Though the Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t make it to the play-offs, they still had a record setting year with wins at home and Steven Stamkos hitting sixty goals in a single season. Their minor affiliates had record setting seasons as well. The ECHL affiliate the Florida Everblades took home the Kelly Cup, the ECHL’s championship trophy, for the first time in it’s fourteen year history. The AHL affiliate the Norfolk Admirals really blew the competition away. You’ll recognize many of them as they are the dipping pot for the call-ups. Despite missing so many of it’s team members when the Lightning had them in Tampa to stand in for the injury plagued Bolts, the Admirals had their best season ever. At one point we had their team captain Mike Angeledis, and we all joked ‘Oh look, we’re in the Tampa Bay Forum watching The Tampa Bay Admirals.’ Norfolk ended the regular season 55-18-1-2. They won the last twenty-eight regulation games and won the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the AHL’s regular season champions. They set a North American professional hockey record for the longest winning streak.
They took on the Manchester Monarchs and beat them in four games of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Next in the Eastern Conference Semifinals they knocked out the Connecticut Whale in six games. In the Eastern Conference Finals they swept the St. John’s IceCaps in four games.
It came down to East meets West. In a four game sweep they won over the Toronto Marlies to raise the Calder Cup in Toronto. They went 15-3 in the Calder Cup Playoffs. It’s their first Calder Cup in Virginia history. They brought the first professional hockey championship in fourteen years back to Hamption Roads. The ECHL Admirals won the Riley Cup in 1991 and 1992, and the Kelly Cup in 1998.
Norfolk is the 28th city in it’s 76 season history. This was the 17th sweep and they finished 15th in a best-of-seven series.
Brandon Segal won the Calder Cup in 2004 with the Milwalkee Admirals. Jean-Philippe Cote won it with the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2007. The rest of the team and it’s coaching staff won the Calder Cup for the first time.
The AHL’s MVP trophy, the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy, went to Alexander Picard who had nine goals and seven assists for a total of sixteen points in the finals.
This year the Baby Bolts. Next year… who knows!
@HulaDolly @BoltsByTheBay @FanSided