Tokarski, Dustin

AHL Game Night: 3/4/11 Admirals at Devils

I've already forgotten Curtis McElhinney.

NOR-1
ALB-0

Dustin Tokarski stopped all 29 shots he faced to post his second shutout of the season. He is 5-0-2 in his last 7 games, and he's now raised his season statistics to a 2.44 GAA and a .910 save percentage. Curtis McElhinney being claimed by the Sens on waivers may have been a huge blessing in disguise for the Lightning and Admirals alike. Tic seems to play better with a large volume of starts, and he's starting to flash the outstanding form of his rookie year that elevated him into the strata of one of the Lightning organization's best prospects.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NOR Durno, (16) (Harju, Vernace), 18:25

Third Period
NO SCORING

Tokarski and Chris Durno were the game's first and third stars.

Elsewhere in the East Division tonight, the Charlotte Checkers have gone down to defeat 4-2 in Providence. Norfolk still sits in 4th in the East Division. They cashed in a game in hand and have opened a 4 point lead on 5th place Binghamton. They've also temporarily opened up a 9 point lead on the Atlantic Division's 4th place team, Worcester, with the Sharks currently going to overtime against Manchester, so the lead will be 8 or 9 points by the end of the night.

More importantly, though, the Admirals are starting to track down the teams in front of them. They are now 1 point behind 3rd place Charlotte with 2 games in hand on the Checkers. Also, intriguingly, Norfolk has moved to within 5 points of idle Hershey with 1 game in hand on the Bears. Norfolk travels into Hershey tomorrow night with the chance to cut the Bears lead down to 3 points with 1 game in hand. Norfolk will finish their weekend on Sunday in Binghamton.

19 games remain in the regular season.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 3/2/11 Bears at Admirals

It was Bear hunting season tonight at Scope.

HER-1
NOR-6

Dustin Tokarski allowed 1 goal on 29 shots for the win. With Curtis McElhinney plucked away by Ottawa on waivers, the number one job in Norfolk is now Tokarski's, unless Cedrick Desjardins finds a way to return from injury. Tonight was a good opening statement for Tic.

First Period
HER Pinizzotto, (16) (Willsie, Greentree), 7:44
NOR Ritola, (1) (Fornataro, Tokarski), 12:51

Second Period
NOR Jones, (19) (Vernace, Szczechura), 9:05 (PP)
NOR Jones, (20) (Pouliot, Milam), 9:41
NOR Pouliot, (18) (Milam, Harju), 19:55 (PP)

Third Period
NOR Durno, (15) (Angelidis, Wright), 0:32
NOR Ritola, (2) (Pouliot, Gudas), 13:17

Blair Jones, Marc-Antoine Pouliot, and Mattias Ritola were the game's three stars. Jones became the first Admiral to hit 20 goals this season, matching his career high set two years ago. Difference is: his 20 goals in 2008-2009 came in 80 games and was largely the product of Jones playing a lot of point on the power play. He reached that threshold in 47 games this season and has developed into a far more well-rounded player. Ritola scored his first 2 goals as an Admiral and now has 11 points in his first 9 games with the club.

With Chris Durno scoring his 15th goal tonight, the Admirals now have 6 players with 15 or more goals: Pouliot, Jones, Johan Harju, Matt Fornataro, Durno, and Mike Angelidis. Entering the year, it appeared the formula for success in Norfolk would involve having multiple scorers chasing around 20 goals without pure snipers like the departed Brandon Bochenski. It certainly appears that formula has been followed so far.

With the win, Norfolk seized 4th in the East Division outright over Binghamton by 2 points, while still holding 1 game in hand. They also burned a game in hand on Charlotte and are now 3 points back of 3rd place with 2 games in hand. They're also now 7 points back of the Bears for 2nd place with 2 games in hand. In the crossover, Norfolk holds an 8 point advantage on the Atlantic's 4th place team, Worcester.

There are 20 games left in the regular season. Norfolk next faces Albany on the road on Friday. They'll face the Bears again this weekend (Saturday) in Hershey and finishes out the week in Binghamton on Sunday. With three games in three nights, it will be interesting to see if and when Coach Cooper starts Jaroslav Janus.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Day: 2/27/11 Admirals at River Rats

Norfolk comes from behind for its biggest win of the season.

NOR-4
ALB-3

Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 20 shots for the victory. It's not a good percentage for the game, but he does finish the month of February with a 4-1-2 mark, 1 shutout, a 2.06 GAA, and a .917 save percentage, which is more in line with the numbers he put up last season. He also evened his ledger up at 14-14-4 for the year.

