Norfolk, VA.- Grant Besse had the hot hand for the Admirals on Thursday night as Norfolk won their second straight, topping Jacksonville 4-3 in a shootout.
Norfolk has now won three of its last five games, and sits 6-13-1-0 on the season.
Besse notched his 9th goal of the season, picked up an assist on TJ Melancon’s third period goal, and scored the shootout winner for Norfolk. Newcome John Rey netted his first goal in his ECHL debut.
After a scoreless first period Norfolk got on the board first in the middle frame. Grant Besse picked up a loose puck off a turnouver caused by Brodie Dupont, and headed up the ice. The forward snapped off a wrist shot low to the far side that beat Colton Phinney on the glove side, giving Norfolk a 1-0 lead. Rey, making his Norfolk debut doubled the Norfolk lead under 3:30 later. Don Olivieri took the initial shot but a big rebound bounced all the way out to Rey at the left point. Rey wristed a low shot through traffic that deflected off an Icemen skate and past Phinney, giving Norfolk a 2-0 lead with 9:09 gone in the period. Jacksonville had an answer before the period ended, cutting the lead back to one goal. Scott Savage worked a give and go with Everett Clark off the left wall before putting a quick shot past Jamie Murray with 6:38 to play in the second. After being outshot 13-5 in the first period, Norfolk outshot Jacksonville 12-9 in the second.
Jacksonville evened things up less than a minute into the third period. Scott Savage let a shot loose from the right point. Murray made the initial save, but Emerson Clark was waiting on the door step and tapped in the rebound. Shortly after the Admirals retook the lead however. TJ Melancon finished off for his second goal of the season as Norfolk led once more at the 3:09 mark of the final frame. Before everything was said and done though Jacksonville found the back of the net once more to tie the game at 3-3. After a mad scramble in front of the net that took the stick out of Jamie Murray’s hands, Elgin Pearce capitalized for the Icemen, tying the game with 4:01 to play. As the buzzer sounded the score was still tied and the Admirals, for the second straight night, headed to overtime.
The overtime period yielded no results so both teams headed to their first shootout of the season. After Murray stopped the first Jacksonville shooter Grant Besse played hero for the Admirals. Slowly walking in Besse laced a shot into the top corner of the net giving Norfolk the 1-0 shootout lead. Murray solidified Besse’s tally making two more saves as Norfolk topped the Icemen 4-3.
Murray finished the night with 28 saves on 31 shots in his second consecutive win of the season. Norfolk finished the night scoreless on their only power play attempt.
Norfolk and Jacksonville will take a day off before closing the weekend series with the Icemen on Saturday night.