NORFOLK, Va. – Blair Jones and Mattias Ritola each scored twice and Marc-Antoine Pouliot had a goal and two assists as the Norfolk Admirals (30-17-8-5) upended the Hershey Bears (38-20-1-3), 6-1, on Wednesday night at Norfolk Scope Arena. The Admirals will now play three games on the road beginning Friday night against the Albany Devils.
Chris Durno also had a goal for the Admirals while goaltender Dustin Tokarski stopped 28 of 29 shots. After falling behind 1-0, Norfolk scored six unanswered goals en route to the victory.
The Bears took a 1-0 lead 7:44 into the game. Steve Pinizzotto took the puck from the left corner to the left half wall before cutting across the left circle and into the slot. He shot the puck across his body and between the right arm and leg of Tokarski for a 1-0 Hershey lead.
The Admirals leveled the score at 1-1 just over five minutes later on Ritola’s first goal as an Admiral. Ritola carried the puck from the Norfolk zone into the Hershey third of the ice in the slot. He fed the puck to Matt Fornataro in the right circle and Fornataro attempted a shot that Bears netminder Jared DeMichiel blocked. However, Ritola found the rebound and shoveled it through DeMichiel’s legs at 12:51.
Norfolk took a 2-1 lead 9:05 into the second stanza on the power play. Mike Vernace threaded a pass from the right point to Jones in the left circle. Jones faked a shot, moved around a Hershey defender and sent a shot from the slot through a screen and over the goalie’s left shoulder for his first goal of the night.
Jones stretched the Admirals lead to two goals just 36 seconds later. Troy Milam prevented a Hershey clearing attempt along the right half wall and got the puck to Pouliot in the right circle. Pouliot dropped a pass to Jones, who rifled a shot over DeMichiel’s blocker at 9:41. With the goal, Jones tied his career high with twenty goals in a season.
Norfolk went ahead 4-1 with just five seconds left in the second period on a Pouliot power play tally. Milam sent a slap pass from the right point towards the left faceoff dot. Pouliot one-timed the offering into the net in front of the sliding right leg of DeMichiel for his eighteenth goal of the season.
Durno extended the Admirals' lead to 5-1 just 32 seconds into the final frame. He took the puck from the right point of the Norfolk zone all the way into the Hershey zone along the left half wall. He skated behind the net and wrapped a shot into the goal between the post and left skate of DeMichiel for his fifteenth goal of the season. After the goal, the Bears replaced DeMichiel with Shane Owen in goal.
Ritola closed out scoring with his second tally of the night at 13:17 of the third period. Pouliot sent a pass from the left circle to Ritola on the right side. Ritola sent a shot through a maze of bodies and over a prone Owen.
Dustin Tokarski (29 shots, 28 saves) improved his season record to 15-14-4. Jared DeMichiel (24 shots, 19 saves) took the loss through 40:32. Shane Owen (10 shots, 9 saves) did not receive a decision after making his AHL debut in 19:28 of relief.
Norfolk was 2-7 on the power play. Hershey was 0-4.
The Admirals will drop the puck on a three-games-in-three-nights road trip on Friday evening against the Albany Devils at 7:00 p.m. Follow all of the action at 102.1-FM and 1490-AM The Game, 1021TheGame.com and ahllive.com.
The Admirals return to Scope on Wednesday night at 7:15 p.m. to battle the Binghamton Senators in another Admirals Value Night, featuring Admirals Family Fun Packs and Student Rush Nights. Family Fun Packs, presented by SunTrust, include four discounted Red Level Tickets for just $48 plus four free hot dogs, four free popcorns and four free sodas. Fans get all of that for just $48 – that’s a savings of $37!
Student Rush Nights provide $8 White Level Tickets (normally $12) for students with a valid current high school or college ID. In addition, when you buy a Student Rush Night Ticket, you get a buy-one, get-one free offer for the next Student Rush Night.
Family Fun Packs are available at the Scope Box Office, all Ticketmaster Outlets, charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000 or online at Ticketmaster.com. Family Fun Packs must be purchased prior to the day of the game. Student Rush Night Tickets are available ONLY at the Scope Box Office after 2:00 p.m. on the day of the game.
Individual tickets for all regular season games start at just $12. Tickets are available now at the Scope Box Office, all Ticketmaster Outlets, charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000 and online at ticketmaster.com.
Season tickets for the 2011-12 season are now available! Low monthly payments available for a limited time only. 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 for more details or to purchase your tickets!
1. Blair Jones – NOR
2. Marc-Antoine Pouliot – NOR
3. Mattias Ritola – NOR
NOTES … The Admirals have standings points in five consecutive games (3-0-0-2) … Norfolk (30-17-8-5, 73 points) moved two points ahead the idle Binghamton Senators (32-32-3-4, 71 points) for fourth place in the AHL’s East Division … Blair Jones is now just five points away from tying Ajay Baines as the all-time leading scorer in AHL Admirals history. Jones has recorded 63 goals and 107 assists for 170 points in 265 games with Norfolk from the 2007-08 season to the present. Baines recorded 68 goals and 107 assists for 175 points in 409 games with Norfolk from 2000-01 – 2005-06 … Jones has scored the game-winning goal in each of Norfolk's last four victories (2/12 vs. Syracuse, shootout winner on 2/25 vs. Charlotte, 2/27 at Albany, 3/2 vs. Hershey) … Mattias Ritola has multiple points in five of the nine games he has played with Norfolk since being assigned by the Tampa Bay Lightning on February 9 … In 12 games since the All-Star Break, Norfolk's power play is running at a 23.8% efficiency (15/63). In 48 games before the All-Star Break, Norfolk's power play was running at a 16.2% efficiency (32/197) … Scratches: Kevin Quick, Levi Nelson, Tim Marks, Mathieu Roy, Mitch Fritz, Cedrick Desjardins.