NORFOLK, VA- Rickard Rakell laced a one-timer past Portlandís Mark Visentin with 35 seconds remaining in overtime to lift the Norfolk Admirals to a 3-2 victory over the Portland Pirates on Friday night at Scope.
Norfolk controlled possession and the ice in the first period putting up 13 shots on Portlandís netminder Mark Visentin. Visentin had his work cut out for him to open the game but responded on each occasion. The Admirals actually led in the shot column after the scoreless first as Portland only managed four shots on Norfolk goaltender John Gibson.
With 11:24 gone in the second, the Piratesí Jordan Martinook finished a loose puck in the crease to give Portland the lead. Martinook initially deflected a shot from the left point, and then flipped it past Gibson who lost it amongst the bodies in front of the net.
Three minutes later, Portland extended their lead. Portland's Kyle Hagel stole the puck from Admiralsí defenseman Kevin Gagne, and fed a pass to Darian Dziurzynski who fired a shot on net. The rebound bounded to Ethan Werek who shoved the puck into the net for the goal, extending the Pirates 2-0.
Norfolk grabbed some momentum with just 20 seconds remaining in the contest. John Kurtz took a pass from Jamie MacQueen and flipped a shot on net from a tough angle along the goaline. Kurtz's shot bounced off Visentin and in for Norfolkís first goal to put the score at 2-1 at the end of the second period.
In the third period, the Admirals pressed into the Portland zone and it paid off at the 4:44 mark. Norfolkís Steven Whitney poked a puck towards an open Alex Grant who ripped a line drive shot past Visentin to tie the game. It was Grantís team-leading sixth marker of the season for the Admirals.
A quiet rest of the third pushed the game into an overtime session. The Piratesí Mathieu Brodeur was charged for tripping, leading the Admirals into their fourth power play of the night with 1:28 remaining in the extra session.
Halfway through the penalty, Grant controlled the puck on the right side before sliding a pass across the defense to Rickard Rakell. Just back from a stint with NHL affiliate Anaheim, Rakell slapped a one-timer by Visentin earning Norfolk a 3-2 comeback victory.
It was the ninth win of the season for the Admirals and the fourth in overtime. They own a 4-0-3 record in the extra sessions this year and are 9-6-0-3 overall. The game marked the first time the Admirals outshot an opponent all season, as Norfolk held a 33-26 shots on goal advantage.
The two teams meet again tomorrow at 7:15 p.m. at the Norfolk Scope. Fans are encouraged to arrive early to avoid possible delays with traffic and parking from the Grand Illumination Parade in Downtown Norfolk.
GAME NOTES: Prior to Friday's game the Admirals released defenseman Brett Skinner from his PTO contract...In addition, Anaheim recalled defenseman Sami Vatanen earlier in the afternoon...Friday's game was the first meeting between two teams since January of 2011.
Game tickets are now on sale, and are available through the Norfolk Scope Box Office, all Ticketmaster Outlets, charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000 and online at ticketmaster.com.
Stop by the Admiralsí Administrative Offices at Scope, or call (757) 640-1212 Office hours are Monday - Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Fans can also visit us online at www.norfolkadmirals.com
1. Rickard Rakell (NOR)
2. John Kurtz (NOR)
3. Ethan Werek (POR)