NORFOLK, VA – Mike McKenna made 24 saves and Radek Smolenak scored twice as the Norfolk Admirals (11-16-1-4) shut out the Albany River Rats (10-14-3-2) 5-0 on Friday night at Norfolk Scope Arena.
After a scoreless opening period, Radek Smolenak opened scoring on a five-on-three power play 13:50 into the second period. Blair Jones’ shot blueline blast ricocheted off Zenon Konopka in the slot to Smolenak at the bottom of the right circle. Smolenak collected the puck and fired it past Albany netminder Justin Peters.
Norfolk took a 2-0 lead on Ty Wishart’s first professional goal at 16:54. Bracken Kearns’ shot from the left circle was stopped by Peters and an Albany defender tried to clear the puck out of the River Rats zone. However, Wishart held the puck in at the right point and fired a low wrist shot through traffic and past Peters.
The Admirals opened the third period with a pair of goals just 32 seconds apart by Smolenak and Steve Downie. Smolenak’s second goal of the game came after he received a centering pass from behind the net from Chris Gratton. Smolenak’s initial shot from in close was stopped, but he found the rebound and stashed it past the right leg of Peters at 2:44.
Under a minute later, Downie picked off a pass at the Albany blue line, broke in on Peters along the right wing, and fired a wirst shot from the right circle under the goalie's left arm at 3:26.
Vladimir Mihalik closed out scoring at 8:56 with Norfolk’s second five-on-three power play goal of the game. Downie centered the puck from behind the net to Mihalik in the high slot. Mihalik’s shot went between Peters’ legs at 8:56 for his second goal of the season.
Mike McKenna stopped all 24 shots he saw for the shutout victory. Justin Peters (38 shots, 33 saves) got the loss through 48:12. Daniel Manzato stopped all four shots he faced through 11:04 and did not receive a decision.
Norfolk was 2-7 on the power play. Albany was 0-3.
The Admirals will travel to Philadelphia tomorrow to face off against the Phantoms at 7:05 p.m.
Norfolk’s next home game comes on Saturday, December 27, against the Philadelphia Phantoms. The puck drops at 7:15 p.m. The first 500 kids 12 years of age and younger will receive a Chris Gratton mini-bobblehead doll courtesy of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
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!
1. Mike McKenna – NOR
2. Radek Smolenak – NOR
3. Ty Wishart – NOR
Notes … The Admirals have now killed 22 consecutive opponent power plays and 26 of the last 27 overall … Steve Downie has points in six consecutive games for the Admirals (2G, 9A) – the longest point streak for Norfolk this season … Tonight was Norfolk’s first shutout of the season. The last shutout came on March 5, 2008, in Worcester as Marc Denis made 32 saves in a 4-0 win over the Sharks … Mike McKenna recorded his first shutout as an Admiral and his fourth career AHL shutout … The Admials' wives and girlfriends raised nearly $1,500 for The Joy Fund through their Holiday Ornament Auction tonight ... Scratches: F Pete Zingoni, F Juraj Simek, F Brent Henley, F Grant Potulny, F Mathieu Curadeau, D Scott Jackson, D Andy Rogers … Attendance: 4,097.