NORFOLK, Va. – Tyler Johnson broke a 1-1 tie early in the third period as the Norfolk Admirals (51-18-1-2) defeated the Binghamton Senators (28-39-4-2), 3-1, on Friday night at Norfolk Scope Arena. With the win – Norfolk’s 24th straight – the Admirals clinched the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the AHL’s regular season points champion, ensuring home ice throughout the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs, while setting a new franchise record with their 51st win.
The same two teams square off tomorrow night at Scope in Fan Appreciation Night.
Mark Barberio and Trevor Smith joined Johnson on the scoresheet. Goaltender Jaroslav Janus (21-8-2) earned his 13th straight win by turning aside 27 of 28 shots.
Barberio opened the scoring with a blast from the high slot midway through the first period. After Johnson won a faceoff in the left circle, he found Evan Oberg at the left point. Oberg immediately passed to Barberio, who notched his 13th goal of the year by one-timing the puck past Senators goalie Robin Lehner at 18:15.
Both teams went scoreless for the majority of the second period. However, at 16:34 Binghamton broke through and tied the game at 1-1. Jack Downing took a pass from Tim Conboy and sent a slap shot past Janus. Downing streaked into the Norfolk zone along the right wing and took the shot just past the blue line, which hit off the skate of an Admirals defender before it found the net.
Unlike the first two periods, it didn’t take long for a goal in the third period, as Johnson netted the eventual game-winning tally just 2:51 into the final frame. After a keep-in by Scott Jackson at the left point, Radko Gudas sent a shot from the right point. The puck hit the shaft of Johnson’s stick in the right faceoff circle and popped up and over an unsuspecting Lehner on its way into the goal. The score was Johnson’s 30th of the season.
The scoring wouldn’t end there, as Smith made it 3-1 at 16:46. Jean-Philippe Cote was behind the Binghamton net and left the puck to Brandon Segal, who picked it up and passed to Smith near the right post. Smith one-timed it past into the top-left corner of the net for his 23rd goal of the season.
Janus turned aside all 11 third period shots he faced to preserve the 3-1 victory.
Lehner (12-22-1) stopped 32 of 35 shots for the loss.
Norfolk was 0-for-2 on the power play while stopping all five Binghamton man advantage opportunities.
Binghamton Senators 1 at Norfolk Admirals 3 – Status: Final
Friday, April 6, 2012 – Norfolk Scope
Binghamton 0 1 0 – 1
Norfolk 1 0 2 – 3
1st Period-1, Norfolk, Barberio 13 (Oberg, Johnson), 18:15. Penalties-Blood Bng (checking to the head), 13:40; Kostka Nor (high-sticking), 19:14.
2nd Period-2, Binghamton, Downing 9 (Dziurzynski, Hamilton), 16:34. Penalties-Conacher Nor (slashing), 5:19; Borowiecki Bng (high-sticking), 8:07; Dimmen Nor (cross-checking), 10:53.
3rd Period-3, Norfolk, Johnson 30 (Gudas, Jackson), 2:51. 4, Norfolk, Smith 23 (Segal, Cote), 16:46. Penalties-Dimmen Nor (interference), 3:53; Borowiecki Bng (fighting), 8:02; Cote Nor (fighting), 8:02; Gryba Bng (fighting), 11:40; Labrie Nor (fighting), 11:40; Conacher Nor (tripping), 13:25.
Shots on Goal-Binghamton 6-11-11-28. Norfolk 14-10-11-35.
Power Play Opportunities-Binghamton 0 / 5; Norfolk 0 / 2.
Goalies-Binghamton, Lehner 12-22-1 (35 shots-32 saves). Norfolk, Janus 21-8-2 (28 shots-27 saves).
Referees-Francis Charron (46).
Linesmen-Luke Murray (92), Tom George (61).