Late Rally Comes up Short in Admirals' Final AHL Game
WILKES-BARRE, Penn. - Despite a late rally to bring them within one, the Norfolk Admirals suffered a 5-4 loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in their final game as an AHL franchise.
The Penguins drew first blood just over five minutes into the first period. The tally came on the power play after Andrew O'Brien went to the penalty box for high-sticking. Deep in the Admirals' zone, blueliner Danny Syvret accepted a pass from the right circle. Syvret swung it to the left dot for Conor Sheary, and Sheary quickly tapped it to Jayson Megna in the slot. Megna put the puck through off Norfolk goalie Ryan Faragher, and Wilkes-Barre took a 1-0 lead at 5:31.
Brandon Montour's second goal of the year put the Admirals on the board at 14:58 of the first period. Captain Dave Steckel won the face-off, and Antoine Laganiere one-touched the puck to Montour at the point. The defenseman slapped the shot on net through traffic. Steckel appeared to get a tip, but the credit stayed with Montour, knotting the game at 1-1.
The deadlock was broken 7:34 into the middle frame. Bobby Farnham sent a cross-ice pass in the Admirals' zone to a waiting Steven Shamanski at the right ring. Shamanski threw a shot on net, but Faragher made the initial save. The rebound was kicked back to the blue line, and landed on Barry Goers' stick. Goers threaded a wrister through a screen in front to beat Faragher and take the 2-1 lead at 7:34.
Just before the period ended, Megna tallied his second power play goal of the night. Andrew Ebbett skated all the way down the left wall before dropping a pass to Megna in the slot. Megna snapped it top shelf behind Faragher at 18:53 to earn his team a 3-1 lead going into the second intermission.
Nearly four-and-a-half minutes into the final period, Tom Kuhnhackl increased the deficit. Dominik Uher took control of a turnover in the Admirals' zone, and the centerman dished a pass to Kuhnhackl up the right side. Kuhnhackl slid the puck between Faragher's legs for a 4-1 Penguins advantage.
Megna completed his hat trick and gave Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a 5-1 lead 6:04 into the third. Megna skated into the zone on a 2-on-2 with Alex Boak. Boak carried the puck to the right dot and wristed a shot on Faragher, which slipped into the twine.
The Admirals attempted to gain some kind of momentum a minute after the Megna tally. Louis Leblanc carried the puck across the blue line and executed a give-and-go with Steckel. Leblanc released a shot at the right circle that found its way top shelf behind Zatkoff, making it a 5-2 game at 7:33.
Mike Sgarbossa entered the zone on the man-advantage to give the Admirals their third goal of the night at 17:55. Sgarbossa raced down the middle and dangled through three Penguins players. He slung the puck on net, and it skidded off to the right side of Zatkoff and across the goal line. Friberg and Theodore garnered the assists to put the Admirals within two of the home team.
Norfolk came close to forcing overtime with less than a minute left in regulation. John Kurtz came up the left wall and passed to Antoine Laganiere behind the net. Laganiere executed a wraparound and buried the puck behind Zatkoff. Norfolk never found the equalizer and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton held on for the 5-4 win.
Faragher saved 19 of 24 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton opportunities, while Zatkoff stopped 31 of the 35 shots he faced. The Admirals went 2-for-6 on the power play, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton went 2-for-7 on the man-advantage.
The Admirals finish their final AHL season with a 27-39-6-4 overall record.
1) WBS #19 Jayson Megna (3 G)
2) WBS #41 Barry Goers (1 G)
3) WBS #14 Tom Kuhnhackl (1 G)
NOTES ... In their last eight games, Antoine Laganiere has seven points, Max Friberg has eight points and Sgarbossa has nine points... Friberg finishes as the sole leading scorer of the Admirals with 40 points ... Dave Steckel has five points in as many contests ... Brandon Montour is now a plus-10 in his 14 games as an Admiral ... Louis Leblanc's 14 goals gives him a new career high in that category ... Shea Theodore's three assists are tied for the most by any Admiral in a game this season; eight of his 12 points have come on the power play ... Jayson Megna's hat trick is just the second that the Admirals have given up all year ... The Admirals scored three goals in a period for the sixth time this season.
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