NORFOLK, VA. - The Norfolk Admirals (26-40-6-0) wrapped up their 2016-17 campaign with a loss at the hands of the Reading Royals (41-26-4-3) on Saturday, 4-2.
Joey Benik wasted no time getting the Admirals first marker of the night, finding twine on the power play just 3:25 in. T.J. Foster's shot from the blocker side circle was initially stopped by Mark Dekanich but the rebound was kicked right to Benik for his 16th of the season.
The Royals bounced back with a pair though, starting with Adam Brace. After the Admirals committed a too many men infraction, Reading established a presence in the zone and eventually found a lane for the veteran out of Robert Morris to get a shot through.
Eight minutes later, Olivier Labelle put his team ahead by a score of 2-1. What looked like a routine breakout for the Admirals went south, allowing Steven Swavely to capitalize by swooping in on the loose puck and setting up Labelle all alone in front on Philippe Desrosiers.
In second period action, Labelle returned the favor, setting up Swavely for the Royals third unanswered goal. A clean defensive faceoff zone win got things set up for the road team and within a few touches Labelle sent a beautiful saucer pass from the circle to the left of Desrosiers for the rookie out of Maine to laser home.
With mild pace the third period whistled along and at just 4:44 remaining former Admiral Robbie Czarnik made a dazzling move through Jordan Abt, shuffled to his backhand and made it 4-1. It was the 24th of the year for Czarnik, the final goal of the evening for Reading.
John Dunbar was able to post the final goal of the Admirals campaign with under a minute to go in their season, however it was too little, too late, capping the 72nd game of the year as a 4-2 loss.
Mark Dekanich, the first star of the evening, was sharp from start to finish on Saturday, stopping 37 of 39. Philippe Desrosiers suffered the loss, allowing four goals on 49 shots.