GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, N.L. – The Norfolk Admirals opened the preseason with a 5-2 victory over the St. John's IceCaps on Thursday night at the Joe Byrne Memorial Stadium. The same two teams meet tomorrow evening at the Gander Community Centre in Gander, Newfoundland, with a puck drop at 6:00 p.m. EDT.
Norfolk received goals from Pierre-Cedric Labrie, Philip-Michael Devos, Mike Vernace, Jeff Dimmen and Matt Fornataro in the victory. Dustin Tokarski started in net for Norfolk and received the win after stopping all six shots he faced. Pat Nagle relieved Tokarski mid-way through the second period and did not receive a decision after stopping 11 of 13 shots.
The Admirals struck early. Pierre-Cedric Labrie found the rebound of a Trevor Smith shot and slapped it past IceCaps goaltender Steve Christie at 2:23. Smith received the only assist on the goal.
Norfolk's lead doubled midway through the first period. Philip-Michael Devos benefitted from a turnover in the slot and sent a shot high over the shoulder of Christie at 11:57. Ondrej Palat drew the only helper on the play.
The Admirals' lead grew to 3-0 on the power play just over two minutes later. Mike Vernace sent a shot through a screen that eluded Christie. Tyler Johnson and James Wright set up the goal for Vernace at 14:08 of the opening frame.
Jeff Dimmen pushed the Norfolk lead to 4-0 with another power play goal midway through the second period. Dimmen's shot through a screen beat Christie just inside the post at 9:02. Johnson and Wright again assisted on the goal.
Bretton Cameron broke up the Norfolk shutout bid 1:15 into the final frame with a shot that beat Norfolk netminder Pat Nagle.
Jason King then netted a power play goal for St. John's at 5:41 of the third period to cut the Admirals' lead to 4-2.
Matt Fornataro capped scoring at 13:34 of the final frame as his power play goal made it 5-2 in favor of the visitors. Alexandre Picard picked up the lone assist on the tally.
Dustin Tokarski (6 shots, 6 saves) made the start and earned the win after playing 29:38. Pat Nagle (13 shots, 11 saves) did not receive a decision in 30:22 of relief. Steve Christie (29 shots, 24 saves) was saddled with the loss and played the entire game for St. John's.
Norfolk was 3-for-6 on the power play. St. John's was 1-for-6.
The teams will travel to the Gander Community Centre in Gander, N.L., for the second of three exhibition games tomorrow night. The puck will drop for that game at 6:00 p.m. EDT. The St. John's radio broadcast of the game is available online at www.thisisnewfoundlandlabrador.com.
The puck drops for the 2011-12 Admirals regular season on Friday, October 7, as the Admirals host the Charlotte Checkers at Norfolk Scope Arena. A complete 2011-12 season schedule is available at norfolkadmirals.com.
Individual tickets are now on sale for all 38 Admirals regular season home games at the Scope Box Office, all Ticketmaster Outlets, charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000 and online at ticketmaster.com.
Don’t miss a minute of Admirals action by purchasing your 2011-12 season tickets or 10-packs today. 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!