CHARLESTON, SC — The Norfolk Admirals marched into North Charleston Coliseum on Friday looking to replace the mind-numbing results from the middle of November series with the South Carolina Stingrays. Those middle of November matchups saw the Admirals lose two games to the Stingrays, while also losing five players to injury. To make matters worse, the club had reached an 11-game losing streak.
All of that was cast aside on Friday night, as the Admirals pulled out a thrilling 8-6 victory over the first place Stingrays.
Michael McNiven made his third straight start for Norfolk, looking to rebound after two straight losses. The ECHL’s leading goaltender in shutouts (7), Parker Milner, made the start for South Carolina. Milner had already registered two shutouts against Norfolk this season.
For the second straight game, it was the Admirals who drew first blood. While Alex Tonge got the first one in Wheeling on Wednesday, it was Taylor Ross’s turn on Friday. He scored his second as an Admiral, with River Rymsha and Ryan Salkeld picking up the assists.
Much like Wheeling, it seemed to be the kind of goal to kickstart a strong night for the Admirals. But 19 seconds later, Max Novak netted his 12th of the year to tie it at one. Seven minutes later, Dan DeSalvo made it 2-1 and all the momentum had swung in South Carolina’s favor.
After 20 minutes of play, the Admirals had been outshot, 16-11.
In period number two, South Carolina’s pace didn’t disintegrate at all. In fact, it got even stronger. Novak and DeSalvo each scored a pair of goals to make it 4-1. It seemed as though it was going to be another hard pill for the Admirals to swallow.
But Sebastian Vidmar and Jakob Reichert had other ideas.
As a delayed penalty was coming up, Reichert found Vidmar on the back door to make it 4-2. The goal was Vidmar’s fifth of the season, while Rymsha also picked up another assist. Then three minutes later, Reichert re-directed a shot from Joe Masonius at the point to cut the deficit to one. The goal marked Reichert’s first with the Admirals.
After 40 minutes of play, things shifted completely into the Admirals favor. At the start of the third, Alex Rodriguez took at penalty and the Stingrays didn’t mess around. Tom Parisi made it 5-3 with his tenth goal of the season, and third on the man-advantage for South Carolina. Two minutes later, Novak scored the hat trick goal to give the Stingrays another three goal cushion.
But the Admirals would show no quit, once again.
Artem Ivanyuzhenkov would respond three minutes later with a goal of his own. Salkeld just three minutes later cut the deficit to two with his sixth of the season and fourth point in South Carolina this year. Now with the all the momentum back in the direction of Norfolk, it was Ross who evened the game up at six.
WIth three minutes to go, Jaynen Riesling committed a costly interference penalty that would prove to be the back-breaker for South Carolina. JC Campagna would convert on the man-advantage, scoring his ninth of the season, to make it 7-6. Ben Holmstrom would score an empty-netter for good measure and the comeback was complete.
McNiven made 44 saves on 50 shots, while Milner made 31 saves on 38 shots. Ten Admirals finished in the plus department on the night.
The Admirals are back in action tomorrow night in Atlanta against the Gladiators. Puck drop is set for 7:05pm with the Pregame Show starting at 6:40pm.