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March 19, 2011

Admirals Rally, But Fall to Devils in Shootout


NORFOLK, Va. – Vladimir Mihalik's first goal of the season capped a comeback from a three-goal deficit. However, his Norfolk Admirals (35-19-8-6) fell to the Albany Devils (30-35-1-3), 6-5 after a shootout, on Saturday night at Norfolk Scope Arena. The standings point earned for getting to overtime moved the Admirals into a tie for third place in the East Division with the Charlotte Checkers, who lost tonight at Syracuse, 6-2.

Next up for the Admirals is a contest against the Adirondack Phantoms on Wednesday night at Scope at 7:15 p.m.

Jaroslav Janus was saddled with the shootout loss after stopping 18 of 20 shots in relief and four of five shots in the shootout. Paul Szczechura scored twice for Norfolk while Mathieu Roy and Chris Durno joined Mihalik with single tallies. Pierre-Cedric Labrie notched two assists for Norfolk.

The Devils charged out to a 3-0 lead after one period. Olivier Magnan opened scoring at 2:01 when his wrist shot from the right point floated through traffic and past a screened Norfolk starting goaltender Cedrick Desjardins. Albany’s lead doubled to 2-0 just over ten minutes later. Chad Wiseman connected on a one-timer from the right circle at 12:06. Darcy Zajac then put the Devils ahead 3-0 at 18:24 when his wrist shot from the left circle found its mark.

Janus replaced Desjardins to start the second period, and the Admirals got on the board just 2:03 into the stanza. Labrie sent a backhand pass from the top of the right circle to Johan Harju at the bottom of the right circle. Harju then sent his own backhand pass across the crease to Szczechura, and Szczechura tapped the puck into the net for his first goal of the game.

Norfolk drew to within one goal of Albany on the power play at 15:17 of the second period. Troy Milam prevented an Albany clearing attempt from leaving the attacking zone at the left point. He sent the puck to Roy at the top of the right circle, and Roy fired a shot through traffic for his third goal of the season.

However, Albany reclaimed their two-goal lead with only 31 seconds remaining in the second period. Steve Zalewski attempted a centering pass from the bottom of the right circle that deflected off the skate of an Admirals defender and caromed between the legs of Janus for a 4-2 Devils lead.

Norfolk once again closed their gap to one goal exactly one minute into the third period. Labrie entered the attacking zone along the right wing and shoveled the puck toward the net. Durno found the loose puck in the low slot and lifted a backhand shot over the blocker of Devils goaltender Mike McKenna for his seventeenth goal of the season.

The Admirals briefly leveled the score at 4-4 just over two minutes later on the power play. Marc-Antoine Pouliot sent a pass from the left half wall to Szczechura at the opposite side of the goalmouth. Szczechura chipped the pass underneath McKenna for his eighteenth goal of 2010-11.

The tie was short lived, as the Devils took a 5-4 lead just 34 seconds later. Wiseman deflected a Alexander Urbom pass on Janus, who made a stick save. However, the rebound was loose at the top of the goalmouth, and Matt Anderson poked it into net at 3:50.

Norfolk evened the score again just under four minutes later with Mihalik’s first goal of the season. After accepting a pass from James Wright in the left circle, Mihalik sent a wrist shot between the glove hand and right leg of McKenna at 7:34 to tie the game at 5-5.

The Admirals out-shot the Devils 5-2 in overtime but were unable to find the winning tally. Zalewski scored on a backhand shot with the first attempt of the shootout. That stood as the only goal for either team in the shootout session as McKenna denied all five Admirals attempts.

Cedrick Desjardins (11 shots, 8 saves) did not receive a decision after playing just the first period and remains at 15-6-1 on the season. Jaroslav Janus (20 shots, 18 saves) suffered the shootout setback through 45 minutes of relief and saw his season record fall to 0-2-1 with Norfolk. Mike McKenna (45 shots, 40 saves) improved to 14-16-0 with his sixth consecutive win for Albany.

Norfolk was 2 for 4 on the power play. Albany did not have a power play.

The Admirals return to action on Wednesday night at Scope at 7:15 p.m. to battle the Adirondack Phantoms 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.

When purchased in advance, 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. However, on the day of the game, Family Fun Packs may only be purchased at the Scope Box Office. 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!

Three Stars:
1. Chad Wiseman – ALB
2. Paul Szczechura – NOR
3. Matt Anderson – ALB

EAST DIVISION PLAYOFF CHASE ... With tonight’s shootout loss, Norfolk (84 points, 12 games remaining) is now tied for third-place with the Charlotte Checkers (84 points, 10 games remaining), who fell at Syracuse today, 6-2. Norfolk remains seven points back of the second-place Hershey Bears (91 points, 9 games remaining) after Hershey picked up one point in a 4-3 overtime loss vs. Portland tonight. Norfolk's lead over the fifth-place Binghamton Senators (77 points, 11 games remaining) fell to seven points after the Senators shut out Springfield tonight, 2-0 … Norfolk will gain another game in hand on each of their closest East Division competitors tomorrow, as Hershey hosts Syracuse, Charlotte visits Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Binghamton visits Bridgeport on Sunday while the Admirals enjoy a day off … The top four spots in the East Division are guaranteed to qualify for the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs. The "Crossover Rule" is in effect where if the fifth place team in the East Division has more points than the fourth place team in the Atlantic Division, that team will cross over into the Atlantic Division Semifinals.

QUICK LINKS: Up-to-the-Minute Standings | 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs Qualification Rules

NOTES … Norfolk did not commit a penalty in a game for the first time since joining the American Hockey League in 2000-01 … The Admirals have standings points in five straight games (4-0-0-1) and 11 of their last 13 games (8-2-0-3) … Norfolk's five-game home winning streak ended … However, the Admirals have standings points in seven straight home games (5-0-0-2) … Norfolk is now 17-7-5-5 at Norfolk Scope Arena in 2010-11 – good for the fifth-highest home points percentage in the AHL (.647) … The Admirals have recorded at least one power play goal in six straight games (9/30, 30.0%) and are 17/67 (25.4%) on the man advantage over their past 12 games, rising from 18th to 12th in the AHL on the power play ... Norfolk's penalty kill is 62/68 (91.2%) over its last 17 games and has risen from 14th to sixth in the AHL on the season … The Admirals finished the season 6-0-1-1 against the Devils … After recording only two goals in a 22-game span from January 15 – March 5, Paul Szczechura has five goals in his last six games … Szczechura also has points in five of his last six games (5G, 2A) … Scratches: Kevin Quick, Levi Nelson, Mitch Fritz, Dustin Tokarski.

# ADMIRALS HOCKEY: IT'S TIME #

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