Tokarski, Dustin

AHL Game Night: 1-13-12 Whale at Admirals

Norfolk back to its winning ways.

CT-1
NOR-3

Dustin Tokarski allowed 1 goal on 26 shots to get his 15th win of the season.

First Period
NOR Kostka, (6) (Ouellet, Barberio), 11:51 (PP)

Second Period
NOR Conacher, (22) (Ashton, Barberio), 1:58

Third Period
NOR Fornataro, (4) (Devos), 6:58
CT Voros, (3) (Valentenko, Zuccarello), 11:10

Mark Barberio, Mike Kostka, and Tokarski were the game's three stars. Since being named an AHL All-Star, Barberio's only seemed to ramp up his production. He's got 1 goal and 5 points in the last 4 games and he's opened up a 3 point lead, as of this posting, in the race for the title as top scoring AHL defenseman.

With the win, Norfolk draws within 6 points of idle Hershey for the top spot in the division. They draw Connecticut again tomorrow.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 1-10-12 Penguins at Admirals

Norfolk shakes off its Albany hangover 1 period too late.

WBS-3
NOR-2

Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 23 shots for the loss.

First Period
WBS Thompson, (4) (Street), 5:09
WBS Thompson, (5) (Chupp, Rust), 5:25
WBS Street, (12) (Walker, Grant), 16:34 (PP)

Second Period
NOR Ouellet, (8) (Dimmen, Devos), 0:53

Third Period
NOR Gudas, (6) (Barberio, Kostka), 6:09

Radko Gudas was the game's third star and had a goal on the rare scoring play where 3 natural d-men figure in the scoring.

Richard Panik had his scoring streak snapped at 3 games.

You take solace from the fact the Admirals outshot the Pens 18-10 in the final two periods. They seemed to be absolutely shell shocked for about 5+ periods of play going back to the collapse in the opening game of the set against Albany. Unfortunately, Norfolk has dropped 4 points behind Hershey and are now tied with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the division.

Norfolk has a 2-game set against Connecticut on Friday and Saturday. The Whale sit atop the Northeast Division, so it's no easy draw for the Admirals.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 1-6-12 Devils at Admirals

Disgusting.

ALB-5
NOR-4 (OT)

Dustin Tokarski allowed 5 goals on 39 shots in an epic collapse over the final 12 and a half minutes of regulation and overtime. He's got to be better in situations where things are snowballing like they did tonight. Got to.

First Period
NOR Barberio, (4) (Fornataro, Angelidis), 9:04
NOR Ashton, (15) (Devos, Panik), 19:51

Second Period
NOR Smith, (16) (Barberio, Panik), 7:19 (PP)
NOR Oberg, (1) (Gudas, Johnson), 12:47

Third Period
ALB Palmieri, (3) (Zajac, Hoeffel), 7:47
ALB Hoeffel, (3) (Mills, Burlon), 10:06
ALB Anderson, (6) (Veilleux, Gelinas), 10:59
ALB Gelinas, (6) (Mills), 19:34

Overtime
ALB Whitney, (8) (Harrold, Anderson), 3:31 (PP)

Mark Barberio was the game's second star. He now has 31 points in 33 games to nearly equal the 33 points he posted in 68 games last year as a rookie. That's due partly because he's nearly doubled his amount of shots on goal per game. Last season he had 103 shots on goal all season. He has 95 so far this year. Pucks on net mean rebounds and they mean getting the puck down low in the zone in potentially advantageous positions.

Richard Panik extends the Panik Attack to 3 games. Tonight was his second multi-point game as a pro. The hope is that the adjustment period is starting to fade and he has a really strong second half of the season to set himself up well for 2012-2013.

A 3 goal lead in the third period should be a death sentence in pro hockey for the team that's down. A 4 goal lead with under 13 minutes left absolutely should be 999 out of 1,000 times. And when that 1 in 1,000 times happens to you as the losing club, it stings. Yes, Norfolk was short 2 forwards tonight and having to play d-men up front, but for a 4-0 lead to evaporate in a touch over 12 minutes is unbelievable.

Fortunately, Hershey also lost tonight in overtime in the big outdoor game in Philly against the Phantoms, so the Admirals remain tied for the division lead. But, they'll have to show a lot of resiliency tomorrow against the Devils to regain some of the pride they had ripped from them tonight.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 1-4-12 Admirals at Penguins

Panik attack, y'all!

NOR-5
WBS-1

Dustin Tokarski allowed 1 goal on 21 shots for the victory. He runs his record to 14-7-0 with the win, which is not too shabby. A 2.33 GAA doesn't hurt my feelings either.

