NORFOLK – Peter Holland scored his team-leading eighth goal of the season, but the Norfolk Admirals (7-8-0-0) were upended by the Charlotte Checkers (12-3-0-2), 5-2, on Wednesday night at Norfolk Scope Arena. The Admirals now embark on a quick two-game road trip in Adirondack on Friday and Connecticut on Saturday.
Sami Vatanen also scored for the Admirals, while goaltender Igor Bobkov (3-5-0) stopped 26 of 31 shots. Norfolk fell below .500 for the first time since January 30, 2010, ending a stretch of 202 consecutive regular season games played at or above .500.
The Checkers took a 1-0 lead on their first shot of the contest early in the first period. Zach Boychuk intercepted a Norfolk pass along the left half wall and threaded a feed to Jeremy Welsh in the right circle. Welsh one-timed the puck past Bobkov, glove-side, at 3:58.
Norfolk tied the game at 1-1 less than five minutes later. Ryan Parent sent a spinaround, behind-the-back pass from the right circle to Holland in the high slot. Holland then sent a wrist shot through a screen and past Charlotte goaltender Dan Ellis at 8:25.
Charlotte took a two-goal lead into the first intermission with a pair of goals just 16 seconds apart midway through the first period. The Checkers went ahead, 2-1, at 14:14 with an even strength goal from Sean Dolan. Nicolas Blanchard sent a shot from the left point that Dolan deflected past Bobkov.
The visitors’ lead doubled to two goals on Drayson Bowman’s AHL-leading 11th goal of the season. While on the power play, Bobby Sanguinetti sent a shot from the right point that Bobkov stopped. However, Bowman was waiting on the doorstep and sent the rebound into the net with a backhand shot at 14:30.
Charlotte’s lead increased to 4-1 on a Riley Nash deflection at 14:25 of the second period. Sanguinetti sent a shot from the right point. While stationed in the slot near the right hashmarks, Nash deflected the shot with the puck bouncing off the ice and bounding into the upper portion of the net.
The Admirals came back with a goal of their own just under two minutes later. After Ellis attempted to play the puck in the left corner, Brandon McMillan took it away from him and chipped the puck to Troy Bodie in the left circle. Bodie then fed it across the slot to Vatanen in the right circle for a shot that Ellis stopped. But Vatanen found the rebound and stashed it around Ellis’s outstretched glove and into the net for his third goal of the season. The tally at 15:58 made the score 4-2 in favor of the Checkers.
Charlotte’s Chris Terry re-established a three-goal lead for the visitors before the second period ended. He chipped the puck around an Admirals defenseman at the left point when entering the Norfolk zone, doing so on a quick-developing two-on-one. He snapped a shot from the left circle that went between Bobkov’s legs at 18:57, giving the Checkers a 5-2 lead at the second intermission.
Despite 18 shots by the Admirals and 16 shots by Charlotte, neither team found the back of the net in the third period.
Norfolk was 0-for-2 on the power play. Charlotte was 1-for-4.
Next up for Norfolk is a road contest on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. against the Adirondack Phantoms. Tune in at 7:00 p.m. to 102.1-FM, 1490-AM, 1021TheGame.com or AHLLive.com.
The Admirals return to Scope next Wednesday in the first meeting of the season with the Hershey Bears. The puck drops at 7:15 p.m. in the second Admirals Value Night of the season, with Family Fun Packs and Student Rush Night tickets available.
Family Fun Packs include four discounted Red Level Tickets plus four free hot dogs, four free popcorns and four free sodas. Fans get all of that for just $54 – that’s a savings of $37!
Student Rush Nights provide $9 White Level Tickets (normally $17 on game nights) 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. Student Rush Night Tickets are available ONLY at the Scope Box Office after 2:00 p.m. on the day of the game.
Don’t miss a minute of Admirals action by purchasing your season tickets today. 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.
1. Dan Ellis – CHA
2. Bobby Sanguinetti – CHA
3. Michal Jordan – CHA