Norfolk needed to bounce back after a poor showing on Friday night and to get home ice.
Friday’s game was an example of all the bad things that can happen when you’re down three NHL-quality scorers and can’t get the puck on the net or get your bounces. Saturday started off looking more of the same, with the first period being played largely in front of John Gibson. At one point, the shots were 7-1 in favor of the Monarchs and another tepid offensive effort appeared to be in the cards.
Near the end of the first period, Nic Dowd would follow up on a rebound and score his first professional goal and give the Monarchs the lead. Things were looking bad and got worse not two minutes later. Zach O’Brien would once again find the back of the net and the Ads were looking at a 2-goal deficit to end the first period. Norfolk would need to find some time in the offensive zone in the second period and try to make JF Berube work.
Norfolk would get a power play opportunity in the 2nd period, and in a strange turn of events, actually convert. Andre Petersson would shoot at the net, the puck would bounce off of Dave Steckel’s skate, and Max Friberg would knock it in for a goal. Scoring had returned to the Ads. Their even-strength play would be impressive, as they would spend most of the time in the Manchester end for a change. It would pay off as Dave Steckel would cash in on that pressure for a 2nd goal and have the Ads tied. Norfolk ended the period 2-2.
The third was a make-or-break type of effort for both teams. Neither of the clubs wanted to go to overtime, and one great play was all that was needed. Sami Vatanen collected a puck in the defensive zone, drove the puck out, found Nic Kerdiles, and then the Wisconsin product found William Karlsson for the go-ahead goal. The Admirals had their first lead of the series and needed to sustain that pressure the rest of the game. Instead, the Monarchs would call upon the powers of score effects and throw everything at Gibson.
Norfolk’s highly-touted netminder stood on his head, as they like to say, and made every important save as the game ended. Thanks to the AHL’s unusual rules, Norfolk will now have home-ice advantage. The Admirals will play at least 2 games in Norfolk, along with a possible deciding game 5 if necessary.
Nolan Yonkman fought Steve Quailer….