HERSHEY, Penn. – Mike Kostka’s third-period power play goal forced overtime, but his Norfolk Admirals (20-11-0-2) fell to the Hershey Bears (19-8-3-3), 3-2 after a shootout, on Saturday night at Giant Center. The Admirals will ring in the New Year on Wednesday night with a road contest against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Ondrej Palat also scored for Norfolk, which fell in the shootout session, 1-0. Jaroslav Janus stopped 37 of 39 shots through regulation and overtime before allowing one goal on four shots in the shootout. The Admirals are now two points back of the Bears for first place in the East Division. The Penguins are one point behind Norfolk.
The game began well for Norfolk, as Palat put the Admirals ahead, 1-0, only 1:59 into the contest with his second goal of the season. He sent a pass to Richard Panik in the left circle. Panik then sent the puck back to Palat in the slot, and Palat shot the puck through the leg pads of Bears goaltender Braden Holtby.
However, the Bears came back in the second period to take the lead with a pair of shorthanded goals. Keith Aucoin sailed a pass from the right point toward the net, and Chris Bourque redirected the puck past the left leg of Janus at 7:16. Christian Hanson then sent a shot off the crossbar and into the net at 15:34.
The Admirals forced overtime by tying the game at 2-2 with a power play goal 5:31 into the third period. Kostka sent a shot from the high slot that deflected twice of Hershey defenders before sneaking past Braden Holtby.
After a scoreless overtime, Keith Aucoin scored the only goal of the shootout in the bottom of the fourth round. Holtby denied Tyler Johnson’s shootout bid in the top of the fifth round to seal the win for Hershey.
Jaroslav Janus (7-4-2) stopped 37 of 39 shots in regulation and overtime before stopping three of four shooters in the shootout for the shootout setback. Braden Holtby (11-7-1) stopped 26 of 28 shots in regulation and overtime and all five shooters he faced in the shootout for the win.
Norfolk was 1-for-6 on the power play while the Bears were 0-for-5.
The Admirals will next square off against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Wednesday night from the Mohegan Sun Arena. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. Tune in to 102.1-FM, 1490-AM, 1021TheGame.com or AHLLive.com.
The Admirals return to Norfolk Scope Arena next Friday and Saturday nights as they host the Albany Devils in a pair of matchups. Game time for Friday's contest with the Devils is set for 7:30 p.m.
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. Braden Holtby – HER
NOTES … The Admirals had gone 24 games without an overtime contest prior to tonight’s game. They are now 2-0-3 in overtime and 1-2 in the shootout this season … Norfolk fell to 12-2-0-1 when scoring first and 8-1-0-1 when leading after the first period after tonight’s shootout setback … Janus has been in net for all three shootouts Norfolk has played this season, going 1-2 with nine saves on 13 shots … Hershey’s two shorthanded goals tied Norfolk’s franchise record for shorthanded goals allowed in a single game. It was the ninth time the Admirals have surrendered two shorthanded goals in a game since joining the AHL … Did not play: Richard Petiot, Kevin Quick, Alexandre Picard, Pierre-Cedric Labrie.