Right wing Steve Downie scored two goals and picked up an assist as the Norfolk Admirals sunk the Manchester Monarchs, 4-2, in front of 4,379 fans at the Norfolk Scope on Saturday night.
Manchester (17-18-0-5, 39 points) is ranked fifth in the Atlantic Division. Norfolk (16-19-1-4, 37 points) is in sixth place in the East Division.
"I think we had a real solid first period; one of the better ones we've had this year," said Head Coach Mark Morris. "We were intense and rebounded well but we got ourselves into penalty situations that changed the momentum of the game."
Center Bracken Kearns gave the Admirals their first lead of the night at 2:38 of the final stanza. Left wing Radek Smolenak's shot from the left circle bounced off the side of the net. Kearns was positioned on the inside corner of the circle and picked up the rebound. The center quickly released a shot that slid through goaltender Jonathan Bernier's legs for the go-ahead goal. Center Blair Jones assisted on Kearns' eighth goal of the season.
Unlike last night, the Monarchs jumped on the scoreboard first with two tallies in the first period. Defenseman Andrew Campbell picked up his third goal of the season at 1:25 of the opening frame. Right wing Jon Rheault sent the puck over to Campbell at the left point. The rookie defenseman carried the puck deeper into the Admirals' zone and fired a slap shot past goaltender Mike McKenna. Left wing Matt Moulson picked up an assist on the first goal of the game.
Center Justin Azevedo doubled the Monarchs lead at 10:54 of the first period with his fifth goal of the season, unassisted. Azevedo carried the puck down the right wing, circled around the back of the Admirals' cage and squeezed the puck in between McKenna and the left post for the wrap around tally.
The second period belonged to Norfolk, more specifically Downie. At 4:20 of the middle frame, Downie picked up a shorthanded tally to cut the Monarchs lead in half. Center Zenon Konopka passed the puck to Downie who skated down the right wing. Once in the right face-off circle, the right wing snapped a wrist shot that slip under Bernier's left pad for his eighth goal of the season. Defenseman Dan Boyle assisted on Downie's first goal of the night.
Downie scored his ninth goal of the season at 11:40 of the second period. He carried the puck down the left wing, held onto it through the face-off circle and then started to carry it around the net. At the left corner of the cage, Downie pulled the puck back and snuck it just inside the left post. Right wing Brandon Bochenski and Konopka assisted on the tying goal.
Center Chris Gratton finished off the Monarchs with an empty net goal at 19:19 of the third period. Downie and Konopka assisted on the goal.
"They're a very explosive offensive team," said Morris. "Their record doesn't show that but they have fire power. They're a formidable team. We learned some valuable lessons this weekend and were tested in every facet of the game."
Bernier (10-11-3) took his 11th loss of the season stopping 28-of-31 shots. McKenna (8-11-4) earned his eighth victory of the season with 19 saves.
Manchester went 0-for-5 on the power play. Norfolk was 1-for-5 with the man advantage.