First Period
NOR Milam, (11) (Ritola, Barberio), 9:07 (PP)
NOR Barberio, (7) (Ritola, Harju), 10:28 (PP)
ALB Henrique, (19) (Zalewski, Anderson), 16:04

Second Period
ALB Leach, (2) (Magnan, Anderson), 5:28
ALB Anderson, (18) (Henrique, Zalewski), 16:41 (PP)

Third Period
NOR Harju, (19) (Ritola, Barberio), 0:23 (PP)
NOR Jones, (18) (Milam, Harju), 4:39

Mark Barberio and Johan Harju were the game's first and third stars after guiding a shining Admirals performance on the power play. Barberio finished with 1 goal and 2 assists in the game, all on the power play. Barberio now has 7 goals and 22 points for the season, and today was his first 3 point game as a pro. Another game or so like that would really help him chase down that 30 point mark for the season. Harju, Norfolk's All-Star, now has 19 goals, which is 1 ahead of Blair Jones and 2 ahead of Marc-Antoine Pouliot for the team lead. The race is on to see who gets to 20 first, but it sure looks like all 3 will make it.

Today's win was very important in the standings. With Binghamton losing to Adirondack, Norfolk moved into a tie with the Senators at 71 points and the Admirals temporarily will hold the 4th spot in the division by virtue of a better winning percentage. The team also cashed in 1 of its games in hand on Charlotte and is now 5 points back of the 3rd place Checkers with 3 games still in hand. So, although I'm not sure I'd be thrilled about a first round series against Hershey, Norfolk is starting to get a handle again on their own destiny. In the crossover, Worcester won and Springfield lost, so the Sharks climbed to 3rd in the Atlantic Division and Springfield remains tied with Connecticut at 64 points. Norfolk holds a 7 point lead on both teams with 1 game in hand on the Whale and 2 games in hand on the Falcons. So, Norfolk appears to have arrested their slow recession with today's win and they're now 5-3-0-2 in their last 10 games.

There are 21 games remaining in the regular season and Norfolk moves on to play Hershey at home on Wednesday night. They'll be back in Albany on Friday, then in Hershey on Saturday, before a critical game in Binghamton on Sunday. It's a big week coming up for the Admirals. If they ran the table, they could cut the Bears' lead for 2nd in the division to not more than 5 points, although that's a big if. Norfolk should get goaltender Curtis McElhinney into the fold for the week, barring an unexpected waiver claim by another team. McElhinney hasn't seen AHL action since 2007-2008 with Quad City when he was 20-18-2 with 3 shutouts, a 2.28 GAA, and a .911 save percentage. He was outstanding in the AHL in 2006-2007 with the Omaha Knights where he had a phenomenal 35-17-1 record with 7 shutouts, a 2.13 GAA, and a .917 save percentage. So, he's been an excellent player in the AHL and he should bring a lot to the table for Norfolk down the stretch and into the playoffs.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 2/26/11 Admirals at Penguins

Another point left on the table.

NOR-2
WBS-3 (SO)

Dustin Tokarski allowed 2 goals on 31 shots before allowing 5 of 11 shooters to convert for the shootout loss. The good news is that Tokarski's gotten back on track statistically with a pretty good February going 3-1-2 with a 1.91 GAA and a .925 save percentage. The bad news is that Tic and the Admirals are still struggling to protect third period leads.

First Period
NOR Nelson, (6) (Labrie), 9:07

Second Period
NOR Jones, (17) (Szczechura), 6:29

Third Period
WBS Bortuzzo, (4) (Wallace, Street), 15:33 (PP)
WBS Street, (9) (Potter, Wagner), 17:12

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
NOR- Pouliot, Ritola, Giliati, Wright
WBS- Veilleux, Sterling, Lerg, Sill, Haddad

Levi Nelson scored his second goal as an Admiral and his 1st since December when, ironically, he tallied against the Penguins.

Norfolk ended up losing some ground in the playoff chase as a result of coughing up their third period lead, with Worcester and Binghamton both losing in the shootout and Hershey, Charlotte, and Springfield all winning. They remain in 5th place in the East Division, 2 points back of the Sens with 1 game in hand and now 7 points back of the Checkers with 4 games in hand. Norfolk would still make the playoffs via the crossover into the Atlantic Division bracket, as they hold a 5 point lead on 3rd/4th place Springfield and Connecticut with 2 games in hand on each club and a 6 point lead on 5th place Worcester. 22 games remain in the regular season.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 2/25/11 Checkers at Admirals

The Admirals blow a 3 goal third period lead, but manage to pull out the 2 points in the shootout.

