Admirals Conclude Season with Hard-Fought Loss at Home
?NORFOLK, VA. - The last game of the Norfolk Admirals' 2015-16 season concluded Saturday night at Scope with a 5-4 loss to the South Carolina Stingrays, and a rambunctious 6,325 fans cheered on the hard-working home team.
South Carolina struck first when Kelly Zajac tipped one in from the slot. Derek DeBlois made an attempt that was denied by Admiral goaltender Nic Riopel from below the right circle. The puck deflected out in front to Zajac, who deflected it at 13:36 of the first period. The Stringrays 1-0 lead would hold through the remainder of the first period.
Returning to the ice with renewed vigor, Matt Cope was in the right place at the right time. Norfolk forward, Ryan Salkeld, received a pass and one-timed a shot that bounced off South Carolina netminder, Mark Dekanich. It changed direction and bounced off Cope's body into the net at 2:26 of the second.
Norfolk's go-ahead goal was notched at 9:51 of the second when Greg Chase collected a rebound that and scored--his 18th goal this season--during the man-advantage. Alexis Loiseau took a shot from the left ring that hit off the right post and bounced out to Chase, who was ready at the right ring. Chase flicked the puck up and past Dekanich to put the Admirals in the lead, 2-1.
The Stingrays tallied an equalizer of their own just 26 seconds into the final frame when DeBlois threw a laser from the blue line that would hit top shelf. His unassisted goal would even the score, 2-2. The Admirals retaliated a few minutes later to regain their lead at 5:27 of the third when Sam Noreau launched his own from the blue line that evaded Dekanich and gave the Admirals the 3-2 lead.
Unfortunately, their lead did not last long. The Stingrays answered with three more goals. The first was a blue-line slapper from Joe Devin that would sail past Riopel and knot the board, 3-3. The game-winning goal would come from Jared Staal, edging the Stingrays ahead, 4-3, at 15:33. And, the last of South Carolina's tallies would be an empty-netter from Devin, his second of the night, at 19:32.
With only 15 seconds left in regulation, the Admirals fought back to plant one last goal in South Carolina's net from the stick of Max Legault, resting the final score, 5-4, in favor of the Stingrays.
Riopel blocked 26 of 31 total shots on Norfolk's net, with Dekanich stopping 21 of 25 Admiral attempts. Both teams capitalized on one of their power-play opportunities; South Carolina went 1-for-1 and Norfolk finished 1-for-4.
1. SC - 20 Staal
2. NOR - 21 Whitney
3. NOR - 15 Chase
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