HARTFORD, CT -- Despite a last second goal by the Hartford Wolfpack to send the game to overtime, the Norfolk Admirals picked up a 3-2 shootout victory in the season opener at the XL Center Saturday night.
After a physical and scoreless first period, the Admirals wasted little time grabbing their first goal of the season in the second period.
Steven Whitney took advantage of a messy Hartford turnover in the slot. Whitney picked up the puck and wristed a shot high past the blocker of Wolfpack netminder Cam Talbot for the goal. Whitney’s goal broke the scoreless tie at 1:15 into the period.
A number of penalties were called on both sides for the remainder of the period, but both teams kept each other in check. Norfolk took the one-goal advantage into the second break.
The Admirals started the final stanza with a 5-on-3 power play and took advantage. Rickard Rakell capped off a nice tic-tac-toe passing play by Norfolk as Charles Sarault received a feed low on the right side of the net and slid a pass across the crease to Rakell. Rakell buried the puck into the net on the backside to extend the Norfolk lead to 2-0 just 37 seconds into the period.
Nearly six minutes later, Hartford got on the board by converting on a power play chance of their own. Danny Kristo received a pass at the left wing circle and wristed a shot high past the glove of Admirals goaltender Frederik Andersen to pull the Wolfpack within one.
In the final seconds of regulation, and with its net empty, Hartford threw a shot toward the net which was initially stopped by Andersen. A wild scramble for the puck ensued, and the puck crossed the line as time expired. The goal was waived off by the referee, but after a video review, the call was reversed and Hartford was awarded the goal to send the game to overtime. The tying marker was credited to Darroll Powe.
Neither team could seal the game in the extra session sending it to be decided in the shootout. Norfolk struck first on a goal Rakell, but the Wolfpack countered on a tally by Kristo. The Admirals took the lead in the fourth round of the shootout on a goal scored by Devante Smith-Pelly. Hartford’s Ryan Bourque was Hartford’s last chance to keep the game alive, but Andersen was able to get a piece of the puck and turn it aside to seal the 3-2 Admirals victory.
Andersen was sharp in goal, earning the win turning aside 35 of 37 shots, while Talbot takes the loss allowing two goals on 28 shots faced.
The Admirals close out the opening weekend road trip on Sunday at Bridgeport. Game time is set for 3:00 p.m. Tune in on 1490 AM, or online at http://1021thegame.com
Game Notes: Norfolk killed off seven of eight penalties faced in the game….Zack Stortini was involved in two fights in the first period, and finished the game with 12 penalty minutes.
Opening Night Promotions & Festivities! The Admirals home opener will take place on Friday, October 11 at 7:30 p.m. against the Binghamton Senators. Come early and join us for Party on the Plaza beginning at 5:00 p.m. featuring live music by Brent Shepard, bounce houses & games for the kids, as well as food and beverages! The first 5,000 fans to walk through the gates will receive an Admirals Magnet Schedule! Following the game, Sara Lee will be giving away 3,000 loaves of bread to fans as the exit the arena!
The two teams will meet again on Saturday, October 12 at 7:15 p.m. Come early and check out the ODU Hockey Team battle American University at Scope. One game ticket will get you in to both games!
Game tickets are now on sale, and are available through the Norfolk 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 Admirals action by purchasing your season tickets today. Stop by the Admirals’ Administrative Offices at Scope, or call (757) 640-1212 Office hours are Monday - Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Fans can also visit us online at www.norfolkadmirals.com
Three Stars: 1. Devante Smith-Pelly - NOR
2. Darroll Powe – HAR
3. Frederik Andersen - NOR