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April 26. 2014 10:44PM

Admirals rally to beat Monarchs, even series


Norfolk's Garnet Exelby and Manchester's Andy Andreoff scuffle during Saturday's game. (Bruce Taylor/Union Leader)

MANCHESTER – The Norfolk Admirals tied their first-round series with the Manchester Monarchs thanks to a 3-2 comeback win in front of 7,824 fans at Verizon Wireless Arena on Saturday night.

The best-of-five series is knotted 1-1 and shifts to Norfolk for the remainder of the games, starting Wednesday night at 7:15. Game 4 will be Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Game 5, if needed, will be Saturday at 7:15 p.m.

"It's a pretty tough one to swallow, obviously. We had that game moving in the right direction and again, penalties cost us dearly. We couldn't seem to find a way to solve (Admirals goalie John) Gibson. He was a good goalie tonight. He was really good. He was the difference."

The game was tied 2-2 entering the third period. Norfolk took its first lead of the series at 11:17 of the final frame on a goal from William Karlsson.

Karlsson skated a give-and-go into the Manchester zone, passing to Nicolas Kerdiles and then taking the puck back to fire a wrist shot on net that Monarchs goalie J.F. Berube got his glove on, but the puck trickled in for the 3-2 Admirals edge.

"It was just a harder shot than I expected and it kind of twisted my glove and I lost that one," Berube said. "I want to have it back and obviously it was the winning goal."

Manchester had a golden opportunity to tie the game with 1:19 remaining and Berube on the bench for an extra attacker. Defenseman Brayden McNabb got off a sharp shot from the right circle, but Gibson slid across and snared the puck out of the air with his trapper.

The Monarchs maintained pressure in the Norfolk zone and had a faceoff in the Admirals zone with a four-second power play where McNabb got off another shot that Gibson turned aside to end the game.

Manchester now faces the challenge of winning two out of three on the road.

"We're a team that, when we're playing well together and skating, we can do a lot of damage," Morris said. "We've got to regroup quickly here and go down there. We have a hell of a task trying to win two out of three in their building."

Norfolk entered the second period down 2-0, but scored twice to even the game at 2-2 after two. The Admirals scored their first goal of the series at 7:54 of the second, breaking through on the power play.

Andre Petersson's shot from the top of the right circle was tipped by former Monarch Dave Steckel cutting to the net. Berube went down to try and make the save, but the puck deflected to a wide open Max Friberg on the left wing for a quick shot into the open left side.

Steckel tied the game at 10:56, parking his large frame on the doorstep and tipping home a shot from Steve Eminger from the right circle.

"The second goal was a situation (where) our fourth line got stuck out there for quite a long time and we lost position on a guy and allowed him to slap the puck to the net and the goalie went to poke it and it looked like it just squibbed through his legs. I'm sure he'd like to have that one back."

Manchester dominated the first period, outshooting Norfolk 13-6 and controlling the play throughout. The Monarchs didn't break through to the scoreboard until late in the frame, however, but netted two goals in the final four minutes.

One of the best lines all night, Linden Vey, Nic Dowd and Andy Andreoff got the scoring started at 16:34. The puck bounced around the front of the Norfolk net, getting touched by several Manchester players before it came to Dowd in the slot for a wrist shot high glove-side to beat Gibson. It was Dowd's first pro goal.

Zach O'Brien scored his second goal in as many nights to make it 2-0 Manchester at 17:51. Steve Quailer made a backhand pass from deep on the right side to O'Brien behind the net on the left. O'Brien skated out and threw a shot on net that hit Gibson and trickled in.

iclark@unionleader.com


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