Admirals Drop Fifth Straight to Phantoms, 3-2
NORFOLK, Va. - Scott Laughton had a goal and an assist to lead the Lehigh Valley Phantoms past the hosting Norfolk Admirals by a 3-2 score at Scope Arena Wednesday night.
Lehigh Valley got off to a quick two-goal lead, which begun with a tally by Andrew Gordon. Deep in the Admirals' zone, Blair Jones corralled the puck and back-passed to Petr Straka at the point. Straka directed the puck toward the net for Gordon curling back in front. The right winger settled the puck with a skate and extended his arms to slide a shot around goaltender Jason LaBarbera. The goal at 4:06 of the first period put the Phantoms up, 1-0.
Four minutes later, the guests struck again. Taylor Leier intercepted an attempted Admirals' pass behind the net and sent it high slot for Laughton. The rookie snuck the puck through the Admirals' Jaycob Megna's legs to Jason Akeson at the hash marks, who one-timed it into the twine at 8:05, doubling the Phantoms' advantage.
Norfolk's Antoine Laganiere had no intention of letting the period end 2-0. Kevin Gagne held up the Phantoms' attack and freed the puck for Laganiere. With Louis Leblanc on a 2-on-1, Laganiere raced into the zone and picked the high-blocker side on netminder Rob Zepp at 18:36. Laganiere's snipe brought the Admirals within one going into the middle frame.
Norfolk tied it late in the second period on the power play. Josh Manson held possession in the corner of the Phantoms' end, then went back up top to Brandon Montour at the left point. Montour sent the puck cross-ice to Mike Sgarbossa for an attempt on net. Zepp stopped the shot, but traffic converged in the blue paint. Stefan Noesen jabbed the puck out of the fray to Max Friberg at the left post. Friberg jammed it under a reaching Zepp with 2:54 left in the period to set up a 2-2 third period.
Lehigh Valley broke the tie over halfway through the final frame. On the penalty kill due to a too many men infraction, Adam Comrie hemmed in a Norfolk clearing attempt. Comrie hit Laughton at the right dot, whose blast went five-hole on LaBarbera, giving the Phantoms a 3-2 lead at 10:45 and the eventual victory.
Zepp turned aside 30 of 32 Norfolk shots, and LaBarbera stopped 26 of 29 Lehigh Valley chances. Both teams went 1-for-2 on the man-advantage. The Admirals next host the Hershey Bears this weekend, beginning Friday evening at 7:30 p.m.
1) LV #21 Scott Laughton (GWG, 1 A)
2) LV #38 Jason Akeson (1 G)
3) NOR #14 Max Friberg (1 G)
NOTES ... Tonight was Charlie Sarault's 100th game as an Admiral ... Antoine Laganiere's goal was his first point since February 20 at Worcester ... Kevin Gagne now has two points in his last three games and is a plus-3 over his last four contests ... Max Friberg has eight points in his last six games ... Tonight's game finished as the shortest Admirals' home contest of the season.
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