CHA-3
NOR-4 (SO)

Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 27 shots before stopping 4 of 5 shooters for the shootout win.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
NOR Szczechura, (13) (Ritola, Berry), 1:50 (PP)
NOR Pouliot, (16) (Ritola, Szczechura), 2:33 (PP)
NOR Pouliot, (17) (Milam, Szczechura), 2:45 (PP)
CHA Rodney, (8) (Bowman), 7:48
CHA Blanchard, (5) (Dalpe, FitzGerald), 8:18
CHA Bowman, (12) (Graham, Jordan), 17:38 (PP)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
CHA- Dalpe
NOR- Pouliot, Jones

Marc-Antoine Pouliot and Paul Szczechura were the game's first and second stars. Norfolk outshot Charlotte 54-27 in the match, but Checkers netminder Justin Pogge continues to curse the Admirals, who will surely regret giving up the point to Charlotte, but at least got the 2 points for themselves.

Standings-wise, Norfolk sits in 5th in the East Division, 2 points back of Binghamton with a game in hand and 6 points back of Charlotte with 4 games in hand. If the playoffs started today, they would be in over Worcester and Springfield due to the crossover rule and they'd move into the Atlantic Division bracket. They hold a 6 point lead over both clubs with the Sharks having burned off all their games in hand, while the Admirals hold 2 games in hand on Springfield. There are now 23 games remaining in the AHL regular season.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 2/19/11 Penguins at Admirals

Barberio rescues a point.

WBS- 2
NOR- 1 (SO)

Dustin Tokarski allowed 1 goal on 35 shots before allowing 2 of 5 shooters to convert to take the shootout loss.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period/
WBS Street, (8) (Potter, Wagner), 14:43
NOR Angelidis, (17) (Barberio, Vernace), 19:56 *AHL official scoring still lists Angelidis with the goal, though all reports say it was Barberio*

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
WBS- Veilleux, Hutchinson
NOR- NONE

Tokarski and Mark Barberio were the game's second and third stars. Barberio's goal with under 4 seconds left saved them from the fate of a weekend of futility similar to the one Norfolk subjected Syracuse to just a couple of weeks ago.

The outlook in the standings seems to get bleaker by the game. Norfolk has fallen into a tie for 4th in the division with Binghamton and are 2 points back of Charlotte. If the playlets started tonight, Norfolk would have to crossover into the Atlantic Division bracket, where they hold a 7 point edge on Worcester with the Sharks still holding 3 games in hand.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 2/12/11 Crunch at Admirals

Norfolk's goaltenders and defense hold Syracuse to zero for the weekend.

SYR-0
NOR-4

Dustin Tokarski stopped all 19 shots he faced for the shutout. It's Tokarski's 1st shutout of the season after posting 4 a year ago, and it comes one night after Mike Smith blanked Syracuse 3-0.

First Period
NOR Jones, (16) (Ritola), 14:30
NOR Pouliot, (15) (Ritola, Vernace), 16:12 (PP)
NOR Barberio, (5) (Szczechura, Durno), 19:55

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
NOR Milam, (10) (Berry, Vernace), 19:04 (PP)

Tokarski, Mattias Ritola, and Blair Jones were the game's three stars. Ritola has 2 assists in each of his first 2 games as an Admiral. Jones has points in 6 of his last 7 contests.

Stat of the game: through 40 minutes the Admirals had only allowed the Syracuse Crunch 6 shots on goal: 3 in the first period and 3 in the second period. Norfolk showed up this weekend ready to play in their own 3rd of the rink, and to hold any professional team to 3 shots in a period is remarkable. To do it for 2 periods in a row is absolutely absurd, though.

Tonight's schedule saw intra-divisional games across the board in the East Division with Binghamton beating Hershey, Norfolk beating Syracuse, and Adirondack taking out Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Also, Charlotte currently is tied late in the third period with Albany. So the state of play in the East Division has Norfolk maintaining its 5 point lead on 5th place Binghamton, moving to within 5 points of 2nd place Hershey, and temporarily opening up a 2 point lead on 3rd place Charlotte, pending the outcome of their game against Albany. 27 games remain on the regular season schedule and points are at a premium already.

Update:
Albany beats Charlotte 4-3 in OT, so the Admirals now hold 3rd place in the East Division outright, by 1 solitary point.

Hershey travels to Norfolk Tuesday to play the Admirals, and a regulation win over the Bears can shrink Hershey's advantage in the standings to a scant 3 points. Norfolk needs that game in the worst way.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 2/5/11 Senators at Admirals

More late third period horrors in Norfolk.

