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Thunder Strike Twice Late to Hold off Admirals

December 18, 2015 - ECHL (ECHL) - Norfolk Admirals News Release

NORFOLK, Va. - The Norfolk Admirals let in two goals in the final seven minutes in a 5-3 defeat to the Adirondack Thunder Friday Night at Norfolk Scope.

Adirondack was first to light the lamp after forward Mitchell Heard took the puck out of the right corner and skated his way into the right ring. Heard then dropped the puck behind him to Gunnar Hughes, who rounded the right circle and shot near the hash marks where it found its way in the back of Norfolk netminder Adam Courchaine's net at 10:52 in the opening period.

The Admirals made it an even score at 17:35 when Michael Pelech won the puck in the neutral zone and knocked it to Jonathan Lessard. Lessard's wrister from the top of the right circle hit twine right underneath the crossbar, popping the Thunder's goaltender Drew Fielding's water bottle into the air.

With only 1:33 left in the period, Adirondack answered after Ben Johnson received a pass from Michael Kirkpatrick from the right side of Norfolk's zone. Johnson's laser from the slot snatched the lead back for the Thunder, making it 2-1 at the end of the first frame.

In the second period, defenseman Joe Faust caught the Admirals off guard during a line change. Faust's stretch pass from the Thunder's zone hit a wide-open Heard at the Admirals' blue line, and Heard walked in alone to score at 4:26.

Tommy Mele gained momentum for Norfolk after driving to the net from the left side of the Adirondack zone. Mele's backhanded shot in front of the goal deflected off of Fielding's pads to Lessard who quickly turned and flung his second goal of the night into the top shelf at 18:24. The 3-2 count stood through the rest of the period.

The Admirals tied up the game for the second time when Jordan Hill followed up Alexis Louseau's shot, which landed at the doorstep of Fielding's net. Hill shoved the puck in nearside at 3:15 in the final period, and Norfolk tied the game at 3-3.

Adirondack regained the lead late thanks to Kirkpatrick. His attempt from the middle of Norfolk territory found room over Courchaine's shoulder at 13:29 as the Thunder moved ahead 4-3.

The nail in the coffin lit the lamp as a Norfolk power play ended. Forward Greg Wolfe streaked to the blue line behind the Admirals' defense to haul in a lengthy feed from Mike Bergin. At 16:05, Wolfe capped the breakaway with Adirondack's fifth goal of the evening, and the Thunder captured a 5-3 victory over Norfolk.

Courchaine blocked 28 out of 33 attempts on the Admirals' net, while Adirondack's Fielding saved 28 of 31 shots. Norfolk went scoreless on their only man advantage, while the Thunder did not capitalize on two of their power-play opportunities.

The Admirals play Adirondack again Saturday night in a 7:15 p.m. puck drop at Norfolk Scope.

Three Stars of the Game:

1. ADK - 24 Johnson

2.   ADK - 23 Heard

3.   NOR - 91 Lessard

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