NORFOLK, Va. – Emerson Etem scored two goals in the first period and an empty-net marker with less than a minute left to help the Norfolk Admirals (36-24-2-7) outlast the Binghamton Senators (40-23-1-5), 6-3, on Saturday night at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.
The Admirals’ Brad Thiessen (4-4-2) stopped 22 of 25 shots. Binghamton’s Nathan Lawson (15-8-1) made 35 saves on 40 shots.
With 13 minutes gone in the first period, Emerson Etem notched his eighteenth goal of the season when he collected a rebound on the weak side and returned it on net before Lawson could recover. Etem put the Admirals in front at 13:01 of the first.
The Long Beach, California native got the best of Lawson again with 45 seconds left in the period. Newcomer William Karlsson sent a seeing-eye pass underneath two Senators’ sticks from along the center-ice boards to an open Etem. He reeled in the pass and flipped a backhand over Lawson’s lowered shoulder into the top right corner.
Norfolk, defeated five straight times by Binghamton, brought a 2-0 lead into the middle frame.
A two-goal cushion shrank quickly when Binghamton’s Derek Grant redirected a shot from the blue line that came from the right side of the Admirals’ zone. The shot managed to get through traffic on its way to the net before changing direction off Grant’s stick and past Thiessen. Grant cut the lead in half 1:01 into the second period.
Lawson continued to struggle defending the goal for the Senators. Antoine Laganiere’s backhand snuck between the post and the Binghamton netminder’s right side a minute and six seconds after Grant’s goal to stretch the lead back to two at 2:07 of the second.
Almost three minutes later, Binghamton answered back thanks to Patrick Mullen. Mullen followed up a pass ahead from Buddy Robinson by finishing a shot above Thiessen’s left shoulder to cap the breakaway. The lead narrowed to a single goal once again after Mullen’s tally at 4:52 of the second reached the back of the net.
It appeared that the Admirals would carry their one-goal lead through the second intermission until Josh Manson was sent to the penalty box on an unsportsmanlike conduct call that the official tacked onto a slashing penalty.
On the ensuing power play, Chris Wideman tapped a puck into the left side at the far post on a feed all the way from the right side boards in Norfolk’s defensive zone. The Admirals’ league-leading penalty kill surrendered the goal and the lead with 15 seconds left in the period. The 3-3 tie held into the third.
After 13 minutes of a scoreless final period, Admirals’ defenseman Steve Eminger broke the deadlock on a wrister that appeared to evade Lawson's eyes. Eminger threw a shot at the net that squeezed through space in between Lawson and the short-side post for a goal at 13:18. Lawson could only shake his head and shrug his shoulders.
Norfolk pushed the game out of reach when center Dave Steckel one-timed a loose puck sliding across the high slot for a 5-3 lead with 5:22 left in regulation.
The Admirals held on to their third two-goal lead of the night and Etem sized up an empty-net goal from the neutral zone with 58 seconds to go to wrap up a 6-3 victory for Norfolk and a hat trick for himself.
The win kept Norfolk in eighth in the Eastern Conference standings, just a spot ahead of Hershey who inched by Worcester Saturday night in overtime. It was also the second straight win for the Admirals after four losses in a row on a night without their top goaltender, John Gibson, and leading scorer, Devante Smith-Pelly.
Norfolk went 0-for-2 on the power play while Binghamton converted on one of their six opportunities with a man advantage.
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.
1. Emerson Etem - NOR
2. Steve Eminger - NOR
3. Chris Wideman - BNG
NOTES … William Karlsson scored his first point (1a) as an Admiral in two games played so far… Did not play: Mat Clark, Joseph Cramarossa, Norm Ezekiel, John Gibson, Radoslav Illo, Stefan Noesen, Ryan Parent, Devante Smith-Pelly, Steven Whitney