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AHL Morning Skate: April 9

THURSDAY’S SCORES:
Houston 5, SAN ANTONIO 3


THURSDAY’S THREE STARS:
1. Houston rookie Chad Rau recorded a season-high three points (2-1-3) in the Aeros’ 5-3 win over San Antonio.

2. Defenseman Shaun Heshka tallied a goal and an assist for the Rampage in the losing effort.

3. Andy Hilbert chipped into Houston’s offense with a goal and a helper.


TONIGHT’S SCHEDULE (all times ET):
Lake Erie at Grand Rapids, 7:00
Bridgeport at Lowell, 7:00
Springfield at Providence, 7:05
Toronto at Rochester, 7:05
Albany at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Hartford at Worcester, 7:05
Hershey at Norfolk, 7:15
Binghamton at Adirondack, 7:30
Portland at Manchester, 7:30
Hamilton at Syracuse, 7:30
Chicago at Milwaukee, 8:00
Peoria at Manitoba, 8:30
Rockford at Texas, 8:30


TONIGHT’S CLINCHING SCENARIOS:
Click here for up-to-date AHL standings

Worcester clinches the Atlantic Division title on Friday with:
(a) a win vs. Hartford AND a Portland loss (reg/OT/SO) at Manchester, OR
(b) an OTL/SOL vs. Hartford AND a Portland regulation loss at Manchester

Lowell clinches a playoff berth on Friday with:
(a) a regulation win vs. Bridgeport

W-B/Scranton clinches a playoff berth on Friday with:
(a) a win vs. Albany AND a Norfolk loss (reg/OT/SO) vs. Hershey, OR
(b) an OTL/SOL vs. Albany AND a Norfolk regulation loss vs. Hershey

Chicago clinches the West Division title on Friday with:
(a) a point at Milwaukee, OR
(b) a Texas loss (reg/OT/SO) vs. Rockford


GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Bridgeport at Lowell, 7:00
Lowell can clinch its first playoff berth in team history on Wednesday with a regulation win over Bridgeport, which sits only two points back of the Devils for fourth place in the Atlantic Division… The Devils, who snapped a three-game losing skid with a 3-2 overtime triumph vs. Worcester on Apr. 3, have not won in regulation since capturing a 3-1 decision at Syracuse on Mar. 12… Michael Swift has recorded a point in eight of his last nine outings (7-5-12) for Lowell, and former Sound Tiger Ben Walter shows a team-high six points (2-4-6) in the season series thus far… Matt Martin has put up eight points (1-7-8) in his last nine outings for Bridgeport, which is 1-4-0-0 since a nine-game points streak (8-0-1-0) came to an end.

Lake Erie at Grand Rapids, 7:00
Lake Erie travels to Grand Rapids on Friday for a battle of North Division squads who will miss the postseason this spring… The Monsters have earned point in six of the teams’ first seven meetings this season (4-1-0-2), including a 1-0-0-2 mark at Van Andel Arena… Lake Erie leading scorer T.J. Hensick (20-50-70) has a point in five straight games (1-6-7) and 10 of his last 12 contests (2-14-16)… Monsters captain Brian Willsie is also riding a five-game scoring streak (3-5-8)… Brad May has netted a goal in three straight games (3-0-3) for the Griffins, who are playing their home finale… Riley Armstrong snapped a 10-game drought with a pair of goals on Wednesday vs. Rochester.

Springfield at Providence, 7:05
Providence’s playoff hopes are hanging by the slimmest of threads heading into the Bruins’ home finale against Springfield… The Bruins are in danger of missing the postseason for the first time since 1998… Providence leading scorer Mikko Lehtonen (23-27-50) has a team-high 10 points (3-7-10) vs. Springfield this year, helping the B’s to an 8-1-0-0 mark in the season series… Chris Minard has a point in eight of his last nine (6-4-10) for Springfield, which is winless in six straight contests (0-4-1-1).

Toronto at Rochester, 7:05
Needing one point over its final two games to clinch second place in the North Division, Rochester hosts Toronto tonight… The Amerks, who are 6-0-0-1 vs. the Marlies this season, saw their three-game overall winning streak end on Wednesday in a 6-3 loss at Grand Rapids… Jamie Johnson has a goal in two straight games for Rochester (2-1-3) after totaling two goals in his previous 18 outings… The Marlies, who will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2007, are playing their final road game of the season… Jeff Hamilton has a point in five straight games (2-3-5) and nine of his last 10 contests (6-4-10) for Toronto… The Marlies average a league-low 2.40 goals per game heading into the season’s last weekend.

Albany at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Still looking to wrap up its eighth straight playoff bid, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton hosts potential first-round opponent Albany tonight… The Penguins sit third in the East Division but just one point up on fourth-place Norfolk following a 1-0 loss to the Admirals on Wednesday… Pens leading scorer Dustin Jeffrey (27-47-70) has more than doubled the 11 goals he scored as a rookie in 2008-09, and he is four points shy of doubling the 37 he put up last year… The River Rats have secured second place in the East and will enjoy home-ice advantage in the first round… Second Team AHL All-Star Jerome Samson ranks second in the AHL with 37 goals (37-41-78) in 74 games for Albany.

