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April 2, 2010

Keller Scores Twice As Admirals Top River Rats 2-1


ALBANY, N.Y. – Everything went right for the fourth-place Norfolk Admirals both at the Times Union Center in Albany and on the AHL out-of-town scoreboard on Friday night.

Justin Keller’s second goal of the game with 6:31 left in regulation gave the Norfolk Admirals (37-32-3-3) a 2-1 win over the Albany River Rats (41-28-3-5). The Admirals will travel to Binghamton tomorrow night for a 7:05 faceoff against the fifth-place Senators.

In addition, the Admirals were pleased with the results on the out-of-town scoreboard as all three teams they are battling for a playoff spot lost in regulation. The third-place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins fell at Binghamton while the two Atlantic Division teams battling for the fifth spot in that division both lost, with the Lowell Devils falling at Hartford and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers falling at Manchester.

Norfolk now trails Wilkes-Barre/Scranton by three points for third place in the East Division with a game in hand. The Admirals also trail both Lowell and Bridgeport by two points with a game in hand in the race for the final spot in the East Division Playoffs. By AHL rule, if the fifth-place team in the Atlantic Division has more points than the regular season’s fourth-place East Division club, the Atlantic Division team will cross over into the East Division Semifinals, knocking the East Division club from post-season play.

The River Rats took a 1-0 lead 12:37 into the first period. Jacob Micflikier sent a pass from the right corner to the slot. Nicolas Blanchard collected the pass and sent a wrist shot over the right shoulder of Admirals goaltender Dustin Tokarski.

Norfolk tied the game less than four minutes later. Blair Jones poke checked the puck off an Albany defender’s stick in the bottom of the right circle and sent the puck into the slot. Justin Keller collected the pass and chipped a shot past the blocker of Albany goaltender Justin Peters for his 16th goal of the season. The tally at 16:03 evened the score at 1-1.

After a scoreless second period, Keller gave the Admirals the lead for good with 6:31 left in regulation. Defenseman Matt Case, who was making his professional debut after recently concluding his collegiate hockey career at Ferris State University, sent a long outlet pass through the neutral zone that hit Keller in stride at the Albany blueline. Keller took a few more strides toward the left circle before sending a wrist shot from the left edge of the slot over the glove hand of Peters and into the net for the go-ahead goal.

Dustin Tokarski made the goal stand up as the winner with several saves late in regulation – including a diving stop at the buzzer to prevent a backdoor play from sending the game into overtime.

Dustin Tokarski (32 shots, 31 saves) earned the win in his 50th start of the season. Justin Peters (24 shots, 22 saves) took the loss.

Norfolk was 0-3 on the power play. Albany was 0-4.

The Admirals will play their final two road games of the 2009-10 regular season tomorrow and Sunday as they visit Binghamton tomorrow at 7:05 and Hershey on Sunday at 6:00. Both games will air on STAR 1310-AM, star1310.com and ahllive.com.

The Admirals will conclude their 2009-10 regular season next week with a three-game homestand beginning Wednesday against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

That game will be will be another Family Fun Pack Night and Student Rush Night. Family Fun Packs include four discounted Red Level Tickets for just $48 plus four free hot dogs, four free popcorns and four free sodas. Fans get all of that for just $48 – that’s a savings of $37!

Student Rush Nights, brought to you by Pit Bull Energy Drink and Baxter’s Sports Lounge, provide $8 White Level Tickets (normally $12) for high school and college students with a valid current high school or college ID. In addition, when you buy a Student Rush Night Ticket, you get a buy-one, get-one free offer for the next Student Rush Night. On top of that, you get discounted food at Baxter’s Sports Lounge (located right across the street from Scope) on the day of the game.

Admirals Family Fun Packs are available at the Scope Box Office, all Ticketmaster Outlets, charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000 or online at Ticketmaster.com. Student Rush Night Tickets are available ONLY at the Scope Box Office after 2:00 p.m. on the day of the game.

For complete details of all promotions, ticket offers and giveaways, please visit norfolkadmirals.com or call (757) 640-1212.

To purchase tickets to any Admirals game, you may visit the Scope Box Office weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., visit any Ticketmaster outlet, call Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or visit Ticketmaster online at ticketmaster.com. Don’t miss a minute of the action by purchasing your 2010-11 season tickets today. Affordable monthly payment plans are available for a limited time only! Stop by the Admirals’ Administrative Offices at Scope, call (757) 640-1212 weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or visit norfolkadmirals.com anytime!

Three Stars:
1. Justin Keller – NOR
2. Dustin Tokarski – NOR
3. Nicolas Blanchard – ALB

NOTES … Norfolk won its 20th road contest of the season and is one win away from tying the AHL Admirals franchise record for road victories (21 in 2005-06) … With two goals tonight, Justin Keller has 17 goals this season and ranks fourth on the team in that department … Keller is one goal away from tying his career high for goals in a single season (18 in 2008-09 with Norfolk) … The Admirals played with 11 rookies in the 20-man lineup tonight … Norfolk’s six defensemen that played in the game entered tonight’s contest a combined 113 games played in the AHL this season (Scott Jackson 66, Zach Tarkir 33, Nick St. Pierre 12, Jeremy Dehner 2, Matt Case 0, Dave Cowan 0) … Defensemen Vladimir Mihalik and Matt Lashoff remain on NHL recall to the Tampa Bay Lightning while defenseman Ty Wishart was sidelined by injury tonight … Matt Case picked up his first pro point in his pro debut with an assist on Keller’s game-winning goal … Dave Cowan also made his pro debut tonight … Dustin Tokarski started his 50th game of the season and is tied for sixth in games played and is eighth in wins (25) in the American Hockey League … Tokarski’s 50 games played in a single season ranks third on the all-time AHL Admirals list, trailing only Corey Crawford (60 in 2006-07) and Michael Leighton (52 in 2001-02), while his 25 wins also rank third trailing Crawford (38 in 2006-07) and Leighton (27 in 2001-02) … Scratches: Kevin Quick, Ty Wishart, Richard Panik, Jaroslav Janus, Taylor Vichorek … Attendance: 4,235.

# # # THE HEARTBEAT OF HAMPTON ROADS # # #

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