CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Marc-Antoine Pouliot scored late in regulation as the Norfolk Admirals (24-14-8-3) erased a two-goal deficit. However, Jerome Samson scored 1:11 into overtime as the Admirals fell to the Charlotte Checkers (27-18-1-4), 7-6, on Thursday night at the Time Warner Cable Arena. The Admirals are now winless in their last six games (0-4-1-1).
With the loss, Charlotte tied Norfolk for third place in the AHL’s East Division. The Admirals will drop the puck on a season-long eight-game homestand on Friday and Saturday nights at Norfolk Scope Arena against the Binghamton Senators.
Norfolk erased deficits of 2-0, 3-2, 4-3 and 6-4 in the game but never had the lead. Blair Jones, Matt Fornataro, Johan Harju, Radko Gudas, Alex Berry and Pouliot scored for Norfolk. Goaltender Jaroslav Janus made his season debut with Norfolk and made 22 saves on 29 shots.
The Admirals fell behind 2-0 early in the first period on a pair of Charlotte goals just 15 seconds apart. Jacob Micflikier took the puck away from a Norfolk forward in the Admirals zone and broke in alone on Janus. Micflikier deked a shot glove-side before slipping a shot stick-side around Janus’ right leg at 3:50.
The Checkers doubled their lead at 4:05. Jon Matsumoto sent a shot off Janus’ legs. Chris Terry found the rebound and sent it into the net for a 2-0 Charlotte lead.
Jones brought the Admirals back to within one goal of Charlotte less than four minutes later on the power play. Marc-Andre Bergeron sent a shot from the right point that deflected off a stick on its way toward the net. Jones found the loose puck and backhanded it past Checkers goaltender Mike Murphy at 8:01 for his fourteenth goal of the season.
The Admirals tied the game at 2-2 just over five minutes later. Mark Barberio sent a shot from the blueline that Murphy blocked. Fornataro found the rebound in the goalmouth and sent it off Murphy’s chest. The puck once again wound up on Fornataro’s blade, and he scored his fifteenth goal of the season with a shot over Murphy’s glove at 13:18.
However, the Checkers reclaimed the lead with a Riley Nash power play goal exactly five minutes later. Bryan Rodney sent a feed from the right circle through traffic toward the goalmouth. Nash opened the face of his stick blade and redirected the pass beyond the right leg of Janus at 18:18 to put Charlotte ahead 3-2 heading into the first intermission.
Norfolk leveled the score at 3-3 less than five minutes into the second stanza. Defenseman Mathieu Roy entered the attacking zone along the right wing, cutting behind the net before emerging at the bottom of the left circle. Roy then sent a cross-ice pass to Harju in the right circle. Harju sent a quick shot past Murphy for his team-leading seventeenth goal of the season at 4:51.
Zac Dalpe put Charlotte back ahead by one goal just over three minutes later. Dalpe intercepted the puck in the neutral zone and sped past a Norfolk defenseman in the right circle before sending a shot off the crossbar and into the net at 8:08.
The Admirals tied the game at 4-4 just under six minutes later with Gudas’ fourth goal of the season. Berry sent a feed from the left corner to Gudas at the left point. Gudas sent a high wrist shot through traffic and past a screened Murphy at 14:00.
Matsumoto netted a shorthanded goal as the home team went ahead 5-4 with 2:46 remaining in the second period. Matsumoto’s initial shot was stopped by Janus and the Admirals began to skate the puck out of their defensive zone. However, Matsumoto picked off the puck in the left circle and sent a shot past Janus stick-side.
Matsumoto then put Charlotte ahead 6-4 midway with a shot from the left circle that went past Janus short-side at 8:59.
Norfolk’s final comeback began with a Berry power play goal at 11:53. Berry took a Pouliot feed in the right circle and sent a slap shot off the post and into the net for his twelfth goal of the season.
Pouliot then drew Norfolk even with Charlotte with his thirteenth goal of the season. Fornataro took the puck from behind the net in the left corner and emerged in the low slot. He dropped a pass to Pouliot, who sent a shot between Murphy’s blocker and right leg to tie the game at 6-6 with 2:33 remaining in regulation.
In overtime, Samson found a loose puck near center ice and skated into the Norfolk zone along the left wing. He attempted a centering pass from the bottom of the left circle that caromed off the skate of an Admirals defender and into the net 1:11 into overtime for the game-winning tally.
Jaroslav Janus (29 shots, 22 saves) took the loss. Mike Murphy (36 shots, 30 saves) received the win.
Norfolk was 2-6 on the power play. Charlotte was 1-4.
The Admirals drop the puck on a season-long eight-game homestand on Friday and Saturday nights against the Binghamton Senators. Game time is 7:30 p.m. tomorrow and 7:15 p.m. on Saturday.
The Admirals will hold their second Military Appreciation Night of the 2010-11 season tomorrow. Red Level Tickets (normally $14) will be available for just $9 at the Norfolk Scope Box Office for all active or retired military, their dependents and reservists with valid military identification. Groups of 25 or more can purchase their Red Level Tickets for just $8 by contacting the Admirals Group Sales Office at (757) 640-1212. More details are available at norfolkadmirals.com.
In addition, the first 2,500 fans through the gates tomorrow will receive an Admirals cowbell, courtesy of SUPERCUTS.
On Saturday, join the Admirals at Scope for an encore performance of the national anthem by Elizabeth Hughes as the Admirals play the Binghamton Senators at 7:15 p.m. Tickets for the game start at $12, including a $1 charitable donation to Elizabeth's school, the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater. Eight-year-old Elizabeth and Admirals fans inspired people across the country with a display of unity and composure on January 7 at Scope. Halfway through a beautiful rendition of the national anthem, Elizabeth's microphone malfunctioned and her voice was no longer carried through the Scope sound system. Without hesitation, Elizabeth maintained her poise and continued to sing as nearly 5,000 Admirals fans at Scope joined her in rousing fashion.
Individual tickets for all regular season games start at just $12. Tickets are available now at the Scope Box Office, all Ticketmaster Outlets, charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000 and online at ticketmaster.com.
Take advantage of great savings on Admirals tickets with our 10-Packs and group tickets. 10-Packs are available for as little as $110 and allow you to pick the games you want. Group tickets start at $10 for groups of 25 or more people. 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 for more details or to purchase your tickets!
1. Jon Matsumoto – CHA
2. Chris Terry – CHA
3. Alex Berry – NOR
NOTES … Norfolk is winless in six straight games (0-4-1-1) for the first time since a seven-game winless streak from October 18 – November 1, 2008 (0-5-1-1) … Charlotte became the first home team to win a game in the season series between the Admirals and Checkers in the ninth meeting between the teams … Norfolk tied a season high by allowing seven goals in a game (October 30 vs. Portland) … Blair Jones has points in seven of his last ten games (5G, 5A) ... Matsumoto’s second period goal was just the second shorthanded goal allowed by Norfolk this season … The Admirals will begin a season-long eight-game homestand on Friday and Saturday nights against the Binghamton Senators … The eight-game homestand stretches from February 4 – 25 and is comprised entirely of intra-division competition … Scratches: Kevin Quick, Levi Nelson, Tim Marks, Mitch Fritz and Troy Milam.