The Norfolk Admirals are pretty good at hockey. After riding a historic 28 game winning streak and a league high 113 point regular season, their dominance continued with a 14-3 start in the Calder Cup playoffs.
Their story came to an end tonight in the best possible fashion: sweeping the Toronto Marlies to win the AHL Championship in a 6-1 victory. In doing so, they became the first Lightning American League affiliate to hoist the Calder Cup.
Even with the controversial finish to game 3, the Admirals wasted no time in putting points on the board. They scored 5 straight goals. Mike Kostka and Tyler Johnson had two apiece. Pierre-Cedric Labrie and Richard Panik scored the other Norfolk goals. Cory Conacher finished the evening with four assists.
As with all of Norfolk’s final 8 playoff games, Dustin Tokarski. He stopped 18 of the 19 shots he faced. Forward Alexandre Picard was awarded the Jack A. Butterfield trophy as the Calder Cup Playoffs MVP. Picard was held scoreless in the final game, but he led all skaters with 16 points through the rest of the postseason.
For those of you keeping score, both of the Lightning’s minor league affiliates have won their respective championships in the last few weeks. The Florida Everblades are the reigning ECHL champions and the Admirals have joined them. Yes, it’s disappointing to see our Bolts sitting out the Stanley Cup playoffs, but these successes make the future insanely exciting. Lightning assistant GM Julien Brisebois knows just how huge the AHL win can be for the big club.
“These guys did this at the highest level of competition outside the NHL. The fact that these guys were able to execute and win at this pace, against this type of competition, shows that these guys are knocking on the door. If you look at past teams that have won this, anywhere from 7-10 players usually make it to the NHL and I think we’ll be in that range, at least,” Brisebois said. (Quote Source: Tampa Bay Lightning)
Video of the celebration seems to be trickling in slowly, and we’ll definitely send it your way. For now, we congratulate the Norfolk Admirals and are glad that they didn’t do this to the trophy: