Admirals Start 2014 With 3-1 Home Win Over Bridgeport
NORFOLK, VA -- Emerson Etem and Devante Smith-Pelly each finished with a goal and an assist to help lift the Norfolk Admirals to a 3-1 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Friday night at Scope.
The Admirals got on the board first when the NHL-experienced line of Emerson Etem, Devante Smith-Pelly and Rickard Rakell went to work.
Etem started the rush with a pass up ice to Smith-Pelly on the left wing side. Smith-Pelly entered the Bridgeport zone and flung an airborne pass to an oncoming Rakell in the lower slot. Rakell batted it towards net and past the Sound Tigers goaltender Anders Nilsson. The was Rakell’s team-leading tenth goal of the season and the Admirals moved in front at the 17:47 mark of the first.
With the opening period winding down, Bridgeport turned the puck over while attempting to clear the zone. The puck bounced from the right side boards into the slot to an awaiting Etem. Etem patiently crossed the goal front before finally flipping the puck over Nilsson’s left shoulder for the second Norfolk goal with 4.5 seconds remaining in the period to give Norfolk a 2-0 edge at the end of the first.
It wasn’t until late in the second period that Bridgeport scored when a Zack Stortini boarding penalty led to Sound Tiger power play. After rotating the puck around, it finally ended up near the point on the stick of Aaron Ness. Ness, who recently returned from a brief NHL stint with the Islanders, slapped it on net and beat Norfolk’s Igor Bobkov. Ness’ blast cut the deficit in half at 14:25 of the second period.
The Sound Tigers stayed within arm’s reach until midway through the third. On a power play chance, Norfolk’s Steven Whitney dished to Kevin Gagne who one-timed a pass to Smith-Pelly on the far side of the crease. It was virtually a tap-in for Smith-Pelly who put the game away and secured the Norfolk victory at 10:35.
Bobkov turned in another strong performance making 23 saves on 24 shots, earning his fourth win of the season. Anders Nilsson hauled in 17 saves out of 20 shots faced but takes the loss, his thirteenth of the year.
Norfolk improved 17-12-1-4 while Bridgeport falls to 13-18-1-3. The two teams meet again on Saturday at Scope beginning at 7:15 p.m.
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: Rickard Rakell extended his point scoring streak to seven games which ties him with Max Friberg for the team's longest point streak this season.... Etem, the AHL’s Player of the Month for December, extended his point streak to six games and has now recorded a point in 12 of 13 games played in for Norfolk.