Norfolk makes it 24, clinches points crown

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The Norfolk Admirals extended their professional hockey record with their 24th consecutive win on Friday night and clinched the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the American Hockey League’s 2011-12 regular-season points champion with a 3-1 victory over the Binghamton Senators at Norfolk Scope Arena.

The Admirals (51-18-1-2, 105 points) will have home-ice advantage for as long as they are in the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs, which begin following the conclusion of the regular season on Apr. 15.

Under second-year head coach Jon Cooper, the Admirals have demolished the record books by winning their last two dozen games since last losing on Feb. 5. Norfolk’s 24-game winning streak – including their last 18 all in regulation – is the longest ever by a professional hockey team and has surpassed the previous single-season AHL mark (17) by seven.

Norfolk, which has won a division title for the first time since 2003, has set franchise records for wins and points in a season while claiming their first Kilpatrick Trophy.

The Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy, which was instituted in 1997, honors the late Macgregor Kilpatrick, a member of the AHL Board of Governors for 27 years and a 2010 inductee into the American Hockey League Hall of Fame. Kilpatrick also served as the AHL’s senior vice president and general counsel during his tenure, and earned the James C. Hendy Award in 1976 as the league’s outstanding executive.

In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 85 percent of all players competing in the NHL are AHL graduates, and through the years the American Hockey League has been home to more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.