The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins handed the Norfolk Admirals a 4-2 loss Tuesday night at Scope arena. Six of eighteen Norfolk skaters were basically unknown faces to Admiral Fans. Norfolk also had an unfamiliar face in net… Viktor Fasth who joined the Admirals via reassignment from the Anaheim Ducks.
Admiral’s defenseman Nick Schaus opened scoring for both teams at the 6:56 mark of the 1st period. Norfolk left-winger John Kurtz picked the pocket of a Penguins player and made an outlet pass to teammate John Mitchell. Left-winger John Mitchell sauced a pass to Troy Bodie who raced down the ice and slid a pass to Schaus shot beat Penguins goalie Brad Thiessen. The goal lights remained unlit for the remainder of the 1st period.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Riley Holzapfel redirected an Alex Grant slap shot from the point that snuck by Fasth. Riley’s game tying goal was scored on a 5 on 3 power play opportunity. Holzapfel was the lone goal scorer in the second period.
Penguins forward Paul Thompson pulled the visiting team ahead early in the 3rd as he won a battle in front of the crease slipping a shot past Fasth that gave the baby Penguins a slim lead for the time being.
Josh Brittain answered Thompson’s goal on the power play when Rod Pelley passed the biscuit to Brittain who was lying in wait down low and tickled the twine on Penguins netminder Thiessen. Brittain commented on his goal stating, “Rod gave me the puck and it was a great pass. I had to reach for it and as soon as I got it, I tried to get it off as quick as possible.”
Alex Grant ended the stalemate cashing in on another power play opportunity for the Penguins late in the 3rd firing a blue line bomb through traffic that eluded Fasth. Penguin’s Brian Gibbons added insult to injury for the Admirals, scoring a short-handed empty net goal late in the 3rd period sealing the 4-2 victory for the Penguins. Norfolk ended the game with 13 shots while Wilkes-Barre/Scranton fired off 29.
Norfolk’s head coach commented on the 4-2 loss saying, “No offense. Had opportunities, but no offensive. Give them credit they were hungrier than our team.” Norfolk’s head bench boss also commented, “We are giving up goals that are mental mistakes or individual mistakes.”
After Thursday the AHL is taking the hybrid icing rule out of the equation. Yawney shared his thoughts on this subject stating, “As a former defenseman, I liked it. I think that it saves on collisions. I don’t think it changed anything in terms of the game. I mean the criteria was there, if you win the race to a certain area it’s an icing and if you don’t it’s not.” Josh Brittain commented on the rule saying,” I feel like it is there to prevent injuries and keep players safe. The game is fast and I would like to keep it.”
Norfolk looks to break out of this winless drought when the St. John’s Ice Caps invade Scope Arena back to back nights this weekend. Faces off times are 7:30 Friday night and 7:15 Saturday evening.
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