HARTFORD, Conn. – The Norfolk Admirals fell behind 2-0 after two periods and were unable to mount a comeback as they fell to the Connecticut Whale, 4-1, on Monday night at the XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum. With Connecticut’s victory, the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Semifinals series is now even at two games apiece.
Richard Panik scored Norfolk’s lone goal in the Admirals’ first road defeat since February 5. Dustin Tokarski (4-2) took the loss after stopping 20 of 23 shots.
The Whale took a 1-0 lead late in the first period. Jonathan Audy-Marchessault entered the attacking zone with speed along the left wing. He sent a wrist shot from the bottom of the faceoff circle that went between Tokarski’s legs at 19:05.
Connecticut’s lead doubled early in the second period. Kelsey Tessier sent a shot that Tokarski sent into the left circle with his blocker. Scott Tanski found the rebound near the faceoff dot on his backhand, spun around to his forehand and sent a shot through traffic that eluded Tokarski at 3:56 for a 2-0 Whale lead.
Panik drew the visitors to within a goal of Connecticut 7:42 into the third period. Alex Killorn sent a pass through the neutral zone to Panik, who sped through the left wing of the Connecticut zone. Panik entered the slot and sent a shot over Whale goaltender Cam Talbot for his first professional playoff goal, which cut the Connecticut lead to 2-1.
However, the Whale restored their two-goal lead with less than four minutes remaining in regulation on a two-on-one play. Pavel Valentenko took the puck through the left wing and carried it past a sliding Norfolk defender before sending a pass across the slot. Casey Wellman tapped the feed past the left leg of Tokarski at 16:48.
The Whale iced the victory at 17:51 with a Kris Newbury empty-net goal.
Norfolk was 0-for-6 on the power play while Connecticut was 0-for-4.
Dustin Tokarski (4-2) stopped 20 of 23 shots for the setback. Cameron Talbot (5-2) made 19 saves on 20 shots for the victory.
Norfolk Admirals 1 at Connecticut Whale 4 – Status: Final
Monday, May 7, 2012 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Norfolk 0 0 1 – 1
Connecticut 1 1 2 – 4
1st Period-1, Connecticut, Audy-Marchessault 3 (Deveaux, Newbury), 19:05. Penalties-Aulie Nor (hooking), 4:42; Newbury Ct (slashing), 6:11; Tessier Ct (tripping), 12:03.
2nd Period-2, Connecticut, Tanski 1 (Tessier, Grant), 3:56. Penalties-Nightingale Ct (tripping), 6:58; Barberio Nor (slashing), 12:02; Erixon Ct (interference), 17:27.
3rd Period-3, Norfolk, Panik 1 (Killorn, Kostka), 7:42. 4, Connecticut, Wellman 4 (Valentenko, Hrivik), 16:48. 5, Connecticut, Newbury 1 (Erixon, Talbot), 17:51 (EN). Penalties-Newbury Ct (double minor – high-sticking), 0:25; Ouellet Nor (slashing, boarding), 2:07; Valentenko Ct (tripping), 2:15; Gudas Nor (roughing), 15:05; Audy-Marchessault Ct (roughing), 15:05; Jackson Nor (fighting, misconduct – continuing altercation), 18:14; McIlrath Ct (fighting), 18:14; Angelidis Nor (misconduct – unsportsmanlike conduct), 18:56; Labrie Nor (roughing, misconduct – unsportsmanlike conduct), 18:56.
Shots on Goal-Norfolk 6-8-6-20. Connecticut 5-9-10-24.
Power Play Opportunities-Norfolk 0 / 6; Connecticut 0 / 4.
Goalies-Norfolk, Tokarski 4-2-0 (23 shots-20 saves). Connecticut, Talbot 5-2-0 (20 shots-19 saves).
Referees-Marcus Vinnerborg (45), Darcy Burchell (42).
Linesmen-Luke Galvin (2), Kevin Redding (16).