Admirals Spread Out Attack in Victory Over Division Leaders
WILKES-BARRE, Penn. – Twelve different players recorded at least one point as the Norfolk Admirals (17-11-0-1) defeated the East Division-leading Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (16-8-1-4), 5-2, on Saturday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
Norfolk is now two points behind the Penguins and Hershey Bears (16-7-3-2) for first place in the East Division. The Admirals will travel to Hershey to take on the Bears tomorrow evening in their final contest before the holiday break.
Matt Fornataro, Carter Ashton, Tyler Johnson, Cory Conacher and Michel Ouellet each scored goals for Norfolk. Trevor Smith and Scott Jackson notched two assists while Goaltender Dustin Tokarski stopped 20 shots for the win.
The visitors took a 1-0 lead in the contest’s first minute on Fornataro’s second goal of the season. Smith took the puck from the right corner and fed a pass across the low slot to his former University of New Hampshire teammate. Fornataro redirected the feed into the net for a power play goal at 0:53.
Norfolk’s lead doubled less than four minutes later on Ashton’s fourteenth goal of the season. Radko Gudas sent a shot from the left point through traffic. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goaltender Brad Thiessen stopped the shot. However, Ashton swept the rebound into the net at 4:32.
The Penguins cut the Admirals’ lead to one goal just over six minutes later. Forward Ben Street deflected a Dan Henningson shot past Tokarski at 10:41 to trim Norfolk’s lead to 2-1.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton tied the game at 2-2 just 1:42 into the second stanza. Geoff Walker took the puck from behind the goal line towards the left circle, sending a backhand pass toward the net. The puck glanced off the skate of Bryan Lerg and snuck past Tokarski.
However, the remainder of the second period belonged to Norfolk, who out-shot Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 12-3, in the frame. Johnson restored the Admirals’ lead at 7:06. He picked up the puck from Jean-Philippe Cote behind his own net and skated the length of the ice before sending a wrist shot over Thiessen’s glove for his eleventh goal of the season. Following the goal, the Penguins replaced Thiessen with goaltender Scott Munroe.
Norfolk continued to pour on the pressure, and Conacher’s team-leading eighteenth goal of the season put the visitors ahead, 4-2. Conacher emerged from behind the goal line near Munroe’s left leg and sent a wraparound shot through the goaltender’s pads at 13:31.
Ouellet closed out scoring with 20 seconds remaining in the second period. Ashton sent a pass from the right circle across the slot. Ouellet sent a shot past Munroe’s left leg for his seventh goal of the season.
Neither team scored in a quiet third period, as Tokarski turned aside six shots and Thiessen returned to the game to stop three shots.
Dustin Tokarski (11-7-0) made 20 saves on 22 shots for the victory. Brad Thiessen (11-7-2) stopped 10 of 13 shots for the loss, playing all but 12:54 of the game. Scott Munroe (5-2-2) did not receive a decision in relief after stopping nine of 11 shots.
Norfolk was 1-4 on the power play. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was 0-4 with the man advantage.
The Admirals will travel to Hershey to take on the Bears tomorrow evening in their final contest before the holiday break. The puck drops at 5:00 p.m. Due to Washington Redskins football, the game will only be available online at 1021TheGame.com or on the 102.1 The Game smart phone app. You may also watch on a pay-per-view basis at AHLLive.com.
The Admirals return home on Wednesday, December 28, to face off against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The puck drops at 7:15 p.m. in another Admirals Value Night, featuring Family Fun Packs and Student Rush Night tickets. The game also features the third post-game skate of the season.
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 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. Student Rust 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.
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. Carter Ashton – NOR
2. Tyler Johnson – NOR
3. Scott Jackson – NOR
NOTES … Cory Conacher has goals and points in five consecutive games (6G, 4A) … Trevor Smith has assists and points in five consecutive games (3G, 8A) … With a goal and an assist, Carter Ashton notched his first multiple-point game since November 18 at St. John’s. Ashton now has seven multiple-point games this season for Norfolk … Defenseman Scott Jackson recorded just the second multiple-point game in his AHL career tonight with two assists. His last multiple-point AHL game came on January 3, 2009, with the Admirals at Portland (also two assists) … With an assist on Tyler Johnson’s second period goal, Dustin Tokarski recorded the first point by a Norfolk goaltender during the 2011-12 season … Did not play: Richard Petiot, Kevin Quick, Alexandre Picard, Eric Neilson.