NORFOLK – Patrick Maroon scored twice and Frederik Andersen made 23 saves as the Norfolk Admirals (27-26-4-1) defeated the Hershey Bears (28-23-3-5), 4-1, on Saturday night at Norfolk Scope Arena.
The Admirals, who were eight points out of a playoff spot entering the week, earned five of a possible six points in the standings over three games. Norfolk has now closed to within three points of the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference with 18 games remaining in the regular season.
Troy Bodie and Brayden Irwin also scored for Norfolk, while Jordan Hendry notched two assists for the home team. Andersen (15-11-1) improved to 8-1-0 over his last nine games.
The Admirals now embark on a three-game road trip beginning on Wednesday night against the Charlotte Checkers. The return to Scope on March 19th and 20th to host the Adirondack Phantoms.
The Admirals opened scoring 2:25 into the contest on Bodie’s fourth goal of the season. Bears goaltender Dany Sabourin fumbled the puck as he attempted to clear it from the zone. Bodie corralled the puck and swept it into the cage for a 1-0 Norfolk lead.
The lead doubled just 34 seconds into the second stanza on Irwin’s first goal of the season. Josh Brittain worked the puck from the left corner to Jordan Hendry in the left circle. The veteran blueliner sent a low slap shot that Irwin deflected from the low slot. The puck changed directions, eluding Sabourin between the netminder’s legs for a 2-0 lead.
Hershey cut its deficit to one goal just over seven minutes later. Garrett Stafford carried the puck into the Norfolk zone along the right wing. Just before he circled behind the net, he centered the puck into the low slot, where Jon DiSalvatore one-timed the puck past Andersen. The goal at 7:43 of the second period cut the home team’s lead to 2-1.
Norfolk’s penalty kill came up large midway through the second period, killing off a Hershey five-on-three power play for 1:07 with several big saves by Andersen.
The lead increased to 3-1 early in the third period. Maroon carried the puck behind the net from the left wing, circled in front and sent a wraparound shot past Sabourin at 4:34 for his sixteenth goal of the season. Sami Vatanen earned an assist on the play to extend his point/assist streak to seven straight games (1g, 9a).
Maroon sealed the victory with an empty-net goal with 1:20 remaining in regulation.
Sabourin (8-10-3) stopped 15 of 18 shots in the setback.
Norfolk was 1-for-3 on the power play. Hershey was 0-for-6. The Admirals killed the final 17 straight Hershey power plays in the season series to finish 39/41 (95.1%) on the penalty kill against the Bears this season.
Norfolk's three-game road trip begins Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. against the Charlotte Checkers in Game 7 of the GEICO Challenge Cup. All games can be heard on 102.1-FM, 1490-AM or 1021TheGame.com. You may also watch at AHLLive.com.
The Admirals return to Scope on March 19-20 to face off against the Adirondack Phantoms. Both games are Admirals Value Nights, with Family Fun Packs and Student Rush Night tickets available.
Family Fun Packs include four discounted Red Level Tickets plus four free hot dogs, four free popcorns and four free sodas. Fans get all of that for just $54 – that’s a savings of $37!
Student Rush Nights provide $9 White Level Tickets (normally $17 on game nights) 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.
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. Frederik Andersen – NOR
2. Patrick Maroon – NOR
3. Jordan Hendry – NOR