NORFOLK, Va. – Zenon Konopka scored twice and defenseman Geoff Kinrade scored the game-winning goal in his first professional game as the Norfolk Admirals topped the Binghamton Senators 4-2 on Friday night at Norfolk Scope Arena.
The Admirals (28-35-3-5) took 12 of the game’s first 13 shots and struck first 3:24 into the opening frame. Radek Smolenak sent a shot from the left corner that deflected off the arm of Norfolk captain Zenon Konopka and snuck between the post and right arm of Binghamton goaltender Jeff Glass. The goal for Konopka gave him points in nine straight games – a Norfolk season high.
Norfolk’s lead doubled with a power play goal over ten minutes later on a similar play. This time, Smolenak sent a shot from the left faceoff dot that beat Glass five-hole at 12:45. Glass would be replaced by Mitch O’Keefe for the remainder of the period, but he would return in the second stanza.
Before the second period could begin, however, the Senators (37-25-5-3) netted a power play goal to cut their deficit in half. Greg Mauldin sent a shot from the right faceoff dot that trickled through the legs of Norfolk netminder Riku Helenius at 15:41 of the first period.
After a scoreless second period, Norfolk stretched their lead to 3-1 at 8:12 of the final frame. Rookie Geoff Kinrade, who had arrived in Norfolk an hour before the puck dropped for his first professional game, came out of the penalty box and poked the puck loose from Binghamton captain Denis Hamel near the right point of the Norfolk zone. Brandon Bochenski collected the loose puck and sent it up the neutral zone to Kinrade, who broke in to the Senators’ zone along the left wing. He sent a hard wrist shot from the faceoff dot that grazed the shoulder of the goaltender on its way into the top corner of the net for his first professional goal on his first professional shot in his first professional game.
Binghamton again closed their gap to one goal just over three minutes later while each team played with four skaters. Zack Smith sent a wrist shot through traffic from the high slot that slipped through the legs of Helenius at 11:52.
However, Konopka restored Norfolk’s two goal lead late in the period with a power play goal. Brandon Bochenski threaded a pass from the bottom of the left circle across the slot. Konopka accepted the pass on the backdoor and sent a quick shot past Glass for his second goal of the game and his sixteenth of the season at 17:48.
Riku Helenius (31 shots, 29 saves) picked up the win. Jeff Glass (46 shots, 42 saves) took the loss. Mitch O’Keefe did not face a shot through 7:15 of play and did not receive a decision.
Norfolk was 2-9 on the power play. Binghamton was 1-6.
The Admirals will host their East Division Rivals, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, at Scope tomorrow night at 7:15 p.m. Following the game, fans will have the opportunity to bid on the special jerseys the Admirals are wearing in the annual MDA Jersey Auction, presented by PAPCO.
To purchase tickets to any Admirals game, you may visit the Scope Box Office weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., visit any Ticketmaster outlet, call Ticketmaster at (757) 671-8100 or visit Ticketmaster online at www.ticketmaster.com. Don’t miss a minute of the action by purchasing your 2009-10 season tickets today. Season tickets start at just $42 per month! Stop by the Admirals’ Administrative Offices at Scope, call (757) 640-1212 weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or visit norfolkadmirals.com anytime!
1. Zenon Konopka – NOR
2. Geoff Kinrade – NOR
3. Radek Smolenak – NOR
Notes … Every Admiral recorded at least one shot on goal for Norfolk tonight, who totaled 46 shots as a team … Zenon Konopka has set an Admirals season high with a nine-game point streak (4G, 8A). Konopka now has points in 13 of his last 15 games (5G, 13A) … Pete Zingoni’s three-game point streak (2G, 1A) ended … With a goal, an assist and a fight, Radek Smolenak turned in his third “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” of the season. Smolenak has points in three of his last four games (3G, 1A) … Justin Keller has points in each of his past 12 home games (9G, 7A) … Brandon Bochenski has points in three of his last four games (1G, 3A) … Scratches: D Ty Wishart, F Bracken Kearns, F Jason Ward, F Grant Potulny and D Scott Jackson … F Steve Downie missed the game due to suspension … Attendance: 3,618.