ORLANDO, FL. - Norfolk Admirals (19-28-4-0) forward T.J. Foster scored twice in regulation and once more in the shootout on Sunday, driving his club to a 3-2 win over his former Orlando Solar Bears (26-18-6-3).
There was just one marker in the first 40 minutes of play on Sunday, coming from Foster. Admirals forward Domenic Alberga was able to pry the puck away from two Orlando skaters in the corner to the right of Kasimir Kaskisuo and push it to the second-year pro, who made a move to his backhand before beating the Finnish netminder. The goal came just 4:56 in, giving Norfolk an early lead that would last all the way until the final frame of regulation.
Orlando burst out of the gate to start the third period, scoring twice in just over two minutes. First, Ben Danford came streaking down the right wing and unleashed a well placed shot that beat Philippe Desrosiers. Desrosiers, who missed the first game of the series on Thursday due to illness, was making his first start in the three game set.
Then, Alex Gacek propelled his team into the lead with his 20th of the season. Left alone in front, the impressive rookie was given not one, but two tries to finish his own rebound. Chris Crane and Shane Conacher received the assists on the goal that put the Solar Bears ahead 2-1.
The home team would hang on to that advantage until with just 1:13 remaining in regulation when T.J. Foster recorded his second of the contest. With Desrosiers on the bench in favor of the extra attacker and Daniel Maggio in the penalty box for Orlando, the puck was sent to the front of the net by Alberga and amongst a mess of bodies, Foster was able to jam it home to tie the game.
Overtime wasn't able to decide the bout so the team's went to a shootout that stretched five rounds. Gacek was able to beat Desrosiers to give the host side an upper-hand in the second tier but Foster found the back of the net for the third time to keep the skills competition even.
Desrosiers made three consecutive saves following Gacek's mark and in the bottom of the fifth round Frankie Simonelli was able to utilize his backhand to beat Kaskisuo for the game-winner.
The Dallas Stars prospect earned the victory in net after stopping 40 of 42 through 65 minutes and an additional four in the shootout.
Norfolk now returns home for a five consecutive at Scope, beginning on Wednesday, February 22 against the Florida Everblades. It's another Spaghetti Wednesday promotional game, so the first 200 fans to purchase a full-price ticket on the day of the game will be treated to a free spaghetti dinner, served from 6-8 P.M. in Meeting Room Four. It's also the first Service Industry Night, offering an $11 ticket to those who show proof of employment in the field.