Daily Press (Sunday)

Admirals remain hot, prevail in OT shootout


After squanderin­g a three-goal lead in Friday night’s third period, the Norfolk Admirals began a three-game series at Toledo with a dramatic 4-3 victory. It ended when Denis Smirnov netted the only goal of a three-round overtime shootout.

Goalie Kristian Stead stopped all three Walleye attackers to face him in the tiebreaker, setting up Smirnov to beat goalie Jan Bednar to the glove side and enable the Admirals to celebrate.

The Admirals (22-17-3-1) have won three straight and now have more victories than defeats of any kind. They have tightened their hold on second place in the Eastern Conference’s seven-team North Division; four of those seven will advance to the ECHL playoffs.

Toledo (25-9-3-4), an affiliate of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings and the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins, leads the Western Conference’s Central Division.

The three-game series continued Saturday night.

A crowd of 8,168 at Huntington Center in Ohio saw Norfolk dominate for two periods. While outshootin­g Toledo 27-13, the Admirals went ahead 2:24 into the game on Keegan Iverson’s goal, which Smirnov and Connor Fedorek assisted.

Smirnov made it 2-0 5:17 into the contest with a power-play goal. Then, 5:08 into the second period, Brady Fleurent netted a goal for a 3-0 margin.

But the momentum turned early in the third period. The Walleye’s Brandon Hawkins, one of the ECHL’s top scorers, ended Stead’s shutout bid at 1:17. Riley McCourt then made it 3-2 with a power-play goal at 4:04.

That lead stood until shortly after Toledo pulled Bednar for an extra attacker in the game’s waning stages. Sam Craggs netted his 21st goal of the season to force a 3-3 tie with 51 seconds remaining in regulation.

Both teams had quality chances in the seven-minute sudden-death overtime, but neither scored. Bednar finished 67 minutes with 38 saves, while Stead had 24.

After Stead repelled Riley Sawchuk for his third shootout stop, Smirnov capped his big night with the decisive goal.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States