NORFOLK, VA -- Igor Bobkov stopped 28 of 29 shots to help lead the Norfolk Admirals to a 3-1 victory over the Adirondack Phantoms Saturday evening at the Norfolk Scope. With the win, the Admirals snap a four-game winless streak.
After a scoreless first period, Norfolk began to assert itself in the offensive end in the second. Chris Wagner held a puck behind Adirondack’s netminder Cal Heeter on the power play. Heeter turned to peak at Wagner as the Norfolk center forward dished to Max Friberg at the left wing dot.
Friberg made a heady one-time redirection across the slot to the stick of Charlie Sarault who buried the puck behind Heeter for the goal to give the Admirals a 1-0 lead at 7:47 of the period.
Later in the period, Admirals defenseman Jesse Blacker stopped a Phantom carrying the puck at the Adirondack blue line. Blacker’s effort slowed the puck enough to allow Rickard Rakell to keep the puck in the zone.
Rakell wasted no time backhanding a pass to Emerson Etem lingering behind the play. Etem took it in the middle slot one-on-one with Heeter and beat him over the left pad with a backhand shot. Etem’s marker pushed the Admirals into a two-goal lead at 13:26 of the second.
With urgency being a prerequisite for visiting Adirondack, the Phantoms tested Norfolk’s goaltender Igor Bobkov as much as possible in the third and eventually broke through.
Adirondack’s Cullen Eddy slapped a shot from the left point that deflected off teammate Tye McGinn’s stick. The deflection then bounced off Bobkov’s chest to the right side where Jason Akeson cleaned up the rebound. The Phantoms cut the lead in half with 13:41 left in regulation.
A high-sticking penalty on Garnet Exelby with 2:17 remaining afforded Adirondack a power play chance to get even. Heeter left his net, giving way to another attacker and a six-on-four Phantom advantage.
Norfolk’s stout penalty-killing unit held the Phantom attack in check, and Nolan Yonkman capitalized on the empty net scoring his first goal of the season. The Admirals escaped with a 3-1 lead, splitting the two-game set with Adirondack.
Bobkov made 28 saves on 29 shots in a spectacular Saturday night performance. Heeter suffered the loss in a solid effort making 33 saves on 35 shots.
The Admirals improve to 14-11-1-4 and picked up a much-needed home victory. The Phantoms’ loss leaves them a game above .500 at 13-12-0-2.
The Admirals return to action next Friday (Dec. 27) at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m. The Admirals will return home on January 3 & 4 against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. On January 23, the first 2,025 fans will receive the second series of the Admirals trading card set!
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.
NOTES: Max Friberg's goal scoring streak ended at three games. However he extended his point scoring streak to five games which began back on December 14. Friberg has totaled seven points (4g, 3a) during this streak.
1. Emerson Etem (NOR)
2. Charles Sarault (NOR)
3. Igor Bobkov (NOR)