Fresh off a 5-4 third period loss against the Charlotte Checkers Thursday the Norfolk Admirals continued their three in three set against the Adirondack Phantoms at Norfolk Scope Arena.
Both Adirondack and Norfolk sit in third place in their respective divisions. The Admirals hold the third seed in the East Division with 31 points while their opposition sits in the same position, but in the Northeast Division with 26 points.
Friday night’s goaltending matchup included Norfolk’s John Gibson and Adirondack’s Cal Heeter. Prior to the start of Friday’s game, Gibson’s record held steady at 9-7-3-2 while Heeter’s record sat at 8-8-0-2.
Norfolk’s Max Friberg netted the game’s first goal at the 9:22 mark of the first period. Emerson Etem put a shot on net and Friberg followed up on the Etem rebound getting the better of Heeter.
The Phantoms struck back minutes later with a tally of their own when Brandon Manning blasted a one-time shot that eluded Gibson knotting the tilt at one.
Adirondack broke the 1-1 stalemate early into the middle stanza. Rob Bordson skated into the attacking zone launching a wrist shot that took an awkward bounce that landed on Gibson’s back before trickling past the goal line and securing a one goal lead for Bordson and company.
The teeter totter battle continued as Emerson Etem tickled the twine as he found his own rebound in a crowded slot beating Heeter and securing the tying goal for the home team.
The battle waged on as Zack Stortini managed to get a shot off that slowly bounced past Heeter and put Norfolk ahead 3-2.
Brandon Manning took energy from the stands as he ripped a slap shot that hit Gibson’s skate and landed in the back of the net knotting the game at three.
With 30 seconds left in the second, Jason Akeson fed the puck to Kris Newbury whose shot beat Gibson up high giving the Phantoms a slim lead.
The never say die Admirals lit the lamp 10 seconds after the Newbury tally as Emerson Etem’s shot found the stick of Max Friberg who stuffed it past Heeter. Friberg’s second goal of the night tied the game at 4 apiece.
While on a 5 on 3 power play Bruno Gervais rifled a shot that slipped past a screened John Gibson breaking the tie giving the Phantoms a 5-4 lead halfway through the third. Gervais’s P.P. goal proved to be the final blow as Norfolk fell victim to a 5-4 loss.
Following the heartbreaking loss Norfolk’s head bench boss Trent Yawney addressed the media about the loss, “We’re finding ways to beat ourselves every game here and it’s a different way every game.”
Yawney talked about the decision of tapping Gibson for back to back starts, “We did it before and he won. He’s like any other player. We play them and part of our job is development. It’s just that his mistakes are magnified and he has to fight through it.”
The Admirals are back in action Saturday night as they rematch the Phantoms at 7:15 at Norfolk Scope Arena in downtown Norfolk.
Follow Ted on Twitter @Bauerhockeydude
Ted grew up in Virginia. Warren has a passion for the AHL and dishes out articles about the Norfolk Admirals and the AHL. Follow him on Twitter @bauerhockeydude