Written by Kristopher Clark
Norfolk, VA - Patrick Bajkov scored at the 3:27 of the overtime period on Wednesday night, as the Greenville Swamp Rabbits edged out the Norfolk Admirals, 4-3, at Scope Arena. Roman Ammirato had two assists against his former club and Josh Holmstrom added a goal and assist in the loss.
Greenville opened the scoring with a tally from Spencer Smallman. Luke Ripley fed Smallman as he skated into the Norfolk zone on the left side. He then skated in-between the circles and fired a wristshot over the blocker of Brandon Halverson to give Greenville a 1-0 lead.
The Swamp Rabbits would strike just seconds later after the Admirals were unable to clear the puck out of their own zone and Matt Marcinew fired a shot in the low slot past the glove of Halverson to give Greenville a 2-0 lead.
Norfolk cut into the Swamp Rabbits lead to one with a power-play goal from J.C. Campagna. The Admirals won the face-off and started the cycle play in the Greenville end with Ammirato in the right circle. Ammirato sent the puck to the center-point for Johnny Coughlin and found Campagna in the left circle where he wristed a shot past Greenville goaltender, Ryan Bednard, on the glove side to cut the Greenville lead to one.
The Admirals tied the game with a goal from Sebastian Vidmar, his first professional goal. Norfolk skated out of their own end on a 4-on-2. Ammirato dropped a pass into the the right circle for Samuel Thibault. Thibault shot the puck on net which was deflected by Vidmar into the midsection of Bednard. The puck came loose and went through the legs of Bednard to tie the game at two.
Greenville retook their lead with a power-play goal from Rodrigo Abols. Adam Rockwood passed the puck to the center point for Patrick Bajkov, who found Abols in the left circle, who then fired off a shot that trickled through the pads of Halverson to give Greenville a 3-2 lead.
The Admirals would tie the game just under a minute into the third period. Norfolk was able to keep the puck in and start the cycle play on the power play with Ammirato who fed Shawn McBride below the goal line. McBride slid a pass to Josh Holmstrom in the low slot and roofed a shot past the glove of Bednard to tie the game at three.
Both teams would have chances late in the third, but the game would go into overtime.
In the extra frame, Bajkov for Greenville took the puck from the neutral-zone and skated into the Norfolk zone on the right side where he fired a shot over the blocker of Halverson to give the Swamp Rabbits a 4-3 win.
Halverson made 25 saves on 29 shots and takes the loss for Norfolk, while Bednard made 28 saves on 31 shots and picked up the win for Greenville.
The two sides will meet again on Friday Night at Norfolk Scope. Puck drop is set for 7:30pm. It will be Military Appreciation Night at the arena, with tickets still available at the Scope Box Office or visit norfolkadmirals.com/tickets