Last week, Norfolk re-wrote the AHL record books with three victories over teams fighting for a spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs. On Wednesday night, Norfolk scored four unanswered goals en route to a 4-1 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at Scope. The Admirals then traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina, where they won games #17 and #18 in a row to establish the new American Hockey League single-season record for most consecutive victories. On Friday night, seven different players scored as Norfolk became the first team to clinch a spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs with a 7-2 victory over the Checkers. On Sunday, Richard Panik scored a goal and added two assists and Jaroslav Janus stopped all 20 shots as the Admirals shut down the Checkers, 5-0.
The Admirals now return to Scope, where they have not lost since January 29. They conclude the home portion of the regular season schedule with a season-long, seven-game homestand beginning Friday and Saturday nights against the Albany Devils and lasting through April 7.
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS UPDATE The Admirals (45-18-1-2, 93 points in 66 games) continue to lead the East Division, Eastern Conference and overall American Hockey League standings. Norfolk leads the St. John's IceCaps (38-19-5-2, 83 points in 64 games) by ten points for first place in the Eastern Conference. They also lead the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (38-20-2-5, 83 points in 65 games) by ten points for first place in the East Division. The IceCaps hold two games in hand on the Admirals while the Penguins hold one game in hand on the Admirals. Norfolk also leads the Oklahoma City Barons (39-17-4-5, 87 points in 65 games) by six points for the AHL's top record.
Here are the current Eastern Conference standings (updated in real-time):
Eight teams in each conference shall qualify for the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs. Following the conclusion of each team's 76-game regular season, the three division winners in each conference will be seeded first through third (in order of regular-season points) and the next five best teams (in order of regular-season points) will be seeded fourth through eighth.
THE ADMIRALS’ WEEK AHEAD Fri., Mar 23 … vs. Albany Devils (New Jersey Devils) … 7:30 p.m. | GET TICKETS Sat., Mar 24 … vs. Albany Devils (New Jersey Devils) … 7:15 p.m. | GET TICKETS
Norfolk’s 18-game winning streak dates back to February 10 vs. Adirondack. It is the longest winning streak contained entirely in a single season in the 76-year history of the American Hockey League. The Admirals surpassed the former record held by the Philadelphia Phantoms, who won 17 straight games from October 22 – November 27, 2004.
Norfolk’s 18-game winning streak is now equaled only by the Syracuse Crunch’s 18-game winning streak, which spanned over the course of two seasons from March 9 – October 17, 2008. During their streak, the Crunch won 15 games to conclude the 2007-08 regular season and won the first three games to open the 2008-09 regular season.
Norfolk’s winning streak is also one better than the National Hockey League record, which is 17 games (1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins).
Norfolk's streak is also tied for the longest in professional hockey history, equaling the 18-game winning streak by the 1990-91 Peoria Rivermen of the International Hockey League.
The Admirals have outscored their opponents, 76-29, over their last 18 games.
Norfolk has outscored its opponents 45-16 at even strength during the streak.
The Admirals have scored 27 power play goals while allowing only 12 opposition power play goals.
The last time the Admirals were in first place overall in the American Hockey League this late in the season was March 31, 2007, when they held a one-point advantage over the Hershey Bears.
Tyler Johnson leads the Admirals with 12 goals, 19 assists, 31 points and a plus-20 rating during the team’s 18-game winning streak.
Johnson has points in his last ten games (9g, 13a) – the longest active point streak in the American Hockey League and tied for the fourth-longest streak in the AHL this season.
Johnson has also set an AHL Admirals franchise record with goals in seven straight games (9g) and has recorded multiple points in seven consecutive games (9g, 9a).
With a pair of goals on Sunday afternoon, Cory Conacher took over the goal scoring lead in the AHL with 34 goals. Conacher (34g, 37a) continues to lead all AHL rookies in scoring with 71 points.
On Sunday afternoon, Jaroslav Janus recorded his 18th victory of the season. The 20-save shutout was Janus’ second career AHL shutout and extended the AHL Admirals franchise record with his 10th straight victory. Dating back to February 12 in Charlotte, Janus has allowed just 15 goals on 259 shots in 10 games (1.49 goals-against average and .942 save percentage).
Richard Panik (5g, 4a) is on a personal four-game point streak and has points in seven of his last eight games (6g, 8a).
After scoring his first career AHL goal on Friday night at Charlotte, Alex Hutchings extended his point streak to three games (2g, 1a) with his second goal of the season on Sunday afternoon against the Checkers. Hutchings has five points (2g, 3a) in eight games since being reassigned from Florida (ECHL).
The Admirals are 1-3-1-0 vs. Albany this season, making the Devils one of only two teams with a .500 or better record against the Admirals this season. (Hershey, 5-4-1-0).
GEICO CHALLENGE CUP RECAP With their 5-0 victory over the Charlotte Checkers on Sunday, the Admirals clinched the 2011-12 GEICO Challenge Cup. Norfolk (5-3-0-0) was awarded the trophy after recording 10 standings points in eight games vs. the Checkers this season while holding Charlotte (3-4-1-0) to just seven points.
The Admirals opened the season with back-to-back victories over the Checkers before the Checkers claimed the next three matchups and opened a 7-4 edge in points. However, the Admirals won the final three contests en route to winning the inaugural GEICO Challenge Cup.
The Admirals will don one-of-a-kind jerseys during the game. These jerseys pay homage to the 40th anniversary of hockey in Hampton Roads with jerseys similar to the first hockey team to play at Scope – the 1971-72 Tidewater Wings.
Immediately following the conclusion of the game on Saturday, a live auction will take place on the ice with the special jerseys being sold right off the players’ backs. All proceeds go to the local chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Over the past 11 seasons, the Admirals have been able to raise $306,465 for MDA through the annual jersey auction.
TRANSACTIONS OF THE PAST WEEK March 22, 2012 ADD F Bryan Brutlag – Signed to Professional Tryout Contract (PTO)
March 20, 2012 ADD C Alex Killorn – Signed to Amateur Tryout Contract (ATO)
ADD G Dustin Tokarski – Returned on loan by Tampa Bay (NHL)
DELETE G Pat Nagle – Reassigned by Tampa Bay (NHL) to Florida (ECHL)
March 19, 2012 DELETE LW Pierre-Cedric Labrie – Recalled from loan by Tampa Bay (NHL)
DELETE F Bryan Brutlag – Released from Professional Tryout Contract (PTO)
March 18, 2012 ADD F Bryan Brutlag – Signed to Professional Tryout Contract (PTO)
March 17, 2012 DELETE C Trevor Smith – Recalled from loan by Tampa Bay (NHL)
TICKETS 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.
Admirals 10-Packs for the 2011-12 season remain available for as little as $110. You may also reserve your 2012-13 season tickets with a deposit of as little as $100 per seat today. 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!
ON THE RADIO/INTERNET All regular season games will air live on "The Game" 102.1-FM, 1490-AM and online at 1021TheGame.com. AHL Live will also carry online video of every Admirals game on a pay-per-view or season pass basis. Fans can log in to watch, listen or get more information about AHL Live’s online audio and video features at ahllive.com.