NORFOLK, VA – Three quick goals in the second period lifted the Norfolk Admirals over the Manchester Monarchs, 5-2, at the Norfolk Scope in front of 2,969 fans on Wednesday night.
Manchester (31-15-2-4, 68 points) is in second place in the Atlantic Division. Norfolk (28-18-2-3, 61 points) is in third place in the East Division.
Norfolk's center Mark Cullen and right wing Pavel Vorobiev each scored one-minute and 20-seconds apart to put the Admirals on the scoreboard at the end of the first period. With a sixth attacker on the ice for Norfolk on a delayed penalty, Cullen set himself up in the left face-off circle and fired a bomb into the back of the net past Monarchs goaltender Barry Brust for his 24th goal of the season. Center Nathan Barrett and defenseman Danny Richmond assisted on the Admirals first goal of the game at 18:39.
Just as the buzzer sounded to extinguish the first period, Vorobiev picked up the loose puck in the crease to collected his fourth of the season. Center Jason Morgan sent the initial shot to the net. Brust thought he had it covered but the puck sneaked out behind him and Vorobiev took advantage of the open net. Right wing Matt Keith also assisted on the goal at 19:59.
The Monarchs scored two quick goals of their own to tie the game, 2-2, midway through the second period. Right wing Brad Smyth put the Monarchs back in the game with his eighth goal of the season at 8:37 of the middle frame while on a 5-on-3 power play. Just inside the Admirals blueline, center Yanick Lehoux sent the puck over to defenseman Mark Ardelan who skated to the center of the zone. Ardelan blasted a shot off the end boards and onto the stick of Smyth just in time for him to lift it over Admirals goaltender Corey Crawford for his team leading 24th goal of the season.
Left wing Petr Kanko scored his 12th goal of the season at 9:13 of the second period. Left wing Jeff Tambellini slid the puck over to Kanko at the right face-off circle. Kanko fired a shot past Crawford to tie the game at 2-2. Defenseman Denis Grebeshkov also assisted on the Monarchs second consecutive power play goal of the game.
Center Martin St. Pierre, right wing Milan Bartovic and Keith scored three more quick goals to regain the lead for the Admirals. St. Pierre collected his own rebound for his 16th goal of the season at 16:24 of the middle stanza. Barrett and right wing Shawn Thornton teamed up with St. Pierre for the game-winning goal.
Keith scored with a blast from the right wing circle at 18:48 of the second period. Bartovic earned the lone assist on Keith's 13th goal of the season to give Norfolk a 4-2 lead.
Only 22-seconds after assisting on Keith's goal, Bartovic flipped in a backhander for his 10th goal of the season to finish off the Monarchs in the second period. Center Colin Fraser
and Keith worked together to get the puck to the front of the net allowing Bartovic the opportunity to beat Brust on the blocker side.
Brust (14-6-1) was credited with the loss, stopping 23 shots in two periods of play before being replaced by Adam Hauser for the third period. Hauser stopped all 10 shots he faced in the final period. Crawford (16-13-1) earned his 16th win of the season with 25 saves.
Manchester went 2-for-6 on the power play. Norfolk was 0-for-5 with the man advantage.