NORFOLK, Va. – Dustin Tokarski made 34 saves to earn his Admirals-record 76th career win as the Norfolk Admirals (47-18-1-2) defeated the Albany Devils (28-28-6-5), 4-3, on Saturday night at Norfolk Scope Arena. With the victory, Norfolk built on their professional hockey record with their 20th consecutive win.
The Admirals continue their final homestand of the season on Wednesday and Friday nights against the St. John’s IceCaps at Scope.
Norfolk has now won 20 consecutive games since February 10, 2012, vaulting into first place in the entire American Hockey League. The Admirals have not lost a game since a 4-2 road setback to the Springfield Falcons on Super Bowl Sunday on February 5, 2012.
Dustin Tokarski (28-11-0) stopped 34 of 37 shots as he stretched his personal winning streak to nine games and recorded his 76th career victory as an Admiral. The win moved Tokarski (76-56-7) past Michael Leighton (75-52-17) for first place on the Admirals’ all-time wins list.
Alex Killorn scored his first professional goal while Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson and Alexandre Picard also scored in the contest.
Palat’s seventh goal of the season gave the Admirals a 1-0 lead exactly one minute after the opening faceoff. After a failed clearing attempt by Albany, Palat gathered the loose puck and skated out from the right half boards. From just inside the high slot, Palat sent a shot over the glove of Devils’ netminder Keith Kinkaid.
Albany answered back later in the first period to even the game at 1-1 with a goal by Vladimir Zharkov. In the midst of a Norfolk power play, Zharkov caused a turnover at the Devils’ blue line and broke in alone on Tokarski. Zharkov sent a shot from the slot that trickled past Tokarski at 13:29.
The visitors opened a 2-1 lead on a power play goal by Mattias Tedenby just before the midway point of regulation. With less than a minute remaining on an Admirals penalty kill, Tedenby fired a slap shot from inside the right faceoff circle past a screened Tokarski at 8:42 of the second period.
Norfolk knotted the game at 2-2 on Killorn’s first professional goal. With less than five minutes remaining in the second period, Conacher sent a feed from the left corner to Killorn in the left circle. Killorn then skated around Kinkaid and sent a backhander over the netminder’s glove at 15:02.
The Admirals took the lead for good 1:06 into the final frame on a power play. Mark Barberio sent a pass from the left point to Richard Panik in the slot. Panik then bumped the pass over to Johnson in the bottom of the left circle, and Johnson buried a slap shot into the top-left corner of the net for his 29th goal of the season and a 3-2 lead.
Norfolk’s lead doubled with just over six minutes remaining in the third. From the left faceoff circle, a pass from Palat split a pair of Devils’ defensemen on its way toward the goalmouth to Kinkaid’s left. Picard tapped the back-door pass behind Kinkaid for his sixth goal of the season at 13:55.
In the final minutes with Kinkaid pulled in favor of an extra attacker, Albany’s Matt Anderson capped off the scoring with a six-on-five goal at 18:39. However, that would be the only one of Albany’s 13 third-period shots that solved Tokarski, as Norfolk held on for the 4-3 win.
Kinkaid (15-17-3) stopped 35 of the 39 shots he faced in defeat.
Norfolk was 1-for-4 on the power play. Albany was 1-for-5.
Albany Devils 3 at Norfolk Admirals 4 – Status: Final
Saturday, March 24, 2012 – Norfolk Scope
Albany 1 1 1 – 3
Norfolk 1 1 2 – 4
1st Period-1, Norfolk, Palat 7 1:00. 2, Albany, Zharkov 15 13:29 (SH). Penalties-Barberio Nor (boarding), 5:18; Harrold Alb (roughing), 12:15.
2nd Period-3, Albany, Tedenby 4 (Gelinas, Whitney), 8:42 (PP). 4, Norfolk, Killorn 1 (Conacher, Devos), 15:02. Penalties-Oberg Nor (tripping), 4:46; Whitney Alb (roughing), 6:07; Ouellet Nor (throwing equipment), 7:08; Nagy Alb (roughing), 12:36; Neilson Nor (roughing), 12:36; Panik Nor (goaltender interference), 16:01; Urbom Alb (interference), 19:36.
3rd Period-5, Norfolk, Johnson 29 (Panik, Barberio), 1:06. 6, Norfolk, Picard 6 (Palat, Kostka), 13:55. 7, Albany, Anderson 10 (Mills, Harrold), 18:39. Penalties-Gudas Nor (tripping), 8:29; Gelinas Alb (hooking), 11:52.
Shots on Goal-Albany 14-11-12-37. Norfolk 17-10-12-39.
Power Play Opportunities-Albany 1 / 5; Norfolk 0 / 4.
Goalies-Albany, Kinkaid 15-17-3 (39 shots-35 saves). Norfolk, Tokarski 28-11-0 (37 shots-34 saves).
Referees-Jamie Koharski (84).
Linesmen-Scott Pomento (25), Mark Hamlett (81).