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AHL Morning Skate: June 6

Take a game-day spin around the AHL ice with latest news and notes from the Calder Cup Playoffs
in today’s Morning Skate.

Complete Schedule || Playoff Brackets || Today’s Scoreboard || League Leaders

   
Game 1 – 6:00 ET, AHL Live
Infographic: Series Snapshot

Nearly eight months after the season opened on Oct. 10, the 2015 Calder Cup Finals get underway tonight with the Eastern Conference champion Manchester Monarchs hosting the Western Conference champion Utica Comets in Game 1… It is the first Finals appearance for both teams… Manchester enters the series on a six-game winning streak, including a sweep of Hartford in the conference finals, and has won 13 straight at Verizon Wireless Arena since its last loss on home ice back on Mar. 7… Forwards Jordan Weal (10-9-19), Michael Mersch (11-7-18) and Brian O’Neill (9-8-17) have scored 30 of the Monarchs’ 53 playoff goals (56.6 percent) through three rounds… Jean-Francois Berube (11-3, 2.38, .894) has started all 14 games for Manchester and has faced a league-low 23.6 shots per game… Jacob Markstrom (11-7, 1.87, .931) has allowed two goals or fewer in 14 of his 18 playoff starts for Utica… Comets captain Cal O’Reilly (0-15-15) leads the team in playoff scoring and is first in the AHL in assists… Sven Baertschi (6-7-13) scored four goals in the conference finals vs. Grand Rapids, including a natural hat trick in Game 3… Comets forward Cory Conacher (4-1-5), a Calder Cup winner with Norfolk in 2012, has three goals in his last four games, matching his total from his previous 39 career AHL playoff contests… The Monarchs are 11-0 this postseason when scoring the game’s first goal, and 0-3 when allowing it… The series marks the first time since 2009 (Hershey vs. Manitoba) that the top seed in each conference made it to the Calder Cup Finals, and the first time since 2000 (Hartford vs. Rochester) that the teams with the AHL’s two best regular-season records met for the championship.

2015 Calder Cup Finals – Series “O” (best-of-7)
E1-Manchester Monarchs vs. W1-Utica Comets
Game 1 – Sat., June 6 – Utica at Manchester, 6:00
Game 2 – Sun., June 7 – Utica at Manchester, 5:00
Game 3 – Wed., June 10 – Manchester at Utica, 7:00
Game 4 – Fri., June 12 – Manchester at Utica, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., June 13 – Manchester at Utica, 7:00
*Game 6 – Tue., June 16 – Utica at Manchester, 7:00
*Game 7 – Wed., June 17 – Utica at Manchester, 7:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Official Business
The American Hockey League has named the on-ice officials for the 2015 Calder Cup Finals… Referees working the series will be Tom Chmielewski (first Finals), Terry Koharski (eighth), Mark Lemelin (third), T.J. Luxmore (first) and Garrett Rank (first)… Linesmen will be Shandor Alphonso, Ryan Gibbons, John Grandt, Trent Knorr, Alex Stagnone and Francis Trempe.
First Impressions
The home team (higher seed) is 6-8 in the opening game of the Calder Cup Finals since 1993:

2014 – TEXAS STARS 6, St. John’s IceCaps 3
2013 – Grand Rapids Griffins 3, SYRACUSE CRUNCH 1
2012 – NORFOLK ADMIRALS 3, Toronto Marlies 1
2011 – HOUSTON AEROS 3, Binghamton Senators 1
2010 – Texas Stars 2, HERSHEY BEARS 1
2009 – Hershey Bears 5, MANITOBA MOOSE 4 (OT)
2008 – CHICAGO WOLVES 5, W-B/Scranton Penguins 4
2007 – Hamilton Bulldogs 4, HERSHEY BEARS 0
2006 – MILWAUKEE ADMIRALS 2, Hershey Bears 1
2005 – Philadelphia Phantoms 1, CHICAGO WOLVES 0
2004 – MILWAUKEE ADMIRALS 2, W-B/Scranton Penguins 1 (OT)
2003 – Houston Aeros 2, HAMILTON BULLDOGS 1
2002 – Chicago Wolves 5, BRIDGEPORT SOUND TIGERS 4 (OT)
2001 – W-B/Scranton Penguins 4, SAINT JOHN FLAMES 3

MVP Effort
Manchester’s Brian O’Neill is the eighth consecutive regular-season MVP to reach the Calder Cup Finals in the same season… Six of the last seven won the Calder Cup as well:

2015 – Brian O’Neill, Manchester Monarchs
2014 – Travis Morin, Texas Stars
2013 – Tyler Johnson, Syracuse Crunch
2012 – Cory Conacher, Norfolk Admirals
2011 – Corey Locke, Binghamton Senators
2010 – Keith Aucoin, Hershey Bears
2009 – Alexandre Giroux, Hershey Bears
2008 – Jason Krog, Chicago Wolves

1 vs. 2
Manchester and Utica had the top two records in the American Hockey League during the regular season, making this the first playoff meeting since 2007 — and the first Calder Cup Finals since 2000 — pitting the AHL’s top two regular-season teams… It is also just the sixth such postseason series since 1992:

2015 Calder Cup Finals – Manchester Monarchs (#1) vs. Utica Comets (#2)
2007 Eastern Conference Finals – Hershey Bears (#1) def. Manchester Monarchs (#2), 4-0
2000 Calder Cup Finals – Hartford Wolf Pack (#1) def. Rochester Americans (#2), 4-2
1999 Calder Cup Finals – Providence Bruins (#1) def. Rochester Americans (#2), 4-1
1998 Western Conference Finals – Philadelphia Phantoms (#1) def. Albany River Rats (#2), 4-2
1997 Mid-Atlantic Division Finals – Hershey Bears (#2) def. Philadelphia Phantoms (#1), 4-3

