NORFOLK, VA – The Portland Pirates rallied from a three-goal deficit, to defeat the Norfolk Admirals 4-3 in the overtime shootout Saturday night at the Norfolk Scope.
Norfolk raced out of the gate Saturday night scoring two quick goals in the first two minutes and 18 second of the contest.
The first one started on the stick of defenseman Alex Grant who hurried a pass up ice to a streaking Steven Whitney. Whitney dished to Chris Wagner on the right side. Wagner fired a shot that beat Portland goaltender Mike Lee through his legs at just 32 seconds into the first period.
Less than two minutes later, the Admirals struck again. This time Charlie Sarault found the back of the net. Alex Grant steered a pass in the slot to Sarault who snapped the puck past Lee to extend the Norfolk lead to 2-0. The Admirals scored goals on their first two shots of the game, which signaled the end of the night for Lee. Mark Visentin entered the game in relief.
At the 8:00 mark, Dave Steckel took a break from dominating the faceoff circle and stole a puck in the attacking zone from Portland’s Andy Miele. Steckel snatched it from behind, faked to Visentin’s stick side, and smoothly slid the puck into the corner for the third Norfolk goal of the period.
The Admirals brought a comfortable three-goal lead to the second period, which saw the Pirates skate with much more urgency than in the first. Portland’s Jordan Martinook threw a puck to the net, but was deflected down into the crease by Chris Summers. Winger Lucas Lessio chopped at the bouncing puck and scored from point-blank range to light up the scoreboard for Portland’s first marker of the night to make it a 3-1 game after two periods.
Norfolk still had a two-goal advantage late in the third period before the Pirates’ Brandon McMillan cut the lead in half. McMillan put away a pass across the goal mouth with a one-time shot to a vacant right side of the net that beat Norfolk netminder John Gibson. That one came at the 16:56 mark in the final period to pull the Pirates within one.
Portland emptied the net with less than two and a half minutes left in regulation. A move by head coach Ray Edwards that proved to be the right one. With the extra attacker, Brandon Yip held the puck behind the goal line. He spotted a charging Tobias Rieder who slid a one-touch pass across the crease to Andy Miele. Miele didn’t hesitate and wristed one past Gibson to tie the game at the 18:36 mark in the third.
The Pirates scored twice in the last 3:04 of regulation to force overtime. Neither team could light the lamp in the extra session which sent the game to the shootout.
Both teams exchanged goals in the shootout as Norfolk scored twice, but Portland got the third and decisive shootout marker for Ethan Werek in the fourth round to secure the 4-3 win.
Visentin gets the win stopping 13 of 14 shots faced, while Gibson takes the shootout loss allowing three goals on 37 shots faced.
Norfolk continues its homestand on Wednesday against the Charlotte Checkers. Game time is set for 7:15 p.m. Wednesday’s game is a Student Rush game! College students can purchase tickets for just $9 when they present their college I.D. to the Scope Box Office anytime after 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday. So arrive for the game, and purchase $9 seats!
All other 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 Admirals’ 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
GAME NOTES: Prior to the game, the Anaheim Ducks recalled goaltender Frederik Andersen and defenseman Nolan Yonkman. In addition, Anaheim reassigned goaltender Igor Bobkov to Norfolk from the Utah Grizzlies (ECHL)…With the win, the Pirates are now riding a 7-game point streak.