Wheeling, WV- After scoring a big victory in Fort Wayne last night, the Norfolk Admirals traveled overnight to Wheeling for a pair of contests against the Nailers. The Admirals fell to the Nailers on Saturday night who scored twice in the final 2:36 of the game after Norfolk had tied the game with a pair of goals themselves.
Jimmy Poreda made his second appearance in between the pipes for the Admirals. He finished the evening with 26 saves off of 31 shots in the Admirals defeat.
From the getco, the Nailers showcased their strong forecheck and struck first early on. Three and a half minutes into the opening frame, Isaac Belliveau fired his shot past Poreda to give Wheeling the early advantage.
Just four minutes later, Robidas came off the bench and skated into the left-wing circle and received the puck from Andrew McLean where he sniped his shot past Jaxon Caster to tie the game at one. That marked his 12th goal of the season.
Although the game was tied, it only took 74 seconds before the Nailers regained their lead off the shot from Jordan Martel. It was competitive on both ends of the ice, with 7-6 shots in favor of Wheeling, but Norfolk went into the first intermission down 2-1.
In the second period, it was the Poreda showcase as he stood tall in the cage. He fended off several opportunities for Wheeling including a breakaway chance, a one-timer, a split-save, and a kick-save that kept the margin at a minimum.
At the nine-minute mark in the period, the Nailers increased their advantage to 3-1 off the shot from Davis Bunz. The Admirals continued to create chances and put up shots on Caster, but he would fend off each opportunity as the score remained the same. Shots from both teams were even, but the Nailers outshot the Admirals 10-9 in the middle frame as they remained ahead 3-1 after 40 minutes.
The third period was intense as the Admirals tried to come back. In the final frame, it was the best the Admirals had looked all night, in terms of moving the puck and creating offensive chances, but they were to no avail as Caster saved each shot. That would change in the latter part of the game.
In two minutes in the final five minutes of the game, Norfolk scored the pair of goals needed to tie the game at three. Denis Smirnov scored his third goal of the season off a tight-angled shot to make it 3-2. Then, it was Andrew McLean who put the puck away through the five-hole of Caster that tied it up.
From there, the tides shifted once again. 31 seconds later, the Nailers regained their lead off a one-timer shot from Lukas Svejkovsky to make it 4-3. Wheeling secured their victory with another goal 36 seconds after their last goal to extend their advantage back to two goals, which was the outcome.
Sentara Health Three Stars of the Game
1. WHL - L. Svejkovsky (1 goal, 1 assist, +1)
2. WHL - C. Desruisseaux (1 goal, 2 assists, +4)
3. WHL - J. Martel (1 goal, 1 assist, +1)
Game two against the Nailers will take place tomorrow evening. Puck drop is slated for 6:10 p.m.