First Period
NOR Panik, (5) (Cote, Ashton), 3:25
NOR Conacher, (20) (Labrie, Smith), 4:31
NOR Gudas, (5) (Conacher, Smith), 8:25

Second Period
WBS Petersen, (6) (Craig, Samuelsson), 2:16

Third Period
NOR Conacher, (21) (Kostka, Smith), 11:34 (PP)
NOR Angelidis, (6) (Dimmen, Landry), 19:00 (PP)

Cory Conacher, Trevor Smith, and Richard Panik were the game's three stars. Welcome to the first points streak of Panik's professional career.

Congratulations are in order for Conacher, Smith, and Mark Barberio on their selections as AHL All-Stars. Conacher now sits at 4th in the league in scoring with 41 points in 33 games. Smith checks in at 3rd with 42 points in 34 games. Barberio, for his part, is tied for tops amongst defensemen in scoring at 29 points in 32 games.

Norfolk moves back into a tie with Hershey at 44 points for tops in the East Division and opens up a 3 point lead on the Pens. The Admirals have a 2 game set with Albany on Friday and Saturday.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 12-30-11 Sound Tigers at Admirals

Norfolk holds on by their fingernails for the sweep.

BRI-2
NOR-3

Dustin Tokarski allowed 2 goals on 29 shots for the victory.

First Period
NOR Conacher, (19) (Barberio, Dimmen), 2:30
NOR Fornataro, (3) (Kostka, Smith), 11:34 (PP)

Second Period
NOR Johnson, (13) (Barberio, Conacher), 16:55 (PP)

Third Period
BRI Cizikas, (6) (de Haan, Wishart), 11:11 (PP)
BRI Romano, (2) (Ness, Reese), 12:48 (PP)

Cory Conacher and Tyler Johnson were the game's first and third stars.

Bridgeport probably deserved better than they got in this two game set against the Ads. They outshot Norfolk by a decent margin in both games and, in the end, found themselves done in only by good goaltending and timely special teams goals by the Ads. Tonight's back breaker was TJ's second period PP marker, which held up as the winner. As I've said many times, a 3 goal lead is the magic number going into a third period. Three goal leads are practically insurmountable in pro hockey, even if you get thoroughly outshot like Norfolk did tonight (16-6 in the third).

Norfolk draws Hershey in yet another key divisional battle tomorrow. A regulation win will put the Admirals back on top in the division.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 12-17-11 Admirals at Penguins

Norfolk's biggest win of the season thus far.

NOR-5
WBS-2

Dustin Tokarski allowed 2 goals on 22 shots for the win. He snaps a brief 2 game personal skid in a spot where his club absolutely needed a win.

First Period
NOR Fornataro, (2) (Smith, Devos), 0:53 (PP)
NOR Ashton, (14) (Gudas, Jackson), 4:32
WBS Street, (10) (Henningson, Merth), 10:41

Second Period
WBS Lerg, (11) (Walker, McDonald), 1:42
NOR Johnson, (11) (Cote, Tokarski), 7:06
NOR Conacher, (18) (Smith, Jackson), 13:31
NOR Ouellet, (7) (Ashton, Angelidis), 19:40

Third Period
NO SCORING

Carter Ashton, Tyler Johnson, and Scott Jackson were the game's three stars.

For Norfolk, this was a huge game. They did not want to go into Hershey tomorrow trying to stave off the divisional sweep. That's a bad spot to be in on your 3rd game in 3 nights in one of the toughest buildings in the league to earn points in. They absolutely needed tonight's win to keep contact in the divisional hunt, and if they can steal a win from the Bears tomorrow, well that's just a bonus present in this holiday season. With the win, Norfolk is 2 points back of the Bears and Pens for the top spot in the East Division.

Carter Ashton (pictured) played well last night, but was Holtby'ed off the scoresheet on more than one occasion. He's starting to get active again, and that bodes well. Meanwhile, Johnson has 5 goals and 7 points in his last 8 games. That leads to an interesting question. Nate Thompson went out early in tonight's Lightning game and speculation is a forward may be recalled at some point. Is it Ashton? Is it Johnson? Trevor Smith?

Norfolk draws Hershey tomorrow at 5 pm. My guess is that Oberg rides the shuttle back for that game. When that game is over, the Admirals are off until 12/28. So, anyone's fair game for a call up from a manpower standpoint. The Lightning don't play again until Wednesday, when they start a 2 game swing through San Jose and Colorado. The question then is whether Matt Gilroy and/or Nate Thompson will be healthy, and whether Oberg and/or a forward will need to make the trip with the team and possible spend Christmas in Tampa.

No pressure, kids, but I suspect there will be some Tampa execs with eyes on the Hershey game.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 12-16-11 Bears at Admirals

Goaltending made the difference.

HER-4
NOR-3

Dustin Tokarski allowed 4 goals on 21 shots for the loss. He made 1 or 2 big saves, but his softie short side at the end of the second period was the difference in the game. Soft goals have a way of being the margin of losing more often than not.

