NORFOLK, VA-- The Norfolk Admirals, proud ECHL affiliates of the Carolina Hurricanes, won their season opener 5-4 in overtime on Friday night against the Reading Royals.
The game was highlighted by its physicality, with numerous big hits and penalties throughout the night. After a scoreless, first period, the scoring really got going in the second.
Going into the second period, the Royals had a 1-0 lead, which was doubled on a Grant Cooper goal just three minutes into the period. A high-sticking penalty against Royals defender Patrick McNally gave the Admirals a power play, which was beneficial to their efforts.
Forward Karl El-Mir was able to take advantage of the 5-on-4 play and when he notched the first goal of the season for the Admirals. 33 seconds later, Alex Tonge scored the equalizing goal to bring the score to 2-2.
The third period began with the Royals taking the lead again, on a Matthew Strome power-play goal less than a minute into the period. Reading would strike again, taking a 4-2 lead with 9:10 remaining in the game.
Chase Lang cut the Royals lead to one, on a goal scored with 7:36 remaining. The Admirals maintained possession and had numerous chances to tie the game up. With only 1:39 left, Alex Tonge came up clutch for the Admirals, tying the game at 4-4 with his second goal of the night
A last-minute penalty against Reading granted the Admirals a power play to end regulation, tied at four a piece. Following regulation, the game went to 7-minute overtime, beginning with 4 -on-4, then transitioning into a 3-on-3 once the Royals killed their penalty.
With time winding down in overtime, forward Cody Milan was able to seal the deal for the Admirals, scoring a beautiful goal with 33 seconds remaining to claim the overtime victory.
Tonge led the Admirals with three points (2 goals and an assist) and nine total shots. Lang pitched in two points (a goal and an assist), and had seven shots on goal.
The Admirals are back in action on Saturday, October 23rd when they travel to Reading and take on the Royals.