Saturday, June 9, 2012
Norfolk Admirals win Calder Cup
TORONTO -- Tyler Johnson and Mike Kostka each scored twice and the Norfolk Admirals won their first Calder Cup title, beating the Toronto Marlies 6-1 on Saturday to sweep the American Hockey League finals.
"We played hard, got the bounces and it's just unbelievable to finish it out this way," Johnson said.
Richard Panik and Pierre-Cedric Labrie also scored, Johnson added two assists and Cory Conacher had four assists. Dustin Tokarski stopped 18 shots.
"The guys got so much character, heart, discipline and passion for the game," said Tokarski, who finished the playoffs with a 1.46 goals-against average, a .944 save percentage and three shutouts. "It's been a wonderful year. I'm lucky to be on this team."
Mike Zigomanis scored for Toronto.
The Admirals are the Tampa Bay Lightning's top affiliate.
The Marlies are the Toronto Maple Leafs' farm club.
"It's not by accident Norfolk won all these games in a row," Marlies coach Dallas Eakins said. "That is an excellent team that is not only skilled, but they check well and they're healthy."
Alex Picard scored only six goals in 42 regular season games, then had nine in 18 games during the playoffs to take home playoff MVP honors.
"There's no words for it," Picard said. "It's just a great group of guys and we've been playing for this all season. It's just a dream come true.
"I had a tough year with a lot of injuries. It took me a little bit to come back. But I look back at it and it's the best year of my life. ... We got the prize tonight."
In early February, the Admirals were third in their division and were simply fighting for a playoff spot. But after a loss on Super Bowl Sunday to the Springfield Falcons, the Admirals went 43-3, including a 28-game winning streak from Feb. 10-April 20 -- a professional hockey league record.
"Everybody just started buying in," defenseman Evan Oberg said. "We all knew we had the team to do it. When you follow the game plan and guys like this who compete every night, then good things are going to happen."