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January 6, 2012

Admirals vs. Devils Series Preview


Series Preview - Norfolk Admirals (18-11-0-1) vs. Albany Devils (14-13-5-2)
Dates: January 6, 2011 & January 7, 2011
Venue: Norfolk Scope Arena, Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk statistics | Albany statistics


by Nathan Skytta

Admirals Open Five-Game Homestand vs. Devils
After opening the 2012 calendar year with a 5-1 victory on Wednesday night in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Admirals return to Scope Arena riding a six-game point streak (5-0-0-1) into a five-game homestand.

The Admirals' homestand features the first two of four meetings this season between the Admirals and Devils at Scope Arena. Last season, the Admirals finished with a 2-0-1-1 against the Devils at home and were 6-0-1-1 in eight games vs. the Devils.

So far in 2011-12, the Admirals high-scoring offense has been stymied by Devils rookie goaltender Keith Kinkaid. In the first meeting between the teams, Kinkaid turned aside 34 shots, as he shut out the Admirals, 1-0. Exactly one week later, the Admirals returned to Albany where Kinkaid once again stood tall. This time, the rookie netminder turned aside 24 of 25 shots – including all 12 shots in the third period – as the Devils defeated the Admirals, 2-1.

The homestand, which also pits the Admirals vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Tuesday and the first two meetings between the Admirals and Connecticut Whale this season, comes after the Admirals played seven of their last 10 games on the road. Norfolk has earned at least one point in the standings six consecutive outings and remains undefeated in regulation since a 4-3 loss vs. Hershey on December 16th.

Three Admirals Headed to 2012 AHL All-Star Game in Atlantic City
On Wednesday afternoon, the American Hockey League announced the rosters for the upcoming 2012 AHL All-Star Classic. Three Admirals will represent Hampton Roads in Atlantic City, New Jersey at the end of the month. Mark Barberio, Cory Conacher, and Trevor Smith were each named to the Eastern Conference roster for the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic.

Barberio has posted three goals and 29 points in 32 games for the Admirals this season. The second-year pro is tied for the AHL lead in scoring by a defenseman while leading all AHL defensemen with 26 assists and 17 power play points (2G, 15A). Barberio also ranks fifth overall in the AHL with 26 assists and ranks tied for second overall with a plus-19 rating.

Conacher has recorded 21 goals and 41 points in 33 games with the Admirals this season. He leads all AHL rookies in goals and points. Among all AHL players, Conacher is first in goals and ranks fourth in points.

Smith has registered 15 goals and 42 points while playing all 34 games for the Admirals this season. A fifth-year pro, Smith leads the Admirals and ranks third overall in AHL scoring. Among all AHL players, he ranks tied for second in plus/minus (+19) and tied for second in game-winning goals (4).

From Jan. 5-23, fans will have the opportunity to vote for the starting lineups for the 2012 AHL All-Star Game by visiting theahl.com or facebook.com/theahl and completing the official Reebok AHL All-Star Fan Ballot. Voters will also be entered to win a grand prize of a team-signed authentic 2012 AHL All-Star jersey, and five more winners will each receive a pair of tickets to the 2012 AHL All-Star Skills Competition and All-Star Game, courtesy of Insurance Office of America.

Admirals Special Teams Stand Tall since Christmas
Last week’s contests against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers quickly became a strong test between special teams. Norfolk entered the weekend with the third-best power play and a penalty kill ranked 25th in the AHL. However, it was the penalty kill that stood strong for the Admirals.

On Wednesday night, the Admirals penalty kill was faced with the task of killing off a five-minute major penalty in the second period and then a 1:55 span of the third period of five-on-three attack by the Sound Tigers. When all was said and done, the Admirals penalty kill was a perfect six-for-six in the contest.

In the second game between the teams, the Admirals and Sound Tigers combined for a total of 18 penalties, 10 of which resulted in Admirals power plays. Matt Fornataro and Tyler Johnson each netted goal on the man advantage, while Casey Cizikas and Tony Romano each tallied a power play goal for the Sound Tigers. The Admirals finished the game six for eight on the penalty kill.

Norfolk capitalized on three power play opportunities and killed off 12 of 14 penalties against them Sound Tigers. Since returning last week from the holiday break, the Admirals have successfully converted on 6 of 27 (22.2%) chances with the man advantage and have killed off 21 of 23 (91.3%) opponent power plays.

Admirals Thundersticks Giveaway Courtesy of SuperCuts
The first 2,500 fans through the gates on Saturday night will receive Admirals Thundersticks, courtesy of SUPERCUTS.

Admirals Notes
  • Norfolk is undefeated in regulation in its last six games (5-0-0-1). It is the longest Norfolk point streak since March 9 – 23, 2011 (also 5-0-0-1).
  • Defenseman Mike Kostka rides a five-game point streak entering tonight’s contest vs. the Devils.
  • Smith (0g, 3a) registered his fifth three-point game of the season while Conacher (2g, 1a) recorded his third three-point game of the season on Wednesday night at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
  • Dustin Tokarski is tied for 10th in the AHL with a 2.33 goals against average in 21 games played.
  • Norfolk is undefeated when leading after two periods (13-0-0-0).
  • The Admirals are 3-0-0-0 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season, marking just the third time they have won three consecutive games at the Mohegan Sun Arena in franchise history.
  • This is the farthest into a season the Admirals have been in at least a share of first place since the 2006-07 season.
  • Norfolk's 21-11-0-2 record (44 points) is tied for the second-best record through 34 games in AHL Admirals history, trailing on the 2006-07 Admirals (22-7-4-1, 49 points)

Devils Notes
  • Albany arrives at Scope having won just two of their last 10 games (2-4-3-1).
  • The Devils have won both contests between the Admirals and Devils this season, with both contests taking place in Albany.
  • Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid is 2-0-0 with a 0.50 goals-against average and .983 save percentage against the Admirals this season.
  • Devils defenseman Jay Leach played for the Admirals during the 2007-08 season, posting three goals and 11 points in 55 games with a team-best plus-12 rating.
  • Steve Zalewski, who leads the Devils with nine goals and 21 points in 34 games this season, has been recalled by the New Jersey Devils.
  • Former Admiral Rick Kowalsky is in his second year behind the bench as head coach for the Devils. Kowalsky led the Devils to a 32-42-1-5 record in his first year behind the bench.
  • Kowalsky is an Admirals Hall of Famer who recorded 98 goals and 240 points in 244 games with the ECHL Admirals from 1994-2000. He also appeared in one game with the AHL Admirals in 2001-02 and was an assistant coach with the Admirals in 2005-06.
  • Kowalsky won the John Brophy Award as ECHL Coach of the Year in 2008-09.





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