Admirals Prevail in Shootout; Bobkov Wins Norfolk Debut
Admirals 4 Sharks 3 - Shootout
by: Brad Johnson
Despite being outshot 45-29 the Admirals were victorious while completing the sweep of their opening weekend series on Saturday night against the Sharks by way of the shootout. Both teams played a physical contest with big hits coming from both benches. In my opinion the Sharks held the advantage most of the night and kept pressing all night long. Bobkov appeared to be shaky at times with his rebound control but he never folded. He was absolutely stellar in the final twenty minutes as the Sharks swarmed the net outshooting the Admirals 19-5 in the 3rd. Bobber was even bigger in the Shootout turning aside 4 of 5 shots to earn the W in his Norfolk debut. While the names on the back of the sweaters might be different this season the results are still the same thus far. The Streak continues at 30 consecutive regulation wins.
After losing last night the Sharks came out and set the tone very early that this game would be different. Bracken Kearns had a very questionable hit on Vatanen and appeared to get his elbow up high. Mitchell quickly jumped in for defense of his teammate and dropped the gloves with Kearns. The fight was short lived but the message Mitchell sent was clear. Both skaters were giving 5 min fighting majors with Kearns receiving the extra two minutes for charging. The Admirals wasted little time in capitalizing with the man-advantage where it counts the most. Holland sent a pass to Palmieri who fired a laser slapshot from the point with Maroon waiting in front of goal; it was deflected into the net behind Harri Sateri the Sharks netminder for a quick 1-0 lead just 1:11 into the contest.
Worcester rebounded with great poise. Just over two minutes after the Admirals took the advantage it was the visitors lighting the lamp. With a faceoff deep in the Admirals zone the Sharks controlled the puck and swarmed the Admirals goal. Igor Bobkov turned aside the initial chance by Mclaren but it was Yanni Gourde giving the Sharks their first goal of the night. Gourde made quick work of poor rebound control by Bobkov and at the 3:23 mark he banged home the loose puck to tie to the game at 1 goal apiece.
Worcester seemed to control much of the first period and had several decent scoring chances. Many of those chances came via the rebound as Bobkov seemed to have a some issues controlling the initial shot but he came up big on second chances throughout the night. With time winding down in the opening period the Sharks kept pressing and Matt Irwin fired a slap shot from the left point; Bobkov denied the shot but Sheppard pounced on the rebound sliding the puck over the goal line at 19:36 to give the Sharks the late period lead. The first period came to a close with the Worcester Sharks outshooting the Admirals by a 15-7 margin and leading by a 2-1 score.
In the second period the Admirals came out firing on all cylinders. It was once again Patrick Maroon turning the red light on for the Admirals. With a penalty to Worcester forward Travis Oleksuk having just expired the Admirals controlled the puck as Devante Smith-Pelley sent a feed from the left corner to Maroon who made no mistake putting his second goal of night behind Sateri which tied the score 2-2.
Just over two minutes later the Admirals took advantage of a Sharks defensive breakdown and regained their lead. Smith-Pelley and Brandon McMillan made two quick passes through the neutral zone and John Mitchell was on the receiving end as McMillan sent a beautiful back door pass that Mitchell blasted to the back of the net behind Sateri who had no chance on the place as the Admirals converted their 3 on 2 rush. The two quick strikes by the Admirals came a 6:28 and 8:31 respective
Worcester had some late offensive pressure with Travis Oleksuk having two beautiful scoring chances but Bobkov kept the Sharks off the score sheet as the 2nd period came to a close with the Admirals leading 3-2.
The third period was controlled by the Sharks end-to-end from the drop of the puck to the final horn. Bobkov was forced to make multiple key saves throughout the period. Bobber was much better on his rebound control and It seemed as if the Admirals were on their way to victory with his stellar netminding but at the 16:04 mark with the visitors trailing by a goal defenseman Matt Tennyson fired a blazing slap shot that found it's way through a maze of traffic and through the pads of the Admirals goaltender to even the score at 3 goals apiece and eventually force overtime.
The 5:00 extra period was very un-eventful. There was very little offensive game from either side with both teams registering just 2 shots aside.
Igor Bobkov was the star in the shootout as he turned aside 4 of 5 Sharks shooters to earn the W. Sheppard scored the lone goal for the visitors. Palmieri, and Holland turned the red light on for the Admirals.
Admirals: Palmieri, Holland, Maroon, Lash, VatanenSharks: Sheppard, Stalberg, Oleksuk, Matsumoto, Kennedy