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AHL Morning Skate: Conference finals resume tonight


Every morning, take 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.


SUNDAY’S SCORES:
Game 2 – HERSHEY 4, Manchester 1 (HER leads, 2-0)
Game 2 – Hamilton 3, CHICAGO 2 (OT) (HAM leads, 2-0)


SUNDAY’S THREE STARS:
1. Michael Lambert scores the winner 3:18 into overtime as Hamilton steals another game in Chicago and takes a 2-0 series lead.

2. Mike Green’s two-goal game boosts Hershey to a 4-1 win and a 2-0 series cushion over Manchester.

3. Frederic Cassivi makes 30 saves in the Bears’ Game 2 win, improving to 10-2 on the postseason.


WEDNESDAY’S SCHEDULE (all times ET):
Game 3 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:05 (HER leads, 2-0)
Game 3 – Chicago at Hamilton, 7:30 (HAM leads, 2-0)


2007 CALDER CUP PLAYOFFS:
Eastern Conference Final – Series “M” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. A1-Manchester Monarchs || Series Preview
Game 1 – Sat., May 19 – HERSHEY 7, Manchester 2
Game 2 – Sun., May 20 – HERSHEY 4, Manchester 1
Game 3 – Wed., May 23 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:05
Game 4 – Sat., May 26 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:35
*Game 5 – Sun., May 27 – Hershey at Manchester, 6:05
*Game 6 – Wed., May 30 – Manchester at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 7 – Thu., May 31 – Manchester at Hershey, 7:00

Western Conference Final – Series “N” (best-of-7)
W2-Chicago Wolves vs. N3-Hamilton Bulldogs || Series Preview
Game 1 – Fri., May 18 – Hamilton 6, CHICAGO 5 (2OT)
Game 2 – Sun., May 20 – Hamilton 3, CHICAGO 2 (OT)
Game 3 – Wed., May 23 – Chicago at Hamilton, 7:30
Game 4 – Fri., May 25 – Chicago at Hamilton, 7:30
*Game 5 – Sat., May 26 – Chicago at Hamilton, 7:00
*Game 6 – Mon., May 28 – Hamilton at Chicago, 8:00
*Game 7 – Wed., May 30 – Hamilton at Chicago, 8:00

*if necessary… All times Eastern


GAME NOTES (all times ET):
her-mch2_200.jpgGame 3 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:05 (HER leads, 2-0)

Official Media Notes (PDF – 388 KB)
Manchester returns home for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final after dropping Games 1 and 2 in Hershey over the weekend… The Bears are up 2-0 in a best-of-seven series for the 25th time in franchise history; they have lost the series only once, when Adirondack came back from 0-3 down to win their 1989 Southern Division Final… Hershey defensemen Mike Green (3g, 1a) and Tyler Sloan (4a) lead all scorers with four points each in this series… The Bears are 5-for-13 (38.5 percent) on the power play in the series, while killing off 19 of 20 shorthanded chances (95.0 percent)… The Monarchs own a 4-2 record at the Verizon Wireless Arena this postseason; they were 3-10 on home ice during their first five playoff trips… Manchester’s only three-game losing streak of the season (excluding shootouts) came from Mar. 9-18, coincidentally against each of this year’s playoff opponents (Hershey, Worcester, Providence).

chi-ham3_200.jpgGame 3 – Chicago at Hamilton, 7:30 (HAM leads, 2-0)
Official Media Notes (PDF – 358 KB)
Hamilton took a 2-0 series lead with back-to-back wins in Chicago, becoming the third team in Calder Cup Playoff history to open a series with consecutive overtime victories on the road… Seven of the Bulldogs’ last eight games have been decided by one goal; the eighth was decided by a goal plus an empty-netter… Hamilton’s Kyle Chipchura leads all scorers with five points (2g, 3a) in the series, including his four-point effort in Game 1… Corey Locke has points in all six of the Bulldogs’ home games this postseason (5g, 6a)… Darren Haydar has 17 points during his current seven-game scoring streak (6g, 11a) for Chicago… Jason Krog’s 10-game scoring streak ended in Game 2… The Wolves’ two visits to Copps Coliseum during the regular season both featured third-period comebacks: On Feb. 7, Hamilton scored twice in the final 23 seconds of regulation before losing in overtime; two days later, Chicago erased a three-goal deficit in the third period before falling in OT.


