HARTFORD, CT. – Richard Panik scored the game-winning goal in the tenth round of the shootout as the Norfolk Admirals (25-14-1-2) came from behind to defeat the Connecticut Whale (19-15-3-5), 5-4, on Saturday night at the XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Admirals, who won two of three on the road, begin a three-game homestand on Tuesday night as the Charlotte Checkers visit Scope Arena in the fifth game of the GEICO Cup Challenge.
Panik also notched his fifth assist of the season while Cory Conacher recorded scored his AHL-leading 24th goal of the season to go along with an assist of his own in the contest. Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Carter Ashton also scored for the Admirals while, Jaroslav Janus turned aside 25 of 26 shots, including the last nine in the shootout, in relief for the victory.
Norfolk opened the scoring just 39 seconds after the opening faceoff. Tyler Johnson sent a shot from the center of the right faceoff circle that trickled under the blocker and in behind netminder Chad Johnson for his 14th goal of the season.
Connecticut stormed back with goals on their first three shots to take a two goal lead. Goals by Andre Deveaux, Scott Tanski and Ryan Bourque gave the Whale the 3-1 lead after the first period.
Less than five minutes into the second period, Ondrej Palat scored his third goal of the season to bring Admirals back to within one goal. Palat picked up a bouncing puck in the slot in front of the Whale net and sent a shot into the top-shelf corner over Johnson narrowing the Whale lead to 3-2 at 3:58 of the second stanza.
The Admirals drew even at 3-3 with a third period goal by Carter Ashton. Ashton snuck behind the Whale defenseman and sent a backhand shot top-shelf over Johnson for his 16th goal of the season at 6:10 of the final period.
Just 18 seconds later, a power play goal by Cory Conacher gave the Admirals put the Admirals ahead 4-3. Conacher picked up a pass from teammate Mike Kostka and fired a shot from the right faceoff circle over the glove of Johnson at 6:28 of the third.
Less than two minutes later, Scott Tanski scored his second goal of the contest to tie the game at 4-4. After an Admirals turnover, Tanski picked up a pass from Tommy Grant and snuck a shot backdoor behind Janus at 8:13 of the final stanza.
However, that would be all the scoring in regulation and overtime, as the game would be decided in a shootout. Eric Christensen scored on the Whale’s first attempt before Mike Kostka scored on the Admirals third shot of the shootout. It would take until the tenth round of the shootout before Richard Panik scored giving the Admirals the 5-4 shootout victory.
Dustin Tokarski started the game but allowed three goals on three shots but did not receive a decision. Jaroslav Janus turned aside 25 of 26 shots in relief, including nine of 10 in the shootout, in the victory. Chad Johnson turned aside 30 of 34 shots in the shootout loss.
Both teams were one for three with the man advantage.
The Admirals return to Scope on Tuesday night as they drop the puck on a three-game homestand, beginning with a matchup against the Charlotte Checkers in the fifth game of the GEICO Challenge Cup. The puck drops at 7:15 p.m. in another Admirals Value Night.
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 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.
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. Richard Panik - NOR
2. Scott Tanski - CT
3. Kelsey Tessier - CT
NOTES … Cory Conacher leads the AHL with 24 goals this season … The Admirals recorded their league-leading sixth victory when trailing after two periods of play … The Admirals improved to 19-11-0-2-0 vs. the Whale/Hartford Wolf Pack all-time … Did not play: Richard Petiot and Alexandre Picard