Every game day from now until the end of the Calder Cup Playoffs, the AHL Morning Skate takes a spin around the AHL ice with recaps and previews, news and notes, facts and figures, and the top headlines from around the American Hockey League.
Game 2 – Manchester 3, WORCESTER 2 (OT) (Series tied, 1-1)
WEDNESDAY’S THREE STARS:
1. Bud Holloway scored 4:29 into overtime for his fifth game-winning goal of the playoffs as Manchester evened the Atlantic Division Finals with a 3-2 win at Worcester.
2. Sharks rookie Brandon Mashinter netted his first career Calder Cup Playoff goal in the losing effort.
3. Manchester rookie Corey Elkins scored a goal and registered four shots to help the Monarchs’ offense.
TONIGHT’S SCHEDULE (all times ET):
Game 4 – Hershey at Albany, 7:00 (HER leads series, 3-0)
Game 1 – Abbotsford at Hamilton, 7:30
2010 CALDER CUP PLAYOFFS:
Atlantic Division Finals – Series “I” (best-of-7)
A1-Worcester Sharks vs. A3-Manchester Monarchs
Game 1 – Sun., Apr. 25 – WORCESTER 4, Manchester 3
Game 2 – Wed., Apr. 28 – Manchester 3, WORCESTER 2 (OT)
Game 3 – Fri., Apr. 30 – Worcester at Manchester, 7:30
Game 4 – Sat., May 1 – Worcester at Manchester, 7:00
Game 5 – Wed., May 5 – Manchester at Worcester, 7:05
*Game 6 – Fri., May 7 – Worcester at Manchester, 7:30
*Game 7 – Sat., May 8 – Manchester at Worcester, 7:05
East Division Finals – Series “J” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. E2-Albany River Rats
Game 1 – Sat., Apr. 24 – HERSHEY 4, Albany 3 (OT)
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 25 – HERSHEY 6, Albany 3
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 27 – Hershey 6, ALBANY 5 (OT)
Game 4 – Thu., Apr. 29 – Hershey at Albany, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 1 – Albany at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 6 – Mon., May 3 – Hershey at Albany, 7:00
*Game 7 – Wed., May 5 – Albany at Hershey, 7:00
North Division Finals – Series “K” (best-of-7)
N1-Hamilton Bulldogs vs. vs. N3-Abbotsford Heat
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 29 – Abbotsford at Hamilton, 7:30
Game 2 – Sun., May 2 – Abbotsford at Hamilton, 2:00
Game 3 – Tue., May 4 – Hamilton at Abbotsford, 10:00
Game 4 – Thu., May 6 – Hamilton at Abbotsford, 10:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 8 – Hamilton at Abbotsford, 10:00
*Game 6 – Mon., May 10 – Abbotsford at Hamilton, 7:30
*Game 7 – Tue., May 11 – Abbotsford at Hamilton, 7:30
West Division Finals – Series “L” (best-of-7)
W1-Chicago Wolves vs. W2-Texas Stars
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 30 – Texas at Chicago, 8:30
Game 2 – Sun., May 2 – Texas at Chicago, 4:00
Game 3 – Tue., May 4 – Chicago at Texas, 8:30
Game 4 – Wed., May 5 – Chicago at Texas, 8:30
*Game 5 – Fri., May 7 – Chicago at Texas, 8:30
*Game 6 – Sun., May 9 – Texas at Chicago, 4:00
*Game 7 – Tue., May 11 – Texas at Chicago, 8:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern
GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 4 – Hershey at Albany, 7:00 (HER leads series, 3-0)
Hershey can complete a four-game, six-day sweep of Albany when the teams take the Times Union Center ice for Game 4 of the East Division Finals tonight… The Bears have trailed in the third period in six of their first eight playoff games but have rallied to win five of those six contests, including all three in this series vs. the River Rats… Jay Beagle tallied the game-winner 16:08 into overtime in Tuesday’s 6-5 Hershey win, his first goal of the postseason and second in 27 career AHL playoff outings… Beagle added two assists to finish with his first three-point effort since recording a goal and two assists vs. Manitoba on Jan. 22… Chris Bourque tallied his first two playoff goals and chipped in an assist on Tuesday and is now riding a four-game scoring streak (2-5-7)… Andrew Gordon scored for the third time in as many games this series and has torched Albany for 5-3-8 in the first three games… Hershey also got Game 3 tallies from Ashton Rome and Alexandre Giroux, who is on a four-game scoring run (4-3-7) and leads the AHL with 15 points (9-6-15) in eight playoff outings… AHL MVP Keith Aucoin has found the scoresheet in his first eight playoff games (1-10-11) for the Bears, and Kyle Wilson shows a point in four straight (2-3-5) and seven of eight overall (3-5-8)… Hershey rookie goaltender Braden Holtby made his first appearance of the series on Tuesday and took the win with 27 saves… Albany rookies Drayson Bowman (3-2-5) and Zac Dalpe (3-2-5) have combined for six goals and 10 points through the first three games of this series; Bowman has tallied a goal in all three contests, while Dalpe racked up two goals and an assist in Game 3… Albany’s Oskar Osala, who won the 2009 Calder Cup with Hershey, scored his first goal of the series on Tuesday, and Mike Angelidis rounded out the offense for the River Rats, who led 2-0, 3-1, 4-3 and 5-4 before falling in overtime… The River Rats are 4-for-13 on the power play in the series against the regular season’s top-ranked penalty kill… There have been eight intermissions through the first three games of the series, and the teams have been tied at seven of them… Hershey has been outscored 9-5 in the first period this postseason but has outscored opponents 30-14 the rest of the way… With their wins in Games 1 and 3, Hershey has now won five consecutive playoff trips to OT.
