The Norfolk Admirals continued their playoff push Tuesday night against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Pittsburg Penguins.
Norfolk’s coach Trent Yawney elected to start rookie goaltender Frederik Andersen who sealed a two to zero victory Saturday night against Eastern Conference leader, the Syracuse Crunch.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton countered with Jeff Zatkoff the 25-year-old from Detroit, Michigan.
Ex-Admiral Trevor Smith opened up scoring. Smith charged in hard on Andersen and sent a shot that Andersen saved; however; the puck trickled in off Trevor Smith scoring his twenty-first goal of the year four minutes into the game. Smith’s goal was reviewed by both referees to make sure it was legal.
“The puck was in the goalies glove. It was removed with a skate and went in the back of the net, but it was not declared a kicking motion.” stated Yawney on the call.
There was no additional scoring until the 4:51 mark of the second period when Riley Holzapfel fired a puck that rung off the post. Referee Ryan Murphy used the replay feed to assure players and coaches it was a good goal.
With a single tick left in the middle stanza, the Penguins tripled their lead as Chris Collins tallied his first goal of the season muscling the puck that got the better of Andersen.
The Admirals cut into the three goal deficit just minutes into the third period. Kyle Bonis skated in on Zatkoff sending a shot blocker side picking up his first pro goal in just his third game as an Admiral.
“I just took off. The puck wasn’t sitting flat so I looked where I was on the ice. He leaned to his blocker side so I just tried to get a good shot off and beat him blocker side.” commented Bonis about his first goal as a pro.
With five minutes left in the game Devante Smith-Pelly redirected a Gabe Guentzel point on the P.P. giving Smith-Pelly his twelfth goal of the season.
Despite scoring a goal, Smith-Pelly relayed the mood in the room after the loss, “Not much was said in there. It was pretty disappointing. We know that we didn’t play our best until the third. We did it Friday against the first place team. If we play like we did in the third, we are going to win more games than we lose.”
Trent Yawney shared his thoughts on the loss stating, “We started off the game fine. The first five minutes we ran into penalty trouble. Way too many mistakes.”
Frederik Andersen was credited with his fifteenth loss of the season while Jeff Zatkoff picked up his twenty-third win.
Norfolk continues their five game home stand against The Binghamton Senators Friday night who currently sit fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Admirals trail the Hershey Bears by two points. Hershey holds the eighth and final playoff position in the East.
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