CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Cory Conacher scored twice and Jaroslav Janus stopped all 20 shots he faced as the Norfolk Admirals (45-18-1-2) shut out the Charlotte Checkers (32-22-3-5), 5-0, on Sunday afternoon at the Time Warner Cable Arena, setting a new American Hockey League single-season record with their eighteenth consecutive win.
The Admirals will return to Norfolk Scope Arena next weekend with contests against the Albany Devils on Friday and Saturday nights.
Janus (18-8-2) earned his AHL Admirals franchise record tenth straight win with his first shutout of the 2011-12 season. Conacher was joined on the scoresheet by Tyler Johnson, Alex Hutchings and Richard Panik.
The Admirals took a 1-0 lead 11:25 into the first period on Conacher’s 33rd goal of the season. Mike Kostka sent a shot from the right point that deflected off Conacher’s skate. The puck then trickled through the legs of Charlotte goaltender Justin Peters and into the net.
Norfolk’s lead doubled to 2-0 less than six minutes later on Johnson’s 27th goal of the season. Johnson threw the puck toward the net from the right faceoff circle. Peters kicked the shot out with his right leg pad, but the puck then caromed off a Charlotte defenseman and into the net at 17:14.
Hutchings made it 3-0 just 5:38 into the second period. After Johnson won a faceoff in the left circle, Hutchings won a battle for the puck in the slot and slipped a shot between the legs of Peters for his second goal of the season.
Panik put the visitors ahead, 4-0, 6:53 into the final frame with a highlight reel goal. Panik intercepted a pass in the Charlotte zone and broke in alone on Peters. He put the puck between his legs and sent a shot into the net for his 18th goal of the season.
Conacher closed out scoring with his AHL-leading 34th goal of the season at 8:07 on the power play. Johnson attempted a pass from the left circle that was tipped by Panik. Conacher then sent a shot past Peters for a 5-0 final score.
Peters (17-7-8) made 22 saves on 27 shots for the loss.
Norfolk was 1-for-2 on the power play. Charlotte was 0-for-2.
1. Cory Conacher – NOR
2. Richard Panik – NOR
3. Jaroslav Janus – NOR
NOTES … Norfolk’s 18-game winning streak is now equaled by only the Syracuse Crunch’s 18-game winning streak, which was set over the course of two seasons from March 9 – October 17, 2008. During their streak, the Crunch won 15 games to conclude the 2007-08 regular season and the first three games to open the 2008-09 regular season … Admirals forward Alexandre Picard was on that Crunch team, along with former Admirals captain Zenon Konopka … Norfolk’s last loss of any kind came on February 5 – a 4-2 defeat at the MassMutual Center by the Springfield Falcons … The last time Norfolk was in first place overall in the American Hockey League this late in the season was March 31, 2007, when they held a one-point lead over the Hershey Bears … The win was also Norfolk’s tenth in a row on the road, extending their franchise record for a road winning streak … Tyler Johnson has nine goals and 13 assists in his last nine games in what continues to be the longest active point streak in the American Hockey League and is the longest point streak this season by a Norfolk player … Johnson has also set an Admirals franchise record with goals in seven straight games (9g), and he also has recorded seven consecutive multiple-point games (9g, 9a) … Johnson leads the Admirals with 12 goals and 31 points during the 18-game winning streak … Yesterday, the Tampa Bay Lightning record forward Trevor Smith from the Admirals. This afternoon, the Admirals signed forward Bryan Brutlag to a Professional Tryout Contract … Did not play: Richard Petiot, Mike Angelidis, Jon Kalinski.
Norfolk Admirals 5 at Charlotte Checkers 0 – Status: Final
Sunday, March 18, 2012 – Time Warner Cable Arena
Norfolk 2 1 2 – 5
Charlotte 0 0 0 – 0
1st Period-1, Norfolk, Conacher 33 (Kostka), 11:25. 2, Norfolk, Johnson 27 (Palat, Panik), 17:14. Penalties-No Penalties
2nd Period-3, Norfolk, Hutchings 2 5:38. Penalties-Labrie Nor (roughing), 11:38; Nash Cha (hooking), 12:03; Conacher Nor (roughing), 12:34; Jordan Cha (roughing), 12:34.
3rd Period-4, Norfolk, Panik 18 6:53. 5, Norfolk, Conacher 34 (Panik, Johnson), 8:07 (PP). Penalties-Sova Cha (slashing), 7:50; Kostka Nor (interference), 12:15.
Shots on Goal-Norfolk 13-9-5-27. Charlotte 9-7-4-20.
Power Play Opportunities-Norfolk 1 / 2; Charlotte 0 / 2.
Goalies-Norfolk, Janus 18-8-2 (20 shots-20 saves). Charlotte, Peters 6-9-1 (27 shots-22 saves).
Referees-Steve Patafie (85), Jeff Smith (49).
Linesmen-Paul Carnathan (93), Terry Wicklum (58).