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Dwyer Does It Again! Rats Surge Passed Norfolk

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The River Rats scored all of their goals in the third period to erase a 2-0 deficit and rally past the Norfolk Admirals.

Captain Pat Dwyer had two goals for the third time in four games, including what turned out to be the winner with 3:03 remaining, to give Albany (29-28-3-3) its second straight win and keep pace with Binghamton in the East Division.

The Senators beat Worcester tonight and remains 14 points ahead of the Rats for the division's final playoff spot. Albany has three games in hand on Binghamton with two head-to-head matchups left.

Jerome Samson had a goal and assist, Aaron Clarke also scored, and newcomer Mathieu Roy was credited with the third goal -- his first in the AHL -- for Albany, which got 33 saves from goaltender Daniel Manzato, now 7-1 in 2009 and 4-0 against the Admirals this season.

The five goals is a single-period high this season for Albany, which had scored four on three occasions, the last coming Jan. 14 at Hershey in a 7-2 win. The franchise single-period record is six goals, in the first period of an 8-5 win at Springfield on April 2, 1994.

Brandon Segal, Justin Keller and Zenon Konopka had the goals for Norfolk (26-32-3-5).

Norfolk 2 0 1

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Let's start off with a trivia question: What do rubber, leather, polyester, iron, ice and twine have in common?

For the River Rats, they were the right six ingredients to produce one very important goal.

It went something like this: trailing, 2-0, with 6:11 gone in the third period against Norfolk, Albany defenseman Brett Carson kept the puck in at the right point, sending a fluttering shot toward the Admirals net.

Right wing Jerome Samson, standing in front of goalie Riku Helenius, is able to jump up and get a piece of the puck (rubber) with the tip of his glove (leather). The puck then deflects down off the jersey of Helenius (polyester) and then off the crossbar (iron) before landing free in the crease (ice), where Samson pitchforked it into the net (twine).

"I was just a race between the goalie and me, and I was able to tap it in," Samson said.

"It was he kind of bounce we needed," cptain Pat Dwyer said. "We had some good pressure in the second period and couldn't hit the net. To get a bounce like that where it hits a glove and a crossbar and lands on a stick was the kind of life we needed to get going."

And get going they did. Samson's was the first of four unanswered goals that turned a two-goal deficit into a 4-2 lead. In all, the Rats scored five times in the third period, a season high, and one away from the all-time franchise record of six, set in the first period of an 8-5 win in Springfield back on April 2, 1994 -- Albany's first season in the AHL.

"We were just looking for any type of momentum," head coach Jeff Daniels said. "No matter how they went in, they went in. We'll take them any way we can right now. It was a good win."

The formula was simple: shoot the puck, hit the net, drive for rebounds. Once the Rats finally found the net, Norfolk had trouble keeping the puck out.

"The messsage after the second period was to bring the same thing, but just hit the net," Daniels said. "The guys did that, and they got rewarded."

Samson at 6:11. Aaron Clarke at 11:57. Mathieu Roy at 16:11. Dwyer at 16:57. Dwyer again at 19:14, into an empty net.

"As a team we thought we had quality chances throughout the game, but we just missed the net on those chances," Samson said. "In the third period, the word was just to hit the net. If you shoot and don't hit the net, there's no chance the puck's going to go in. We hit the net and we got five goals."

Albany ended the season series with Norfolk tied at four wins apiece. The home team won every game.

********************

Roy and Patrick Bordeleau were each recalled from ECHL Florida and signed to professional tryout contracts before the game. Bordeleau played three games for Albany, Dec. 5-7.

Both players had an immediate impact. Bordeleau earned a decisive victory over Radek Smolenak in their fight just 1:59 into the game, and was effective in finishing his checks all night.

Roy played on a line with Dodge and Samson and was used on Albany's second power-play unit with Samson, Harrison Reed, Mark Flood and Noah Babin. Roy, in his Rats debut, was credited with the go-ahead goal, one initially given to Dodge.

Dodge carried the puck across the blue line with Roy on his left and Samson streaking toward the net. Dodge flipped a backhand pass ahead to Samson, who was able to whack the bouncing puck at the net. Helenius made the save but bobbled the rebound, and Dodge came crashing in. The puck hit his skate as he fell but fell short of the net before Roy swept it in.

Bordeleau, right wing on the fourth line with Brad Herauf and Reed, wore the same No. 25 he did in December. Roy became the ninth Albany player to wear No. 9 this season. If you can name them all, without going back to the pregame blog, take something out of petty cash.

