Admirals Set Up Rubber Match in Series with Binghamton After 5-1 Win
NORFOLK, Va. – Twelve different players registered at least one point on Wednesday night for the Norfolk Admirals (32-19-8-5) as they defeated the Binghamton Senators (33-23-3-4), 5-1, at Norfolk Scope Arena. Norfolk’s lead over Binghamton for the fourth and final guaranteed playoff spot in the AHL’s East Division grew back to four points. The Senators, who defeated the Admirals 4-1 in Binghamton last Sunday, will provide the opposition for Norfolk for the third consecutive game on Friday night at Scope at 7:30.
Johan Harju netted his twentieth goal of the season for the Admirals while Mike Angelidis, Levi Nelson, Mark Barberio and Marc-Antoine Pouliot also scored for Norfolk. Dustin Tokarski stopped 21 of 22 shots for his seventeenth victory of 2010-11.
The Admirals took a 1-0 lead 11:51 into the game. Alex Berry sent a pass from the left corner to Mike Vernace at the left point. Vernace sent a high wrist shot that was deflected into the net by Angelidis in the left circle for Angelidis’ seventeenth goal of the season.
It appeared as if the Admirals would skate into the first intermission leading 1-0. But in the waning seconds of the period, Mathieu Roy sent a shot from the right circle that hit the leg pad of Senators goaltender Robin Lehner. Lehner kicked the puck into the slot, and Nelson buried the rebound into the net with only fractions of a second remaining in the first period.
Norfolk’s lead doubled in the second period. Harju netted his twentieth goal of the season at 15:39 to put Norfolk ahead 3-0. Paul Szczechura sent a feed from the right corner to Harju at the bottom of the left circle. Harju shot the puck past the outstretched right leg of Lehner and into the net.
Barberio lit the lamp for the eighth time of the season just over two minutes later to extend the Admirals' lead to 4-0. He entered the attacking zone along the left wing, cradled the puck and dragged it into the slot around an attempted Binghamton sweep check and fired a shot into the net at 17:59.
The Senators broke up Tokarski’s shutout bid 2:12 into the final frame. Mike Hoffman dumped the puck from the neutral zone into the Norfolk zone along the left wing boards. Tokarski went out of the crease to play the puck behind the net. However, the puck hit a stanchion in the left corner and bounded back into the slot, where Roman Wick found it and fired it into the net to cut Norfolk’s lead to 4-1.
The Admirals closed out scoring on the power play at 13:10. Harju had the puck in the low slot and spotted Pouliot open on the goalmouth to Lehner's right. He sent a quick pass to Pouliot, who scored before Lehner could move across to cover the right post. The goal was Pouliot's nineteenth of the season and gave Norfolk the 5-1 win.
Dustin Tokarski (22 shots, 21 saves) improved to 17-15-4 with the victory. Robin Lehner (33 shots, 28 saves) fell to 7-7-2.
Norfolk was 1-4 on the power play. Binghamton was 0-5.
The Admirals and Senators will face off once again at Scope on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. The first 2,000 fans will receive the final set of Admirals trading cards.
Individual tickets for all regular season games start at just $12. Tickets are available now at the Scope Box Office, all Ticketmaster Outlets, charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000 and online at ticketmaster.com.
Season tickets for the 2011-12 season are now available! Low monthly payments available for a limited time only. Stop by the Admirals’ Administrative Offices at Scope, call (757) 640-1212 weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or visit norfolkadmirals.com anytime for more details or to purchase your tickets!
1. Mike Angelidis – NOR
2. Johan Harju – NOR
3. Levi Nelson – NOR
NOTES … In the East Division, Norfolk (77 points, 16 games remaining) leads Binghamton (73 points, 16 games remaining) by four points for fourth place. Third-place Charlotte (80 points, 14 games remaining) was idle today, as the Admirals closed their deficit on the Checkers to three points. Norfolk also closed their gap on second-place Hershey (83 points, 14 games remaining) to six points after the Bears fell at Worcester tonight. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (90 points, 17 games remaining) remains in first place ... The top four spots in the East Division are guaranteed to qualify for the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs. The crossover rule is in effect where if the fifth place team in the East Division has more points than the fourth place team in the Atlantic Division, that team will cross over into the Atlantic Division Semifinals. For complete standings and an explanation of the qualification rules for the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs, please visit theahl.com … Norfolk held the league's top power play at bay on five opportunities. The Admirals' penalty kill is 51/55 (92.7%) over its last 13 games … In his last nine games, Dustin Tokarski is 6-1-2 with two shutouts, a 1.52 goals-against average and .943 save percentage … Chris Durno served the first game of his three-game suspension … Scratches: Kevin Quick, Mitch Fritz, Cedrick Desjardins.