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January 10, 2009

Norfolk Scores Four Unanswered Goals in 4-2 Victory Over Manchester


NORFOLK, VA – All-Star Steve Downie erased a two-goal deficit with a pair of second period goals and Bracken Kearns netted the third-period game-winning goal for the second time in as many nights as the Norfolk Admirals (16-19-1-4) defeated the Manchester Monarchs (17-18-0-5) 4-2 on Saturday night at Norfolk Scope Arena.

The Monarchs took a 1-0 lead just 1:25 into the game. Andrew Campbell sent a wrist shot from the high slot that eluded Norfolk netminder Mike McKenna stick-side.

The Manchester lead doubled near the midpoint of the opening frame. Justin Azevedo picked off an errant pass just inside the Norfolk blueline, skated behind the net and sent a wraparound shot off the back of McKenna’s right skate and into the net at 10:54.

Downie put Norfolk on the board with a shorthanded goal at 4:20 of the second period. While skating two-on-one, Zenon Konopka sent a pass from the left wing to Downie at the opposite circle. Downie sent a shot under the leg pads of Manchester goaltender Jonathan Bernier and into the net.

Downie then tied the game with a highlight-reel goal at 11:40 on the power play. He broke down the left wing and faked a shot from in close before pulling the puck back, dragging it past Bernier’s right leg and slipping a shot around the post while standing behind the goal line for his ninth goal of the season.

Norfolk took a 3-2 lead 2:38 into the third period. Straddling the goal line, Radek Smolenak sent a shot on goal from the left corner that bounced off Bernier. The puck came to Bracken Kearns near the bottom of the left circle, and Kearns snuck a shot through the leg pads of Bernier for his eighth goal of the season.

Downie had a hat trick in his sights with only 41 seconds remaining in the contest. Bernier had left the crease in favor of the extra attacker and Downie could have elected to shoot through traffic at the empty net. Instead, he decided to pass to wide-open teammate Chris Gratton in the left circle and Gratton scored.

Mike McKenna (21 shots, 19 saves) picked up the win. Jonathan Bernier (31 shots, 28 saves) got the loss.

Norfolk was 1-5 on the power play. Manchester was 0-5.

The Admirals’ nine-game homestand continues next week with a pair of contests against the Worcester Sharks. The puck drops on Friday and Saturday nights at 7:15.

Friday is All Faith Night. Groups of all faiths may purchase $10 red level tickets through the Admirals office. Just call (757) 640-1212 ext. 23 or visit norfolkadmirals.com for more details.

Saturday night will be Pink in the Rink Night. The event will seek to educate and raise awareness about breast cancer while also raising monies for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Events leading up to and during the game include a breast cancer informational session, survivor participation during game night, “Hockey 101- A Clinic for Women” and a silent auction for player-autographed Tampa Bay Lightning merchandise. Even the ice will be pink! Special $12 Red Level Tickets will be available for groups of 10 or more people. A portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Tickets for groups of 10 or more people may be ordered by calling the Admirals at (757) 640-1212. You may also download an order form at norfolkadmirals.com.

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!

Three Stars:
1. Steve Downie – NOR
2. Bracken Kearns – NOR
3. Zenon Konopka – NOR

Notes … Steve Downie has points in 11 of his last 14 games (8G, 12A) with Norfolk … Bracken Kearns has points in three straight games (2G, 1A) including the game-winning goal in back-to-back games … Brandon Bochenski has points in three straight games (1G, 3A) … Zenon Konopka had assists on three of the four Norfolk tallies. It was his third 3+ assist night of the season … With the empty-net goal, Chris Gratton extended his scoring streak to six games (2G, 4A). He has points in eight of the ten games he has appeared in for the Admirals this season (2G, 7A) … Karri Ramo made 29 saves in Tampa Bay’s 4-3 win at Anaheim last night for his first NHL win of 2008-09 … Scratches: F Pete Zingoni, F Juraj Simek, F Jason Ward, F Mathieu Curadeau, D Andy Rogers, F Brandon Segal … Attendance: 4,379.

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