PORTLAND, Me. – Mitch Fritz netted his first goal of the season and Justin Keller scored for the fifth time in 2009-10. However, the Norfolk Admirals (10-10-1-0) fell to the Portland Pirates (9-10-2-0) 4-2 on Saturday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center. The Admirals dropped to 2-3-1-0 through six contests of their eight-game road trip, which continues tomorrow afternoon in Worcester, Massachusetts against the Worcester Sharks.
The Admirals took a 1-0 lead 7:50 into the game. Justin Keller emerged from behind the goal line and skated through the right circle. He sent a shot near the faceoff dot that deflected off the stick of a Portland defenseman and beat Pirates netminder Jean-Philippe Lamoureux for Keller’s fifth goal of the season.
The Pirates tied the game at 1-1 less than five minutes later. Felix Schutz and Derek Whitmore executed a give-and-go through the neutral zone and Schutz cut down the slot near the edge of the right faceoff circle. Schutz sent a backhand shot into the net off the arm of Norfolk netminder Riku Helenius at 12:27.
Portland took a two-goal lead with a pair of similar goals just 42 seconds apart early in the second period. Matt Generous sent a wrist shot from the right point past a screened Helenius at 4:47. Then Drew Schiestel sent another screened shot from the top of the right circle into the net off the crossbar at 5:27.
Norfolk closed their gap to one goal at 14:48 of the second period. Chris Lawrence fended off a Pirate defender as he skated the puck from the right corner to the top of the right circle before cutting across the slot and sending a shot on net. Stationed at the top of the crease, Mitch Fritz deflected the shot past Lamoureux for his first goal as an Admiral.
The Admirals came out of the gates strong to begin the third period with several quality scoring chances in the opening minutes of the final frame. However, the visitors were unable to net a third goal and Cody McCormick tallied an empty-net goal with 1:02 left to seal the 4-2 victory for the Pirates.
Riku Helenius (22 shots, 19 saves) took the loss. Jean-Philippe Lamoureux (25 shots, 23 saves) got the win.
Norfolk was 0-2 on the power play. Portland was 0-3.
The Admirals will play game seven of their season-long eight-game road trip against the Worcester Sharks tomorrow afternoon at 3:05. All Admirals games can be heard on STAR 1310-AM and star1310.com. They can also be seen on a pay-per-view basis on ahllive.com.
The Admirals will return to Scope next Friday and Saturday, November 27 and 28, to square off against the Albany River Rats. The puck drops both nights at 7:15 p.m. On November 27, the first 2,500 fans through the gates will receive a free Admirals mousepad courtesy of Your Community PhoneBook. For details, please visit norfolkadmirals.com.
1. Felix Schutz – POR
2. Drew Schiestel – POR
3. Matt Generous – POR
NOTES … The Norfolk penalty kill is 17/17 through six games of the eight-game road trip … Four of the six goals scored in the contest tonight were the first tallies of the season for the goal scorer (Schutz, Generous, Schiestel and Fritz) … Fritz’s second period goal was his first goal in 58 American Hockey League games since April 12, 2008 with Hartford vs. Bridgeport … With an assist on Justin Keller’s first period goal, Brandon Bochenski has points in six of his last nine games (6G, 6A) … Earlier in the day, the Lightning announced that they had recalled defensemen Mike Lundin and Matt Smaby from the Admirals … Scratches: LW Mark Parrish, C Mitch Fadden ... Attendance: 3,819.