The Norfolk Admirals, sailing high on their 28-game winning streak for the 2011-12 regular season, will set off on their Calder Cup Playoff journey this weekend at the Norfolk Scope. Game one and two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals will be Friday and Saturday, April 20 and 21. The Admirals are set to play the Eastern Conference eighth seed Manchester Monarchs. Can the Admirals carry their astounding streak of winning through to the playoffs?
You can bet that every team in the AHL facing the number one team in the league will be making the bid to take the Admirals off of their winning pedestal, especially for the cup. The Admirals have been riding high since early February and have deservingly taken home the awards that symbolize and celebrate the accomplishments.
With their 28-game winning streak, the Admirals reached the AHL’s best 2011-12 season record of 55-18-1-2 with 113 points. The Admirals were the first to clinch a playoff spot, thus taking the home ice advantage. The Admirals’ winning streak marks the longest in any North American Professional hockey league.
Admirals Cory Conacher and Mark Barberio, along with Head Coach Jon Cooper, have been honorably recognized by the American Hockey League. Conacher has been named AHL Outstanding Rookie of the Year, winning the Dudley (Red) Garrett Memorial Award. This award is determined by votes from AHL coaches, players and media in each of the league’s 30 member cities. The award honors the late Dudley (Red) Garrett, a promising young player who lost his life during World War II while serving in the Royal Canadian Navy.
Additionally, Conacher was named the AHL’s VIP of the Year, the first Norfolk Admiral to earn the Les Cunningham Award. The accolades keep rolling in for the 22-year-old, now nicknamed by his teammates as the “honey badger” for his devil-may-care hockey style. His 5’8” stature doesn’t stop him from taking on any opponent on the ice for the ultimate race to the net.
Conacher won the Willie Marshall Award as the AHL’s leading goal scorer for the season. He closed out the year with 39 goals and 80 points, earning his first hat-trick in the Admirals’ defeat over Adirondack on April 15. What a way to close out his first professional season.
Admirals defenseman Mark Barberio was named a First-Team AHL All-Star for his accomplishments this year and Cory Conacher was named a Second-Team AHL All-Star. Mark Barberio leads all defensemen in assists (48) and points (61). Barberio plays both sides of the game, lending his wealth of talent to defense and offense. He has scored 13 goals. Barberio has earned the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s Outstanding Defenseman.
The anchor of the team, Head Coach Jon Cooper, has earned his own claim to fame with the AHL this year as the recipient of the Louis A. R. Pieri Memorial Award. Cooper earned this award for his outstanding achievements as Head Coach of the Admirals for the 2011-12 season, voted on by coaches and members of the media in each of the AHL’s 30 cities.
The Norfolk Admirals are gearing up to bring their astounding efforts to the ice for the challenge of the Calder Cup Playoffs. Here is the schedule for the complete first round:
Game 1: Friday, 4/20, 7:30, Norfolk Scope
Game 2: Saturday, 4/21, 7:15, Norfolk Scope
Game 3: Wednesday, 4/25, 7:00, Verizon Wireless Arena (Manchester)
Game 4: Friday, 4/27, 7:00, Verizon Wireless Arena (Manchester)*
Game 5: Saturday, 4/28, 7:00, Verizon Wireless Arena (Manchester)*
The Admirals did not play Manchester during the 2011-12 season. This will be the first match-up for the teams since March 26, 2011. The Monarchs finished their season at 39-32-2-3 with 83 points.
The Norfolk Admirals have truly had an astounding year and have rightfully earned a spotlight in the AHL and professional hockey history. The team and its players have achieved an extraordinary level of play and are on track to capture the ultimate title in the American Hockey League, the Calder Cup.
For more information about the Norfolk Admirals, visit their website.