NORFOLK, Va. – Despite mounting a furious comeback in the third period, the Norfolk Admirals (16-11-0-1) fell to the Hershey Bears (15-7-3-1), 4-3, in front of a season-high crowd of 6,246 fans on Friday night at Norfolk Scope Arena. The Admirals travel to take on the East-Division leading Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins tomorrow night.
Cory Conacher registered a goal and an assist, including his team-leading 17th goal of the season. Michel Ouellet and Pierre-Cedric Labrie also scored while Dustin Tokarski turned aside 17 of 21 shots he faced in the defeat.
The visitors took a 1-0 lead on first period power play goal by Matthew Ford. Ford led a three-on-one attack into the Norfolk zone. After his initial shot was turned aside by Tokarski, Ford picked up the rebound and slipped it beyond the netminder’s skate at 7:42.
Hershey took a 2-0 lead with their second power play tally of the night. From behind the goal line, Jacob Micfilkier fed teammate Graham Mink in front of the Norfolk net. Mink sent a low shot over the right leg of Tokarski at 11:37 of the second period.
Norfolk cut its deficit to one goal just over five minutes later. Trevor Smith fed a shot from top of the right faceoff circle that slipped under a pair of Bears’ sticks. Ouellet deflected the shot through the legs of Hershey goaltender Braden Holtby at the 16:38 mark of the middle stanza. Ouellet's sixth goal of the season made the score 2-1 Hershey.
With 18 seconds remaining in the second period, Chris Bourque scored on a shorthanded breakaway to extend the Bears' lead to 3-1. Bourque picked up a pass from Keith Aucoin and skated in alone on Tokarski. Bourque snuck a wrist shot past Tokarski, stick-side, at 19:42.
The Admirals came out of the gates running in the third period, out-shooting the Bears, 16-3 in mounting a furious comeback. Norfolk drew within one goal of Hershey with a power play goal by Cory Conacher 4:05 into the final frame. Conacher picked up a rebound off a shot by defenseman Evan Oberg and sent a shot that sailed over the left shoulder of Holtby for his 17th goal of the season.
The Bears restored their two-goal lead just 32 seconds later with Ford’s second goal of the contest. Ryan Potulny carried the puck into the Norfolk zone and fed Ford at the top of the right circle. Ford sent a shot through a screen and over the shoulder over Tokarski at 4:37.
Less than a minute later, Norfolk cut the Bears' lead to 4-3 with Labrie’s sixth goal of the season. Defenseman Mark Barberio fired a cross-ice pass that deflected off the stick of a Bears’ player and right to Labrie's stick. The second-year Admirals forward fired home a shot over a sprawling Holtby at 5:11.
However, that would be all the scoring in the contest. Despite having a shot sitting inches from the goal line and another shot glance off the post in the final minute of play, the Admirals could not squeak another shot behind Holtby.
Dustin Tokarski (10-7-0) turned aside 17 of 21 shots in the defeat. Braden Holtby (9-6-1) stopped 31 of 34 shots in the victory.
Norfolk was 1-9 on the power play. Hershey was 2-6 with the man advantage.
The Admirals kick-off a quick two-game road trip before they break for the holidays. On Saturday night, the Admirals visit the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pennsylvania. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. On Sunday, the Admirals face off against the Hershey Bears in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Puck drop for the contest against the Bears is slated for 5:00 p.m.
The Admirals return home on Wednesday December 28, to face off against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The puck drops at 7:15 p.m. and will be another Admirals Value Night, featuring Family Fun Packs and Student Rush Night tickets. The Admirals will also have their third post-game skate of the season during that contest.
Family Fun Packs include four discounted Red Level Tickets for just $48 plus four free hot dogs, four free popcorns, and four free sodas. Fans get all of that for just $48- that’s a savings of $37.
Student Rush Nights provide $8 White Level Tickets (normally $12) for students with a valid current high school or college ID. In addition, when you buy a Student Rush Night Ticket, you get a buy-one, get-one free offer for the next Student Rush Night.
Family Fun Packs are available at the Scope Box Office, all Ticketmaster Outlets, charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000 or online at Ticketmaster.com. Student Rust Night tickets are available ONLY at the Scope Box Office after 2:00 p.m. on the day of the game.
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.
Don’t miss a minute of the action by purchasing your 2011-12 season tickets today. Season tickets start at just $350 while 10-Packs are available for as little as $110. 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. Matthew Ford – HER
2. Cory Conacher – NOR
3. Jacob Micflikier – HER
NOTES … With seven goals combined tonight, the Admirals and Bears have scored 39 goals in four meetings between the teams this season … Conacher has points in four consecutive games (5G, 4A) and seven goals in his last seven games … With the loss tonight, the Admirals fall to third place in the tightly-packed East division … Did not play: Richard Petiot, Kevin Quick, Jeff Dimmen, Alexandre Picard, and Richard Panik