The final stretch of the AHL season is upon us. The Admirals bounce back after an OT loss to the Checkers on Wednesday. Norfolk powered up their offense and set a course for the playoffs with a 5-1 victory over the Bears. There is no guaranteed playoff spot waiting for the Admirals. They are going to have to earn it. Every game won can move them up, every loss will keep them on the bottom.
Game Summary from the Norfolk Admirals:
March 8, 2013
Admirals Out-Gun Bears
NORFOLK – Sami Vatanen and Patrick Maroon each had a goal and two assists and the home team out-shot the visitors, 32-17, as the Norfolk Admirals (26-26-4-1) upended the Hershey Bears (28-22-3-5), 5-1, on Friday night at Norfolk Scope Arena.
Dan Sexton, Josh Brittain and John Mitchell also scored for Norfolk while Hampus Lindholm and John Kurtz notched two assists each. Frederik Andersen (14-11-1) stopped 16 of 17 shots for the win. The Admirals cut their deficit to five points for the eighth and final playoff spot with 19 games remaining in the 2012-13 regular season.
The Admirals will host the Bears again tomorrow night at Scope at 7:15 p.m.
Norfolk took a 1-0 lead midway through the first period on Sexton’s fifth goal of the season. Vatanen stopped a Hershey clearing attempt at the right point. He fed Sexton at the bottom of the left faceoff circle. From one knee, Sexton one-timed the puck past Bears netminder Dany Sabourin at 9:47. Both Sexton and Vatanen extended their point streaks to an Admirals season-high six games on the play.
The home team’s lead doubled with a five-on-three power play goal 6:08 into the second stanza. Maroon sent a pass from the right corner to Vatanen in the opposite circle. Vatanen one-timed the pass beyond the outstretched glove of Sabourin for his fifth goal of the season and a 2-0 Norfolk lead.
Hershey cut into the lead with an unassisted goal less than seven minutes later. Jeff Taffe intercepted a pass in the high slot, skated deeper into the slot and fired a slap shot past Andersen’s glove at 12:49 to cut Norfolk’s lead to 2-1.
However, the Admirals restored their two-goal lead 6:33 into the final frame. Maroon entered the attacking zone along the left wall and sent a shot from near the goal line at the left corner. The puck hit the inside of Sabourin’s left skate and went between his legs and into the net for Maroon’s 15th goal of the season and a 3-1 Norfolk lead.
The Admirals increased the lead to three goals midway through the third period with their second power play goal of the game. Maroon spotted Brittain with a pass from the left corner to the right circle. Brittain one-timed the puck past Sabourin at 11:02 for his ninth goal of the season and a 4-1 lead.
Norfolk closed out scoring with 3:10 remaining in regulation with Mitchell’s seventh goal of the season. Lindholm sent a feed to Kurtz for a shot from in tight that bounced off Sabourin. Mitchell one-timed the rebound into the net for the 5-1 final score.
Sabourin (8-9-3) stopped 27 of 32 shots in defeat.
Norfolk was 2-for-7 on the power play. Hershey was 0-for-4.
1. Sami Vatanen – NOR
2. Patrick Maroon – NOR
3. Hampus Lindholm – NOR
Hershey Bears 1 at Norfolk Admirals 5 – Status: Final
Friday, March 8, 2013 – Norfolk Scope
Hershey 0 1 0 – 1
Norfolk 1 1 3 – 5
1st Period-1, Norfolk, Sexton 5 (Vatanen, Kurtz), 9:47. Penalties-DiSalvatore Her (hooking), 1:13; Vatanen Nor (holding), 5:27; Smith-Pelly Nor (roughing), 19:55.
2nd Period-2, Norfolk, Vatanen 5 (Maroon, Lindholm), 6:08 (PP). 3, Hershey, Taffe 16 12:49. Penalties-Parent Nor (delay of game), 4:03; Schilling Her (interference), 4:24; McNeill Her (interference), 4:45; McNeill Her (tripping), 8:57; Irwin Nor (hooking), 14:26; Carman Her (tripping), 18:11.
3rd Period-4, Norfolk, Maroon 15 (Vatanen, Andersen), 6:33. 5, Norfolk, Brittain 9 (Maroon, Guenin), 11:02 (PP). 6, Norfolk, Mitchell 7 (Kurtz, Lindholm), 16:50. Penalties-Wellar Her (fighting), 1:27; Letourneau-Leblond Nor (fighting), 1:27; Marshall Her (holding), 3:19; Brouillette Her (fighting), 3:30; Smith-Pelly Nor (fighting), 3:30; Taffe Her (unsportsmanlike conduct, diving), 9:39; Kurtz Nor (tripping), 9:39; Kane Her (hooking), 10:48; Smith-Pelly Nor (diving), 10:48.
Shots on Goal-Hershey 5-5-7-17. Norfolk 17-4-11-32.
Power Play Opportunities-Hershey 0 / 4; Norfolk 2 / 7.
Goalies-Hershey, Sabourin 8-9-3 (32 shots-27 saves). Norfolk, Andersen 14-11-1 (17 shots-16 saves).
Referees-Trent Knorr (44).
Linesmen-Mark Hamlett (81), Scott Pomento (25).