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Byfuglien OT Goal Caps Norfolk Comeback

by Staff Writer / Chicago Blackhawks
PHILADELPHIA, PA - Travel doesn't seem to bother Dustin Byfuglien too much. Only four hours after arriving in Philadelphia from Chicago, Byfuglien netted the overtime game-winning goal to cap a comeback as the Norfolk Admirals (31-10-4-1) defeated the Philadelphia Phantoms (15-23-2-3) in overtime 4-3 on Sunday evening at the Wachovia Spectrum.

The Phantoms struck first just over a minute into the first period. Stefan Ruzicka sent a shot from the right circle that went five hole on Norfolk goaltender Patrick Lalime at 1:19.

Pete Zingoni doubled the Philadelphia lead six minutes later on a delayed penalty against Norfolk. He sent a shot from the left faceoff dot over Lalime's left shoulder at 7:39.

The Admirals cut their deficit in half five minutes later. Adam Burish, who had also just arrived at the arena from Chicago at 3:00 p.m., intercepted a pass just inside the Norfolk blue line and sped past the defense on a breakaway. He deked before sending a backhand shot past Phantoms goalie Martin Houle at 12:48.

Norfolk knotted the score at 2-2 midway through the second stanza on the power play. After a shot from Carl Corazzini from the left wing was stopped, the rebound was caught up in a goalmouth scramble. Eventually, the puck was accidentally sent past Houle by a Philadelphia player. Corazzini received credit for the goal as the last Admiral to touch the puck at 8:55.

Ruzicka put the Phantoms back in front 3-2 with a power play goal four minutes later. He received the puck at the right faceoff dot, skated backwards toward the slot waiting for a screen to develop, and sent a wrister through traffic and past Lalime at 12:13. Phantoms blueliner John Slaney became the first defenseman in the 71-year history of the American Hockey League to record 500 AHL points with an assist on the goal.

The Admirals deadlocked the game at 3-3 with just 1:07 remaining in the second period. Jonas Nordqvist stole the puck just outside the Phantoms' blue line and fed David Bolland at the right circle. After a Philadelphia player poked the puck away from Bolland, the rookie winger quickly re-gained control, sped across the slot and sent a backhander into the back of the net from the left edge of the crease.

Byfuglien won the game for Norfolk 2:33 into overtime. Troy Brouwer fed him the puck in the low slot. Byfuglien backed up to between the hashmarks and sent a heavy wrist shot just under the crossbar to win the game 4-3.

Lalime (40 shots, 37 saves) earned the victory. Houle (26 shots, 22 saves) got the loss.

The Admirals were 1-4 on the power play. Philadelphia was 1-6.

Three Stars:

1. John Slaney - PHI
2. Dustin Byfuglien - NOR
3. Stefan Ruzicka - PHI

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