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March 29, 2013

Admirals Complete Three-Goal Third Period Comeback vs. Crunch


NORFOLK – Patrick Maroon netted his third goal of the game 1:41 into overtime as the Norfolk Admirals (32-29-4-1) completed a comeback from a three-goal third period deficit to top the Syracuse Crunch (39-18-4-5), 5-4, on Friday night at Norfolk Scope Arena.

With the win, the Admirals have closed to within two points of the Hershey Bears for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race with 10 games remaining in the regular season.

Devante Smith-Pelly and Chris Wagner also scored for Norfolk, while Frederik Andersen (19-14-1) stopped 26 of 30 shots for the win. Brandon McMillan and Sami Vatanen each had two assists, with Vatanen's assists coming on the game-tying and game-winning goals. Kyle Bonis and Charlie Sarault each posted assists in their professional debuts just hours after signing Amateur Tryout Contracts with the Admirals. Sarault's helper was the primary assist on the overtime goal.

The same teams square off once again tomorrow night at Scope at 7:15 p.m. in the 13th annual MDA Jersey Auction Night, presented by PAPCO.

Syracuse took a 1-0 lead 3:51 into the first period. Brett Connolly sent a backhanded centering feed from the left corner that deflected into the net off Andersen.

The Crunch lead doubled to 2-0 later in the first period. Danick Gauthier sent a low wrist shot from the slot. The puck deflected at least once off an Admirals defender, popping the shot into the air. It was then deflected downward by Eric Neilson and past a screened Andersen at 17:07 for Neilson’s first goal of the season.

Norfolk cut its deficit in half in the waning moments of the first period. Bonis sent the puck from the right circle behind the goal line. Maroon found the puck behind the net, emerged in front near the left leg of Syracuse goaltender Riku Helenius. He banked a shot off the goaltender and into the net at 19:46 for his nineteenth goal of the season.

Syracuse restored its two-goal lead late in the second period. Jean-Philippe Cote sent a wrist shot from the left circle that Andersen blocked. However, Alex Hutchings kicked the rebound from his skate to his stick and fired a shot past Andersen’s left leg at 18:59, giving the Crunch a 3-1 lead after two periods.

Syracuse briefly extended its lead to 4-1 just ten seconds into the third period. J.T. Brown floated a pass from the left circle that was first tipped by J.T. Wyman in the slot before former Admirals forward Dan Sexton redirected it past Andersen.

Norfolk struck back quickly with a pair of goals less than two minutes apart to begin the comeback. First, McMillan intercepted the puck in his own zone and skated it into the attacking zone along the left wing. He threw the puck across the goalmouth, and Smith-Pelly redirected the puck past the left leg of Helenius at 0:50 for his eleventh goal of the season.

The Admirals closed their gap to one goal at 2:46. Rod Pelley sent a long breakout pass from his own zone to Wagner for a breakaway. Wagner sent a backhand shot between the right leg and blocker of Helenius for his seventh goal of the season, cutting the Crunch lead to 4-3.

Norfolk knotted the score at 4-4 with a power play goal just over six minutes later. Nate Guenin sent a slap shot from the left half wall that Maroon tipped past Helenius at 8:49. With the goal, Maroon became the first Admiral to 20 goals on the season. He would add one more about 13 minutes later.

Former Admirals captain Mike Angelidis took a penalty for slashing with one second remaining in regulation, giving Norfolk a power play as overtime began. As time was winding down on the man advantage, Vatanen sent a pass from the left point to Sarault in the right circle. Sarault collected the puck and held it as a defender slid past him anticipating a shot. He then centered to Maroon at the goalmouth, and Maroon slid the puck under Helenius for the game-winning goal 1:41 into overtime.

Helenius (16-12-0) stopped 25 of 30 shots for Syracuse.

Norfolk was 2-for-6 on the power play. Syracuse was 0-for-4.

The Admirals and PAPCO will present the 13th annual MDA Jersey Auction to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association tomorrow night after the Admirals' game against the Syracuse Crunch. The Admirals will don one-of-a-kind jerseys for that game. Immediately following the game, a live auction will take place on the ice with the jerseys sold right off the players' backs. You can get a preview of the jerseys at norfolkadmirals.com.

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.

Three Stars:
1. Patrick Maroon – NOR
2. Brandon McMillan – NOR
3. Chris Wagner – NOR


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