HARTFORD, Conn. – Jesper Fast beat Norfolk goaltender Brad Thiessen twice in the second period to carry the Hartford Wolf Pack (33-31-1-6) past the Norfolk Admirals (36-25-2-7), 3-2, on Sunday afternoon at the XL Center.
The Admirals’ Brad Thiessen (4-5-2) saved 17 of 20 shots faced through two periods. Hartford’s David LeNeveu (9-8-0) made 30 saves on 32 shots and stood opposite of Norfolk’s Igor Bobkov in the third period. Bobkov turned away all seven shots on net in the last 20 minutes.
Hartford jumped on the Admirals just 56 seconds into the game when Jesper Fast led Ryan Bourque to the front of the net on an odd-man rush. Bourque poked a one-timer into the right side of the net over Thiessen’s left pad for the first lead of the afternoon.
Norfolk answered on the power play exactly seven minutes after the Wolf Pack set the pace in the opening minute. Max Friberg redirected a Jesse Blacker shot as he was standing alone at the far post. Friberg’s fifteenth goal of the season tied it at 7:56 and the 1-1 score held into the second period.
The deadlock remained until late in the middle frame while Hartford was enjoying a man advantage. J.T. Miller set up Jesper Fast at the far dot with a dish coming all the way from the near sideboards by the corner. Fast snuck to the back door and raised a shot into an open left half of the net. The Wolf Pack regained the lead at 15:04 of the second.
A minute and a half later, Fast got around Admirals’ defenseman Ryan Parent while collecting a bouncing puck and finished a backhand to the same side as his first goal. Fast’s second goal of the game and seventeenth of the season lit the lamp 16:34 into the period. The Wolf Pack took the two-goal cushion to the locker room.
When the Admirals began the third, Igor Bobkov stood between the pipes after three goals proved to be the limit on Thiessen’s evening.
Norfolk needed a quick goal to give themselves a chance in the third and Emerson Etem answered the call with another Admirals’ power play goal at 3:41 of the period. LeNeveu lost track of a rebound near the crease and Etem quickly nudged it through to pull Norfolk within one, 3-2.
LeNeveu and the Wolf Pack absorbed several charges by the Admirals in the last 10 minutes with the Hartford goaltender shutting down a number of opportunities on net for Norfolk skaters. Hartford prolonged the life of their playoff hopes by holding on for a 3-2 victory over the visiting Admirals.
The loss and a Hershey win Sunday has Norfolk a point behind the Bears in eighth place once again. Six games remain with four of them on the road and two at home versus Hershey on April 16 and 18.
Norfolk scored both goals on the power play and allowed one Hartford marker out of five total chances for the Wolf Pack on the man advantage.
Don’t miss a minute of Admirals action by purchasing your season tickets 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.
1. Jesper Fast - HFD
2. Ryan Bourque - HFD
3. David LeNeveu- HFD
NOTES … Emerson Etem’s goal brought his weekend total to four… This was Igor Bobkov's ninth appearance for the Admirals this season and his first since January 10... Did not play: Mat Clark, Joseph Cramarossa, Norm Ezekiel, Radoslav Illo, Stefan Noesen, Steven Whitney, Teigan Zahn