ORLANDO, FL. - With several vital players out of the lineup and a few more playing at less than 100% due to a team spread illness, the Norfolk Admirals (18-27-4-0) fell to the Orlando Solar Bears (25-18-6-2) 4-2 on Thursday.
After a quiet first period the Solar Bears stabbed the Admirals with two goals just 37 seconds apart in the middle stages of the second period. First, Shane Conacher, brother of former Admirals hero Cory Conacher, found lethal goal scorer Joe Perry sitting in the slot where he would beat Brandon Anderson upstairs. The goal was Perry's 26th of the season, continuing his stay within the top ten of that category in the entire ECHL.
Then, at the 8:18 mark, Mason Marchment entered the left side of the Norfolk defending zone with speed and snapped a wrist shot that beat Brandon Anderson on his short side to give Orlando their second.
Following the mark, Admirals head coach Robbie Ftorek elected to use his team's lone timeout to regather the group.
The tactic proved to be useful as Norfolk would indeed get on the board less than three minutes after the timeout. Just nine seconds into a Daniel Maggio delay of game penalty forward Domenic Alberga was able to beat Kasimir Kaskisuo to put his team on the board. John Dunbar and T.J. Foster earned the helpers on Alberga's fifth of the season.
A few key saves from Anderson gave the Admirals a crucial momentum swing to conclude the second but when the teams touched the ice for the third it was all Orlando.
Maggio gained retribution for his earlier penalty by scoring a power play goal of his own while Paul Cianfrini was in the box. An attempt from teammate Brenden Miller was knocked down in front and because of the change of direction, Maggio was able to reach back across an out of position Anderson for his first of the year.
In a late effort to try and climb back in the contest, Anderson was pulled in favor of the extra attacker with just over two minutes remaining. Frankie Simonelli was able to place one through traffic to push his team back within one but an empty net goal from Chris Crane would cap things off for the home side, giving them the 4-2 victory.
Goaltender Philippe Desrosiers missed the entirety of Thursday's contest because of the illness in the locker room and at least two other Admirals played despite being bothered by the same. Prior to the game, John Kurtz tweaked something that led him to joining Joey Benik and Lukas Lofquist on the injury list.
The Admirals and Solar Bears will go head-to-head in the sunshine state once again tomorrow night and Sunday at 1:30 PM. Both games can be watched on ECHL.TV and at Buffalo Wild Wings in Virginia Beach, their oceanfront location. All Admirals games can also be heard live on 102.1 FM The Tide, the official radio station of team.
Following the trip the team returns home for five games in a row at home, starting on Wednesday, February 22 against the Florida Everblades. Tickets for all five are on sale now on Ticketmaster.com and at the Norfolk Scope Arena box office.