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March 4, 2009

Bad Bounce Menaces Admirals in Loss to Phantoms


PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Blair Jones scored twice, but a bad bounce hurt the Norfolk Admirals late in the game as they fell to the Philadelphia Phantoms 4-3 on Wednesday night at the Wachovia Center.

The Admirals (24-30-3-5) jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 1:36 into the game. Blair Jones entered the attacking zone down the left wing and sent a slap shot from the top of the circle that eluded the glove of Phantoms netminder Scott Munroe.

Philadelphia (32-25-2-1) tied the game at 1-1 under three minutes later. Andreas Nodl sent a centering feed from the right corner that was redirected in the bottom of the left circle by Boyd Kane past Norfolk netminder Riku Helenius at 4:10.

The Phantoms took a 2-1 lead just over four minutes later on a power play. Patrick Maroon attempted a pass from the right corner that was blocked. However, the puck wound up on the blade of David Laliberte in the bottom of the right circle, and Laliberte sent a snap shot over the left shoulder of Helenius at 8:14.

The Admirals tied the game 4:58 into the second stanza as a power play expired. Jones sent a shot from the left point that glanced off traffic in the slot and went past Munroe for his second goal of the night and thirteenth goal of the season.

The Phantoms struck back to reclaim the lead just over a minute later. Rob Sirianni picked off a Norfolk pass in the Admirals zone and sent a quick shot from the low slot past Helenius at 6:07.

Norfolk tied the game once again just 29 seconds into the final frame. Radek Smolenak sent a slap shot from the left point through traffic and past Munroe for his eighteenth goal of the season.

However, the Phantoms took the lead for good on an unfortunate bounce late in the third period. While skating with the power play, Jonathan Matsumoto attempted a pass from the right corner that hit an Admirals defenseman in the slot. The puck caromed right back to Matsumoto, who tucked a shot into the goal between the post and left leg of Helenius at 15:10.

Riku Helenius (33 shots, 29 saves) took the loss. Scott Munroe (33 shots, 30 saves) got the victory.

Norfolk was 0-5 on the power play. Philadelphia was 2-6.

Next up for the Admirals are Friday and Saturday contests at Scope against the Lowell Devils, AHL affiliate of the New Jersey Devils. The puck drops for both games at 7:15 p.m.

Friday night is Military Appreciation Night. Individuals may show their military ID at the Scope Box Office and receive $8 Red Level Tickets. Groups or commands who would like to sit together may contact the Admirals Group Sales Department at (757) 640-1212 ext. 23. For more details, please visit norfolkadmirals.com.

Saturday night is AAA Member Night. AAA members can receive $3 off Red Level Tickets at the Scope Box Office only. For more details, visit AAA online at AAATidewaterVA.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 2009-10 season tickets today. Season tickets start at just $42 per month! 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. Jonathan Matsumoto – PHI
2. Blair Jones – NOR
3. Patrick Maroon – PHI

Notes … Blair Jones has eight points (3G, 5A) in his last eight games … Vladimir Mihalik has assists in three of his last five games (4A) … Former Admirals defenseman Lasse Kukkonen registered an assist for the Phantoms tonight in his first game against his former team. Kukkonen played 59 games with Norfolk during the 2003-04 season … Earlier today, Admirals defenseman Andy Rogers was part of a trade completed by Norfolk’s NHL parent club, the Tampa Bay Lightning, with the Toronto Maple Leafs that sent defenseman Richard Petiot to the Lightning organization. Former Admirals Olaf Kolzig and Jamie Heward also went to the Maple Leafs along with a fourth round draft pick … The Admirals signed forwards Brock Hooton and Mac Faulkner and defenseman Steve Ward to Professional Tryout Contracts. All three players made their Norfolk debuts and Ward picked up an assist ... Scratches: F Bracken Kearns, F/D Wade Brookbank, F Jason Ward, F Grant Potulny and D Scott Jackson … F Steve Downie did not play because of his indefinite suspension by the American Hockey League pending review of his actions from Saturday night’s game in Hershey … Attendance: 7,119.

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