HERSHEY, Pa. – Emerson Etem scored two goals and set up the other, and the Norfolk Admirals were able to hang on for a 3-2 victory over the Hershey Bears on Sunday evening, in front of 10,753 fans at GIANT Center.
Norfolk would take a 1-0 lead late in the opening period on a two-man advantage, but their lead was largely created by strong penalty killing. Hershey had three power plays of their own, on which the Admirals allowed a total of one shot. Then, with Ryan Stoa and Tyson Strachan serving minor penalties, Devante Smith-Pelly faked a shot on net from the left circle and instead fed the slot. Etem then one-timed the puck past Philipp Grubauer at 17:22.
The Admirals then scored just 50 seconds into a wild second period to take a 2-0 lead. A slow cross-ice pass by Etem that covered nearly the width of the offensive zone found its way to Andre Petersson. The winger then hurried a one-timer that beat a leaning Grubauer.
The Bears would finally get on the board after a scramble in front of the Norfolk net. David Kolomatis took a pass from Dane Byers and sent a shot from the left circle off the left pad of Gibson. The rebound bounced around for a few seconds before Michael Latta found it and buried it at 9:41.
Etem then put the Admirals back up by two goals after a Bears failed clearing bid. Garnet Exelby one-timed a Hershey clear back toward the net, and Etem was in front to deflect the puck off of the right goal post and past Grubauer at 13:26.
The Admirals were cruising with the two-goal lead, and earned a power play in the second period when Byers was whistled for a hooking minor. But instead, Tyson Strachan’s long shot out of the defensive zone was misplayed by Gibson and got through into the net at 16:25, for an unassisted shorthanded tally.
Neither team would score on a combined 30 third-period shots, allowing Norfolk to claim the victory.
Gibson made 35 saves on the night and improved to 19-14-4 on the season. Grubauer stopped 33 shots, but fell to 11-10-1.
With the loss, Hershey’s record fell to 31-23-4-4, and kept the club from climbing into the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Bears will embark on a three-day, three-city weekend road trip that begins with a 7:00 PM faceoff against the Providence Bruins at Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Friday, March 21. The team will return home to host the Albany Devils on Friday, March 28 at 7:00 PM. Tickets for this and all remaining home games are available by calling (717) 508-BEAR, by stopping into the GIANT Center box office or by visiting TicketMaster.com.
NOTES: The Bears injury scratches were RW Dustin Gazley, D Tomas Kundratek, RW Garrett Mitchell and D Nate Schmidt…The healthy scratches were D Chay Genoway, C Ryan Potulny, RW Joel Rechlicz and D Patrick Wellar…Hershey finished the night 0-for-8 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill.