March 21, 2018
Estero, FL.– A four-goal second period from the Everblades doomed the Admirals as they fell 7-2 to Florida on Wednesday night.
With the loss Norfolk remains six points back from Atlanta in the fourth and final spot in the South Division playoff race.
Domenic Alberga’s first period tally continues the forward’s five-game point streak, and gives him five goals in his last five games.
Just over three minutes in the game Florida struck first. With a mass of bodies in front of the net Justin Kea lifted a loose puck past a sprawled Reichenbach to give Florida a 1-0 lead. Ten minutes later the Admirals penalty kill got the visitors on the board. Entering the zone on a two-on-one Patrick D’Amico took the initial shot but was denied by Callum Booth. The rebound kicked right to Domenic Alberga who tapped it home for his fifth goal in the last five games. Late in the period the Everblades would retake the lead. Stephen MacAulay took a pass from Mtichell Heard at the left circle and wristed a shot into the top left corner, retaking the lead for Florida.
Florida sprinted out of the intermission in the second, outscoring the Admirals 4-1 in the middle frame. Derek Shepard got his first career goal with a shot from the point that beat Reichenbach low to the near side. The power play goal just under three minutes in started the Everblades scoring for the frame. Just over a minute later Stephen MacAulay netted his second of the night to extend the lead to 4-1. Three minutes later Mitchell Heard continued his strong night, netting his first goal and third point of the night. The fifth goal of the night effectively ended Ty Reichenbach’s night after 27:14 of game time. Down 5-1 the Admirals got back on the board.
A hard forecheck from Sam Ftorek caused a turnover behind the Florida net. The defenseman centered the loose puck to Grant Besse, who sent a one-timer past Callum Booth, cutting the lead to 5-2. Besse’s goal gave the rookie 30 on the season, making him the first Admiral since Cory Conacher and Tyler Johnson to surpass the 30-goal mark. That would be as close as the Admirals would be able to cut the lead though. Florida would add another goal before the end of the second to take a 6-2 lead into the intermission. In the third Florida scored the lone goal 2:08 into the period thanks to Matt McKenzie, as they rounded out the scoring with a 7-2 victory.
Callum Booth recorded the victory, stopping 35 of 37 shots for the Everblades. Ty Reichenbach and Jamie Murray both faced 20 shots in the loss, Reichenbach stopping 15, while Murray stopped 18.
Norfolk returns to Germain Arena on Friday and Saturday to wrap up the season series with the Everblades before returning home next weekend.