Erik Erlendsson covers the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Tampa Tribune.
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Norfolk Admirals, AHL Champions
Posted Jun 9, 2012 by Erik Erlendsson
Updated Jun 9, 2012 at 10:56 PM
The Norfolk Admirals swept the Toronto Marlies in four games to capture the Calder Cup Championship in the American Hockey League following a convincing 6-1 victory Saturday afternoon in Game 4. The Admirals finished the regular season on a record 28-game winning streak and then closed out the postseason on a 10-game winning streak, including eight consecutive wins to close out the conference final and the championship final. What a season for the Admirals, perhaps one of the best in AHL history, if not the best. Norfolk went 15-3 in the postseason, which means they lost a total of three out of the final 42 games they played since Super Bowl Sunday. Put that in perspective, the Admirals lost a total of three games since the first Sunday in February, which is just incredible when you capsulize the big picture. Here is the release from the Admirals breaking down Game 4:
Tyler Johnson and Mike Kostka each scored twice and Cory Conacher added four assists, as the Norfolk Admirals defeated the Toronto Marlies, 6-1, in Game 4 of the Calder Cup Finals on Saturday afternoon at Ricoh Coliseum. The Admirals win the best-of-seven Calder Cup Finals, four games to none and clinch their first
Alexandre Picard, who scored nine goals and added seven assists totaling 16 points, was awarded the Jack Butterfield Trophy as MVP of the Calder Cup Playoffs. Johnson added two assists while Kostka added an assist of his own in the victory while Richard Panik and Pierre-Cedric Labrie added goals in the victory.
The Admirals took a 1-0 lead 6:17 into the contest on Panik’s fifth goal of the playoffs. The speedy winger cut through the right wing while stiff-arming a Marlies defender. He cut through the right circle and headed towards the crease before banking a shot off the Toronto defender’s skate that eluded Toronto netminder Ben Scrivens.
Toronto tied the game at 1-1 late in the first period on a five-on-three power play. Joe Colborne sent a pass from the right faceoff circle across the crease to Mike Zigomanis, who one-timed the puck from a sharp angle past Tokarski at 19:43 for his fourth goal of the playoffs.
Norfolk went back on top, 2-1, early in the second stanza. Ondrej Palat sent a pass from the right corner to Kostka near the top of the left circle. Kostka sent a slap shot and picked the glove-side corner past Scrivens at 4:26 for his fifth goal of the season.
The Admirals went ahead, 3-1, late in the second period on Johnson’s fifth goal of the season. Alex Killorn sent Johnson a pass in the left circle for a one-timer that Scrivens stopped. The puck ended up behind the net, where Johnson found it and banked it into the net off Scrivens’ back and into the net at 16:45.
Norfolk extended their lead to 4-1 in the opening minute of the third period on Kostka’s second of the night. With the Admirals on the power play, Conacher connected on a pass to Kostka on the point. From there, Kostka sent a slap shot over Scrivens for his third goal in two games and sixth of the postseason.
Tyler Johnson expanded the Admirals lead to 5-1 with an empty-net goal with less than eight minutes remaining in the regulation.
Less than a minute later, Labrie capped off the scoring at 6-1 with his fifth goal of the postseason. After a shot by Michel Ouellet deflected off of Scrivens, Labrie picked up the loose rebound and buried it behind the Toronto netminder at 13:33 of the third period.
Norfolk withheld a Toronto push in the later half of the third period as they held on for the four-game sweep and the their first Calder Cup Championship in franchise history.
Dustin Tokarski (12-2) finished the night with 18 saves for the team’s 10th straight victory. Toronto’s Ben Scrivens (11-6) stopped 26 saves in defeat.
Norfolk was 1-for-8 on the power play while Toronto was 1-or-6.