Dogged Determination Leads Admirals to Comeback Win
NORFOLK – Devante Smith-Pelly scored the game-tying goal in the third period and the game-winner in the shootout as the Norfolk Admirals (11-12-1-0) erased a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (12-11-1-2), 3-2, on Pucks 'n' Paws Night Saturday at Norfolk Scope Arena.
Igor Bobkov (4-6-0) stopped 39 of 41 shots through regulation and overtime before stopping seven of eight shooters in the shootout. He out-dueled Bridgeport goaltender Kevin Poulin, who stopped 49 of 51 shots through regulation and overtime before stopping six of eight shooters in the shootout. John Kurtz also scored for the Admirals, who out-shot the Sound Tigers, 52-41.
After playing the Hershey Bears at Giant Center in Pennsylvania Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m., the Admirals will return to Scope to host the Albany Devils on Friday and Saturday nights next weekend.
Bridgeport took the lead with a power play goal late in the first period. Nino Niederreiter accepted a pass in the right corner. He swung around into the low slot and sent a wrist shot past the right leg of Bobkov for a 1-0 Sound Tigers lead 16:09 into the first period.
Bridgeport’s lead doubled early in the second period on a two-on-one play. Johan Sundstrom sent a pass from the right circle beyond the reach of a Norfolk defenseman to John Persson who was cutting through the left wing. Persson slipped a shot past the left leg of Bobkov at 1:51 for a 2-0 Sounds Tigers lead.
The Admirals cut their deficit to one goal with under a minute remaining in the second period. After breaking up a Bridgeport rush, Gabe Guentzel sent a pass from the Norfolk zone to Kurtz at the opposite blue line for a breakaway. Kurtz sent a wrist shot past the blocker of Sound Tigers goaltender Kevin Poulin at 19:14 for his second goal of the season. The Admirals trailed the Sound Tigers, 2-1, heading into the second intermission.
Smith-Pelly tied the game at 2-2 midway through the third period. Patrick Maroon centered a pass from behind the goal line toward the low slot. Smith-Pelly one-timed it past Poulin at 9:01.
After a scoreless overtime, the teams headed to a shootout. Norfolk's Emerson Etem broke the ice in the bottom of the third round before Bridgeport's Jon Landry tied it at 1-1 in the top of the fifth round. Bobkov and Poulin exchanged saves until the bottom of the eighth round when Smith-Pelly found the back of the net blocker-side to give the Admirals the victory.
Norfolk was 0-for-3 on the power play. Bridgeport was 1-for-3 on the power play.
The Admirals and Hershey Bears face off at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday from Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Tune in to 102.1-FM, 1490-AM, 1021TheGame.com or AHLLive.com.
The Admirals return to Scope to host the Albany Devils on Friday and Saturday nights next weekend. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and 7:15 p.m. on Saturday.
The first 2,500 fans through the gates on Friday will receive an Admirals Calder Cup Championship replica ring, courtesy of BB&T.
Don’t miss a minute of Admirals action by purchasing your season tickets today. 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. Devante Smith-Pelly – NOR
2. Igor Bobkov – NOR
3. Kevin Poulin – BRI
NOTES … The Admirals won for the first time this season when surrendering the first goal of the game (1-9-1-0) … Every skater in Norfolk's lineup registered at least one shot on goal … Igor Bobkov snapped a six-game losing streak dating back to November 2, 2012 … Earlier today, goaltender Marco Cousineau was reassigned to the Admirals by the NHL's Anaheim Ducks from the ECHL's Fort Wayne Komets. Cousineau served as the backup goaltender in the game … Did not play: Nate Guenin, Matt Smaby, Frederik Andersen, Jay Rosehill.