ADMIRALS TAKE ON REIGNING CALDER CUP CHAMPIONS Tonight’s meeting is the first of three over the next nine days between the Admirals and their East Division rivals from Binghamton, New York. The reigning Calder Cup Champions arrive at Scope for their first visit since the middle of October. After this weekend’s contest, the Admirals will travel to Binghamton next Saturday, in the middle of their three-game, three-city road trip to wrap up the regular season.
On Tuesday night, the Norfolk stretched their winning streak to 23 games by downing the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 2-1 at Scope. Michel Ouellet and Mark Barberio each scored on the power play. Dustin Tokarski turned aside 25 of 26 shots for his 11th consecutive victory, one behind netminding partner Jaroslav Janus.
In their last outing, the Binghamton Senators dropped a 5-1 decision to the Syracuse Crunch. Jack Downing scored his eighth of the season while Robin Lehner stopped 37 of 42 shots in defeat.
The Admirals have taken four of the first five meetings between the teams this season, including a 7-0 victory on October 21. Norfolk veteran forward Trevor Smith has five goals and 11 points in four games against the Senators in 2011-12. Both Dustin Tokarski (1.00, .958) and Jaroslav Janus (1.93, .927) have goals-against averages under 2.00 and save percentages above .925 against Binghamton this season.
ADMIRALS ARE IN A CLINCHING STATE OF MIND With a regulation win tonight vs. Binghamton, the Admirals can clinch the franchise’s first Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the AHL's regular season points champion. The Admirals can also clinch the title with a regulation loss by Oklahoma City, who takes on the Peoria Rivermen tonight in Oklahoma at 8:00 p.m. EDT. An overtime or shootout loss by both Norfolk and Oklahoma City will also give the Admirals the trophy, which guarantees the Admirals home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.
THE AWARD GOES TO… On Monday afternoon, the American Hockey League announced that Norfolk Admirals center Tyler Johnson has been named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Month for March. Johnson led all AHL skaters with 22 points in 12 games, recording 11 goals, 11 assists and a plus-13 rating during Norfolk’s historic month.
On Wednesday afternoon, Johnson was joined by teammate Cory Conacher in being named to the 2011-12 AHL All-Rookie team.
On Thursday afternoon, Mark Barberio (First Team) and Conacher (Second Team) were named to the end-of-season AHL All-Star teams.
The players will be presented with awards at an upcoming Admirals game. For more details on these awards and future awards Admirals may receive, please visit norfolkadmirals.com.
SENATORS ROUTE TO THE 2010-11 CALDER CUP Prior to last season, the Binghamton Senators had missed the postseason five consecutive seasons. They ended that run last season by being the last team to clinch a spot in the Calder Cup playoffs.
The Senators clinched the Calder Cup by defeating the Houston Aeros four games to two, winning the final three games in a row and four of the last five after dropping the series opener. The Senators also established an AHL record with 10 road victories in the 2011 postseason (10-2) and finished 15-4 in their final 19 playoff games overall after falling into a 3-1 series deficit against the Manchester Monarchs in the Atlantic Division Semifinals to open the postseason. After winning four straight overtime decisions, the Senators continued their stretch by knocking off the Portland Pirates (4-2) and Charlotte Checkers (4-0) en route to the Finals match-up with Houston.
Rookie goaltender Robin Lehner, who won the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the most valuable player of the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs, finished with a 14-4 record with a 2.10 goals-against average, a .939 save percentage, and three shutouts in 19 appearances last spring. Just 19-years-old at the time, Lehner was a second-round draft pick (46th overall) by Ottawa in 2009 and appeared in 22 AHL games for Binghamton and eight contests for the NHL Senators during the 2010-11 regular season.
ONE TIMERS The Admirals clinched their first ever Eastern Conference regular season title on Tuesday night with their win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton ... Norfolk's magic number to clinch the MacGregor Kilpatrick Trophy, awarded to the AHL's regular season points champion, is two points over the Oklahoma City Barons … The Admirals can clinch home ice throughout the playoffs with a win tonight or an Oklahoma City regulation loss at home to Peoria ... The Admirals extended their winning streak to 23 straight games with Tuesday's win vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. It is the longest winning streak of any active professional league in North American hockey history ... Norfolk has not lost since Feb. 5th – a 4-2 defeat in Springfield … Norfolk has also set a new AHL record with 17 consecutive wins in regulation – besting the 1984-85 Baltimore Skipjacks' AHL record of 16 straight wins in regulation/overtime ... The Admirals have won 22 of 23 games during the winning streak in regulation and only one game in a shootout (Feb. 18 vs. Syracuse) ... Tuesday's 2-1 victory over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was the 11th straight win for Dustin Tokarski … Last Friday's 2-1 victory over St. John's was the 12th straight win for Jaroslav Janus ... Prior to these streaks, the longest winning streak by an AHL Admirals goaltender was seven straight games (Michael Leighton, 2003-04) ... Earlier this week, Cory Conacher and Tyler Johnson were named to the AHL All-Rookie Team … Yesterday, Mark Barberio (First Team) and Conacher (Second Team) were named to AHL All-Star Teams … Norfolk has the best home record in the AHL (25-9-1-1, 52 points in 36 games) while Binghamton has the worst road record in the AHL (13-21-1-0, 27 points in 35 games) ... Trevor Smith leads Norfolk with five goals and 11 points against Binghamton. He scored Norfolk's only hat trick of the regular season so far in the first meeting between the teams on Oct. 21 at Scope ... The next game between the clubs on Oct. 22 at Scope featured five fights – a season high for both teams – in a 3-2 shootout win for the Senators … Both Tokarski (1.00, .958) and Janus (1.93, .927) have goals-against averages under 2.00 and save percentages above .925 against Binghamton this season ...