NORFOLK, Va. – Jaroslav Janus stopped 29 shots and Ondrej Palat broke a 1-1 tie with less than six minutes left in regulation as the Norfolk Admirals (37-18-1-2) won their tenth consecutive game – a 2-1 victory over the Hershey Bears (29-19-4-5) on Wednesday night at Scope Arena. With the victory, the Admirals stand six points clear of the second-place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the East Division.
The Admirals, who moved two points ahead of the Oklahoma City Barons for the most points in the AHL, also got a goal from Cory Conacher in the contest. Tyler Johnson assisted on both Admirals’ goals.
After a scoreless opening period, the Admirals jumped out to a 1-0 lead a little over six minutes into the second period. With his team enjoying a man advantage, Johnson skated around a sliding Bears’ defender and fed a cross-crease pass to Conacher. The Admirals’ current goal and points leader picked up the pass and snuck a shot in between the glove and left leg pad of Bears’ netminder Braden Holtby for his 30th goal of the season at 6:20.
A third period power play goal by Boyd Kane knotted the game at one goal apiece. Cody Eakin fed a pass through the legs of a Norfolk defenseman to Kane. Before Janus could get across the crease, Kane buried the shot into the open net at 12:56.
It took the Admirals less than two minutes to regain their one-goal advantage. This time, Johnson picked up a Bears’ turnover along his own blue line and chipped a pass up ice to Palat. After maneuvering around a pair of Bears’ defenseman, Palat sent a wrist shot between Holtby and the right post to give the Admirals a 2-1 lead at 14:56.
Despite facing a Bears’ six-on-five attack for almost two minutes, the Admirals defense shut down the visitors the rest of the way en route to their tenth victory in as many games.
Jaroslav Janus (12-8-2) finished the night with 29 saves on 30 shots for his fourth straight victory. Braden Holtby (19-14-2) stopped 18 of 20 shots in defeat.
Norfolk was 1-for-5 on the power play while Hershey was 1-for-3 in the contest.
Hershey Bears 1 at Norfolk Admirals 2 – Status: Final
Wednesday, February 29, 2012 – Norfolk Scope
Hershey 0 0 1 – 1
Norfolk 0 1 1 – 2
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Kane Her (holding), 14:46; Wellar Her (roughing), 15:30; Smith Nor (roughing), 15:30.
2nd Period-1, Norfolk, Conacher 30 (Johnson, Barberio), 6:20 (PP). Penalties-Devos Nor (hooking), 1:04; Mink Her (slashing), 5:30; Carroll Her (roughing), 10:18; Kostka Nor (roughing), 10:18; Carroll Her (hooking), 15:16.
3rd Period-2, Hershey, Kane 15 (Eakin, Bourque), 12:56 (PP). 3, Norfolk, Palat 5 (Johnson), 14:39. Penalties-Neilson Nor (interference), 5:09; Lacroix Her (hooking), 8:09; Picard Nor (interference), 11:09; served by Mink Her (bench minor – too many men), 15:32.
Shots on Goal-Hershey 10-9-11-30. Norfolk 5-6-9-20.
Power Play Opportunities-Hershey 1 / 3; Norfolk 1 / 5.
Goalies-Hershey, Holtby 19-14-2 (20 shots-18 saves). Norfolk, Janus 12-8-2 (30 shots-29 saves).
Referees-T.J. Luxmore (47), Jason Rollins (37).
Linesmen-Francis Trempe (56), Alex Stagnone (7).