The Norfolk Admirals toppled the Rangers AHL affiliate team Connecticut Whale 5-4 in a dramatic overtime victory. Michigan native Corey Elkins scored 3 goals to complete the hat trick. Elkins 3rd goal was the game winner in overtime with less than a minute remaining in the overtime period. The play was set up by Elkins line-mates Ryan Lasch and Sami Vatanen. Vatanen found a wide-open Elkins in the circle who zinged the puck past Whale goalie Jason Missiaen to clinch the win for Norfolk.
During the 1st period, the Admirals didn’t waste much time lighting the lamp in front of their hometown fans. Corey Elkins drew first blood for Norfolk when he picked the pocket of a Whale D-man and broke away to tally his 1st regular season goal. Connecticut did sit back and wait. The tempo swung Connecticut’s way when Boston University alumni Matt Gilroy scored on the power play by stuffing a puck past Admirals netminder Bobkov to tie the tilt 1-1. Elkins then answered right back by beating Missiaen at the 9:47 mark of the 1st stanza when the puck clinked off the crossbar and landed in the net.
The Whale came out for the 2nd firing away on all cylinders cashing in on a poweplay goal by way of Matt Gilroy who put the puck past Bobkov at the 9:13 mark. Things changed when Admirals enforcer Jay Rosehill received a puck from Admirals rookie Chris Wagner to give the Admirals a one goal lead midway in the 2nd. Whale forward Chris Kreider received a game misconduct and a major penalty when he boarded an Admiral in the middle period. 2009 1st round draft pick Peter Holland scored on the power play for Norfolk to widen the goal margin to 4-2.
Former Admiral Brandon Segal scored two goals to force the game into overtime. Segal notched his 1st goal of the third at the 4:03 mark. The former Tampa Bay forward evened the game up with just minutes left in the 3rd period when scored his second goal for the Whale.
In the overtime period teamwork and perseverance paid off for Norfolk when Southern California native Ryan Lasch and rookie Sami Vatanen sat up Elkins 3rd goal by allowing him to shoot the puck from the rightwing to secure the Admirals 3rd victory of the season. Shots on net were almost dead even with 29 shots for the Admirals and 30 shots for the Whale.
Norfolk forward Kyle Palmieri had this to say about the game tonight, “I think we came out strong and got that goal early which was huge especially in front of your home fans, but we definitely let off the gas a little bit when we got that lead. Coming into the third period, we knew what we had to do. “ The Ducks AHL All-Star forward also declared, ” letting leads slip away like that won’t be good for us in the long run, but we came out with two points and you can’t ask for much more than that.” When asked about Elkins hat trick Kyle replied, “He’s a hard worker and he got a couple opportunities to score and he buried all of them.” Palmieri also stated, “He has exceeded all my expectations.”
Elkins credited his line mates for his game winning overtime goal. Norfolk Head Coach Trent Yawney was excited when he spoke to the media declaring, “A win is a win.” Norfolk was 1 for 6 on the power play tonight. Trent added, “power plays generally take a little while to come together more so than the penalty kill. I thought we had a lot of good looks at the net.” Yawney indicated that the players were thinking the right things, but concluded that the power play needs to get better and it will with time.
Sami Vatanen had a stellar night picking up 3 assists off of the 4 goals that where scored. Sami also grabbed the 2nd star of the night. Corey Elkins received 1st star and Brandon Segal for the Whale notched 3rd star. The Admirals and Whale will battle it out again on Saturday at 7:15 in downtown Norfolk in the Scope arena.
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