Despite their strong third period play, Atlanta could not catch up late as they fell to the Norfolk Admirals by a score of 3-1 in their return to the ice for the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day game at the Infinite Energy Arena on Monday afternoon.
After the first period passed with no one able to find the net, Norfolk opened the game’s scoring 6:01 into the second. Domenic Alberga collected the puck for the Admirals in the high slot and sent a pass across the zone to John Dunbar. The Calgary native then saw an open net and wristed in a shot as Gladiators goalie, Matt Ginn scrambled to get back into the crease. The goal put Norfolk ahead 1-0, and was Dunbar’s 10th of the season.
The Admirals would then double their lead to 2-0 with a goal 11:40 into the middle frame. Mike Krieg collected the puck in the neutral zone and pushed it forward to Dunbar. The third year pro then skated around the offensive zone before he sent a pass to T.J. Foster, who ripped in a shot from the high slot. The tally was the former Orlando Solar Bear’s eighth of season, while Krieg picked up his fifth helper of year and Dunbar doubled his point total for the day with an assist.
Atlanta would then cut the lead in half as Josh Atkinson blasted a one-timer over the glove of Norfolk goalie, Brendan Anderson, just 1:02 into the third period. The goal that cut the score to 2-1 was the rookie’s fifth of the season and was assisted by Cason Hohmann, who sent the pass up to Atkinson from behind the net.
Norfolk would seal the victory with an empty net tally from Joey Benik with only :20 remaining in the game. The tally that put the Admirals ahead 3-1 was Benik’s fourth of the season, and was assisted by Zach Pochiro.
The loss dropped the Gladiators to 15-18-4-1 on the year, which gave them 35 points and sixth place in the South Division. Meanwhile, Norfolk picked up their sixth straight win and improved to 12-20-4-0 with 28 points and the seventh spot in the division