Adirondack stays in the fight in the East Division.
Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 21 shots for the loss.
ADK Laliberte, (14) (Ross, Pyorala), 3:03 (PP)
NOR Tyrell, (4) (Mihalik, Tarkir), 7:38
ADK Ward, (11) (Kalinski, Nodl), 4:37
ADK Matsumoto, (21) (Lehtivuori, Ward), 14:17 (PP)
NOR Fadden, (5) (Wishart, Bochenski), 12:58 (PP)
Dana Tyrell was named the game's third star.
Norfolk outshot Adirondack 38-21 in the game, but the Phantoms got a big 36 save performance from first star Johan Backlund to pull out a win.
The loss drops Norfolk to 3rd in the East Division, 2 points back of Albany, which defeated Portland tonight. The Rats hold 1 game in hand. Wilkes-Barre Scranton remains 6 points back in 4th, now with 3 games in hand. Adirondack pulls even with Syracuse at 8 points back, each with 2 games in hand.
In the crossover, Norfolk remains 3 points ahead of 5th place Atlantic team Bridgeport, 5 points ahead of 6th place Providence with the Bruins holding 2 games in hand, and 6 points ahead of 7th place Hartford with the Pack holding 1 game in hand. If Norfolk falls to 4th in the East Division, they must finish ahead of the Atlantic's 5th place team to make the postseason.
Norfolk travels back to Binghamton for tomorrow's game. The Sens are circling the drain after losing to Providence 6-4 tonight, and are 17 points behind the Admirals in the standings. The interesting angle, though, is whether Norfolk will choose to start PTO Matt Lundin against the last place team in the division, or if they'll run Tokarski into nets with another 4-point game against Syracuse looming on Sunday. It all depends on whether Jaroslav Janus will be returning from Tampa Bay for Sunday's game, I presume.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
London Knights 3 @ Barrie Colts 5
LW/C Alex Hutchings, BAR: 1-1-2, +1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 59 GP, 41-27-68, +38, 52 PIM
This game between two of the OHLâ€™s best turned into a WWE match-up as the teams combined for 71 penalty minutes. Three Colts were ejected, as was a Barrie fan who got into it with the London bench. According to the London Free Press, fans were spitting on players and saying things "that should never be said to someone." You stay classy, Barrie. These are teenagers, after all.
Hutchings' goal came shorthanded â€“ again. This was his 10th shorthanded goal of the year, which is six more than anyone else in the league. Bryan Cameron (Kings 3/07) is three goals shy of becoming the first Colt to reach 50 goals in a season since former Lightning prospect Sheldon Keefe, who scored 51 with Barrie (and Toronto) in 1998-99.
Sudbury Wolves 0 @ Brampton Battalion 6
W Matias Sointu, SBY: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 42 GP, 7-12-19, -4, 12 PIM
With Sudbury: 21 GP, 4-5-9, -9, 6 PIM
With Ottawa: 21 GP, 3-7-10, +5, 6 PIM
Sudbury had won two in a row after a five-game losing streak. Sointu has not registered a point in six games.
Mississauga St. Michaelâ€™s Majors 4 @ Belleville Bulls 2
C Richard Panik, BEL: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 52 GP, 16-15-31, +8, 33 PIM
With Bulls: 19 GP, 7-6-13, -7, 14 PIM
With Windsor: 33 GP, 9-9-18, +15, 19 PIM
RW Kyle DeCoste, BEL: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 54 GP, 17-14-31, -17, 43 PIM
With Bulls: 41 GP, 15-13-28, -15, 25 PIM
With SSM: 13 GP, 2-1-3, -2, 20 PIM
Belleville is six points out of a playoff spot with time running out and eighth place Niagara holding a game in hand.
Kingston Frontenacs 7 @ Oshawa Generals 4
G Michael Zador, OSH: Loss, 36 saves on 43 shots
Season Totals: 43 GP, 14-24-2-1, 3.91 GAA, .890 sv%, 2 SO
The Gens had broken their double-digit losing streak last game out, but neither Zador nor the team could sustain that success against the Frontenacs. Oshawa is tied for the last playoff spot in the East, but Niagara has a game in hand.