BNG-3
NOR-2

Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 20 shots for the loss.

First Period
BNG Smith, (6) (Benoit, Locke), 18:53 (PP)

Second Period
NOR Jones, (15) (Harju), 12:35

Third Period
BNG Smith, (7) (Greening, Locke), 1:01
NOR Labrie, (5) (Angelidis, Berry), 1:55
BNG Wick, (9) (O'Brien, Schira), 19:47

Pierre-Cedric Labrie was the game's third star.

For the second game in a row, Norfolk gives up a late third period goal to the Senators. Last night it allowed Binghamton to steal a point before falling in overtime. Tonight, it took at least a point away from the Admirals in the form of a regulation loss. Norfolk's a rather pitiful 3-5-1-1 in their last 10 games and are fading in the chase for second place in the division. That's bad news, because they now look destined to have to face either Wilkes-Barre/Scranton or Hershey with the Pens and Bears holding home ice, which looks to be a recipe for a quick playoff exit. With 29 games left to go in the regular season, it's time for the Admirals to start to get serious.

For his part, Blair Jones extended his scoring streak to 5 games, while Johan Harju extended his to 4.

Marc-Andre Bergeron did not play tonight as he has been recalled by the Lightning with ex-Admiral Mike Lundin ailing from a groin injury. In his place, the Lightning have gone ahead and completed the assignment of netminder Mike Smith to the Admirals.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 2/4/11 Senators at Admirals

Norfolk escapes after blowing another lead late.

BNG-3
NOR-4 (OT)

Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 28 shots for the victory.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NOR Bergeron, (1) (Vernace, Jones), 7:22 (PP)
BNG Butler, (22) (Greening, Locke), 10:13
NOR Harju, (18) (Giliati, Pouliot), 16:56
NOR Giliati, (6) (Pouliot, Bergeron), 19:11

Third Period
BNG Wiercioch, (3) (O'Brien, Smith), 7:59 (PP)
BNG Daugavins, (11) (Condra, Locke), 18:55

Overtime
NOR Bergeron, (2) (Pouliot, Quick), 3:03 (PP)

Marc-Andre Bergeron and Stefano Giliati were the game's first and second stars.

Norfolk got the two points, which is the big thing, but it continues to be a recurring problem for the Admirals when it comes to protecting leads late. They were outshot 14-3 in the third period and allowed 2 goals to the Senators in the frame. They capped a bad period by allowing the equalizer with 1:05 left to go in the period, and thereby surrendered a point to the division rival they currently have in their rear view mirror. Not good. The Admirals still look in line to be a playoff club, but they may be an early out if they can't get better defensively. Getting Mathieu Roy back yesterday was probably an excellent start to solving that puzzle.

With 2 goals and 1 assist tonight, Marc-Andre Bergeron is signaling that he's starting to round into form. After posting just 1 point in his first 6 games as an Admiral, Bergeron has 7 points in his last 7.

Johan Harju's goal tonight marked the first time he's scored goals in back-to-back games since late November. One wonders if Harju is enjoying an All-Star bounce or if possibly a certain GM or Assistant GM had a heart-to-heart with Big Joe after reports surfaced in the Swedish papers he was unhappy.

Norfolk holds a 2 point lead over Charlotte for 3rd in the East Division and a 7 point lead over 5th place Binghamton. A win tomorrow night (in regulation) could really put Bingo in a bad way, and can help Norfolk try to close the gap on surging second place Hershey.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 1/29/11 Falcons at Admirals

Tarnasky's revenge.

SPR-4
NOR-2

Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 25 shots for the loss.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
SPR Mayorov, (12) (D'Alvise, Kubalik), 17:05
NOR Angelidis, (15) (Fornataro, Jones), 18:03
SPR Sigalet, (3) (Tarnasky, Byers), 18:53

Third Period
SPR Tarnasky, (5) (Frischmon), 12:09
NOR Barberio, (4) (Labrie, Harju), 13:59
SPR Guite, (8) (Calvert), 19:00 (EN)

Mark Barberio was named the game's third star, proving there is no BoltProspects cover jinx. BoltProspects Alumni Nick Tarnasky scored the game winning goal for Springfield. Norfolk outshot Springfield a sizable 43-26, but Norfolk couldn't crack pesky undrafted Swedish netminder Gustaf Wesslau to get the equalizer.

Norfolk pulls into the All-Star break 3 points back of Hershey for second place in the division with the Bears holding 2 games in hand.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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