NORFOLK, Va. – Netminder Dustin Tokarski made 27 saves and both Tyler Johnson and Cory Conacher scored a power play goal, as the Norfolk Admirals defeated the Connecticut Whale, 4-1, on Friday night at Norfolk Scope Arena. With the Eastern Conference Semifinals series tied at one game apiece, the teams will travel to Connecticut for Game 3 on Sunday night.
Norfolk killed six of seven Connecticut power plays and has stopped 35 of 37 opponent power plays in the playoffs to date. Johnson scored his first professional playoff points with a goal and an assist. Alex Killorn opened the scoring with his second goal of the playoffs, while Mike Kostka’s second career playoff tally proved to be the game-winner as the Admirals snapped a two-game home losing streak. AHL MVP Cory Conacher capped off the scoring in the third period with his first professional playoff goal.
The Admirals opened a two-goal lead with a pair of even strength goals in the opening 20 minutes. Three minutes after the opening faceoff, Pierre-Cedric Labrie picked up a loose puck behind the Whale net. From behind the goal line to the glove side of Whale netminder Cameron Talbot, Labrie fed a pass to the top of the left faceoff circle. From there, Killorn chipped a shot over the glove of Talbot to put Norfolk ahead, 1-0.
Norfolk increased its lead to 2-0 with less than three minutes to go in the opening frame. From the center of the right faceoff circle, Alexandre Picard connected with Kostka on a cross-crease pass. After pinching in from the point, Kostka slipped a shot under a sprawling Talbot at 17:44.
The teams exchanged a pair of power play goals as the Admirals maintained their two-goal lead through 40 minutes.
Midway through the period, Connecticut’s Andre Deveaux narrowed the Norfolk lead to one goal. While Norfolk’s Evan Oberg served the second penalty of a double-minor for high-sticking, the Whale crashed the Admirals' net. With a teammate knocked into the net, Deveaux jammed in a loose rebound to bring the score to 2-1 at 9:02.
The Admirals reclaimed a two-goal lead with a power play tally of their own. With 36 seconds remaining on a five-on-three power play, Kostka knocked a pass to Johnson for a shot. The initial shot bounced to Trevor Smith off a Whale defenseman in the crease. Smith’s rebound attempt deflected to Johnson, who sent the shot off Talbot and into the goal to put Norfolk ahead, 3-1, at 15:45.
Norfolk capped off scoring with their second power play tally of the evening. While skating with a five-on-four man advantage, Johnson connected with Conacher on a pass through the center of the Connecticut zone. From the right faceoff dot, he sent a slap shot beyond a diving Talbot to put the Admirals ahead, 4-1, at 4:41.
The Admirals finished the night 2-for-11 on the power play while holding Connecticut’s man advantage to one goal on seven attempts.
Tokarski (3-1) stopped 27 of 28 shots while his counterpart Cameron Talbot (4-1) finished the night with 36 saves on 40 shots.
The series now shifts to Connecticut for Games 3, 4 and 5. Game 3 takes place on Sunday at 7:00 p.m. Big Woody’s Bar and Grill will show Game 3, Game 4 and Game 5 of the series at their Chesapeake Square Mall location. The Chesapeake Square Mall location of Big Woody’s Bar and Grill is located at 4200 Portsmouth Boulevard in Chesapeake, Virginia.
In addition, A Step In Time Chimney Sweeps is having an Admirals Party for Game 4 only at the Virginia Beach Town Center location of Guadalajara on Monday night, May 7th. Watch the game live at 7:00 p.m. and cheer on your Admirals. In addition, there will be a free buffet, happy hour drink specials, and cornhole with prizes available. You can also come and meet Admirals mascot Salty. The Virginia Beach Town Center location of Guadalajara is located at 4611 Columbus Street in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Game 3 of the series takes place on Sunday, May 6th. Game 4 is on Monday, May 7th. If needed, Game 5 would be played on Wednesday, May 9th. All three games will begin at 7:00 p.m. Games 3 and 4 will be played at the XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Hartford, Connecticut. Game 5 would be played at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Connecticut, if necessary.
All playoff games will air on 102.1-FM, 1490-AM, 1021TheGame.com and AHLLive.com.
Playoff tickets are on sale now at the Scope Box Office, any Ticketmaster Outlet, charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000 or online at ticketmaster.com. The Scope Box Office is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. through 5:30 p.m., or 10:00 a.m. through game time on Admirals game days.
Individual ticket prices for the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs are $21.50 for Gold, $18.50 for Red and $16.50 for White. In addition, 10-seat corporate boxes are available for $310 per game by contacting the Admirals at (757) 640-1212.
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!
1. Dustin Tokarski – NOR
2. Tyler Johnson – NOR
3. Mike Kostka – NOR