The Norfolk Admirals (12-28-5-0) came back from a three-goal deficit in the third period to defeat the South Carolina Stingrays (32-8-3-1) Friday night by a final score of 8-6 in a wild game at the North Charleston Coliseum.
Max Novak led the way on the offensive end for the Rays with a 4-point night that included three goals for his first professional hat trick as well as an assist. Forward Dan DeSalvo also had a big night for SC with two goals and an assist.
Norfolk took an initial 1-0 lead on a goal by Taylor Ross at 3:34 of the opening period.
But the Rays responded quickly just 19 seconds later with a tally of their own from Novak at 3:53. Forward Mark Cooper had an initial chance that was stopped by goaltender Michael McNiven, but he was able to keep the puck in the zone and get it down to Novak, who used a backhand to beat McNiven over the blocker to even the game at 1-1.
Later in the frame, DeSalvo netted his first of the night on the power play at 10:07 when newcomer Branden Troock him with a pass down low at the side of the net for a redirection that hit the twine to give SC a 2-1 advantage. Defender Tom Parisi picked up the second assist on the strike.
Novak added to the lead at 6:28 of the second with his second goal of the night from captain Andrew Cherniwchan and defender Kristofers Bindulis. While on the power play, Cherniwchan hit Novak with a cross-ice pass for the shot that made it 3-1.
The Stingrays made it 4-1 on DeSalvo’s second of the night at 10:27 of the middle period from Novak and Cooper. While in transition after a breakout by Cooper, Novak fed DeSalvo in the slot for a quick shot that went over McNiven for his 16th of the season.
Norfolk responded to get themselves back in the game quickly on a goal by Sebastian Vidmar at 12:30 and then cut the lead down to one at 4-3 on a tally by Jakob Reichert at 15:11 of the second.
SC once again came out hot in the third when Parisi scored his 10th goal of the year at 1:57 with assists from Cam Askew and Cole Ully to make it 5-3. The goal was the team’s third power play conversion of the night.
Less than two minutes later, Novak completed the hat trick off a face-off win by DeSalvo. The center controlled the puck and fed it in front to Novak, who made a move to the backhand and slipped the puck into the net for his third goal of the night and 14th of the year at 3:54 of the final period to give the Rays a 6-3 edge.
The Admirals weren’t done however and mounted a comeback to get back in the game. Artem Ivanyuzhenkov scored at 6:02 to cut the lead back to 6-4 before Ryan Salkeld found the back of the net less than three minutes later at 8:49 to make it a one-goal game again at 6-5.
Ross netted his second of the game for Norfolk to even the score at 12:32 and then J.C. Campagna scored on the power play to put the Admirals in front 7-6 at 17:52 before Ben Holmstrom sealed the contest with an empty-net goal at 19:55.
McNiven recorded the win by making 44 saves for Norfolk. The Stingrays piled up 50 shots on goal in the game, their highest output of the 2019-20 season. Goaltender Parker Milner suffered the loss for South Carolina, stopping 31 shots.
The Rays finished 3-for-4 on the man-advantage, while the Admirals went 1-for-3.
NEXT GAMESouth Carolina will host the Florida Everblades on Saturday at 6:05 p.m. while wearing specialty SpongeBob SquarePants jerseys for Nickelodeon Night.