NORFOLK – Frederik Andersen made 41 saves and Norfolk stopped all eight Syracuse power plays as the Admirals (33-29-4-1) shut out the Crunch (39-19-4-5), 2-0, on Saturday night at Norfolk Scope Arena.
The Admirals remain two points back of the Hershey Bears for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race with nine games remaining in the regular season.
Sami Vatanen and John Mitchell scored for Norfolk while Devante Smith-Pelly and Kyle Wilson each had two assists. Andersen (20-14-1) earned his 20th win of the season and his third shutout. With the win, Norfolk denied Syracuse the chance to clinch a berth in the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs.
The Admirals will continue their five-game homestand by hosting the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Tuesday night at Scope.
The Crunch out-shot the Admirals, 13-3, in the first period, but Andersen kept the contest scoreless with several big saves.
Norfolk took a 1-0 lead 7:21 into the second period. Smith-Pelly carried the puck into the attacking zone and dropped a pass to Wilson in the right circle. Wilson then sent a pass to Vatanen at the left point. Vatanen sent a wrist shot from the left circle past the outstretched glove of Crunch goaltender Riku Helenius for his eighth goal of the season.
Andersen turned aside 11 shots in the second stanza as the Admirals took a 1-0 lead into the third period.
The lead doubled 4:52 into the third period. Smith-Pelly fired the puck into the attacking zone along the right wing glass. The puck ricocheted off a stanchion in the right corner and bounded into the slot, where Mitchell was able to fire it past an unsuspecting Helenius for his tenth goal of the season.
The Crunch had three third period power plays – including 1:40 worth of a five-on-three advantage. Andersen and the Norfolk penalty killers kept Syracuse at bay, and the netminder turned aside 17 shots in the final frame for the shutout.
Helenius (16-13-0) stopped 25of 27 shots and was saddled with the loss.
Norfolk was 0-for-4 on the power play. Syracuse was 0-for-8 in the game and 0-for-12 on the weekend against Norfolk.
The Admirals will conclude a five-game homestand next week with contests against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Tuesday night before the Binghamton Senators invade Scope on Friday and Saturday nights.
Tuesday’s game against the Penguins begins at 7:15 p.m. and is the last Admirals Value Night of the regular 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.
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. Frederik Andersen – NOR
2. Devante Smith-Pelly – NOR
3. Nate Guenin – NOR