Hartford at Worcester, 7:05
Coming off a 9-2 pounding of Hartford on Wednesday in Connecticut’s capital, Worcester hosts the Wolf Pack tonight to conclude the teams’ season series… The Sharks started 0-4-0-0 against the Pack this year but have posted a 3-0-0-0 mark since… Sharks rookie Brandon Mashinter snapped a season-high seven-game points drought with two goals and an assist on Wednesday, while Dan DaSilva had a goal and a helper to give him points in four of his last five (3-3-6)… Kris Newbury has a point in eight straight games (1-10-11) for the Wolf Pack, who are on the verge of missing the playoffs for the first time in their 13-year history.

Hershey at Norfolk, 7:15
Hershey (59-16-0-3) takes its second crack at reaching the 60-win plateau on Friday when it opens a two-game set at Norfolk… The Bears, who dropped a 3-1 decision at Syracuse on Tuesday, have already clinched home-ice advantage throughout the Calder Cup Playoffs, while the Admirals enter tied for the Eastern Conference’s final postseason bid… Hershey linemates Keith Aucoin (35-67-102) and Alexandre Giroux (36-53-99) are neck-and-neck for the AHL scoring crown… Rookie goaltender Dustin Tokarski (26-24-3) has appeared in 13 straight games for the Admirals, who are just 1-6-0-1 against Hershey this season.

Binghamton at Adirondack, 7:30
Clinging to its slim playoff hopes, Binghamton returns to Adirondack looking to avenge Wednesday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Phantoms… Andreas Nodl tallied the game-winner in that one for the Phantoms, who snapped a six-game winless skid (0-5-0-1) in the process… Defenseman Danny Syvret has a goal in two straight games (2-1-3) since returning to Adirondack’s lineup from an extended injury absence… The Phantoms have scored only 47 first-period goals, compared with 71 in the second period and 66 in the third… Josh Hennessy (1-4-5), Ryan Keller (3-1-4) and Martin St. Pierre (1-3-4) are all on three-game scoring streaks for the Senators.

Portland at Manchester, 7:30
Portland visits Manchester on Friday in a potential first-round playoff match-up… The Pirates are 8-0-2-1 in their last 11 games, while the Monarchs’ current seven-game winning streak is their longest since an eight-game run from Apr. 1-14, 2007… Portland is without its top three scorers, as Mark Mancari (27-44-71), AHL Rookie of the Year Tyler Ennis (23-42-65) and Nathan Gerbe (11-27-38) are all on recall to Buffalo… Derek Whitmore has a goal in three of his last four games for Portland, which is 7-1-1-0 vs. Manchester this season… Monarchs forward Trevor Lewis is on a four-game scoring streak (3-1-4), and Oscar Moller shows a point in eight of his last nine outings (5-6-11)… Portland boasts the AHL’s top-ranked power play (20.6 percent), and Manchester ranks sixth (20.1%).

Hamilton at Syracuse, 7:30
Hamilton makes its lone visit of the season to Syracuse on Friday… The former division rivals met in Ontario back on Nov. 14, with the Bulldogs taking a 5-1 victory… Hamilton, which dropped a 2-1 squeaker to Manitoba on Tuesday, is looking to avoid its first two-game regulation losing skid since Feb. 13 and 16… Ryan White shows a point in four straight (1-3-4) and five of his last six games (1-4-5) for the Bulldogs, who rank third in the AHL in goals per game (3.38) and first in goals against (2.24)… Crunch second-year pro Maksim Mayorov snapped a 16-game points drought with a goal and two assists on Tuesday in a 3-1 win over Hershey.

Chicago at Milwaukee, 8:00
Milwaukee will look to avenge a 2-1 loss at Chicago on Wednesday when it hosts the Wolves on Friday at the Bradley Center… Chicago needs just one point to wrap up the West Division title, which would set up a first-round meeting with the fourth-place Admirals if the season ended today… Wolves forwards Johnny Pohl (2-1-3) and Andrew Kozek (1-2-3) both show three points in their last three contests, but leading scorer Jason Krog (14-60-74) is without a point in five straight games… Milwaukee’s Mike Santorelli saw his eight-game scoring streak (4-8-12) end in Wednesday’s loss… The Admirals are just 2-7-0-0 vs. Chicago this season, including 1-3-0-0 at home.

Peoria at Manitoba, 8:30
Manitoba tunes up for its sixth straight playoff appearance this weekend with a two-game home set against Peoria, which is making its only visit of the season to the MTS Centre… The Rivermen took a pair of victories from the Moose back in Peoria, a 2-1 decision on Nov. 27 and a 7-1 rout on Dec. 4… Former Peoria captain Yan Stastny, who had 27 points (10-17-27) in 49 games with the Rivermen this season, shows five points (1-4-5) in 14 games since joining the Moose… Pascal Pelletier is on a three-game scoring streak (1-2-3) for Peoria, which will miss the playoffs for the third time in four years… The Rivermen own the AHL’s top-ranked road power play (21.9 percent).

