NORFOLK, Va. – Mark Barberio’s power play goal midway through the third period broke a 1-1 tie as the Norfolk Admirals (50-18-1-2) defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (41-23-2-5), 2-1, on Tuesday night at Norfolk Scope Arena. With the victory, Norfolk clinched the #1 seed in the AHL’s Eastern Conference, tied its franchise record of 50 wins in a season and extended their professional hockey record winning streak to 23 consecutive wins.
The Admirals conclude the home portion of the 2011-12 regular season schedule on Friday and Saturday nights against the Binghamton Senators.
Michel Ouellet also scored on the power play. Goaltender Dustin Tokarski (30-11-0) earned his 30th win of the season – and 11th consecutive win – by stopping 25 of 26 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton shots.
The Admirals took a 1-0 lead 8:08 into the game on the power play. Barberio started the play behind his own net with an outlet pass that Richard Panik tipped at the center ice faceoff circle right onto the stick blade of Ouellet. The veteran forward then cut through the left wing before sending a shot over a diving defender and the left shoulder of Penguins goaltender Scott Munroe for his fifteenth goal of the season.
The Penguins tied the game at 1-1 late in the second period. Alex Grant corralled a Norfolk clearing attempt at the left point. He then sent a wrist shot that deflected off the heel of Bryan Lerg’s outstretched stick in the left circle and eluded Tokarski at 14:23.
Barberio’s goal came on Norfolk’s sixth power play of the game 12:23 into the third period. As Tyler Johnson won a faceoff in the left circle, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton center’s stick broke. Johnson tipped the puck back to Barberio, who then isolated on the defender with the broken stick. Barberio faked a shot before sending a high wrist shot through traffic and past Munroe for his twelfth goal of the season and a 2-1 Norfolk lead.
The Admirals defense, led by Tokarski, shut the door on the Penguins the rest of the way despite several scoring chances after the visitors pulled Munroe in favor of the extra attacker.
Munroe (18-9-3) ended the game with 21 saves on 23 shots.
Norfolk was 2-for-7 on the power play while stopping both Wilkes-Barre/Scranton man advantage opportunities.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 1 at Norfolk Admirals 2 – Status: Final
Tuesday, April 3, 2012 – Norfolk Scope
W-B/Scranton 0 1 0 – 1
Norfolk 1 0 1 – 2
1st Period-1, Norfolk, Ouellet 15 (Panik, Barberio), 8:09 (PP). Penalties-Gudas Nor (boarding), 2:25; Craig Wbs (holding), 7:24; Walker Wbs (roughing), 8:26; Picard Nor (boarding), 8:26; Conacher Nor (unsportsmanlike conduct), 15:23; Despres Wbs (hooking), 18:11.
2nd Period-2, W-B/Scranton, Lerg 25 (Grant), 14:23. Penalties-Grant Wbs (tripping), 8:53.
3rd Period-3, Norfolk, Barberio 12 (Johnson), 12:23 (PP). Penalties-Strait Wbs (boarding), 2:36; Thompson Wbs (roughing), 6:12; Strait Wbs (delay of game), 11:56; Petersen Wbs (tripping), 13:10.
Shots on Goal-W-B/Scranton 9-10-7-26. Norfolk 8-7-8-23.
Power Play Opportunities-W-B/Scranton 0 / 2; Norfolk 2 / 7.
Goalies-W-B/Scranton, Munroe 18-9-3 (23 shots-21 saves). Norfolk, Tokarski 30-11-0 (26 shots-25 saves).
Referees-T.J. Luxmore (47), Steve Patafie (85).
Linesmen-Francis Trempe (56), Alex Stagnone (7).