NORFOLK, VA -- Devante Smith-Pelly and Emerson Etem put up two points apiece, while goalie John Gibson earned his fifth shutout of the season to lead the Norfolk Admirals to a 2-0 victory over the Syracuse Crunch Friday night at Scope.
A scoreless first gave way to a second period that saw three fights, two involving the AHL’s leader in penalty minutes, Zack Stortini. The Norfolk bruiser accrued 22 penalty minutes in the second period alone.
Amongst the friction was a lone goal that found the net early in the period. Crunch goaltender Cedric Desjardins initially stopped Devante Smith-Pelly’s shot but allowed a rebound.
The puck bounced off Desjardins to center forward Rickard Rakell who sent it right back into the open left side of the net to give Norfolk the lead. Rakell’s 11th marker of the season, and first since his return from injury, rang true at 4:11 of the middle frame.
The Admirals carried the slim lead into the third and doubled it off the stick of Devante Smith-Pelly. A neutral zone turnover led to a three-on-one rush for Norfolk with Emerson Etem controlling the puck down the right flank.
Etem slid a pass across the slot to Smith-Pelly who blasted a shot by an outstretched Desjardins for the Admirals’ second goal of the contest. Smith-Pelly’s team-leading 17th goal of the season dug the Crunch into a 2-0 hole at 6:41 of the third.
Syracuse never threatened the Admirals’ two-goal advantage and lost to Norfolk by the 2-0 count.
The Crunch tested John Gibson just seventeen times Friday evening, failing to find the net once.
Cedric Desjardins stopped 24 of 26 shots faced in his twelfth regulation loss of the season. The Crunch have lost ten of their last eleven including eight in regulation.
Smith-Pelly and Etem highlighted the scoring with two points each and Rakell finished with one.
Syracuse returns to the Scope tomorrow night at 7:15 p.m. to close out the two-game weekend set in Norfolk. There will be a postgame skate with the Admirals players. This is a great chance to meet your favorite players and get autographs. Skates will be made available for fans on a first-come-first-serve basis. Fans may 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.
"Go for the Gold" Ticket Promotion: Purchase a Gold Level 10-Pack between today and next Saturday (Feb. 15), AND correctly guess the Men's Ice Hockey Gold Medal winner for the 2014 Winter Olympics, and you will receive Four Free Gold Level Vouchers AND you will be put into a drawing to win a Sami Vatanen Admirals Jersey!! 10-Packs may be purchased at the Admirals games this weekend, or at 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
GAME NOTES: Prior to Friday's game, the Admirals Inducted Chad Ackerman and Dominic Maltais in the Admirals Hall of Fame. Maltais and Ackerman become the 15th and 16th members to be inducted into the this elite group...Friday's game was John Kurtz's 200th career professional game...With the Admirals 2-0 win Friday, it marked the first time this season that the home team has won a game between the two teams in the season series. Norfolk has taken all four games so far this season in Syracuse, while Syracuse previously took a pair of games at Scope back on November 8 & 9.
1. Devante Smith-Pelly (NOR)
2. John Gibson (NOR)
3. Emerson Etem (NOR)