and Matt Fornataro, Paul Szczechura and Levi Nelson also scored for the Admirals. Cedrick Desjardins made 24 saves to extend his franchise-record road winning streak to seven games.
The Admirals struck first on the power play just 5:20 into the first period. Milam sent a shot from the right point that struck traffic in front of the net guarded by Penguins goaltender Brad Thiessen. Fornataro found the loose puck and backhanded a shot from the low slot into the net for his ninth goal of the season.
The Penguins tied the game midway through the second period. Corey Potter sent a shot from the high slot bounced off Desjardins to the left circle. Eric Tangradi found the rebound and swept it under the right leg of Desjardins at 9:11.
The game was tied less than three minutes after Szczechura put Norfolk back on top with his ninth goal of the season. Kevin Quick sent a shot from the high slot that hit traffic in the low slot. Szczechura found the rebound and shoveled it under Thiessen’s left leg at 11:55.
The Admirals’ lead doubled with Barberio’s first professional goal less than a minute later. He entered the attacking zone in the high slot with speed and accepted a pass from Blair Jones. He sent a wrist shot over Thiessen’s left shoulder at 12:45 for a 3-1 Norfolk lead.
The Admirals struck again just over two minutes later on Milam’s first goal of the game. He sent a slap shot from the right circle that sailed over Thiessen’s right shoulder at 14:55. After the goal, Thiessen was replaced in net by John Curry.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton mounted a strong third period comeback, beginning Tangradi’s second goal of the contest 2:41 into the final frame. Potter sent a shot from the right point that Tangradi deflected past Desjardins.
Kevin Veilleux then cut the Penguins’ deficit to one goal less than three minutes later. He cut across the left circle to the goalmouth and sent a shot off Desjardins. He then found his own rebound and sent it past the goaltender’s left leg at 5:20 to trim Norfolk’s lead to 4-3.
Joey Haddad tied the game at 4-4 just over two minutes later. He won a battle for a loose puck in the slot and sent a backhand shot under the blocker of Desjardins at 7:46.
The Admirals re-claimed the lead at 13:26 with Gudas’ first professional goal. He sent a slap shot from the right circle through a screen and knocked the water bottle off the top of the net behind Curry’s right shoulder.
The Admirals cemented the victory with a pair of last-minute goals. Nelson tallied his first marker as an Admiral into an empty net at 19:01. Milam then scored on a five-on-three power play with less than one second remaining for a 7-4 final score.
Cedrick Desjardins (33 shots, 29 saves) earned the win. Brad Thiessen (19 shots, 15 saves) did not receive a decision after playing the first 34:55. John Curry (14 shots, 12 saves) was saddled with the loss in 25:05 of relief.
Norfolk was 2-7 on the power play. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was 0-4.
The Admirals return to Scope next Friday and Saturday to battle the Albany Devils. Friday night is Scout Night through the Tidewater Boy Scout Council. Special discounted tickets are available via advance purchase at the Boy Scout Council Service Center. Please contact the Council Service Center for deadline information. All units purchasing tickets will be recognized on the Scope video eboards.
The Admirals' Annual Toy Toss will take place Saturday night. Admirals fans are asked to bring new stuffed toys to the game to throw onto the ice after the Admirals score their first goal. The Toy Toss is an official U.S. Marine Corps Toys For Tots event and a Norfolk Holidays In The City Event.
Also on Saturday, Admirals fans will receive the first set of Admirals trading cards and can participate in a post-game skate with the team following the game. A limited number of skates will be available or fans may bring their own skates.
Individual tickets for all regular season games start at just $12. Tickets are available now at the Scope Box Office, all Ticketmaster Outlets, charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000 and online at ticketmaster.com.
Don’t miss a minute of the action by purchasing your 2010-11 season tickets today. Season tickets start at just $350 while 10-Packs are available for as little as $110. 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. Radko Gudas – NOR
2. Eric Tangradi – WBS
3. Troy Milam – NOR
NOTES … The Admirals have standings points in six straight games (5-0-1-0) and in 11 of their last 13 games (10-2-1-0) … Norfolk is now the only AHL team without back-to-back regulation losses this season after Wilkes-Barre/Scranton lost both games to the Admirals this weekend … Tonight's game sets a new record for most Norfolk penalty minutes (124), most opponent penalty minutes (111) and most combined penalty minutes (235) in an AHL Admirals game … Scratches: Mathieu Roy, Mitch Fritz, Vladimir Mihalik.