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October 7, 2011

Admirals Open Season with Overtime Thriller


Carter Ashton celebrates his overtime game-winning goal on Friday at Scope. Photo by John Wright.NORFOLK, Va. – Carter Ashton's second goal of the game came 1:55 into overtime as the Norfolk Admirals (1-0-0-0) erased a two-goal deficit to defeat the Charlotte Checkers (0-0-1-0), 6-5, on Friday night in the season opener at Norfolk Scope Arena. The same teams meet tomorrow night at Scope at 7:15 p.m.

Tyler Johnson scored his first professional goal in his first professional game. Mike Angelidis, Pierre-Cedric Labrie and Alexandre Picard also tallied for the Admirals. Netminder Dustin Tokarski turned aside 25 of 30 shots for the win.

Ashton opened the 2011-12 scoring for the Admirals with a power play tally to give the Admirals a 1-0 lead. Ashton picked up his own rebound and sent it over the right shoulder of Checkers goaltender Justin Peters for his second professional goal at the 6:37 mark of the opening period.

The Checkers knotted the game at 1-1 with a power play goal of their own. Bobby Sanguinetti fired a shot from the point that was initially turned aside by Tokarski. Checkers forward Jon Matsumoto picked up the loose rebound and sent a backhander over a sprawling Tokarski at the 4:26 mark of the second period.

Jerome Samson gave the Checkers a 2-1 lead just under four minutes later. Samson picked up a loose rebound just inside his own blue line. He slipped through the Admirals defense and then sent a shot over a prone Tokarski at 8:20.

Rookie forward Tyler Johnson knotted the game at 2-2 with his first goal as a professional. With the Admirals skating shorthanded, Johnson collected a wide shot in the right corner. With the puck still behind the goal line, Johnson sent a shot that banked off Peters' arm and into the net at exactly the midway point of the second stanza.

The Checkers took a 3-2 lead with Samson's second goal of the contest. While the teams skated four aside, Sanguinetti fed Samson in the slot. Samson then sent a wrist shot along the ice past the left skate of Tokarski with 5:12 remaining in the second period.

Zach Boychuk gave the Checkers a 4-2 lead with 13:52 left in regulation. Boychuck deflected a shot from the point by Checkers' defenseman Justin Krueger over a screened Tokarski.

Just under two minutes later, the Admirals closed to within one goal of the Checkers with a four-on-three power play tally. Trevor Smith sent a shot from the right circle that Angelidis deflected past Peters at 8:01.

The Checkers regained a two-goal lead with Matsumoto's second tally of the evening. Drayson Bowman fed a pass to Matsumoto in front of Tokarski. Matsumoto, who was racing in from the point, deflected the shot over the glove hand of Tokarski to give the Checkers a 5-3 lead with 11:44 remaining in regulation.

Less than two minutes later, the Admirals Pierre-Cedric Labrie brought the Admirals back to within one at 5-4. Labrie skated from his own zone into Charlotte's along the left wing, dancing around a defender before sending a wrist shot that went over Peters' right shoulder and knocked the goaltender's water bottle into the air. The goal came at the 13:19 mark of the third period.

The Admirals knotted the game at 5-5 with less than five minutes remaining in regulation. Trevor Smtih sent a pass from behind the Checkers' net to the stick of Picard who was standing in front of the net. Picard deflected the pass over Peters for his first goal as an Admiral with 3:22 remaining in the third period.

Ashton capped off the comeback 1:55 into the extra session. Richard Petiot sent a shot from the right point. Ashton, who was stationed in front of Peters in the low slot, deflected the shot into the net for the sixth and decisive goal.

Dustin Tokarski (1-0-0) stopped 25 of 30 shots. Justin Peters (0-1-0) stopped 38 of 44 shots.

Norfolk was 3-9 on the power play. Charlotte was 1-8.

The Admirals and Checkers will wrap-up the weekend series tomorrow night at Norfolk Scope. Game time is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. All fans that come through the gates will receive a 2011-12 Norfolk Admirals magnetic schedule while supplies last, courtesy of Michael and Son Services, Inc.

Following tomorrow night's contest, the Admirals will hold their first post-game skate of the season where fans can skate at Scope with their favorite Admirals following the game. A limited number of skates will be available or fans may bring their own skates.

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.

Don’t miss a minute of the action by purchasing your 2011-12 season tickets today. Season tickets start at just $350 while 10-Packs are available for as little as $110. 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. Carter Ashton – NOR
2. Tyler Johnson – NOR
3. Jerome Samson – CHA

NOTES … With the overtime victory, the Admirals now have six wins, five regulation losses, and one shootout loss in season-opening contests since joining the American Hockey League in 2000-01 … Tonight's game was the first of eight meetings between the Checkers and the Admirals during the 2011-12 regular season. The winner of the 2011-12 season series between the clubs will earn the GEICO Challenge Cup … Norfolk's Alexandre Picard attempted a penalty shot, the first for an Admiral since April 1, 2011 vs. Hershey … Admirals defenseman Kevin Quick was whistled for his first minor penalty of the season, after not committing a penalty in 45 games during the 2010-11 season … Attendance: 4,657.


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