WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, Pa. – With a pair of third-period goals, including a power-play goal by Carter Ashton, the Norfolk Admirals (36-18-1-2) set a new franchise-record with their ninth-consecutive victory, as they defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (32-18-2-5), 3-2, on Sunday afternoon at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. The nine-game winning streak is Norfolk’s longest since the team joined the American Hockey League prior to the 2000-01 season.
With the victory, the Admirals extend their lead in the East Division to four points over the Penguins and eight points over the third-place Hershey Bears. Norfolk also ties the Oklahoma City Barons for the most points in the AHL with 75.
Mark Barberio and Jean-Philippe Cote joined Ashton on the goal sheet, while Dustin Tokarski turned aside 28 shots for his sixth-straight win and his AHL-leading 25th victory of the season.
The Penguins broke a scoreless tie with just over seven minutes remaining in the second period. As his team skated with their fourth power play of the night, Ben Street sent a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle. The shot deflected off the glove of Tokarski and behind the Admirals’ netminder to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead at 12:27.
The Admirals knotted the game at 1-1 with a power play goal by Mark Barberio. With his team skating on a man advantage, Tyler Johnson slipped a pass to Barberio in the center slot. Before being knocked into the net, Barberio fired a shot over the glove of Penguins netminder Patrick Killeen for his ninth of the season at 17:07.
Norfolk took their first lead of the contest on Jean-Philippe Cote’s first tally since joining the Admirals in mid-November. After Johnson won an offensive-zone faceoff back to Cote, the defenseman fired a shot over the glove of Killeen to give the Admirals a 2-1 lead at 4:44 of the third.
With just over ten minutes remaining, the Penguins’ Alexandre Picard knotted the game at 2-2. The defenseman picked up a loose puck along the right-side boards and fired a shot over Tokarski at 9:50 of the third.
With just 2:04 remaining in regulation, the Admirals took the lead for good on Ashton’s 19th goal of the season. While standing on the left side of the Penguins net, Ashton chipped a loose rebound off of Killeen’s stick and in behind the Penguins netminder to put the Admirals ahead 3-2, at 17:56 of the third.
Despite facing a six-on-five Penguins’ attack for the final sixty seconds, the Admirals held on for their ninth victory in a row and their fifth victory in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season.
Dustin Tokarski (25-11-0) made 28 saves on 30 shots in the victory. Patrick Killeen (0-2-0) turned aside 21 of 24 shots in the loss.
The Admirals were 2 for 7 on the power play while the Penguins were 1 for 6. .
Norfolk Admirals 3 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 2 – Status: Final
Sunday, February 26, 2012 – Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza
Norfolk 0 1 2 – 3
W-B/Scranton 0 1 1 – 2
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Picard Nor (roughing), 11:46; Williams Wbs (roughing), 17:43.
2nd Period-1, W-B/Scranton, Street 18 (Grant, Mormina), 12:27 (PP). 2, Norfolk, Barberio 9 (Johnson, Segal), 17:02 (PP). Penalties-Craig Wbs (goaltender interference), 5:56; Johnson Nor (tripping), 6:43; Labrie Nor (interference), 9:35; Gudas Nor (cross-checking), 11:55; Williams Wbs (hooking), 15:05; Sill Wbs (roughing), 17:02.
3rd Period-3, Norfolk, Cote 1 (Johnson), 4:44. 4, W-B/Scranton, Picard 4 (Craig, Gibbons), 9:50. 5, Norfolk, Ashton 19 (Dimmen, Conacher), 17:56 (PP). Penalties-Picard Nor (tripping), 0:29; Chupp Wbs (roughing), 10:41; Mormina Wbs (delay of game), 12:03; Labrie Nor (delay of game), 15:08; Grant Wbs (hooking), 16:12.
Shots on Goal-Norfolk 8-7-9-24. W-B/Scranton 11-10-9-30.
Power Play Opportunities-Norfolk 2 / 7; W-B/Scranton 1 / 6.
Goalies-Norfolk, Tokarski 25-11-0 (30 shots-28 saves). W-B/Scranton, Killeen 0-2-0 (24 shots-21 saves).
Referees-Matt Kirk (66), Geoff Miller (28).
Linesmen-Matt McNulty (26), Bob Fyrer (72).