MANCHESTER, NH. - The Manchester Monarchs (20-8-1-1) scored twice in the final two minutes of Saturday's game to come from behind and beat the Norfolk Admirals (6-20-4-0) 4-3.
While the team's 7-4 loss to Elmira wasn't the outcome they had hoped for on Friday night, a bright spot for the Admirals was defenseman Frankie Simonelli. Simonelli struck gold twice during the first period and played a crucial part in Saturday's first tally of the night. Alex Pompeo, naturally a defenseman but dressing as a forward over the course of the past two weeks, distributed the puck from the left wall back out high to #77, who wound up from the right point. Simonelli's blast caught a portion of Pompeo's stick and it redirected past Sam Brittain, the Monarchs netminder, for an early 1-0 lead.
With two minutes left in the first period the Monarchs would even the score though. A pass from Monarchs defenseman Tony Turgeon was sent in the direction of his teammate Derek Arnold from his own zone but went just out of his reach. Admirals defender Mikael Tam leaped forward attempting to take possession, however was unable to come up with it. Arnold was then able to go around Tam, enter the zone and slide a pass across the crease for Gasper Kopitar who would beat Steven Summerhays to even the score.
In the second period the Monarchs extended their lead to 2-1 on an Ashton Rome breakaway. Similar to the first goal, a Manchester defender made a beautiful breakout pass from his own zone to connect with Rome to springboard him into the zone. Alone on Summerhays, Rome fired a wrister low to the blocker side to push him to ahead.
Rome's goal was the only one in the second before a chaotic third period took place. The Admirals, who trailed 2-1 the large majority of the period, scored twice to come back. Dante Salituro was the first goal scorer for the team, swatting a rebound off the back wall behind Sam Brittain out of mid-air. Mikael Tam's shot was intentionally placed wide, setting up Salituro's first for the team and knotting the score at two.
Five minutes later the Admirals found themselves up 3-2 because of Brodie Dupont. The newly named alternate captain was able to slide one through Brittain on a two-on-one from Jaedon Descheneau. The goal was Dupont's fourth of the season and his team was sitting pretty with just 2:32 on the clock.
On the flip side, the Monarchs had two of their own up their sleeve, coming 1:04 apart and both inside the final two minutes. First, Quentin Shore was able to tie the game following a loose puck in the slot. David Kolomatis entered the zone with a ton of speed, blazing up the entire length of the ice before his shot was blocked down by an Admiral defender. Matt Leitner was able to track the rubber and sent the puck in Shore's direction, where he would not miss.
Now tied at 3-3, the Monarchs game-winner was scored by Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman with 36 seconds left. The puck was tied up in the corner to the left of Summerhays and the Admirals would win the puck battle. Paul Rodrigues attempted to backhand the puck up the wall but instead found the tape of LaVallee-Smotherman, who popped from the wall to the slot area and beat the Ads netminder to win.
The loss concludes the Admirals 2016 but the team will now return home for eight home games in the month of January. Including opponents such as these very same Jackals, the Adirondack Thunder and the Wheeling Nailers, tickets for all games are on sale now on Ticketmaster.com and at the Norfolk Scope Arena box office. For more information on the team, be sure to visit norfolkadmirals.com and follow/like the team on all major social media platforms.Box Score