HERSHEY, Pa. – Behind a pair of second-period goals by Brandon Segal, the Norfolk Admirals (35-18-1-2) defeated the Hershey Bears (29-18-4-5), 4-3, on Saturday night at the Giant Center for the team’s eighth straight victory. The win, which matches a franchise record set in March of 2002, also equals an AHL season-high for consecutive wins.
The victory gives Norfolk a two-point lead for first place in the AHL’s East Division, entering Sunday’s contest in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Mark Barberio and Michel Ouellet also scored for the visitors while Jaroslav Janus turned aside 25 shots for his 11th victory of the season.
Barberio and Ouellet scored opening-period goals before the Bears stormed back to knot the game at two goals a piece.
Barberio opened the scoring the Admirals with his seventh goal of the season. As the teams skate four aside, Barberio sent a wrist shot from along above the left faceoff circle. The shot trickled through a pair of players and over the glove of Bears’ netminder Braden Holtby to give Norfolk the 1-0 lead at 2:21 of the first.
The Admirals lead doubled with less than five minutes remaining in the first. As the Admirals skated on their second power play of the night, Mike Kostka fired a shot which was knocked down in front of the Bears net. Before being knocked down, Ouellet knocked the puck over Holtby’s glove for his 11th of the season at 15:58.
Just over a minute later, the Bears answered back. After an Admirals turnover, Graham Mink connected on a pass with Matt Pope. From just inside the left faceoff circle, Pope fired a shot over the glove of Janus to narrow Norfolk’s lead to 2-1 at 17:07 of the first.
Hershey deadlocked the game at 2-2 in the opening minute of the second period. With just over a minute left on an Admirals’ penalty, Chris Bourque fired a shot through a screen and over the glove of Janus at 16 seconds.
Norfolk regained a 3-2 lead on Segal’s first of the night. As he went to play the puck behind the net, Holtby tripped over a Bears’ stick. Alexandre Picard picked up the loose puck and fed a pass to Ouellet. Ouellet connected with Segal, who buried the puck in the open net for his 15th of the season at 1:29.
Kyle Greentree notched the game at 3-3 with the Bears’ second power play tally of the evening. The original shot was a slap shot from the right faceoff circle off the stick of Ryan Potulny and off the right post beyond Janus. Greentree knocked the rebound out of midair and into the open net at 13:19 of the middle period.
Segal’s second of the night, which wound up being the game-winner, came in the final five minutes of the second period. As the Admirals skated on their third power play of the night, Segal deflected a shot by Barberio, through the legs of Holtby and in behind the Bears’ netminder to give Norfolk the 4-3 lead with his 16th of the season at 16:35 of the second.
However, that would conclude the scoring in the contest as neither team could convert on numerous power play opportunities in the final period.
Jaroslav Janus (11-8-2) turned aside 25 of 28 shots in the victory while Braden Holtby (19-13-2) took the loss after making 17 saves on 21 shots.
Norfolk was 2 for 6 on the power play. Hershey was 2 for 8 with the man advantage.
Norfolk Admirals 4 at Hershey Bears 3 – Status: Final
Saturday, February 25, 2012 – Giant Center
Norfolk 2 2 0 – 4
Hershey 1 2 0 – 3
1st Period-1, Norfolk, Barberio 8 (Dimmen, Conacher), 2:21. 2, Norfolk, Ouellet 11 (Picard, Kostka), 15:58 (PP). 3, Hershey, Pope 5 (Mink, Carman), 17:07. Penalties-Labrie Nor (roughing), 1:17; Eakin Her (roughing), 1:17; Kane Her (delay of game), 4:15; Neilson Nor (high-sticking), 8:36; Kundratek Her (interference), 14:38; Gudas Nor (tripping), 19:05.
2nd Period-4, Hershey, Bourque 25 (Eakin, Mink), 0:16 (PP). 5, Norfolk, Segal 15 (Ouellet, Picard), 1:29. 6, Hershey, Greentree 4 (Potulny, Bourque), 13:19 (PP). 7, Norfolk, Segal 16 (Barberio, Panik), 16:35 (PP). Penalties-Conacher Nor (slashing), 3:40; Labrie Nor (roughing), 6:23; Jackson Nor (tripping), 11:57; Rechlicz Her (roughing), 16:04; Labrie Nor (hooking), 17:47.
3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Labrie Nor (roughing), 5:26; Marshall Her (tripping), 7:49; Greentree Her (slashing), 10:13; Collins Her (slashing), 15:02; served by Picard Nor (bench minor – too many men), 16:11.
Shots on Goal-Norfolk 10-7-4-21. Hershey 7-14-7-28.
Power Play Opportunities-Norfolk 2 / 6; Hershey 2 / 8.
Goalies-Norfolk, Janus 11-8-2 (28 shots-25 saves). Hershey, Holtby 19-13-2 (21 shots-17 saves).
Referees-Geoff Miller (28).
Linesmen-Bob Goodman (90), Tom George (61).