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February 26, 2011

Admirals Lose Late Lead and Fall to Penguins in Shootout


WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, Penn. – Levi Nelson and Blair Jones staked the Norfolk Admirals (28-17-8-5) to a 2-0 lead. However, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (43-16-0-0) scored twice with less than five minutes remaining in regulation and won an eleven-round shootout to defeat the Admirals, 3-2, on Saturday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. The Admirals will conclude their weekend road trip tomorrow afternoon against the Albany Devils at 4:00 p.m. at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Goaltender Dustin Tokarski stopped 29 of 31 shots for the Admirals through 65 minutes and stopped six of 11 shooters in the shootout. The Penguins out-scored Norfolk 5-4 in the shootout.

The Admirals struck first 9:07 into the contest with Nelson’s sixth goal of the season. After a strong forechecking play allowed the Admirals to keep the puck in their attacking zone for an extended period, Pierre-Cedric Labrie fed the puck to Nelson in the slot. Nelson sent a backhand shot from near the right hashmarks over the gloved left hand of Penguins goaltender John Curry for a 1-0 Norfolk lead.

The lead doubled 6:29 into the second stanza on Jones’ seventeenth goal of the season. As they crossed the Penguins’ blue line near the right point, Paul Szczechura lofted a feed to Jones in the slot. Jones settled down the bouncing puck and sent it through the legs of Curry for a 2-0 Admirals lead. After the goal, the Penguins replaced Curry with goaltender Brad Thiessen.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton drew within a goal of the Admirals on the power play with 4:27 remaining in regulation. Robert Bortuzzo sent a shot from the high slot that deflected off traffic in front of the net and went past a screened Tokarski.

The Penguins tied the game less than two minutes later. Ben Street sent a shot from the left point through a screen that glanced off the crossbar behind Tokarski’s left shoulder with 2:48 remaining in regulation.

After a scoreless overtime, each team matched the other with four goals through the first ten rounds of the shootout. Marc-Antoine Pouliot, Mattias Ritola, Stefano Giliati and James Wright converted their shootout attempts. However, Penguins defenseman Joey Haddad scored in the top of the eleventh round and Admirals defenseman Troy Milam was stopped by Thiessen in the bottom of the eleventh round to give Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a 5-4 goal advantage in the shootout and a 3-2 victory in the game.

Dustin Tokarski (31 shots, 29 saves) took the shootout loss. John Curry (10 shots, 8 saves) did not receive a decision after starting the game and playing 26:29. Brad Thiessen (17 shots, 17 saves) got the win through 38:31 of relief.

Norfolk was 0-4 on the power play. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was 1-2.

The Admirals will conclude their brief road trip tomorrow afternoon against the Albany Devils at 4:00 p.m. at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Follow all of the action at 102.1-FM and 1490-AM The Game, 1021TheGame.com and ahllive.com.

The Admirals return to Scope on Wednesday night at 7:15 p.m. to battle the Hershey Bears in another Admirals Value Night, featuring Admirals Family Fun Packs and Student Rush Nights. Family Fun Packs, presented by SunTrust, 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 provide $8 White Level Tickets (normally $12) for 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.

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. Family Fun Packs must be purchased prior to the day of the game. Student Rush Night Tickets are available ONLY at the Scope Box Office after 2:00 p.m. on the day of the game.

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.

Season tickets for the 2011-12 season are now available! Low monthly payments 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 for more details or to purchase your tickets!

Three Stars:
1. Joey Haddad – WBS
2. Ben Street – WBS
3. Robert Bortuzzo – WBS

NOTES … Norfolk (28-17-8-4, 68 points) remains three points behind the Binghamton Senators (32-30-3-4, 71 points) for fourth place in the AHL’s East Division after the Senators also lost in a shootout tonight, 3-2 vs. the Rochester Americans … The Admirals have now lost thirteen games in either overtime or a shootout this season. Norfolk is 2-8 in overtime and 4-5 in a shootout … Each of Norfolk’s last three games have required a shootout … The Admirals have allowed only four goals in the first two periods of play over their last five games. They have allowed nine goals in the third period or beyond in the same timeframe … Since their five-game winning streak was snapped on January 22, Norfolk is 4-7-1-3 with eight of the losses coming by a single goal … Scratches: Mike Vernace, Tim Marks, Alex Berry, Mathieu Roy, Mitch Fritz, Cedrick Desjardins.

# ADMIRALS HOCKEY: IT'S TIME #

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