MORNING HEADLINES:

STERLING SETS STANDARD FOR SMALLER FORWARDS
Craig Custance, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A discussion about Thrashers prospect Brett Sterling inevitably leads to a list of small NHL scorers like New Jersey’s Brian Gionta (5 feet 7), Nashville’s Steve Sullivan (5-9) and Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis (5-9). Sterling is 5-feet-8 and a fifth-round pick by the Thrashers in 2003. He has scored everywhere he’s played. Competing for the U.S. Junior national team in 2004, he had three goals in six games to lead the team to a gold medal. In 2004-05, his final season at Colorado College, he scored 31 goals in 41 games. It was his second consecutive 30-goal season, earning him first-team All-America honors. This season with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, Sterling won rookie of the year honors after leading the league with 55 goals. … Link

THE WOLF THAT GOT AWAY
Scott Radley, Hamilton Spectator

Whether it’s tonight or Friday or Saturday or all of the above, Number 20 for the visitors will almost certainly do something productive around the Bulldogs’ net. He nearly always does. When it happens, try not to dwell on the popular story about how the Chicago Wolves’ Darren Haydar — he of the American Hockey League’s MVP award and scoring title — nearly ended up as a Bulldog last summer before being allowed to go elsewhere and put together one of the great campaigns in recent AHL history. Unless you like myths. … Link

DAN’S THE MAN IN HAMILTON
Manny Almela, Canadiens.com

Now only two victories from the Calder Cup final, the Hamilton Bulldogs continue to see new playoff heroes emerge on a nightly basis. Just ask the Chicago Wolves, who had their hearts broken by Dan Jancevski to open the AHL’s Western Conference final. It was Jancevski’s blast from the point in double overtime of Game 1 against the Wolves that got the ball rolling for the red-hot Bulldogs. After that huge 6-5 victory, it was rarely-dressed Michael Lambert’s turn to save the day in a 3-2 overtime win over Chicago, staking Hamilton to a 2-0 series lead. … Link

CASSIVI SETTING TONE FOR BEARS TEAMMATES
Tim Leone, Harrisburg Patriot-News

Giant Center, with a loud fan corps that has given the Hershey Bears profound support the last two years, is by no means an orchestral setting. However, it serves as the home office for a padded maestro. Goalie Frederic Cassivi is at it again this postseason, wielding his big stick in hockey harmony, composing another championship symphony. “I don’t know what else to say about Freddy that we can add an accolade to his resume,” Bears head coach Bruce Boudreau said. “When Freddy is on, everybody is on in the room, everybody is on on the bench, because they know he’s going to be a great last line of defense.” And Freddy has been on in the 2007 playoffs, following his 16-5 record and MVP performance in 2006 with a 10-2 record, 2.48 goals-against average and .914 save percentage this year. … Link

MONARCHS’ WILL TO BE TESTED
Kevin Provencher, New Hampshire Union Leader

It was never easy, but the Manchester Monarchs rewrote their playoff history to get this far. Now they will have to take a bite out of Hershey Bears’ lore to go any farther. For the 25th time in their long history, Hershey has opened a playoff series by winning two straight games. When capturing Games 1 and 2 Hershey has only lost a playoff series once. That was in 1989, when Adirondack stormed back from an 0-3 deficit. “This is what you work for all year long,” said Monarchs coach Mark Morris. “I’m going to be stern with our players and anything less than their best is unacceptable. This is ‘go time’ and we need to have everybody on board. You can break it up into bite-sized chunks and you can fight your way back into the series.” … Link


FROM CALDER TO STANLEY:
Randy Carlyle, who coached the AHL’s Manitoba Moose to the conference finals of the 2005 Calder Cup Playoffs, has led the Anaheim Ducks to the Western Conference championship thanks to last night’s 4-3 win over Detroit in Game 6… The Ducks will face Ottawa in the Stanley Cup Finals beginning next week.


BY THE NUMBERS:
146 – Including playoffs, points recorded by Chicago’s Darren Haydar in 85 games this season (122 regular-season, 24 playoffs)… The AHL record is 150, set by Binghamton’s Don Biggs in 92 games in 1992-93 (138 regular-season, 12 playoffs).


ON THIS DATE:
May 23, 2006
Tim Brent picks up a goal and an assist as Portland scores three times in the third period and defeats Hershey, 3-2, in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final.

May 23, 2005Brad Boyes scores 14:08 into overtime as Providence gets in the win column with a 2-1 victory over Philadelphia in Game 3 of their conference final series.

May 23, 1997Chad Kilger caps Springfield’s comeback from a three-goal deficit and sends the Falcons to a 4-3 win over Hershey and a 3-1 conference final series lead.

May 23, 1994 – Behind Olaf Kolzig’s 37 saves, Portland defeats Moncton, 4-3, to take a 2-1 series lead in the Calder Cup Final.

May 23, 1987Rochester wins its fifth Calder Cup championship with a 4-2 win at Sherbrooke in Game 7.


ON THE AIR:
B2 Networks brings AHL action to your computer, web-enabled cell phone or PDA throughout the Calder Cup Playoffs with live video webcasts of every AHL game… Visit caldercup.com for details.