NORFOLK, VA- Brandon Manning scored two goals and an assist to lift the Adirondack Phantoms to a 5-4 victory over the Norfolk Admirals Friday night at the Norfolk Scope.
Midway through the first period Rickard Rakell collected a puck along the left side boards in the Adirondack zone. He led Max Friberg to the goal crease with a crisp pass where Friberg directed it with a tip into the net past Phantom netminder Cal Heeter. Friberg’s third goal in as many games gave Norfolk an early 1-0 lead at 9:22 of the first.
Adirondack pressed into the Norfolk zone and was able to even it up with fewer than five and a half remaining in the opening frame. Brandon Manning received a pass and pulled the trigger on a slapshot from the right point. An effective screen blinded Admirals goaltender John Gibson and Adirondack tied the game at one.
A quiet rest of the first gave way to an exceptionally loud second period that saw three goals for both teams.
It started with Adirondack’s Rob Bordson swatting a floating puck in off Gibson’s shoulder at 1:26 of the second. Norfolk found a tally of their own at 6:32 when Emerson Etem cleaned up a puck sitting in the crease. after a Rickard Rakell shot form the right wing circle. Etem’s goal was reviewed and declared eligible after the officials initially whistled the play dead. Etem's fourth of the season knotted the game at two.
Less than two minutes later, Zach Stortini spun out from behind the Adirondack goal and slid the puck past the left skate of Heeter. Just like that, Norfolk jumped on top 3-2 at 8:12 of the second period.
Just nine seconds later, Manning scooped up a neutral zone turnover and blasted another shot from the left wing side that beat Gibson. The Norfolk goaltender slowed it down with a pad but couldn’t get all of it. Manning's second of the game brought the Phantoms back even at three.
As the last minute of the second wound down, Kris Newbury gave the Phantoms another lead when he buried a rebound on the right side with 30 seconds to go. Adirondack’s 4-3 advantage lasted a mere 10 seconds until Friberg came up with his second goal of the night and his fourth in three games.
Rakell snuck a pass into the slot for an awaiting Etem who ricocheted his wrister off Heeter’s left pad. Friberg was driving the net when the rebound came right to him. The Swede quickly jabbed it through for his third point of the night to tie the game at four after two periods.
Penalties plagued Norfolk in the third, which included a five-on-three advantage for Adirondack. As Dave Steckel left the box on his charging call, Bruno Gervais one-timed a pass from the left dot. Gibson couldn’t slide and cover in time, allowing another goal at the 9:44 mark of the third.
Adirondack held Norfolk scoreless for the rest of the period and earned a 5-4 victory to begin the two-game weekend set.
Gibson allowed five goals on 27 shots and took the loss, as the Admirals dropped their fourth straight. He is now 9-8-3 on the season while Cal Heeter improves to 9-8 on the year stopping 26 of 30 shots faced. .
Norfolk sits in eighth in the eastern conference with a 13-11-1-4 record. Adirondack owns a 13-11-0-2 record and is one spot behind the Admirals in ninth.
The two teams will meet again on Saturday at Scope beginning at 7:15 p.m. There will be a postgame skate with the Admirals players following the game. Skates will be available for fans on a first-come first-serve basis. Fans are allowed to bring their own skates if they have them.
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.
For 10-packs, or discounted group tickets 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
NOTES: Max Friberg scored twice in Friday's game, and extends his goal scoring streak to a team season-high three games. Friberg now has four goals in the last three games, and has registered points in four of the last five contests.
1. Brandon Manning (ADK)
2. Jason Akeson (ADK)
3. Max Friberg (NOR)