Tokarski, Dustin

Tokarski, Mihalik Named to Admirals All-Time 2nd Team

The Norfolk Admiral fanbase have selected their All-Time AHL 1st and 2nd teams as part of a 10th Anniversary team celebration at

Current Bolt prospect defenseman Vladimir Mihalik and goaltender Dustin Tokarski were voted on the 10th Anniversary 2nd Team. Joining Mihalik and Tokarski on the 2nd team is former Lightning prospect forward Justin Keller. Former Tampa forward Brandon Bochenski was voted on 10th Anniversary 1st Team.

Prospect Camp Preliminary Roster

The Lightning have assembled a preliminary roster for the upcoming prospects camp July 10-14 at the St. Pete Times Forum. The following roster, courtesy of Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune, includes at least three goaltenders, 12 defensemen and 17 forwards. All 2010 draft choices will be participating.

Helenius to Stay With Sodertalje Next Season

Hockey Expressen is reporting that the agent of Lightning goaltending prospect Riku Helenius, Jay Grossman, has announced the Finnish born former first round pick will play for Sodertalje in the Swedish Elitserien again next season. Helenius joined Sodertalje late last season and backstopped the club to a first place finish in the Kval till Elitserien, the annual promotion/relegation tournament. The move may be a positive for Helenius' development, as he is expected to be Sodertalje's starter next year and the Lightning already have a glut of Norfolk-bound goaltenders with Dustin Tokarski and Jaroslav Janus in the fold. Having Helenius in Sodertalje allows the Lightning the luxury of having him develop with plenty of starts in a premiere European league. Helenius is entering the final year of his entry-level deal with the Lightning.

AHL Game Night: 4-10-10 Bears at Admirals

With their boots on and their heads held high...


Dustin Tokarski allowed 2 goals on 26 shots for the win. He finishes his rookie campaign with a 27-25-3 mark, 4 shutouts, a 2.51 GAA, and a .915 sv%. That's a very respectable starting point for a young career.

First Period
HER Bouchard, (21) (Perreault, Bourque), 8:43
NOR Fornataro, (11) (Dehner), 13:11

Second Period
NOR Szczechura, (8) (Parrish, Craig), 2:36 (PP)
HER Giroux, (50) (Aucoin, Bourque), 15:43 (PP)

Third Period
NOR Simek, (20) (Jones, Mihalik), 1:49
NOR Simek, (21) (Hall, Jackson), 5:41
NOR Hall, (16) , 19:51 (EN/SH)

Juraj Simek, Matt Fornataro, and Paul Szczechura were the game's three stars. Simek, after seeing his playing time dwindle in the past month or two, finally topped 20 goals in the season finale.

Unfortunately, there will be no postseason for the Admirals as both Lowell and Bridgeport won tonight, meaning the crossover rule will go in effect. The propriety of the crossover rule is dubious at best considering the unbalanced schedules that are played, which meant Norfolk had to play world beaters Hershey 10 times while clubs like Bridgeport and Lowell got to feast off the worst team in the league, Springfield. Still, it is what it is, and Norfolk will cede its playoff spot to the 5th place team in the Atlantic Division. Norfolk finishes the regular season with 84 points (39-35-3-3).

In the short term, I suspect there might be a recall or two for tomorrow's Lightning season finale in Sunrise against the Panthers. Specifically, I feel like Dana Tyrell deserves a reward for his hard work, and the Lightning may want to take a look at Carter Ashton, who has spent his time on Norfolk's second line since Mark Parrish and Paul Szczechura were sent back down to Norfolk.

In the long term, this offseason will be a challenging one for the Admirals. The Lightning have a lot of decisions to make with veteran players like Ryan Craig and Adam Hall and 3rd and 4th year pros like Blair Jones, Simek, and Vladimir Mihalik. The only knowns I think Admirals fans can count on for next season are that the team will probably be younger and the team will probably still have fantastic goaltending between Tokarski and Jaroslav Janus, who actually has been practicing with the team this week and might've been ready to come back had the Admirals made the post season.

Box score from

AHL Game Night: 4-9-10 Bears at Admirals

The playoffs are now a very remote possibility for the Admirals.


Dustin Tokarski allowed 6 goals on 29 shots for the loss. Other than the 4th Hershey goal, Tokarski was just hung out to dry. The Admirals gave up way too many odd-man rushes and just didn't do much to disrupt the Hershey power play.