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Dwyer, wearing the 'C' with Tim Conboy up in Carolina for the duration of the season, had two goals for the second straight game and third time in four games; all of them are wins. He has four game-winner on the season, including two in a row.

Dwyer now has 19 goals, second on the team to the departed Michael Ryan (25), also in Carolina. His empty-netter was his second in two games; he was credited with one Sunday vs. Syracuse when he was pulled down from behind skating with the puck toward a vacated Crunch net.

"I'll take all of those I can get," Dwyer said.

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East Greenbush native Matt Lashoff is with Norfolk for the time being, joining the club late Tuesday night. He skated here Wednesday morning and will skate today in Binghamton and is projected to be in the lineup this weekend.

Lashoff, 22, the first local player ever selected in the first round of the NHL draft (22nd overall in 2005), was dealt by Boston to Tampa Bay at last week's NHL trade deadline. Wednesday was his first day with Norfolk.

He met with the media after the game, which he watched from the stands with his family. Here's what he had to say:

"I think it's a different situation. It's the type of team that's rebuilding and building toward the future and getting a lot younger. It definitely helps my cause out. It was the type of thing in Boston that seemed like it was going, not necessarily downhill but not in the right direction toward the end of it there in my third year.

"I can't say anything bad about Boston. I had a great time there. I learned a lot from all the coaching staff and everyone, but I couldn't be happier to be in this organization right now and getting a chance to hopefully play a lot and prove something.

"It's a fairly short period of time so hopefully they have some things in mind, as well. They traded for two younger players with regard to Boston getting Mark Recchi. I hope for us to be able to grow in this organization and hopefully be here for a long time. It's obviously an audition to come in there and every game means something. I want to be part of this team for a long time and hopefully get a chance to prove it.

"It's getting there. It's getting better. I took 30 stitches to my knee a couple weeks ago so it's slowly healing. I was really lucky to not nick anything very seriously. It's getting better. I've been skating the past three days and today is the best day yet, which is exactly what we want. If all goes to plan then I should be playing on Saturday.

"The weirdest thing about it is, being in Providence we always just came up here for a day. I actually flew in here yesterday and stayed in a hotel in Albany and kind of got to meet my family for lunch and go out to dinner. It was one of the weirdest experiences I've had in a while, just being away in Albany, at home.

"We're hopping on the bus right now to go to Binghamton. It'll be good. The main thing for myself is just to, I want to get as many practices in and get on the ice and feel comfortable and get back skating. Anyone knows, if you're off skating and you're not injured for five to 10 days it's hard to get back into game shape. I haven't been able to put a lot of pressure on my leg for about the past five days. I've been walking fairly normally and been able to put most of my pressure on there. I graduated to walking up stairs a couple days ago, so it's a slow process but it's moving along quickly.

"Like I said, I was lucky enough not to clip anything, so right now it's just a lot of swelling and a lot of bruising in there that's slowly dissolving and it's feeling better every day and I couldn't be more optimistic about it.

"I'm gonna play it by ear and see how I feel. I have to be true to myself with regard to how I feel and how my leg feels. Everyone knows your first impression is huge and I just want to make sure I'm a hundred percent and feeling good before I go up there and see what happens. If I get in the games this weekend and I feel great, I'm going to let them know and it's in their hands after that."

********************

Albany goalie Daniel Manzato stopped 33 of 36 shots to improve to 7-1 in calendar year 2009 and 4-0, 1.88 and .944 against Norfolk this season ..... Defenseman Brett Carson extended his point streak to six games (1g, 6a), and Yannick Tifu pushed his to four games (1g, 3a) ..... LW Brock Hooton, who signed a PTO with the Admirals over Albany last weekend, was scoreless and minus-2 with no shots against the Rats. He played for Albany on Feb. 7 ..... The Rats were 0-for-7 on the power play, managing just six shots, including none on a 5-on-3 for 15 seconds in the final minute of the first period. Norfolk went 1-for-4 with the man advantage, registering 10 shots ..... Albany winger Ryan Weston, who made a great play to set up Aaron Clarke's goal, was shaken up after being hit from behind with 3:19 left in the third. He appeared to be fine in the locker room after the game ..... Attendance was 2,378 ..... Three stars: 1. Dwyer; 2. Dodge; 3. Samson.

http://dailygazette.com/weblogs/janack/200...irals-postgame/

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