NORFOLK, Va. – Devante Smith-Pelly scored twice to help lift the Norfolk Admirals to a 4-1 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a heated battle Friday night at the Scope.
The Admirals started off on the right foot against the Penguins when winger Devante Smith-Pelly screened Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goalie Jeff Deslauriers during a power play. Defenseman Alex Grant’s shot from the left point rised before deflecting off Smith-Pelly’s stick and in for Norfolk’s first marker at 14:32 of the opening frame.
With the first intermission looming, Norfolk struck again. As the puck cycled around the Penguins’ zone, forward John Kurtz moved in on net. Admirals’ defenseman Garnet Exelby fired one through the legs of Deslauriers that ricocheted off Kurtz’s skate for the second Norfolk goal of the evening. Kurtz’s fourth of the season came at 18:04 of the first.
Norfolk’s two-goal lead shrunk on an opportunity for Penguins’ forward Zach Sill late in the second period. Sill broke to the net from the right side and redirected a pass from Brian Dumoulin high in the slot to cut the deficit in half at 17:46.
The Admirals’ slim lead proved to be enough as Norfolk piled on two more goals in the final frame. On the power play, Max Friberg and Emerson Etem combined with Smith-Pelly in a three-man passing play that finished in the net off Smith-Pelly’s one-timer at 13:23. It was his second of the game and team-leading fourteenth of the season.
Norfolk forward Dave Steckel added an empty-netter to put Wilkes-Barre/Scranton away and give the Admirals a 4-1 victory.
John Gibson made 20 saves in a winning effort, his 13th victory of the 2013-14 campaign. Deslauriers takes the loss allowing two goals on eight shots, before being thrown out of the game for being involved in a second period altercation with Gibson. The two exchanged punches before Gibson wrestled down Deslauriers in a brief exchange. Eric Hartzell came in relief for the Penguins and surrendered just one goal on nine shots faced.
The Admirals (22-13-1-6, 51pts) draw closer to the second place Penguins (24-13-1-3, 52pts) in the East Division. Norfolk will remain on home ice tomorrow night to take on the Penguins once again at 7:15 p.m.