Working Overtime
There have been 15 overtime games played in the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs so far… Utica is 3-3 in overtime; Manchester is 1-0… Home teams are 8-7:

May 29 – GRAND RAPIDS 3, Utica 2 (Andreas Athanasiou, 5:05)
May 14 – Grand Rapids 2, ROCKFORD 1 (Tyler Bertuzzi, 0:13)
May 13 – Hartford 5, HERSHEY 4 (Chris Mueller, 11:39)
May 8 – UTICA 2, Oklahoma City 1 (Alexandre Grenier, 3:32)
May 7 – Oklahoma City 2, UTICA 1 (Curtis Hamilton, 60:16)
May 6 – MANCHESTER 4, W-B/Scranton 3 (Zach O’Brien, 44:13)
May 6 – Hartford 2, HERSHEY 1 (Chris Bourque, 16:47)
May 1 – Chicago 4, UTICA 3 (Joel Edmundson, 2:19)
*May 1 – HARTFORD 3, Providence 2 (Tommy Hughes, 4:35)
*Apr. 29 – ROCKFORD 3, Texas 2 (Stephen Johns, 0:23)
*Apr. 29 – Oklahoma City 2, SAN ANTONIO 1 (Jujhar Khaira, 5:01)
Apr. 29 – UTICA 2, Chicago 1 (Darren Archibald, 10:58)
Apr. 26 – PROVIDENCE 2, Hartford 1 (Seth Griffith, 42:00)
Apr. 25 – OKLAHOMA CITY 4, San Antonio 3 (Connor Jones, 4:01)
Apr. 22 – Utica 3, CHICAGO 2 (Bobby Sanguinetti, 23:10)
  *series clincher

Calder Cup Finals History
Results of the last 25 Calder Cup Finals series:

2014 – Texas Stars 4, St. John’s IceCaps 1
2013 – Grand Rapids Griffins 4, Syracuse Crunch 2
2012 – Norfolk Admirals 4, Toronto Marlies 0
2011 – Binghamton Senators 4, Houston Aeros 2
2010 – Hershey Bears 4, Texas Stars 2
2009 – Hershey Bears 4, Manitoba Moose 2
2008 – Chicago Wolves 4, W-B/Scranton Penguins 2
2007 – Hamilton Bulldogs 4, Hershey Bears 1
2006 – Hershey Bears 4, Milwaukee Admirals 2
2005 – Philadelphia Phantoms 4, Chicago Wolves 0
2004 – Milwaukee Admirals 4, W-B/Scranton Penguins 0
2003 – Houston Aeros 4, Hamilton Bulldogs 3
2002 – Chicago Wolves 4, Bridgeport Sound Tigers 1
2001 – Saint John Flames 4, W-B/Scranton Penguins 2
2000 – Hartford Wolf Pack 4, Rochester Americans 2
1999 – Providence Bruins 4, Rochester Americans 1
1998 – Philadelphia Phantoms 4, Saint John Flames 2
1997 – Hershey Bears 4, Hamilton Bulldogs 1
1996 – Rochester Americans 4, Portland Pirates 3
1995 – Albany River Rats 4, Fredericton Canadiens 0
1994 – Portland Pirates 4, Moncton Hawks 2
1993 – Cape Breton Oilers 4, Rochester Americans 1
1992 – Adirondack Red Wings 4, St. John’s Maple Leafs 3
1991 – Springfield Indians 4, Rochester Americans 2
1990 – Springfield Indians 4, Rochester Americans 2

About the Calder Cup
While the AHL’s history dates back to the fall of 1936, the Calder Cup trophy was first awarded in 1938 to the Providence Reds for winning the second International-American Hockey League championship. (In 1996, George Parsons of the Syracuse Stars was presented the Calder Cup in a ceremony at the Onondaga County War Memorial; it is believed the Stars never received a trophy for their 1937 championship.) The Calder Cup is named for Frank Calder, the first president of the NHL (1917-43) and one of the driving forces behind the formation of the AHL.

In 2001, the trophy’s base was changed to include two tiers of plaques, which feature the rosters of each of the last 20 Calder Cup champions; the plaques from the first 56 champions are on display in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. The entire trophy now stands 24 inches tall and weighs 35 pounds. The bowl, made of sterling silver, is 12 inches high and eight inches in diameter; the base is made of Brazilian mahogany.

Alumni Watch
In Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night, Teuvo Teravainen scored the tying goal with 6:32 left in regulation and assisted on Antoine Vermette‘s game-winner less than two minutes later as Chicago defeated Tampa Bay, 2-1… Teravainen recorded 6-19-25 in 39 games with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs this season… Vermette was a member of the AHL’s All-Rookie Team in 2002-03, when he skated for the Binghamton Senators… Alex Killorn, a Calder Cup winner with the Norfolk Admirals in 2012, scored the only Lightning goal in Game 1.
Calder Cup Finals on AHL Live
As a thanks to the AHL’s loyal and dedicated fans, the American Hockey League and NeuLion, Inc., are making video streaming of all seven games of the 2015 Calder Cup Finals available for viewing at no charge from AHL Live via desktop, laptop, mobile device or tablet… To watch free on AHL Live, simply visit ahllive.com from any desktop computer, log in with your AHL Live account (or create a new one), select the Finals All-Access Pass and enter the promo code CALDERCUP to access all of the action of the AHL’s championship series featuring the calls of the Monarchs’ Ken Cail and the Comets’ Brendan Burke… You can watch on your desktop or laptop through ahllive.com, or download the official AHL Live app from iTunes or Google Play to watch on your mobile device or tablet.