Norfolk, VA - The Norfolk Admirals emerged victorious on Friday night against the Newfoundland Growlers, marking the beginning of a four-game series at Norfolk Scope.
Thomas Milic was chosen as the starting goalkeeper, marking his 17th appearance for Norfolk. Milic's performance was commendable, making 20 saves out of 23 shots, contributing to the team's success.
It was evident early on that the Admirals had a better forecheck, putting up a total of 20 shots on goal, while the Growlers only had 10 in the first 20 minutes. Despite the Admirals' offensive dominance, the game remained scoreless until the latter part of the first period when Newfoundland managed to get on the scoreboard first. Milic made the initial save on Joe Gatenby's shot, but the puck trickled past him and into the cage, giving the visitors the go-ahead goal.
The lead, however, was short-lived as Kamerin Nault scored his first goal in a Norfolk uniform and third of the season only a few minutes later. Although it seemed like Newfoundland's goalie, Dryden McKay, had possession of the puck, Nault got a hold of it and put it away to tie the game at one. Only 45 seconds later, Mark Liwiski's fight with a Growler brought the energy out of Norfolk Scope.
In the second period, the Admirals' offensive dominance continued, with several big chances to take the lead in the early part of the period. At the halfway point, Connor Fedorek gained possession in the corner of the offensive zone and passed it behind the net, where Liwiski threw a chip shot past McKay, giving the Admirals the 2-1 advantage.
Despite other key chances in the latter part of the period, McKay stood firm in his crease, withstanding 14 shots while his team managed to only put up four. After 40 minutes of play, the Admirals maintained their one-goal advantage.
During the third period, both teams displayed exceptional performance on the ice. The Admirals initially extended their lead to 3-1 after Nault's second goal of the night, but the decision was overturned after a review. However, Denis Smirnov managed to score, making it a two-goal game. Subsequently, the momentum shifted. Newfoundland scored two goals in the latter part of the period, sparking life into the Scope, which eventually led to the game being forced into overtime.
In the overtime period, the Admirals had a power play, and they capitalized on it, scoring the game-winning goal. Brady Fleurent scored the game-winning goal off the rebound, which managed to evade McKay, earning his first goal of the year, leading to the rest of the Admirals jumping off the bench in celebration.
Sentara Health Three Stars of the Game
1. NOR - B. Fleurent (Game-winning goal)
2. NOR - M. Roy (2 assists)
3. NFL - K. Suthers (2 goals, +2)
The Norfolk Admirals host game two of their series against Newfoundland tomorrow night with puck drop at 6:05 p.m.