Etem & Smith-Pelly Lead Norfolk to 5-2 Win over Charlotte
NORFOLK, VA- Emerson Etem and Devante Smith-Pelly each posted a goal and two assists in their return to Norfolk to help lead the Admirals to a 5-2 victory over the Charlotte Checkers Wednesday night at the Norfolk Scope.
After Norfolk killed a five-on-three Checkers’ power play to open the game, Charlotte’s Dan Biega tiptoed the blue line and kept a pass from Brendan Woods in the Admirals’ zone. Biega rushed the puck to Matt Marquardt in the middle of the slot, where Marquardt turned and snapped a shot past Norfolk’s John Gibson.
The goal came six minutes and 16 seconds into the first period, forcing a prompt response from the home team. Less than a minute later, the Admirals replied with a marker of their own.
Recently returned to Norfolk from the NHL's Anaheim Ducks, Devante Smith-Pelly cleaned up a rebound on Charlotte goaltender John Muse’s doorstep. The tally arrived at the 7:07 mark of the first and the 1-1 tie held through the remainder of the period.
The second period subdued the Norfolk Scope crowd through the first 10 minutes, until Smith-Pelly and travel mate Emerson Etem displayed their NHL chemistry.
Smith-Pelly and Etem worked a two-man game deep into the Charlotte zone. Etem fed Smith-Pelly along the goal line where he tested Muse once more. The Checkers’ netminder denied the initial try on net, but Etem was there to put away another rebound chance. The second Admirals goal came at the 11:27 point in the second.
It didn’t take long for Charlotte to respond. Traffic along Gibson’s crease screened him from a Matthew Corrente shot, which was deflected in for the tying goal by Chris Terry. Terry earned his first point of the night at the 14:21 mark of the middle frame to put the score at 2-2 after 40 minutes played.
Norfolk brought a power play opportunity into the third period off a Rasmus Rissanen slashing call but did not capitalize. Shortly after a Rasmus Rissanen penalty, Charlotte’s Brett Sutter lofted a clearing attempt over the glass, landing him in the penalty box on a delay of game call.
On the ensuing power play, Norfolk’s Rickard Rakell one-timed a loose puck in the slot to give the Admirals the lead. Rakell’s strike lit the lamp at the 4:27 mark of the third period.
Norfolk didn’t sit on the one-goal lead. Charlotte had an opportunity on the power play late in the third, but luck went the other way when the Admirals’ Max Friberg scored on a breakaway attempt. Friberg’s shorthanded conversion lifted the game out of Charlotte’s reach with 4:53 left to play in regulation.
Charlotte would empty the net to allow for the extra attacker, but to no avail. The man advantage proved costly when Smith-Pelly raced up the ice and slid a pass to John Kurtz at the goal mouth Kurtz guided in Norfolk’s fifth goal of the night en route to a 5-2 Admirals victory.
Gibson earns his eighth win the of the season stopping 33 of 35 shots faced, while Muse takes the loss allowing four goals on 29 shots faced.
Norfolk stays at home this Friday and Saturday to host the Providence Bruins. Game time is 7:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m., respectively, at The Scope.
Friday is Cheesy Noisemaker Night! Bring in an unopened box of macaroni and cheese and use it as a noisemaker for the game against Providence. Following the game, place the box of macaroni and cheese in the one of the bins to donate to the Food Bank of Southeastern Virginia. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday’s game starts at 7:15 p.m. and there will be a postgame skate with the players. Skates will be available for fans on a first come first serve basis. However, fans are encouraged to bring their own skates.
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, Anaheim assigned forwards Emerson Etem and Devante Smith-Pelly to the Admirals...defenseman Mat Clark finished the game with two assists and a +3 rating, while Kevin Gagne also chipped in two assists.
1. Emerson Etem (NOR)
2. Mat Clark (NOR)
3. Kevin Gagne (NOR)