Game 1 – Abbotsford at Hamilton, 7:30
Fresh off a comeback from 3-games-to-1 down in the first round against Rochester, Abbotsford begins the North Division Finals tonight against regular-season division champion Hamilton… The Heat, who became just the fourth team in AHL history to win Games 6 and 7 of a playoff series on the road, went just 1-3-0-0 at Hamilton’s Copps Coliseum during the regular season, with three of those four visits occurring before the calendar turned to 2010… Brett Sutter put up a team-high eight points (2-6-8) for Abbotsford in the first round, and he recorded all eight in the final four games of the series after going scoreless in Games 1 and 2… Heat rookie Jon Rheault has five goals (5-1-6) including his Game 6 hat trick vs. Rochester, and no one else on the team shows more than two tallies… After beginning the series with a 4.53 GAA and an .827 save percentage in Games 1-4, David Shantz surrendered just two goals on 66 shots (0.67, .970) during the Heat’s three-game winning streak to close the first round, capped by a 24-save shutout in Game 7 on Tuesday… Abbotsford scored first in six of seven games against the Americans, posting a 4-2 mark in those contests… Hamilton, which finished with the AHL’s top-ranked regular-season defense (2.28 goals allowed per game), held Abbotsford to just 11 goals in eight meetings between the teams (1.38 goals per game)… The Bulldogs advanced following a six-game victory over Manitoba, with former Flames prospect Grant Stevenson netting the series-clincher in overtime of Game 6 on Sunday… First Team AHL All-Star defenseman P.K. Subban, who paced Hamilton with nine points (3-6-9) in that series, remains on NHL recall to Montreal… David Desharnais (3-4-7) and defenseman Andre Benoit (1-6-7) had seven points apiece for the Bulldogs, and Mike Glumac put up a team-best four goals (4-1-5).
SHARKS KICK THMSELVES FOR GIVING ONE AWAY – Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Worcester Sharks coach Roy Sommer did not have a comfortable afternoon. He got a sense at the morning skate that his Sharks were not quite ready to play the Manchester Monarchs in Game 2, and his coach’s intuition was right. Worcester was beaten, 3-2, on Bud Holloway’s goal at 4:29 of overtime. “They took it to us,” Sommer said of the Monarchs. “We sat back and thought we had won the game.”
DISCIPLINE KEY IN HEAT SERIES – Hamilton Spectator
The Hamilton Bulldogs will be walking a tightrope in their American Hockey League North Division final series with the Abbotsford Heat that opens tonight at Copps Coliseum. The Dogs are saying all the right things about the Heat being the hardest-working team in the league and wanting to match Abbotsford in the physical department, but little is said about the Heat’s propensity for taking penalties.
ABBOTSFORD AND HAMILTON SQUARE OFF IN GAME ONE – Canadian Press
The Abbotsford Heat’s punishing style of play could give them the edge against the Hamilton Bulldogs in their second-round American Hockey League playoff series. Or, it could be their downfall. The Heat are notorious for their physical style. While that tough play can knock opponents off their game, it also meant that Abbotsford spent more time killing penalties during the regular season than any other team in the league.
THE HEAT IS ON: C’MON FANS, GET OUT THERE! – Vancouver Province
The down-and-out Calgary Flames farmhands proved the old Yogi Berra-ism emphatically in upstate New York: “It ain’t over till it’s over.” Now that the players have supplied the requisite amounts of grit and panache, it will be up to the fans, real and promised, who live in the Fraser Valley to respond.
NO TIME FOR RATS TO SHOW ANY FEAR – Albany Times Union
Healthy respect for an opponent is one thing. Fear of making a misstep because of that reverence is quite another. Off the ice the Albany River Rats have uttered the proper things about the Hershey Bears, the American Hockey League’s best team in the regular season. “We respect them,” coach Jeff Daniels said Wednesday, “but we’re not scared of them.”
RATS IN MUST-WIN MODE – Troy Record
Facing a three games-to-none deficit in a playoff series is a daunting challenge for any hockey team. That’s just what the Albany River Rats are up against versus the juggernaut Hershey Bears. Yet the Rats are trying to accentuate the positives heading in Game 4 of their East Division final series tonight at 7 at Times Union Center.
