The Hershey Bears (28-22-3-5) entered Friday night with loads of momentum following three straight wins last week, but penalties would prove costly in their 5-1 loss to the Norfolk Admirals (26-26-4-1) on the road. Hershey’s penalty kill fended off five of the Admirals’ seven power plays, but three Norfolk third period goals would kill the Bears’ comeback hopes. Dany Sabourin (8-9-3) totaled 27 saves on 32 shots and forward Jeff Taffe tallied the Bears lone goal. The Ads’ Frederik Andersen (14-11-1) frustrated the Bears in goal, turning away 16 of Hershey’s 17 shots on goal.
Norfolk grabbed a 1-0 lead 9:47 into the first period, on Dan Sexton’s fifth goal of the season. The opening goal was setup by defenseman Sami Vatanen and forward John Kurtz.
The Admirals dominated Hershey in the opening stanza, outshooting the Bears by 15-5. Norfolk’s speed was evident and would continue in the second frame. Both teams earned a power play apiece in the first period, and Hershey had 1:55 of power play time carried over to the second period following a penalty from Norfolk forward Devante Smith-Pelly in the final seconds of the period.
Penalties would hinder the Bears in the first half of the second period, as Hershey took three straight penalties before Norfolk found twine past Sabourin. While on a five-on-three man advantage, defenseman Sami Vatanen ripped home a one timer near the left circle for his fifth goal of the season.
The Bears cut Norfolk’s lead in half with Jeff Taffe’s 16th goal of the season in the second period, as he scooped up a pick near the neutral zone. Taffe, Hershey’s leading scorer with 52 points on the season, took the puck up the middle of the offensive zone and ripped it past Andersen. The second period didn’t feature much offense, with Hershey outshooting the Admrials 5-4. Norfolk tallied one power play goal in the second stanza, as they entered the third period with a 2-1 advantage.
Norfolk tallied three goals in the third and final period, as Patrick Maroon tallied his 15th goal of the season 6:33 into the frame during even strength play Josh Brittain recorded his ninth goal of the season assisted by Maroon later on the power play with 8:58 remaining in the game. The Admirals later added to their lead, earning a 5-1 advantage with 3:10 remaining. Forward John Mitchell potted his seventh goal of the season, assisted by forward John Kurtz and defenseman Hampus Lindholm.
Hershey faces the Admirals for the second straight night tomorrow in Norfolk, before finishing off three games in three nights Sunday night at Giant Center against the Binghamton Senators.
1. Bears Injuries: Danick Paquette
2. Hershey Healthy Scratches: Jonathon Kalinski, Matt Clackson, Dmitry Orlov and Garrett Mitchell
3. Even with the loss, Hershey still held the sixth place position in the Eastern Conference since the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins fell to the Providence Bruins by a 2-0 score Friday night.
4. Defenseman Dmitry Orlov participated in the morning stake Friday morning and could return to the Bears’ lineup Saturday night in Norfolk.
1. Sami Vatanen (one goal, two assists, plus one, three shots on goal)
2. Patrick Maroon (one goal, two assists, one shot on goal)
3. Jeff Taffe (one goal, plus one, one shot on goal, four penalty minutes)