First Period
HER Giroux, (47) (Bourque, Alzner), 9:40 (PP)
NOR Fritz, (2) (Marks, St. Pierre), 10:56

Second Period
HER Giroux, (48) (Helmer, Aucoin), 4:44
HER Giroux, (49) (Aucoin), 8:35
HER Rome, (6) (Alzner, Bouchard), 9:19
HER Joudrey, (15) (Pinizzotto, Kane), 11:27

Third Period
HER Gordon, (37) (Aucoin, Bourque), 6:18 (PP)

The night went about as badly for the Admirals as it could have. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton knocked off Albany 4-3, so the Penguins have clinched 3rd place in the East Division. Meanwhile, in the crossover, Bridgeport defeated Lowell 6-3 in Lowell. So, both Lowell and Bridgeport are 2 points ahead of the Admirals and each team has 1 game in hand. That means to make the playoffs the Admirals would have to beat the Bears tomorrow night and either Bridgeport or Lowell would have to lose both of their remaining games in regulation, because the Admirals would hold the tiebreaker for more regulation wins. A loss tomorrow night or a single point for both Bridgeport and Lowell and the postseason hopes are done.

Considering where the Admirals have been the past couple of years, I think it's progress that they can honestly say that all 80 games this season were meaningful. That said, this still feels rotten.

Box score from

AHL Game Night: 4-7-10 Penguins at Admirals

Hope lives in Norfolk.


Dustin Tokarski shut out the Penguins on 29 shots for the win. It was his 4th shutout of this rookie campaign. Heading into the final two games of the regular season, he has a 26-24-3-3 record on the year with a 2.46 GAA and a nice .917 sv%.

First Period
NOR Parrish, (17) (Wishart, Szczechura), 13:47 (PP)

Second Period

Third Period

Tokarski and Mark Parrish were the game's first and second stars.

Ty Wishart returned from injury after missing the recent road trip, and chipped in a helper for his 32nd point of the season. It was just in a nick of time.

The victory temporarily puts Norfolk back in the playoffs. They are one point back of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for 3rd in the East Division, they are two points behind Lowell, which is 4th in the Atlantic Division, and they're tied in points with Bridgeport, which is 5th in the Atlantic Division. Norfolk would get in on the tiebreaker for having more regulation wins. That's the good news. The bad news is that all three teams hold a game in hand on the Admirals, so Norfolk still doesn't control its own destiny.

With the win tonight, Norfolk moved it's overall record to 38-34-3-3 with 2 games left to play, meaning the Admirals have clinched a winning record for the season. They finish up with a pair of games against Hershey at The Scope this weekend. At a minimum, they'll probably need at least 2 points out of those games to advance to the playoffs. Getting all 4 points would not mathematically guarantee the playoffs, but the odds would be in Norfolk's favor.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton finishes up with Albany and then with back-to-back games against Binghamton. 2 of those 3 games are at home for the Penguins. The Pens have lost 2 games in a row.

Lowell has Bridgeport and Providence at home and the Portland Pirates on the road. Lowell won their last game but are 3-5-0-2 in their last 10.

Bridgeport may have the toughest schedule of the three clubs. They have Lowell on the road and then home games against Manchester and Hartford. Manchester has won 7 straight games since I declared them the bubble team likely to fall off. Shows what I know. Bridgeport has lost 2 games in a row.

Box score from

AHL Game Night: 4-4-10 Admirals at Bears

Norfolk falls one goal short again.


Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 30 shots for the loss.

First Period
HER Perreault, (16) (Beagle, Collins), 11:00

Second Period
HER Eakin, (2) (Gustafsson, Wellar), 12:53

Third Period
HER Giroux, (46) (Perreault, Gustafsson), 4:45
NOR Craig, (23) (Tyrell, St. Pierre), 7:24
NOR Fadden, (7) (Fornataro, Keller), 8:16

The Admirals remain 2 points behind Bridgeport for the final East Division playoff spot because of the crossover rule, but they've given the Sound Tigers a game in hand with tonight's loss. It's a shame, because in back-to-back games the Admirals were just one bounce away from getting the game tied and getting at least a point from their efforts.

It says a lot about the confidence Jim Johnson has in Mitch Fadden that he was on the ice with veterans like Hall and Craig at the end of the game with the Admirals hunting the equalizer. I'm eager to see what he does with a good offseason of training to build up his body and a full season in the AHL next year.

Tonight was the Admirals final road game. They have three games at The Scope to close the year: one against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Wednesday and a back-to-back set against Hershey to finish things up. Realistically, they have to win at least 2 games and perhaps all 3 to make the postseason.

Box score from

AHL Game Night: 4-3-10 Admirals at Senators

Admirals fall one goal, one period short.


Dustin Tokarski allowed 4 goals on 29 shots for the loss. He's played so well as the workhorse since Jaroslav Janus went down. It's a shame on the night he finally got 3 goals worth of support, he couldn't make it stand up.

First Period
NOR Lashoff, (8) (Tyrell, Hall), 8:04

Second Period
BNG St. Pierre, (24) (Lee, Kinrade), 0:34
BNG O'Brien, (8) (Svendsen, Bailey), 5:25
BNG Daugavins, (20) (Hennessy, Smith), 10:59
BNG Tifu, (3) (Hamel, Lee), 12:16

Third Period
NOR Parrish, (16) (St. Pierre, Szczechura), 14:14
NOR Fornataro, (10) (Tarkir, Fadden), 16:30 (PP)
BNG Keller, (32) (Smith, Hennessy), 19:46 (EN/PP)

Binghamton goaltender Mike Brodeur picked a heckuva time to stand on his head. Norfolk outshot the Senators 42-30, but in the end the Sens got the goaltending they needed to pull out the victory.

Norfolk burned their game in hand on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and got nothing out of it, so they'll remain 3 points back of the Pens for 3rd place in the East Division. In the crossover, Lowell defeated Worcester in overtime 3-2 and Bridgeport fell 3-1 to Portland. So, all is not lost for the Admirals. They're 4 points back of the Devils and 2 points back of the Sound Tigers while still holding a game in hand on each team.

Unfortunately, the remaining 4 games of the schedule are incredibly difficult, on paper. Norfolk will burn their game in hand tomorrow and could be back in a playoff spot with a win. But, they must win in Hershey to pull off that feat and Hershey is a ridiculous 32-4-0-2 at the Giant Center this season. That will be Norfolk's last road game of the season. The balance of the schedule includes Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and then another back-to-back games against defending champion Hershey and it's league best 57-15-0-3 record, with their 57 wins already being the highest single season total in the history of the AHL. But, games are not played on paper, and Norfolk has played Hershey fairly close under Head Coach Jim Johnson, so the Admirals have at least a puncher's chance.

Box score from

AHL Game Night: 4-2-10 Admirals at River Rats

Against all odds, Keller, Tokarski, and the Admirals have life.


Dustin Tokarski allowed 1 goal on 32 shots for the win. He's been good down the stretch, and he'll need to be amazing in the final 5 games of the season to get the Admirals over the hump.

First Period
ALB Blanchard, (14) (Micflikier, Samson), 12:37
NOR Keller, (16) (Jones), 16:03

Second Period

Third Period
NOR Keller, (17) (Case, Jackson), 13:29

Justin Keller and Tokarski were the game's first and second stars.

Tonight was supposed to be a funeral for the Norfolk Admirals. With Ty Wishart out hurt and Lashoff and Mihalik called up due to injuries, the Admirals blueline consisted of Scott Jackson and a bunch of no-names. On the road. Against a hot Albany club that's dominated the series this season. And, somehow, the Admirals have parlayed doom into hope, despite being outclassed for much of tonight's game. They made their own breaks. Blair Jones made a great individual play to steal a puck to set up Keller on the first goal, Tokarski made every key save he had to to keep it 1-1, and then in the final frame, when the Ads looked to just be holding on for a point, Justin Keller got a little daylight and used his laser shot to propel Norfolk to the win. That's why they play the games.

It's now essentially a four team race for three spots, and everything looks to have gone Norfolk's way tonight. Inside the division, Binghamton smoked third place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 6-2, meaning the Admirals are 3 points back of the Penguins. In the crossover, Lowell (which is struggling), fell 5-2 to Hartford and Bridgeport is down 4-1 to Manchester very late in the third period. If that score holds, Norfolk will be 2 points back of both the Devils and Monarchs, and in all three cases the Admirals will hold one game in hand.

Can they defy the odds again tomorrow night in Binghamton? If they do, they can pull within 1 point of the Penguins for 3rd place in the East Division. Moreover, they could pull back into a playoff spot if Lowell falls in regulation to Worcester and/or Bridgeport falls in regulation to Portland. Theoretically, with the Lightning off until Tuesday, the Admirals should get Matt Lashoff and Vladimir Mihalik back for tomorrow night, and one would hope a forward or two might also be thrown into the mix, because tomorrow is make-or-break for Norfolk, and Binghamton has been playing well.

Box score from

AHL Game Night: 3-27-10 Sharks at Admirals

I wish the goal scoring dam would just hurry up and burst.


Dustin Tokarski continues to be the victim of a lack of goal support. He allowed 2 goals on 25 shots for the loss.

First Period
WOR McLaren, (4) (Joslin, Moore), 18:37

Second Period
WOR Lucia, (1) (Ferriero, Loprieno), 7:07

Third Period

Norfolk actually outshot Worcester 46-25, but they just can't seem to buy a goal right now. It's one of those stretches in the season where it feels like if they can just get a couple of ugly goals off some garbage or a lucky bounce the floodgates will open.

Here's the good news: both Bridgeport and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton lost tonight. So, Norfolk remains 2 points out of a playoff spot and 3 points out of 3rd place in the division with the Pens holding 1 game in hand. The bad news is that there are only six games left in the regular season and Norfolk's next game is on the road against the East Division's second place team, Albany.

Box score from

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