AHL Weekly Release: Admirals sail to top of East


nor_200.jpgSPRINGFIELD, Mass. … It’s been full steam ahead for the Norfolk Admirals since the 2006-07 season opened, and the results have put them in first place in the top-heavy East Division of the American Hockey League.

Norfolk continued its assault on the franchise records books with two more wins over the weekend, upping its record to 12-2-1-1 for 26 points, second-most in the entire league. The Admirals established a new club mark with their ninth consecutive home win on Saturday, and they are averaging better than five goals per game this year at Scope.

Corey Crawford, who has earned the decision in each of Norfolk’s last 12 games, is the first AHL goalie to 10 wins this season, and also ranks among the AHL’s leaders with his 2.21 goals-against average (sixth) and .928 save percentage (fifth), and is also third in saves (346) and fourth in minutes played (734). The 21-year-old netminder, a second-round draft choice by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2003, was the Rbk X-Pulse/AHL Goaltender of the Month for October.

Martin St. Pierre’s current 10-game scoring streak ties an Admirals team record, and he has tallied three goals and 15 assists during that span to move into a tie for third place in the AHL scoring race with 26 points in 16 games. And Carl Corazzini, who had six goals in his first four games of the year, now has six in his last four following an eight-game drought and a team-high 12 on the season.

Looking for a bright young talent whose name starts with “B”? Norfolk’s got the market cornered. Brandon Bochenski, an AHL All-Rookie selection in 2005, is tied for fifth in the league with 24 points, including 18 points in nine games during November. Troy Brouwer is currently tied for second among AHL rookies with 11 goals and tied for the overall league lead with three game-winning scores. Cam Barker was the third overall pick, Bryan Bickell was a second-round pick and Adam Berti was a third-rounder in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Second-year defenseman Dustin Byfuglien played 25 NHL games for the Blackhawks last season, and rookies Michael Blunden, Adam Burish and David Bolland have already made their NHL debuts with Chicago in 2006-07.

Mike Haviland leads his Admirals into a busy week, with a two-game series against visiting Manchester set for Tuesday and Wednesday. Norfolk then visits Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday before hosting Philadelphia on Saturday night.

ALEXANDER THE GREAT … Rookie forward Alexander Radulov, who last month became the first Milwaukee Admirals player to record five points in a regular-season AHL game, bettered his own record with a six-point effort in Milwaukee’s 8-1 win at Grand Rapids on Nov. 14.

The 20-year-old Radulov, a first-round draft pick by Nashville in 2004, leads the Admirals with six goals, 12 assists and 18 points in just 10 AHL games. He is also tied for the team lead in plus/minus rating (+4), power-play goals (two) and shots (35), and ranks second on the club with 26 penalty minutes.

Radulov made his NHL debut with the Predators, and has two goals in six games with Nashville.

KROG, HAYDAR, STERLING KEEP UP PACE … Chicago’s Jason Krog and Darren Haydar extended their scoring streaks to 17 games each with points in all three Wolves contests last week. Krog continues to lead the AHL with 34 points on the season, while Haydar is second with 32.

Teammate Brett Sterling is now the league’s leader among rookies with 13 goals after scoring nine in his last six games.

DISCOVERY CREW HONORED … The Houston Aeros on Sunday honored the seven-person crew of NASA space shuttle mission STS-116, who are scheduled to launch aboard the Discovery on Dec. 7 for an 11-day mission that will include two spacewalks and work aboard the International Space Station.

The crew participated in a ceremonial puck drop and signed autographs during intermission.

The Johnson Space Center in Houston is home to the mission control center, which directs all of NASA’s space shuttle missions, and serves as the home base for NASA’s astronaut corps.

ETC.Kamil Kreps scored his first two goals of the season, including the overtime game-winner, in Rochester’s 4-3 win over Manitoba on Friday, then added three points in Saturday’s 8-0 win over Springfield… The Americans sit atop the overall standings at 14-1-0-0 and are already working on their second seven-game winning streak of the season… Noah Clarke had four goals and an assist for Manchester over the weekend in his first three games back from an NHL stint with Los Angeles… Jason Jaffray scored with 4.5 seconds left in regulation to give Manitoba a 1-0 win in Syracuse on Saturday night… Eric Fehr ended the week with a 13-game scoring streak for Hershey (9g, 11a)… Karri Ramo is 6-1-0 with two no-decisions in his last nine appearances for Springfield… Hartford’s Dale Purinton scored twice in Sunday’s 4-3 win at Houston, the first two-goal game of his 10-year pro career… Of the five Manchester Monarchs with at least 10 points this season, three are rookie defensemen (T.J. Kemp, Peter Harrold, Eric Werner)… In seven seasons from 1999-2006, there were two streaks in the AHL in which a player recorded an assist in 10 straight games; Worcester’s Joe Pavelski, Chicago’s Jason Krog and Norfolk’s Martin St. Pierre have all had double-digit runs already this season… Lowell has earned points in six straight (5-0-1-0) and nine of its last 10 outings (7-1-1-1)… Houston has killed off 70 of 73 shorthanded situations (95.9 percent) in its last 11 games… Binghamton hosts Hershey on Thursday evening, the 33rd Thanksgiving Day pro hockey game to be played at the Broome County Arena.