Game Recap by Robert Molnar
NORFOLK, VA – Jonathan Lessard scored two goals while also scoring the game winner in the fifth round of the shootout to complete the comeback and lead the Norfolk Admirals (22-28-2-1, 47 pts) to a 5-4 shootout victory over the Florida Everblades (34-15-0-2, 70 pts) Saturday night at the Norfolk Scope.
Earning an early power play, the Everblades took the lead just 3:13 into the opening period. Pressuring the Admirals in their own zone, Kevin Montgomery fired a shot from the point. Set up in front of the net, Kevin Lynch tipped Montgomery’s shot just enough to deflect the puck off the glove of Norfolk goaltender Ty Rimmer and into the net.
The lead did not last long, just before the halfway point of the first period the Admirals tied the game. Taking advantage of a power play, Ben Betker took possession of the puck at the left wing circle and hammered home his rocket shot past a screened Rasmus Tirronen.
Just over a minute later, Norfolk believed they had taken the lead with puck entering the net but being waved off by referee Andy Howard. Soon after, the Everblades retook the lead thanks to a superb shot from Rob Florentino. Moving along the right wing boards, Rob Florentino squeezed his shot between the goaltender and the short side post to give the ‘Blades a 2-1 lead.
The Everblades hot first period continued at the 15:52 mark, this time courtesy of Corey Syvret. Moving along the boards and into the Admirals’ zone, Syvret fired a pinpoint shot from the blue line and into the top corner of the net. The goal also served as the last piece of action for Admirals’ goaltender Ty Rimmer as he was replaced by Nic Riopel following the goal.
Adding to their lead, the Everblades took advantage of shorthanded chance just over three minutes into the second period. All alone at the Norfolk blue line, a superb pass from Jon DiSalvatore sprung Willows on a breakaway opportunity. Skating towards the net, Willows lifted his shot past the blocker of Nic Riopel and into the back of the net.
A string of penalties against the Everblades finally caught up with them when the Admirals scored the second power play goal of the game midway through the middle frame. Moving behind the net, Steven Whitney found a wide-open Scott Allen in the slot. Receiving the centering pass Allen buried his one-time effort past Rasmus Tirronen.
The momentum appeared to quickly turn in the favor of the Admirals as 18-seconds after the previous goal, Norfolk made it a one-goal game. Leaving the crease to play the puck, Rasmus Tirronen was blocked away when the puck headed towards the corner. Picking up the puck in the corner, Jonathan Lessard fired the puck off of the back of a recovering Rasmus Tirronen and into the back of the net.
The third period would continue to be an offensive minded one as both teams exchanged scoring chances. At exactly the 15:00 mark of the third period, the Admirals took advantage of their opportunities. Pressuring the ‘Blades in their own zone, an original shot was blocked away by Jon DiSalvatore. However, the puck’s deflection took it right to the stick of Jonathan Lessard, who fired the puck past a lunging Rasmus Tirronen to tie the game.
With neither side able to find a winner in the last five minutes of regulation, the game headed to five minute overtime period. Though both teams had their share of chances, neither could find a winning goal in overtime resulting in the game heading to a shootout.
A goal in the second round from Matt Willows gave the ‘Blades a lead before Norfolk’s Greg Chase tied the shootout in the third round. A fifth round goal from Jonathan Lessard completed the comeback for the Norfolk as the Admirals took the victory 5-4.
Nic Riopel earns the win, stopping 22 of the 23 shots he faced while also stopping four of five shooters in the shootout. Rasmus Tirronen takes the loss in goal for the Everblades, allowing four goals on 34-shots while also allowing two goals from the five shooters he faced in the shootout.
The Florida Everblades return to Germain Arena this Wednesday night to take on the South Carolina Stingrays in an extremely important divisional matchup. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Eastern time. Fans can purchase tickets for the game at the Florida Community Bank Box Office located at Germain Arena, at any Ticketmaster outlet, or online at www.ticketmaster.com.
Fans can catch the game broadcast on 770 AM or online by CLICKING HERE
Upcoming Everblades Home Games
Wednesday, February 24, vs. South Carolina, 7:30 p.m. $2 hot dogs, $2 draft beers, $2 wines all night long! College Students receive a $5 ticket with FREE parking when they present their College ID at Germain Arena!
Saturday, February 27, vs. South Carolina, 7:00 p.m. Pink in the Rink presented by Radiology Regional. The Everblades will wear special jerseys which will be auctioned off following the game to benefit local cancer charities! Pregame tailgate featuring live music, bounces houses and face painting for the kids.
Sunday, February 28, vs. South Carolina, 5:00 p.m. :Pink in the Rink jersey auction following the game. The first 100 kids to walk through the gates will receive a FREE ticket to Disney's Frozen performance at Germain Arena in March and a Frozen coloring book!
Game Tickets: Everblades tickets may be purchased at the Florida Community Bank Box Office located at Germain Arena, or at any Ticketmaster outlet, or online at www.ticketmaster.com
Discounted Group Tickets: Bring your group of 10 or more to a game at a discounted price, and also receive an Everblades souvenir! Group tickets are available for all home games. For more information on group tickets, call 239-948-7825.
Partial Season Ticket Packages: Flexible partial season ticket plans are available to help fit your budget and schedule. For more information, call 239-948-7825, or stop by the team's main office located at Germain Arena from Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Fans may also stop by our sales tables located in the concourse at Everblades games. .
The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliateof the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes###