Barberio, Mark

AHL Game Night: 1-18-12 Admirals at Devils

Norfolk's d-corps continues to surpass all expectations.

NOR-5
ALB-4

Dustin Tokarski allowed 4 goals on 28 shots for the win. He moved to 17-9-0 on the season for the win.

First Period
ALB Veilleux, (6) (Urbom, Berube), 5:49
NOR Fornataro, (6) (Conacher, Barberio), 14:16 (PP)
ALB Veilleux, (7) (Sestito, Whitney), 16:13
ALB Veilleux, (8) (Whitney), 18:28

Second Period
NOR Oberg, (2) (Palat, Devos), 5:21
NOR Barberio, (5) (Johnson, Gudas), 6:09
ALB Wiseman, (3) (Palmieri, Zharkov), 13:28
NOR Ouellet, (9) (Kostka, Cote), 16:12
NOR Angelidis, (8) (Kostka, Cote), 16:38

Third Period
NO SCORING

Mark Barberio and Mike Kostka were the game's second and third stars. Barberio now holds a 5 point edge in the race to be the AHL's top scoring defenseman. He has 5 goals and 37 points in 38 games. With his multi-point game tonight, Kostka has moved into the top-20 among AHL defensemen in scoring with 6 goals and 20 points in 35 games. The bulk of that scoring has come since he joined Norfolk in the James Wright trade. He had just 2 goals and 6 points with San Antonio prior to the deal, but he's had 4 goals and 14 points since coming to Norfolk. Bear in mind Kostka had 16 goals and 54 points in 80 games with Rochester a year ago, which was tied for third in the league. So, the Admirals legitimately boast two of the absolute best offensive d-men in the league, which is part of the reason they're one of the most deadly offensive powers in the AHL this side of the Hershey Bears.

Tonight's victory was a bit of sweet revenge for a Norfolk team that had a temporary slump started by a third period collapse at home against the Devils just a few weeks ago. For the Admirals to overcome a 3-1 first period deficit that featured a Stephane Veilleux hat trick represented a nice bit of payback for the team.

Norfolk moves within 4 points of the Bears in the East Division standings with the victory. They continue their road trip in Syracuse on Friday.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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.

NHL Game Night: 1-12-12 Hurricanes at Lightning

It's sad to think with 40 games left to play the season may already be effectively over.

CAR-5
TB-2

Mathieu Garon allowed 3 goals on 8 shots for the loss before giving way to Dwayne Roloson who allowed 2 goals on 24 shots the rest of the way.

First Period
CAR Ruutu (15), (Staal, Tlusty), 3:27
CAR Tlusty (8), (Staal), 4:41
TB Thompson (4), (unassisted), 14:36
CAR Harrison (6), (Ruutu, Faulk), 15:10
CAR Tlusty (9), (Staal, Ruutu), 16:18

Second Period
TB Purcell (8), (Gervais, Stamkos), 2:49

Third Period
CAR Brent (5), (Stewart, Harrison), 13:41

It's time for Steve Yzerman to throw the switch and to begin working the phones as a seller. If there was a team in the NHL I could've hand picked for the Lightning to get a win tonight, it would've been the Carolina Hurricanes. Even in their darkest hours, the Lightning have always seemed to torment Carolina. To get blown out 5-2 at home by a club they've effectively owned is a pretty prominent red flag that indicates the comeback in the standings isn't coming.

There are a lot of veterans on this team that will be unrestricted free agents who shouldn't be back next season that should be converted into draft picks and mid-level prospects. There's still more players that the Lightning need to make a decision about, because there are passengers on this roster. Not everyone is taking a beating like Steve Downie to try to win hockey games, and those players deserve scrutiny.

Last, it's time for some youth. It's time to give Brett Connolly more ice time. It's time to give a look to guys like Carter Ashton and Mark Barberio who are currently in the minors. The 2012-2013 season begins now, and the next 40 games should be devoted to finding a mix for next season that can go out and get this Lightning team back to the elite status we thought they were headed toward at the end of last season.

Connolly had 2 shots and 1 hit in 9:44. He's been in the 9-10 minute range since returning to the team from the WJC's. The way I see it, he needs to be playing with Stamkos and/or Lecavalier the next 40 games on a scoring line. Prepare him for next season. And, if he plays well, he'll make certain guys who aren't carrying their weight as alleged scoring threats even more expendable.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.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.

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