Bears and Admirals split weekend series

By Corine Gatti

Old memories were brought to the surface over last weekends split series between the Hershey Bears and the Norfolk Admirals.

Especially, for the Admirals fan, whose team was eliminated last season in the quarterfinals against Hershey. And those memories haunt the hearts of many fans in the present. Even though Norfolk played the first game focused and with fierce fore-checking. By the time the second game started, the combination of losing focus and officiating left a 3-2 loss that evened the series at one apiece. With Hershey leaving with home ice advantage

Hershey Bears 1 Norfolk Admirals 4

The first period both teams played competitively, and Hershey lost its flavor by the time the second period started. “ They came out tough in the first period and they just slowed down,” says Valeri Zelepukin who had a helper with Mike Peluso in the third. Norfolk has a 6-2-1-1 record against the Bears in during the regular season.

After consecutive shots off of Phil Sauve glove, Jean-Yves Leroux earned his first goal of the playoffs on a rebound that caromed off of Steve McCarthy stick two minutes in the second period. Both teams’ who struggled in power plays in the regular season, both failed to score on a combined seven power plays.

The rest was all Norfolk. Vern Fiddler faked out Bears’ defenseman by circling back towards the blue line slap shot for the second goal of the game. Jim Campbell added back-to-back goals in the third a slap shot and sending the rubber to the top corner. Mike Peluso added a goal one-minute later. Sauve turned away 28 of Norfolks’32 shots. However, Hershey had one more breath in them with a goal two minutes before the last period. Michael Leighton turned way 21 if his 22 shots, but lost his shut out when Matt Herr found the back of the net at 18: 02. “We went to the net early and hard, but tomorrow (Saturday) this game is over and that is how we have to think,” says Ajay Baines forecasting the rest of the series.

Hershey Bears 3 Norfolk Admirals 2

Michael Leighton did not see it—the first goal of the game from Vaclav Nedorost that crossed the top corner. Nor, did the Admirals tonight. Whether the first period was a wake-up call or not, Admirals’ fierce cross checking changed the outcome of their poor start. “We can’t worry about what we did wrong tonight, but this is a disappointing loss for us, said a solemn Casey Hankinson whose team will play at Hershey on Wednesday night. “We can’t lose our focus,” says Hankinson who had the first power play goal of the night.

Jeff Helperl helped keep the Admirals’ momentum on a goal from the point on a feed from Nolan Baumgartner. Admirals who are 0-3 in power plays in the series, broke the tie on a Casey Hankinson goal that deflected right off of Phil Sauve shoulder before the first intermission. The Admirals controlled the better part of the second period, but Norfolk could not clear its zone and Rocky Thompson broke the tie in front of an announced crowd of 3,106. But the third period was the turning point. In an attempt to save an icing call, Vern Fiddler pushed through, but thrust Bears’ Brent Thompson into the boards after the whistle. Jeff Daw moved in and capitalized on the power play 9:46.