Daily Press (Sunday)

Admirals force overtime with furious rally, but drop opener


The Norfolk Admirals’ new ECHL season began with a thrilling comeback, but a 3-2 overtime defeat Friday night to the Savannah Ghost Pirates before 6,876 at Enmarket Arena in Georgia.

Savannah, an affiliate of the NHL Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights, opened the scoring 33 seconds into the second period on a goal by Vincent Marleau, then went ahead 2-0 3:42 into the third period on Sebastian Vidmar’s goal.

But the Admirals, who had been shut out for more than 59 minutes, suddenly rose to gain a point in the standings by virtue of forcing overtime.

Norfolk closed to 2-1 on a power play when Justin Robidas scored his first pro goal off a Domenick Fensore assist with 36 seconds left in regulation. The Admirals’ furious comeback continued as team captain Mathieu Roy scored in a scrum near the net with about four seconds on the clock, with Mark Liwiski and Fensore gaining assists.

After a scoreless overtime, it didn’t take Savannah long to win the tiebreaker 2-0. Brent Pedersen and Alex Swetlikoff scored against Admirals goalie Thomas

Milic for the Ghost Pirates, and Ghost Pirates goalie Jordan Papirny stopped Fensore and Robidas.

Papirny was named the game’s No. 1 star, Vidmar the No. 2 and Robidas the No. 3. If nothing else, Norfolk — which spent almost all of last season in the league cellar — isn’t in that predicamen­t after one night this season.

The Admirals, newly affiliated with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets and AHL’s Manitoba Moose, played the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on Saturday night in South Carolina. Norfolk’s home opener will be against Worcester at 7:05 Wednesday night at Scope.

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