Teddies Fly as Admirals Defeat Gladiators 3-2
NORFOLK, VA - The Norfolk Admirals were coming off a thrilling 5-4 overtime win after coming back from two goals down in the second period on Friday Night to stun the number one team in the division, the South Carolina Stingrays On Saturday, it was Teddy Bear Toss Night as the Admirals turned to Brandon Halverson for his sixth straight start as they faced Division Rival, the Atlanta Gladiators.
It was Atlanta who found twine first, on a shorthanded goal by Nick Bligh. The Admirals turned the puck over in the offensive zone which allowed for Eric Neiley to gain control along the near wall as he found Bligh streaking in on a breakaway and he beat Halverson glove-side to give the Gladiators a 1-0 lead.
Atlanta extended their lead to two goals on a goal from Zach Malatesta. The Gladiators won a faceoff in the Norfolk zone and played the puck back to Malatesta at the right point who shot the puck that took a deflection off an Admirals defender stick to make the score 2-0.
Halfway through the second period, it was the Fairpoint, NY native Johnny Coughlin who would make the teddy bears rain onto the ice. Shawn McBride skated down the left wing and played the puck back to the right point for Brandon Rumble who found Coughlin at the top of the right circle as he unloaded a slap-shot to summon the teddies and the Admirals cut the Atlanta lead one.
Five minutes later, it was Ryan Salkeld, the Portsmouth, VA native, who tied the game at two. Josh Holmstrom won the faceoff back to the right point for Brayden Sherbinin who skated into the high-slot and wristed a shot that was saved away by Atlanta goaltener, Sean Bonar. The rebound came out to the feet of Salkeld as he muscled off a defender and fired off a backhand shot that sailed into the top corner of the net.
Both teams had chances in the third period, but it was ultimately the Admirals who stole the joy on Teddy Bear Toss night as Zach Phillips lit the lamp for the second time in two games. Phillips skated into the Atlanta defensive zone on the deked around a sliding defender and fired a shot that rung off the post into the left corner. Josh Holmstrom regained control of the puck and found Phillips in the circle who wristed a shot over the glove of Bonar to give the Admirals the lead.
Brandon Halverson stood on his head making multiple point-blank saves throughout the game, as he made 27 stops on 29 shots, winning back-to-back games for the first time this season as the Admirals held on to beat the Gladiators 3-2. Sean Bonar made 31 saves on 34 shots and loses his fourth game of the season.
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