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January 28, 2012

Admirals Split Weekend Series with Bears in Front of Sellout Crowd at Scope


NORFOLK, Va. – Tyler Johnson and Cory Conacher each tallied a goal and an assist in front of a sellout crowd at Norfolk Scope Arena. However, it wasn’t enough as the Norfolk Admirals (26-16-1-2) fell to the Hershey Bears (25-12-4-3), 3-2, on Saturday night in front of 8,699 fans. The Admirals begin the All-Star break in third place in the East Division, two points behind the Bears and three points behind the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Richard Panik extended his point streak to five games with an assist and Jeff Dimmen also notched an assist. Dustin Tokarski turned aside 19 of 22 shots in the defeat. Hershey's Ryan Potulny scored twice while Christian Hanson's deflection goal 1:14 into the third period broke a 2-2 tie. Bears goaltender Braden Holtby stopped 38 of 40 shots.

Hershey struck first with a power play goal by Ryan Potulny 3:56 into the game. While in the right faceoff circle, Chris Bourque sent a pass to Potulny, who sent a one timer past Tokarski, glove-side.

Less than five minutes later, the power play struck again – this time for Norfolk. Johnson evened the score at 1-1 at 8:46. Conacher passed to Panik at the bottom of the right circle. Panik held it until he saw a lane to send the puck across the crease to Johnson, who one-timed it past Holtby for his 15th goal of the season.

The Bears took a 2-1 lead late in the second period. Hershey was on a 4-on-3 power play when Bourque found Potulny in the right faceoff circle. Potulny launched the puck past the glove of Tokarski at 18:44 for his second goal of the contest.

Off the ensuing faceoff, Conacher drove the puck into the Norfolk offensive zone and attempted a pass to Dimmen. The puck bounced off Dimmen’s skate and was recovered by Johnson. Johnson found Conacher in the slot and Conacher’s AHL-leading 25th goal came as he backhanded the puck over Holtby’s blocker. This put the score at 2-2 at 18:59.

Just 1:14 into the final frame, the Bears capitalized on a turnover deep in the Norfolk zone to take a 3-2 lead. Matthew Ford intercepted a pass in the high slot. He took a slap shot that deflected off Hanson as he was skating in front of goal, and the puck squirted past Tokarski's right skate and into the net.

Despite facing 17 shots in the third period, Holtby held the Admirals scoreless in the third period as the Bears held on the for the 3-2 victory.

Dustin Tokarski (18-10-0) turned aside 19 of 22 shots for his first loss since January 10 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Braden Holtby (15-11-1) stopped 38 of 40 shots for the victory.

Norfolk was 1-4 on the power play. Hershey was 2-5 with the man advantage.

The Admirals now break for All-Star weekend before taking to the road. Norfolk will be heading north to face Adirondack next Friday and then Springfield next Saturday and Sunday. All games can be heard at 102.1-FM, 1490-AM and 1021TheGame.com. You can also watch on a pay-per-view basis at AHLLive.com.

The Admirals return home on Friday and Saturday, February 10 and 11, to face off against the Adirondack Phantoms.

Friday, February 10, marks the second Military Appreciation Night of the 2011-12 season. Red Level Tickets (normally $17.50 on game nights) will be available for just $9 at the Norfolk Scope Box Office for all active or retired military, their dependents and reservists with valid military identification. Groups of 25 or more can purchase their Red Level Tickets for just $8 by contacting the Admirals Group Sales Office via phone at (757) 640-1212 ext. 23 or ext. 24 or via email at charlie@norfolkadmirals.com

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!

Three Stars:
1. Ryan Potulny – HER
2. Cory Conacher – NOR
3. Tyler Johnson – NOR

NOTES … Norfolk is now 3-4-0-1 vs. the Bears this season … Cory Conacher is tied for the AHL lead in goals with 25 … Conacher, Mark Barberio and Trevor Smith will represent the Admirals at the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic tomorrow and Monday in Atlantic City, New Jersey … Did not play: Richard Petiot, Alexandre Picard, Evan Oberg.


# ARMED AND READY #

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