First Period
HER Ford, (6) (Potulny, Micflikier), 7:42 (PP)

Second Period
HER Mink, (11) (Micflikier, McNeill), 11:37 (PP)
NOR Ouellet, (6) (Smith, Conacher), 16:38
HER Bourque, (15) (Aucoin), 19:42 (SH)

Third Period
NOR Conacher, (17) (Oberg, Barberio), 4:05 (PP)
HER Ford, (7) (Potulny, Micflikier), 4:37
NOR Labrie, (6) (Cote, Barberio), 5:11

Cory Conacher was the game's second star.

If the Lightning ever do pull the trigger to acquire a young goaltender from another team, they could do worse than Braden Holtby. Just saying. Norfolk would've won this game 6-4 or so without him, and we've seen Holtby play well against the Lightning at the NHL level, too.

At the end of the day, if the Admirals don't learn to win games against the Bears and Penguins, they're not going to get where they want to go this season. That's the challenge of playing in such a competitive division. They'll get another crack at it tomorrow against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 12-11-10 Admirals at Bears

All good things...

NOR-3
HER-6

Dustin Tokarski allowed 5 goals on 28 shots for the loss, snapping his long, 5 game winning streak.

First Period
HER Aucoin, (7) (Bourque, Micflikier), 9:23 (PP)
HER Micflikier, (10) (Aucoin, Mink), 9:54 (PP)
NOR Conacher, (16) (Smith, Oberg), 11:23
HER Aucoin, (8) (Micflikier, Bourque), 14:08 (PP)
HER Bourque, (13) (Aucoin, Micflikier), 18:28

Second Period
NOR Smith, (13) (Conacher, Barberio), 3:03 (PP)
NOR Johnson, (10) (Conacher, Labrie), 16:58

Third Period
HER Kundratek, (4) (Bourque, Wellar), 4:46
HER Bourque, (14) (Mink), 17:52 (EN)

Norfolk may have the best offensive depth in the league, but between Aucoin and Bourque, the Bears probably have the two best offensive players in the AHL. Solving Hershey and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton are the two biggest challenges Norfolk needs to resolve this year, and they need to do it next weekend when they have 2 games against Hershey and 1 against the Pens. Doing well in those 3 games could give the Admirals the gift of a division lead going into the holiday break. Losing those games will be like receiving a big lump of coal. With the Pens idle, Hershey's win puts the East Division back at a 3 team tie.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 12-8-11 Admirals at Senators

Tic is rolling.

NOR-5
BNG-1

Dustin Tokarski (pictured smirking like a man on a long winning streak) allowed 1 goal on 22 shots for the victory. That's 5 straight wins for Tic, and he's quietly moved into a tie for 4th in the league in wins with 10. This is what he does. He goes on long, long streaks and you just have to keep feeding him starts (and hope it translates to the NHL someday soon).

First Period
NOR Ouellet, (5) (Smith), 7:09

Second Period
BNG Petersson, (8) (Cannone, Gryba), 9:30
NOR Fornataro, (1) (Smith, Devos), 13:39 (PP)
NOR Kostka, (3) , 18:47
NOR Conacher, (13) (Labrie), 19:40

Second Period
NOR Smith, (11) (Conacher, Barberio), 18:38 (PP)

Trevor Smith, Matt Fornataro, and Tokarski were the game's three stars. Smith pulls past teammate Cory Conacher into 4th in the league in points by 1 with 28 in 25 games.

These two teams rematch again tomorrow night. The victory pushes Norfolk into a three-way tie with Hershey and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for the top spot in the division at 31 points. It's the curse of playing in one of the two best divisions in the AHL.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 12-3-11 Phantoms at Admirals

TJ leads the comeback.

ADK-1
NOR-2

Dustin Tokarski allowed 1 goal on 16 shots for the win. He's won 5 of his last 6 decisions now. That's a sign that it's time to ride him as the starter. He plays better with the heavier workload, and he's got a tendency to stay hot about a month to a month and a half at a time.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
ADK Akeson, (7) (Eddy, Hamel), 5:01 (PP)

Third Period
NOR Johnson, (7) (Dimmen, Jackson), 12:46
NOR Johnson, (8) (Ashton, Devos), 19:30

Tyler Johnson (pictured) and Tokarski were the game's first and third stars. Johnson's quietly put together a nice 3 game point streak after snapping a 4 game pointless streak. He's been overshadowed by fellow rookies Conacher and Ashton, but on any other team he'd be getting a lot of plaudits for his production for a first year pro.

Tonight's game marked the debut of new Admirals Evan Oberg and Mike Kostka, as well as Admirals contractee Philip-Michael Devos, who is a much better playmaker than former Miami Vice sidekick Philip Michael Thomas.

Norfolk goes on the road to Binghamton on Friday. Their win tonight moves them back into a tie with the Penguins for first place in the AHL East Division.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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