HERSHEY, Penn. – The Norfolk Admirals (16-10-0-1) surrendered three power play goals in the first period as they fell to the Hershey Bears (14-7-3-2), 6-3, on Sunday evening at Giant Center.
Cory Conacher netted a goal and two assists while Trevor Smith scored a goal and an assist. Tyler Johnson also scored for Norfolk. Admirals goaltender Dustin Tokarski saw his five-game winning streak end after stopping 23 of 28 shots.
Norfolk and Hershey now join the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (14-7-1-4) in a three-way tie for first place in the American Hockey League’s East Division. Next week, the Admirals return home to host the Bears at Scope on Friday before traveling to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday and Hershey on Sunday. Friday night’s game is the Admirals’ annual Toy Toss to benefit area charities. Fans are encouraged to bring plush toys to the game to throw onto the ice after Norfolk’s first goal. For more details, please visit norfolkadmirals.com.
A pair of goals from the league’s top power play gave Hershey a 2-0 lead midway through the first period. The Bears opened scoring at 9:23 with a five-on-three power play goal. Keith Aucoin one-timed a Chris Bourque shot from the high slot past Tokarski.
Hershey’s lead doubled 21 seconds later on a five-on-four power play goal. Aucoin sent a shot from the left circle that Tokarski stopped. However, Jacob Mickflikier found the rebound in the crease and swept it into the net at 9:54.
Norfolk responded less than two minutes later with Conacher’s team-leading sixteenth goal of the season. Smith dropped a pass to Conacher at the top of the left circle. Conacher’s shot traveled through traffic and past a screened Hershey goaltender Braden Holtby at 11:23.
However, the Bears’ power play restored Hershey’s two-goal lead less than three minutes later. Mickflikier sent a pass from the right circle to Aucoin in the left circle. Aucoin’s one-timer found its mark at 14:08.
The home team went ahead, 4-1, at 18:28 of the first period. Bourque sent a shot from the left circle over the right shoulder of Tokarski.
Norfolk cut its deficit to 4-2 with a five-on-three power play goal of its own early in the second period. Conacher spotted Smith in the low slot. Holtby denied Smith’s initial shot, but Smith was able to tuck his own rebound around Holtby’s right leg for his thirteenth goal of the season at 3:03.
The Admirals drew to within a goal of the Bears late in the second period. Pierre-Cedric Labrie fended off a defender to carry the puck from behind the goal line to the right half wall. He then spotted Johnson with a pass in the low slot. Johnson accepted the pass on his backhand with his back to the net. He spun around while shooting and sent the puck past Holtby at 16:58 for his tenth goal of the season.
However, the Bears iced the game in the third period. Bourque spotted Tomas Kundratek in the high slot, and Kundratek’s shot through traffic made its way past a screened Tokarski at 4:46. Bourque then tallied his fifth point of the game with an empty-net goal at 17:52.
Dustin Tokarski (10-6-0) saw his five-game winning streak end after stopping 23 of 28 shots. Braden Holtby (8-6-1) made 22 saves on 25 shots for the victory.
Norfolk was 1-5 on the power play. Hershey was 3-6 with the man advantage.
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 2011-12 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. Keith Aucoin – HER
2. Chris Bourque – HER
3. Jacob Mickflikier – HER
NOTES … Trevor Smith led the AHL with eight points (3G, 5A) in three games during the week of December 5 – 11 … Cory Conacher was tied for second in the AHL with seven points (4G, 3A) in the same span … Dustin Tokarski’s five-game winning streak ended. It tied the longest winning streak of Tokarski’s professional career (January 13 – 31, 2010) and was the longest winning streak by a Norfolk netminder since Cedrick Desjardins won six consecutive games from November 19 – December 4 last season … Hershey’s Chris Bourque recorded his second five-point performance against the Admirals this season. He recorded two goals and three assists against Norfolk both tonight and on October 14 at Scope, becoming the first opposing player in AHL Admirals history with a pair of five-point games against Norfolk … Did not play: Richard Petiot, Kevin Quick, Mike Angelidis, Scott Jackson, Charles Landry, Matt Fornataro.