ELMIRA, NY. - Four goals in the second period was enough for the Elmira Jackals (13-38-7-1) to pick up their second straight win over the Norfolk Admirals (21-33-4-0) on Thursday.
Norfolk dominated the first 20 minutes of play, claiming the only tally courtesy of T.J. Foster. A nifty give-and-go with linemate John Dunbar allowed the new Admirals leading scorer to beat Jason Kasdorf just 8:16 in.
However, the home side was able to maneuver a complete 180 during the middle period, striking four times. Just 18 seconds after play in the frame got underway Casey Thrush fired and got one by Philippe Desrosiers to even the score.
11 minutes later Thrush turned to the role of helper, setting up Sebastien Sylvestre's 17th of the season. Elmira's first goal scorer caused a turnover at center and pushed the rubber up to the Quebec-born forward, where he would wind up and unleash one past the Norfolk netminder high.
Thrush turned back to the finisher for his team's third goal, putting them ahead 3-1. While on the power play, Frankie Simonelli was unable to handle a pass at the point and allowed the puck to roll out to center. The Olney, Maryland native was at the right place at the right time, using his speed to move in all alone on Desrosiers and sneak one five-hole.
To conclude the second period, Justin Kea jammed home his team's fourth. The Buffalo Sabres draft pick attempted a wraparound but was met at the post by Admirals forward Paul Rodrigues. Rodrigues blade of his stick caused the puck to ricochet back off of Kea's glove unintentionally, atop the cross bar and bank off the back of Desrosiers and in.
Carrying a 4-1 lead into the third the Jackals manipulated the play in the first half of the final period in regulation, looking as if they'd cruise to a victory. However, John Dunbar had other plans, using his backhand to roof one past Kasdorf just as an Ian Young minor penalty expired.
Kenton Miller had an answer for that though and it turned out to be a necessary one. With just 3:43 left and on the power play, Elmira's leading scorer was left all alone in front and deposited a simple feed from the corner by Sam Povorozniouk. Casey Thrush also picked up an assist on the play, capping off his four point night.
Once again looking like they'd be able to just coast in the final few minutes, Joey Benik was able to earn his eighth and ninth goals of the season to pull Norfolk back within one. His first was a one-timer upon entry of the zone, getting through Kasdorf for one that he would most certainly want back. The second came in transition, a well-placed shot over his blocker-side shoulder.
With the goalie pulled once more the Admirals made one last surge but couldn't force overtime, falling 5-4.
Kasdorf picked up the win in net for Elmira stopping 38 of 42 and Philippe Desrosiers took the loss, allowing five on 30 shots.
The two teams will meet once again tomorrow at First Arena in Elmira at 7:05. The game can be seen on ECHL.TV, heard on 102.1 FM The Tide and watched live at Buffalo Wild Wings on Laskin Road at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.
Following the team's week-long road trip the team will return home for St. Hat Trick's Day Weekend on Friday, March 17 and Saturday, March 18.
Friday, March 17 the team will have drink specials for a 7:30 puck drop and Saturday, March 18 is Sell Out The Scope Night, plus Pucks and Paws, as folks are allowed to bring their dog to the game for just a $5 donation to a local animal shelter. Additionally, there is a cap giveaway sponsored by BB&T, green ice and green jerseys to encompass the holiday flare. Following the game the team will be auctioning off the green jerseys to benefit Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Tickets for both games are on sale now on Ticketmaster.com and at the Norfolk Scope Arena box office.