Admirals Rally Late to Tame Sound Tigers 3-2 in Shootout
NORFOLK, VA -- Devante Smith-Pelly scored with 46 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime and help the Admirals to 3-2 shootout victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Saturday evening at Scope. With the win, Norfolk sweeps the two-game weekend set with Bridgeport.
A physical first period featured its first goal when Bridgeport’s Mike Cornell took a puck beyond the circle along the boards and fired it on net. Norfolk goaltender John Gibson presented his stick to block it, but instead saw it deflect off the stick into the net. A fortunate deflection goal for the Sound Tigers at 12:42 gave them a 1-0 lead.
It didn’t take long for Norfolk’s Emerson Etem to make his mark and bring the Admirals even. A shot bounced off Bridgeport’s Anders Nilsson on the rush and Etem swooped in to take advantage of an open net. The rebound goal at 14:29 of the first extended Etem’s point streak to seven games. Rickard Rakell stretched his point streak to a team-high eight games with the assist on the play.
Bridgeport controlled a majority of play in the second period, outshooting the Admirals by a 15-4 count.
With 7:31 left, however, Bridgeport sped out of their zone with Andrew Clark carrying the puck from end to end. Clark flicked a shot on net that ricocheted off Gibson’s left leg to Kirill Kabanov. Kabanov easily tapped it in low in the slot to give the Sound Tigers a 2-1 second period lead.
The final period went back and forth with Norfolk earning their fair share of chances. Bridgeport got into penalty trouble late but its penalty kill was able to hold on. The Admirals continued to struggle on the power play and were held scoreless with a man-advantage on both occasions.
Things looked bleak for the home squad as the clock ticked under a minute remaining. After John Gibson left his net, an extra Norfolk attacker entered the Bridgeport zone for a final push.
Rakell held the puck along the left side boards before sending a pass to Alex Grant at the point. Grant let a rocket shot go that fell innocently to the stick of Devante Smith-Pelly off Nilsson’s chest. Smith-Pelly stood his ground near the crease and jammed the rebound into Nilsson.
The puck leaked out from behind Nilsson and inched across the line for the equalizer that came with 45 seconds left in regulation. The largest crowd of the season of 6,050 fans exploded as Smith-Pelly sent the contest to overtime.
Neither team could find the answer in the extra session and a shootout followed. Jesse Blacker and Max Friberg netted a shootout goal each and John Gibson saved four of five shots he faced to propel the Admirals to a 3-2 shootout victory.
John Gibson made 30 saves on 32 shots to earn the win, while Bridgeport’s Anders Nilsson suffers his second setback to Norfolk after saving 25 out of 27 shots.
Norfolk sweeps Bridgeport on the weekend and improves to 18-12-1-4 on the season as the Sound Tigers fall to 13-18-1-4.
Norfolk will be back on the road next weekend for a three games in three-day stretch which begins on Friday against the Portland in Lewiston, Maine. Fans can tune-in to the game on 1490 AM The Game, or on 1650 AM.
The Admirals will return home on January 17 & 18 to battle the Worcester Sharks. Saturday, January 18 is Pink in the Rink. Come out and show your support in the fight against breast cancer. The Admirals will be skating on pink ice for that game.
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.
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
1. Devante Smith-Pelly (NOR)
2. Emerson Etem (NOR)
3. Andrew Clark (BRI)