LINK TO THE RATS IS FOREVER – Albany Times Union
The rookie was on hand for the beginning. The grizzly, bearded veteran also may be here for the end. Bryan Helmer’s professional hockey career has spanned the length of the Albany River Rats’ franchise. Helmer, who battled his way to a Rats roster spot as a Tier II junior defenseman in 1993-94, is still donning skates and stick at age 37, although his view these days is from the visiting bench.
RIVER RATS CAN’T FORGET NIGHTMARE – Raleigh News & Observer
On a sunny day in April, this stretch of Interstate 90 through the Berkshire Mountains is pretty, scenic, even peaceful. In the dead of last winter, it was one of the most dangerous places a hockey player could find himself. People talk about hockey being a dangerous endeavor, players putting their bodies on the line, but that’s supposed to be during a game, not getting home.
MORIN MAKES THE MOST OF HIS AHL PATH TO STARS – Austin American-Statesman
No matter how far he’s come, Travis Morin may be defined at the end of the season by the road he’s traversed to get here and “here” is a long way from where he was. If it sounds like a riddle, it’s because Morin’s story is part enigma, part chance and all progress.
AMERKS DISAPPOINTED AFTER PLAYOFF LOSS – Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
The Rochester Americans may have won 44 games and finished 10th overall in the American Hockey League standings, but merely qualifying for Calder Cup playoff participation was hardly cause for celebration. For that matter, there wasn’t even a reason to feel good. So said two of the team’s veteran forwards: right winger Graham Mink and center Jamie Johnson.
FROM MOOSE FAN TO ‘BALL OF ENERGY’ PLAYER – Winnipeg Sun
Kevin Clark is one of the few from this province who have gone through the transformation of Manitoba Moose fan to Manitoba Moose player. The Winnipegger made a solid impression since joining the Moose on Mar. 18 on an amateur tryout offer after completing his senior season at the University of Alaska-Anchorage, scoring two goals and adding an assist in nine games during the American Hockey League’s regular season.
SCHNEIDER LIKELY DONE WITH MOOSE ANTLERS – Vancouver Sun
Cory Schneider has joined the Vancouver Canucks for the remainder of their playoff run and his experience this spring should prepare him for what’s in store next season. He is going to spend a lot of time sitting and watching Roberto Luongo play. Schneider almost certainly will be a full-time Canuck next season, when he figures to replace Andrew Raycroft as Luongo’s backup.
THE OTHER SIDE: SHARKS FORWARD HAS PLENTY OF LOCAL FANS – Detroit Free Press
The Helminen family usually roots for the Red Wings, but not this time. Dwight Helminen is a forward for the San Jose Sharks, and his relatives are in Michigan. “I’m excited about playing Detroit, growing up watching Detroit play in the playoffs many times,” he said. “Now being on the other side, it’s exciting for me.” Helminen signed a one-year deal with the Sharks this season and spent most of the season with their AHL affiliate in Worcester.
EX-ICEHOGS SPARK STRONG SPECIAL TEAMS – Rockford Register Star
Even when Nashville had a man advantage, the Blackhawks refused to give in. Throughout the six-game series with the Predators, Chicago’s penalty-kill teams – which got plenty of help from former Rockford IceHogs Kris Versteeg, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Dave Bolland – were “amazing,” in the words of goalie Antti Niemi, another former IceHog who was a big help in those situations.
FROM CALDER TO STANLEY:
In Wednesday’s action, 2003 Calder Cup finalist Marc Andre-Bergeron tallied a goal and Dominic Moore scored the eventual game-winner as Montreal stunned top-seeded Washington, 2-1, in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal… 2007 AHL All-Star Jaroslav Halak made 41 saves for the Canadiens, and stopped 131 of 134 shots over the final three games of the series.
BY THE NUMBERS:
25:04 – Total minutes for which Hershey has played with a lead through the first three games of its series with Albany, out of 206:49 played (12.1 percent)… The Bears still take a 3-0 series lead into Game 4 tonight.
4 – Teams in AHL history who have swept and been swept in consecutive best-of-seven series (Hershey in 1961, Binghamton in 1985, Chicago in 2005, Houston in 2006)… Albany can avoid that fate with a win tonight.
7 – Consecutive wins in playoff overtime games by Hamilton, since their last loss to Cleveland in 2004.
ON THIS DATE:
April 29, 2008 – Scott Munroe makes 21 saves as Philadelphia defeats Albany, 2-0, in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series.
April 29, 1995 – Garth Snow stops 35 shots, including an overtime penalty shot, in the Cornwall Aces’ 5-4 win over the Binghamton Rangers.
April 29, 1972 – The Baltimore Clippers advance to their first Calder Cup Finals with a 3-1 road win over the Cincinnati Swords in Game 6.
Don’t miss a step on the road to the 2010 Calder Cup championship. AHL Live brings AHL action to your computer all season long with live video webcasts and highlights of every AHL game, as well as behind-the-scenes features and interviews in the Video On Demand section… Visit theahl.com or ahllive.com for details.