The classic Norfolk 7:15 start. (Mean it this time.) We’ll again be following along with Pete Michaud (Audio / Video). Following Twitter reports from Corey, Pete, the Ads’ official feed and their in-game updates account.
The box will be here. Last night was Jason Rollins; tonight, it’s the first Bridgeport game for Steve Patafie, who has worked college games and big international competitions; just back from the Spengler Cup. The other three officials are the same as last night.
So warmup at 6:39ish.
–Tiebreaker excitement: Tonight closes the Norfolk-Bridgeport season series. Tonight’s winner takes the season series on points (Bridgeport leads 2-1, but both of its wins came by shootout). On the incredibly off chance it matters.
–Nilsson vs. Gibson, from Corey.
–In the 13 games since Ryan Strome was called up, Lee and Halmo have started the night with seven different linemates. Part of that is because Johan Sundstrom took ill; he was replaced by Riley Wetmore, who was then hurt. Five of those seven have come in the six games since Wetmore’s injury.
Chris Langkow’s already one of the seven, but he’s in there tonight, according to Corey’s tweet. Justin Johnson back from suspension for Devos with according rearrangements. Persson — who may’ve gone off in the second off a faceoff in some discomfort, though I haven’t heard a reason — is also out, and Kabanov draws back in.
Three changes and a lot of rearrangement for Norfolk, from Pete.
BRIDGEPORT from Corey
Kabanov-A. Clark-Bruton (C)
D: Ness (A)-Mayfield
NORFOLK from Pete
F: Etem – Rakell – Friberg
Cramarossa – Steckel – Smith-Pelly
R: Chmielewski, Patafie. L: Hamlett, Pomento.
–It was in the background, but sounds like a much crisper anthem tonight.
–Clark takes a hit from Wagner; Wagner leaves his feet to deliver it and gets called for a charge. After the Admirals kill it, Lowry goes with Wagner.
–And seconds after that, the fourth line gets it deep, Cornell shoots from the right half-wall and gets a bounce off a defender to beat Gibson. 1-0 Bridgeport, about 13 minutes in.
–12:42, to be precise. Johnson gets the second assist; Clark put it around the boards and gets the primary.
–Didn’t take the Admirals long. At 14:29, Etem scores on a rebound. Rakell drew both defensemen and fed Friberg for the initial shot.
–Johnson and Stortini in a long one. Johnson started strong; Stortini hung in and got a couple in later.
–Ness accidentally gets a stick up on a driving Steckel and apparently cuts him; it’s a double minor, a little over four minutes left in the first.
–Pretty good penalty kill and it’s 1-1 after one.
–Pete’s not clear how it started, but Johnson and Stortini come together again as the teams are changing. They have another long tilt. … And, jeez. Johnson is called for instigating. That’s his fifth, and that’d be a three-game suspension.
–Kabanov goes to the net to score on the rebound of an Andrew Clark left-side shot, making it 2-1 Bridgeport.
–Norfolk gets through back-to-back penalties, including a 36-second five-on-three, but Bridgeport leads 2-1 after two. It’s another good second for the Sound Tigers, who outshoot the Ads 15-4 in the period (at my last refresh on the gamesheet, they were 3-1 Norfolk… math says 14 of the last 15?)
–We’re following the wrong game, as there’s a goalie fight in the Milwaukee-Lake Erie game. Anyway, Bridgeport kills a Clark high-sticking minor.
–Bridgeport kills that and a Mayfield delay-of-game minor, but then Wagner goes one-on-four and still gets a good shot off. Nilsson makes the save. About eight minutes to go.
–Saw a tweet in passing that Jonathan Quick plays for L.A. tonight.
–Diamond and Painchaud go at it pretty good with 2:40 left after a Painchaud hit on Keenan.
–Smith-Pelly pushes in a rebound of a Grant shot to tie it with an extra attacker in the final minute: it’s 2-2.
–Clark had an open look from the right side with about a minute to go, but Gibson stopped it, and it’s on to the bonus round. Norfolk last night got the only win in this series with the clock running.
–A Friberg tally is the difference: Norfolk 3, Bridgeport 2, final (SO). Nilsson seemed to have Blacker’s first try, but it trickled in; Bouchard answered it.
–Good effort, Scott Pellerin thought. Solid goaltending. Grit. Had to kill seven penalties, and did.
But it comes down to big moments. They didn’t get a clear at the end, and it cost them.
“We had that game,” he said. “There was an instance that we thought they should’ve had a penalty late that they let go, and we were a little frustrated with that, the consistency of the game and the penalties we were given. … Our team knows it’s not going to have anything given to us.
“I’m very proud of the way our group played. The effort, the work, we should’ve come out with two points.”
On the Johnson instigator: “The referees asked me to put my lineup on. I put my lineup, they made a change, and those two came together. It just started. I didn’t see any instigating whatsoever. They’re obviously looking for it. I thought it was absolutely unnecessary.”
Persson was out with a lower-body injury; sore, seemed possible in the afternoon but wasn’t able at night.
They’re off tomorrow and back at it Monday.