NORFOLK Va. – Tyler Johnson scored twice and the Norfolk Admirals (39-18-1-2) scored three goals in the first period as they topped the Springfield Falcons (27-27-2-2), 5-1, on Saturday night in front of 7,028 fans at Norfolk Scope Arena. Norfolk has now won 12 straight games and has built a five-point lead over the Oklahoma City Barons for the top record in the American Hockey League. The Admirals will embark on a three-game road trip against Northeast Division teams next weekend.
Dustin Tokarski stopped 17 of 18 shots to set an AHL Admirals franchise record with his eighth consecutive victory. The win was Tokarski’s AHL-leading 27th of 2011-12 and his 75th as an Admiral, tying him with Michael Leighton for first place on the Admirals’ all-time wins list.
Cory Conacher, Michel Ouellet and Richard Panik also scored for Norfolk.
Norfolk charged out to a 3-0 lead after one period. Conacher netted his 31st goal of the season on a deflection 7:04 into the contest. Radko Gudas sent a shot from the right point. Conacher, stationed between the hashmarks, deflected the shot down and past the right leg of Springfield goaltender Paul Dainton.
The home team’s lead doubled just over a minute later. Ouellet and Mike Angelidis entered the attacking zone on a two-on-one. Ouellet dropped the puck back to Angelidis in the right circle and then skated towards the slot. Angelidis then returned the puck toward Ouellet, who redirected the pass into the net at 8:28 for his 14th goal of the season.
A highlight-reel shorthanded play gave the Admirals a 3-0 lead at 14:32. Angelidis entered the attacking zone and went behind the goal line while attracting the Springfield defense. He then fired the puck the length of the ice back to his defense in the Norfolk zone in an effort to kill time on the Springfield power play. Scott Jackson then fired the puck back to Johnson, who was speeding through the neutral zone through the Falcons’ defense. He wound up on a semi-breakaway and sent a shot over Dainton’s glove for his 19th goal of the season.
After a scoreless second stanza, the Falcons got on the board at 8:15 of the third period. David Savard sent a pass to Brent Regner in the left faceoff dot. Regner sent a slap shot over the glove of Tokarski to cut Norfolk’s lead to 3-1.
However, a Panik power play goal restored the Admirals’ three-goal lead just over two minutes later. Conacher sent a shot from the right point that Panik deflected past goaltender Mike Spillane, who had come into the game in relief of Dainton at the beginning of the second period. Panik’s 13th goal of the season at 10:19 made the score 4-1 in favor of the Admirals.
Johnson closed out scoring less than a minute later with his second goal of the contest and 20th goal of the 2011-12 campaign. He took a feed from Ondrej Palat and swept the puck into the net before Spillane could recover at 11:00 for a 5-1 Norfolk win.
Dustin Tokarski (27-11-0) made 13 saves on 14 shots for the win. Paul Dainton (9-6-0) stopped 8 of 11 shots for the loss through 20 minutes of play. Mike Spillane (0-0-0) stopped six of eight shots through 40:00 of relief and did not receive a decision.
Norfolk was 1-for-6 on the power play while Springfield was 0-for-4.
Tempers flare during warmups:
Springfield Falcons 1 at Norfolk Admirals 5 – Status: Final
Saturday, March 3, 2012 – Norfolk Scope
Springfield 0 0 1 – 1
Norfolk 3 0 2 – 5
1st Period-1, Norfolk, Conacher 31 (Gudas, Devos), 7:04. 2, Norfolk, Ouellet 14 (Angelidis, Picard), 8:28. 3, Norfolk, Johnson 19 (Jackson, Angelidis), 14:32 (SH). Penalties-Prout Spr (interference), 3:20; Angelidis Nor (elbowing), 11:31; Kubalik Spr (roughing), 11:33; Conacher Nor (roughing), 11:33; Cote Nor (holding), 13:40; Bogosian Spr (hooking), 16:32.
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Picard Nor (interference), 3:58; Amadio Spr (holding), 8:51; Cullity Spr (interference), 15:30; Gudas Nor (major – kneeing, game misconduct – kneeing), 19:07.
3rd Period-4, Springfield, Regner 2 (Savard, MacLeod), 8:15. 5, Norfolk, Panik 13 (Conacher, Barberio), 10:19 (PP). 6, Norfolk, Johnson 20 (Palat, Panik), 11:00. Penalties-Mair Spr (holding), 4:43; Savard Spr (slashing), 10:05; Bass Spr (roughing), 15:18; Angelidis Nor (roughing), 15:18.
Shots on Goal-Springfield 5-6-7-18. Norfolk 11-4-10-25.
Power Play Opportunities-Springfield 0 / 4; Norfolk 1 / 6.
Goalies-Springfield, Dainton 9-6-0 (11 shots-8 saves); Spillane 0-0-0 (14 shots-12 saves). Norfolk, Tokarski 27-11-0 (18 shots-17 saves).
Referees-Chris Cozzan (18), Mark Lemelin (41).
Linesmen-Jesse Pletsch (51), Tom George (61).