HERSHEY, PA – The Admirals closed to within a goal of Hershey with three minutes to play but ultimately fell to the Bears 5-4 in preseason action on Sunday evening at the Giant Center. Admirals forwards Mathieu Curadeau and Justin Keller each had a goal and an assist while Blair Jones registered two assists.
Hershey took a 1-0 lead just 1:26 into the game. Bears winger Michael Dubuc beat Admirals goaltender Craig Kowalski for a power play goal and the home team took a one-goal lead into the second period.
The Admirals wasted little time reversing their first period deficit. Just 16 seconds into the second stanza, Daryl Boyle netted a power play goal on assists from Keller and Jones. Just over a minute later, Curadeau also beat Bears backstop Michal Neuvirth with assists from Chris Lawrence and Luciano Aquino to put the Admirals on top 2-1 at 1:18.
Hershey knotted the score at two goals apiece less than four minutes later when Ben Boudreau netted a power play goal at 4:58. The Hershey man advantage struck again in the middle of the period when Francois Bouchard beat Admirals goaltender Nick Boucher at 11:07. The Bears took a 3-2 lead into the third period.
The Admirals once again used a quick strike at the beginning a period to tie the game. This time, Keller beat Bears goaltender Bobby Goepfert with assists from Jones and Matt Auffrey just 48 seconds into the final frame to make it 3-3.
However, Hershey struck back as Dubuc netted his second goal of the night at 5:44 to reclaim the lead. The Bears power play struck for a fourth time 10:53 into the third period, as defenseman Sean Collins ended up with what would be the game-winning goal.
Admirals defenseman Jason Beckett pulled the visitors to within one goal of tying the game as he netted a man-advantage tally of his own at 16:27. Curadeau and Bracken Kearns assisted on the play. However, Norfolk could not find the equalizer despite out-shooting the Bears 11-6 in the final frame and pulling Boucher with roughly a minute to go in the contest.
Craig Kowalski stopped 14 of 16 shots through 24:58 and did not receive a decision for the Admirals. Nick Boucher played 34:54 for the Admirals, turning aside 11 of 14 Hershey shots and receiving the loss. Michal Neuvirth made 13 saves on 15 shots through 30:04 and did not receive a decision for Hershey. Bobby Goepfert picked up the win for the Bears by stopping 11 of 13 shots through 29:48.
Norfolk was 2-8 on the power play while Hershey was 4-6.
The Admirals now return home to prepare for a pair of preseason rematches against the Philadelphia Phantoms at Scope on Friday and Saturday, October 3 and 4. Tickets for those games are available now and are only $8 for adults and $5 for children under 12 years of age.
The Admirals will practice tomorrow at Scope from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Fans interested in attending tomorrow's practice are encouraged to confirm the practice time by calling the Admirals at 640-1212. A complete schedule of practices for the week will be released tomorrow.
The 20th season of Admirals hockey officially kicks off on Friday and Saturday, October 10 and 11, at Scope against the Bears.
To purchase tickets to any Admirals game, you may visit the Scope Box Office weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., visit any Ticketmaster outlet, call Ticketmaster at (757) 671-8100 or visit Ticketmaster online at www.ticketmaster.com. Don’t miss a minute of the action by purchasing your 2008-09 season tickets today. Stop by the Admirals’ Administrative Offices at Scope, call (757) 640-1212 weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or visit norfolkadmirals.com anytime!