Rockford at Texas, 8:30
Texas hosts Rockford on Friday in a potential preview of the 2-vs-3 first-round playoff match-up in the West Division… The Stars have raced toward the finish line with a 15-4-0-0 mark in their last 19 games… Francis Wathier has recorded three goals and five points in his last three games for Texas, and rookie Travis Morin shows three points (1-2-3) in his last two outings… Rockford’s Mark Cullen has recorded a team-high six points (2-4-6) in five games against Texas on the campaign… The IceHogs are 0-12-1-0 on the road when trailing after two periods… Texas has put up a 6-1-0-0 record in these teams’ series thus far.


MORNING HEADLINES:
RECORDS TAKE BACK SEAT TO R&R FOR KEY BULLDOGS – Hamilton Spectator

Records be damned. Hamilton Bulldogs head coach Guy Boucher says he will rest players in the team’s final two regular season games, tonight in Syracuse and tomorrow afternoon at the Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto against the Marlies. The club can tie a league record for road victories (28) with a pair of weekend wins. But, Boucher cautions, with the playoffs set to open next week that record is not even on his radar.
http://www.thespec.com/Sports/article/750498

MOOSE HAVE BIG PLANS FOR HODGSON – Winnipeg Free Press
If Cody Hodgson turns into a Moose again this spring, there’s every reason to expect more of an impact. The Vancouver Canucks’ first-round draft pick of 2008 joined a very skilled team en route to the Calder Cup final and contributed six points in 11 AHL playoff games. That was the completion of a very long season for the blue-chip prospect. Hodgson will surely be less worn out in 2010.
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/sports/hockey/moose/moose-have-big-plans-for-hodgson-the-ahl-tonight-90335599.html

TEAM’S WAY OF LIFE NOT FOREIGN TO PHILLIPS, CARLSSON – Rockford Register Star
Two Rockford IceHogs have had to make adjustments to their sport on and off the ice this season. That’s only natural when one hails from Beverly, England, and the other from Uppsala, Sweden. Englishman David Phillips and Swede Jonathan Carlsson have fit in well, gaining confidence, improving production and becoming more comfortable as the season has progressed.
http://www.rrstar.com/sports/x998214190/Teams-way-of-life-not-foreign-to-Phillips-Carlsson

A STRENGTH BEYOND STRENGTH – Portland Press-Herald
When Kevin Collins joined the Buffalo Sabres’ organization five years ago as a conditioning coach, he had no idea he also would become a computer geek. Collins spends most of his time monitoring the diet and exercise regimen of the Portland Pirates. But on game days he’s focused on his laptop computer, keeping track of what the players are doing on the ice.
http://www.pressherald.com/sports/a-strength-beyond-strength_2010-04-09.html

RATS REVVED UP FOR PLAYOFF PUSH – Troy Record
In their final season in Albany, this is shaping up to be a memorable campaign for the River Rats. And it’s far from being over as they’ll compete in the Calder Cup playoffs for the third time in the past four seasons. The Rats are assured of a second-place finish in the East Division, their best divisional showing in the four years the club has served as the top affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes.
http://www.troyrecord.com/articles/2010/04/09/sports/doc4bbebf1399ae7631268627.txt

PHANTOMS ROOKIE GOALIE MAKING A SPLASH – Glens Falls Post-Star
Even if he wasn’t 6-foot-4 and wearing bright green and yellow pads and helmet, Brian Stewart would have stood out the past two games. But those accoutrements, which resemble an old Mello Yello soda can, really do help. "It’s just a completely different color," Stewart said. "They really do stick out." So has his play.
http://www.poststar.com/sports/article_71b3838c-438d-11df-934c-001cc4c002e0.html


ALUMNI WATCH:
On Thursday, 2008 AHL Rookie of the Year Teddy Purcell scored a goal and added the shootout winner as Tampa Bay edged Ottawa, 4-3… 2010 AHL All-Rookie forward Logan Couture potted a goal to help San Jose double up Vancouver, 4-2… 2008 AHL All-Rookie forward Bobby Ryan scored twice, but Anaheim dropped a 3-2 shootout decision at Dallas… 2005 AHL All-Star Eric Staal registered a hat trick and added two assists as Carolina surged past Montreal, 5-2.


BY THE NUMBERS:
6 – Seasons played by the AHL’s Pittsburgh Hornets at the Civic Auditorium (1961-67) – known affectionately as the Igloo – winning the 1967 Calder Cup championship before giving way to the NHL’s expansion Penguins that fall… The arena celebrated its final regular-season game last night as the Penguins defeated the N.Y. Islanders.


ON THIS DATE:
April 9, 2008Corey Locke scores three goals and assists on three others in Hamilton’s 8-4 win over Rochester.

April 9, 1968 – The Buffalo Bisons outlast the Quebec Aces, 10-7, to avoid a three-game sweep in the teams’ first-round playoff series.

April 9, 1950 – 20-year-old goaltender Terry Sawchuk and the Indianapolis Capitals defeat Johnny Bower and the Cleveland Barons, 4-3, to take a commanding 3-0 series lead in the Calder Cup Finals.


AHL LIVE:

Don’t miss a step on the road to the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs. 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.