Vancouver Giants 4 @ Regina Pats 3
C/W James Wright, VAN: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 13 GP, 4-10-14, +4, 4 PIM
With Tampa Bay: 43 GP, 2-3-5, -9, 18 PIM
RW Carter Ashton, REG: 0-1-1, E, 2 PIM (checking-from-behind)
Season Totals: 58 GP, 23-24-47, -5, 100 PIM
With Regina: 29 GP, 10-11-21, +3, 48 PIM
With Lethbridge: 28 GP, 13-13-26, -8, 52 PIM
Ashton, who hit 100 PIM for the first time in his career, broke a three game pointless streak while Wright had a rare minus night. The Giants are 4-0-1-0 on their 10-game Olympic trip. Regina is seven points out of a playoff spot. Ashton, who holds an NHL contract in hand, could join the Norfolk Admirals when the Pats' season is complete.
Another successful hit for the Presov Mafia.
Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 37 shots for the win.
NOR Fadden, (4) (Jones, Szczechura), 7:51
NOR Bochenski, (20) (Parrish, Wishart), 19:11
BNG Smith, (9) (Bass, Condra), 16:32
NOR Craig, (19) (Tyrell, Hall), 7:28
BNG O'Brien, (4) (St. Pierre, Hennessy), 8:54 (PP)
BNG Smith, (10) (Condra), 9:46
NOR Mihalik, (2) (Hall, Tyrell), 17:28
Vladimir Mihalik and Ryan Craig were the game's first and third stars. Mihalik, the Luca Brasi of the Presov Mafia, has 2 goals in his last 6 games after going 51 games without a marker. More to the point, though, Mihalik is +9 so far in the month of February with 4 games with a +2 rating or better.
Dana Tyrell posted his 4th multi-point game in the past 6 outings. Ty Wishart continued to inch toward the 30 point plateau with his 27th point of the season. Brandon Bochenski became the first Admiral to hit 20 goals this season, with Craig 1 back at 19.
It's a tribute to the veteran leadership of the team that they got the young players prepared and ready to go tonight, and congratulations to Interim Head Coach Leigh Mendelson on his first AHL victory.
The win is critical, as Norfolk is now tied for 2nd place in the East Division at 66 points with Albany with the Rats holding 1 game in hand. They extended their lead to 6 points over 4th place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with the Pens having 2 games in hand and 10 points over 5th/6th place Adirondack and Syracuse with each of those teams also holding 2 games in hand. The win also might've been the final nail in Binghamton's coffin, as they are now 17 points behind Norfolk, and not even 5 games in hand seem likely to save them.
In the crossover, Bridgeport fell to Abbotsford in regulation tonight, so Norfolk opened a 3 point lead on the 5th place team in the Atlantic, and a 7 point lead on 6th/7th place Providence and Hartford with the Bruins and Pack holding 2 and 1 game in hand, respectively. If Norfolk were to fall to 4th in the East Division, they would need to finish ahead of the 5th place team in the Atlantic to make the postseason.
Now things get interesting starting Friday with the Admirals having back-to-back-to-back games. They can really damage Adirondack's chances in a big 4-point contest to start the marathon, followed by another game in Binghamton on Saturday, and then concluding with a game against Syracuse that could further winnow the field of playoff contenders in the East Division. If Norfolk were to win at least those two big 4-point games, they might be able to narrow the playoff field in the division down to 4 teams effectively fighting for 3 spots: Albany, Norfolk, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and whoever ends up being the 5th place team in the Atlantic Division. Will Norfolk's coaching situation be sorted out in the next 45 or so hours? And, with Jaroslav Janus serving as practice netminder in Tampa, will PTO Matt Lundin have to make his AHL debut in one of the weekend's three contests?
Box score from TheAHL.com.