After being down four goals following one period, the Admirals mounted a spirited comeback and came up just short, as they fell to the Lock Monsters 5-3 on Saturday afternoon in Lowell.
The first period belonged to Lowell, as it was clear that the Admirals were feeling the effects of playing four games in five days. Krystofer Kolanos scored on a delayed penalty against the Admirals at 5:46. Then, three consecutive Norfolk penalties led to three Lock Monster power play goals. Keith Aucoin completed a tick-tack-toe passing play by beating Mike McKenna stick side as a five-on-three power play expired at 9:43. Anton Babchuk scored on his former teammates with a top-shelf one-timer at 13:15. Aucoin picked up his second power play goal on a wraparound at 18:32. Corey Crawford took over goaltending duties after the Lock Monsters scored their fourth goal, and Lowell took a 4-0 lead into the second stanza.
The Admirals cut their deficit in half in the second period. Norfolk's first goal came just 1:01 into the first period. Mark Cullen found a wide-open Carl Corazzini just inside the left face-off circle. Corazzini sent a shot that glanced off netminder Craig Kowalski's left leg on its way into the net. The Admirals made it a two-goal game exactly eight minutes later. Mike Brown sent a pass from the half-wall to the right of Kowalski to an undefended Jason Morgan in the low slot. Morgan deked forehand before sending a backhander top-shelf glove-side at 9:01. Crawford made several big saves in the period, stopping all 16 Lowell shots to keep the Admirals in the game. Norfolk trailed 4-2 heading into the third period.
The Admirals battled throughout the third period to tie the game, sending 11 shots on net in the period. One of those shots found the back of the net with 4:23 left. Eric Meloche stole the puck from a Lowell defender in the Norfolk zone and fed a pass to Martin St. Pierre between the hashmarks in the slot. St. Pierre beat Kowalski along the ice to make it 4-3. Despite putting strong pressure on Lowell in the closing minutes, the Admirals were unable to get the equalizer. Andrew Ladd scored an empty-net tally with 1.6 seconds left to make the final score 5-3 for Lowell.
Corey Crawford kept the Admirals in the game with a strong effort as he stopped all 25 shots he faced. Mike McKenna made six saves in the opening 18:32 of play and was saddled with the loss. Craig Kowalski made 26 saves on 29 shots and picked up the victory for Lowell.
The Admirals were 0-5 on the power play, and the Lock Monsters were 3-10.
Three Stars: 1. Keith Aucoin - LOW 2. Anton Babchuk - LOW 3. Corey Crawford - NOR