NORFOLK (7) VS. PHILADELPHIA PHANTOMS (5)
NORFOLK, VA - Brandon Bochenski became the first Norfolk Admiral ever to score four goals in a game as the Admirals defeated Philadelphia 7-5 on Saturday night at Scope.
The Phantoms jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening 15 minutes of the first period. Niko Dimitrakos gave Philadelphia a 1-0 edge just 13 seconds into the game. Former Admirals captain Nolan Baumgartner assisted on the Phantoms' second strike by Darren Reid at 13:41.
However, the Admirals came to life in the final five minutes of the opening frame. With 4:02 left in the period, Jonas Nordqvist fired a point shot that deflected off a Phantoms defender and Bryan Bickell's stick before snaking its way past netminder Rejean Beauchemin. Bickell was credited with his third goal of the season at 15:58.
Bochenski scored his first goal on the night under one minute later. He sent a shot on net that Beauchemin initially stopped. However, the rebound came right back to Bochenski's tape, and he made no mistake in sending the puck past Beauchemin stick side at 16:53.
Norfolk took the lead with 1:19 left in the period on a strong individual play by Michael Blunden. Blunden skated over the blueline and slipped past two defenders before rifling a shot that just made its way through Beauchemin's leg pads and over the goal line. The Admirals led 3-2 after one period.
Norfolk took a 4-2 lead while on the power play late in the third period. Nordqvist centered a pass across the crease that bounced off several legs before ending up on the tape of Bochenski. Bochenski sent a quick wrister past Beauchemin at 15:02 for his second goal on the evening.
However, two power play goals by Philadelphia's Ryan Potulny knotted the score at 4-4 heading into the third period. Potulny's first goal came with the Phantoms on a two-man advantage when he re-directed a Mark Cullen offering over Crawford's leg pads at 16:58. Potulny tied the game at 17:56 when his shot from a sharp angle along the goal line to the right of Crawford found an opening along the post and made its way into the back of the net.
Bochenski completed the hat trick 7:15 into the final frame. After receiving the puck from Martin St. Pierre, Bochenski wired a wrist shot from the right faceoff dot past Beauchemin to send the hats flying.
Number 27's fourth goal on the night came from one of the right winger's patented off-wing shots on the power play. Bochenski sent a sharp wrist shot from the left faceoff dot top shelf, glove side on Beauchemin at 10:06.
Blunden tallied his second goal on the evening at 12:38 by beating Beauchemin five-hole with a wrister from the right faceoff circle for his first pro multi-goal game.
Cullen closed scoring with the Phantoms' fifth goal at 16:37.
Corey Crawford made 25 saves on 30 shots to earn his AHL-leading twelfth win of the season. Rejean Beauchemin stopped 21 of 28 shots and picked up the loss.
The Admirals were 2-6 on the power play. The Phantoms were 3-6.
The Norfolk (14-3-2-1, 31 pts) win coupled with a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (14-3-1-1, 30 pts) overtime loss tonight puts the Admirals back in first place in the East Division. The Admirals also moved into a tie for first place overall in the AHL with the Rochester Americans (15-2-1-0), who lost tonight to the Hamilton Bulldogs.
The Admirals travel to Bridgeport on Wednesday night for a 7:30 contest with the Sound Tigers.
1. Brandon Bochenski - NOR
2. Michael Blunden - NOR
3. Martin St. Pierre - NOR