|NORFOLK (6) at ALBANY RIVER RATS (5)|
ALBANY, NY - In a see-saw battle that saw each team lead three times, the Norfolk Admirals (50-21-6-2) ended up on top of the Albany River Rats (37-36-4-3) 6-5 on Saturday night at the Times Union Center. The win was Norfolk's fiftieth of the 2006-07 season.
The Admirals capitalized on a mistake by River Rats goaltender Justin Peters to take a 1-0 lead 6:43 into the game. While on the penalty kill, Norfolk cleared the puck behind the Albany net. Peters came out to play the puck but sent it into the skates of Carl Corazzini. Corazzini sent a pass into the slot and Norfolk captain Craig MacDonald shot it into an empty net for his fourth shorthanded goal of the season.
Albany answered back on the power play under ten minutes later. Brett Hemingway sent a shot from the left circle that Norfolk netminder Corey Crawford stopped. However, the rebound caromed off MacDonald in the slot and into the net at 15:45 of the first period for Hemingway's first pro goal.
Another River Rat scored his first professional goal to put Albany in front 2-1 early in the second period. Noah Babin's one-timer beat Crawford along the ice at 2:24.
Bruno St. Jacques knotted the game at 2-2 when he sent a blueline wrister from the right point that sailed into the top corner of the net glove-side on Peters at 6:12.
Continuing with the trend, Chris Stewart netted his first professional goal as the River Rats jumped ahead 3-2 just under three minutes later. While on the power play, Stewart cut across the slot from the left circle and snapped home a shot at 9:09.
Dustin Byfuglien answered with a power play goal of his own over three minutes later. He teed up a blast from the left point that eluded Peters at 12:32 to knot the score at 3-3. However, Cody McCormick put the Rats ahead 4-3 just over two minutes later. He scored glove-side on Crawford while the teams skated four-on-four at 14:38.
The final frame got off to a quick start for Norfolk. Bryan Bickell sent a shot from the right faceoff circle that Peters initially stopped. However, the puck trickled between his legs and over the goal line at 2:36 to tie things up at four goals apiece.
Under a minute later, Pierre Parenteau sent a snap shot top-shelf, short-side for his thirtieth goal of the season. The goal gave the Admirals a 5-4 lead.
McCormick's second goal of the night evened the score at 5-5. He sent a wrister from the slot past Crawford stick-side at 12:06.
Adam Burish tallied the deciding goal 42 seconds later. Jake Dowell won a faceoff to Burish in the left circle. Burish sent a wrist shot over the right shoulder of Peters at 12:48. Crawford made 13 saves in the final frame and St. Jacques blocked an Albany shot at the buzzer to preserve the 6-5 Norfolk victory.
Crawford (39 shots, 34 saves) earned his 38th win of the season. Peters (38 shots, 32 saves) picked up the loss.
Norfolk was 1-3 on the power play. Albany was 2-8.
The Admirals and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (51-22-2-4) now both have 108 points this season. Both teams will play their regular season finales tomorrow to determine who will finish as the second seed in the East Division. The Admirals and Penguins will meet in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs starting next Friday and Saturday, April 20 and 21, in Wilkes-Barre.
The team that finishes as the second seed in the East Division will have Game 7 of the series played in their home arena (if the seventh game is needed).
1. Adam Burish - NOR
2. Cody McCormick - ALB
3. Noah Babin - ALB