Admirals battle past Pirates in shootout

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Ethan Werek tries for the rebound as Norfolk goaltender Brad Thiessen makes the save during the first period (Ron Morin Photo)

LEWISTON, Maine – The Pirates played one of their best games all season but fell short to the Norfolk Admirals in a 3-2 shootout loss. Brett Hextall and Lucas Lessio each tallied for the Pirates while Chris Rawlings made 27 saves.

The Pirates jumped on the board first when Brett Hextall snapped home an Andy Miele pass at 6:30 in the first period. The goal is Hextall’s 11th of the season, a career high for the forward. But the Admirals would retaliate with a goal of their own at 11:34 from Emerson Etem. After Rawlings made a save, Etem scooped up the rebound and tucked it past the outstretched leg of Rawlings to knot the score at 1-1.

In the second, the Admirals took the lead late when Nic Kerdiles scored his first goal of the year at 18:22. After some sustained offensive zone pressure, the puck bounced into the slot, allowing Kerdiles to spin and fire a shot that beat Rawlings. The Pirates fought hard and looked for a way to tie it up, finally coming through with just 5.8 seconds left in the third period. Joel Hanley received the puck along the left wing boards and shipped it across to Cade Fairchild who hoisted one towards the net. Lessio, standing in front, poked out his stick and redirected the shot past Thiessen to send the game into overtime. Lessio’s game tying goal in the final minute was the first for the Pirates since Lessio tied the Pirates game against Bridgeport on April 16, 2013.

After an overtime that saw some close chances, the teams headed to a shootout where it was a duel of goaltenders, with each side making some great saves and denying every shooter they saw. It was not until the sixth round that Jesse Blacker finally got one past Rawlings to hand the Admirals the 3-2 victory.

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