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AHL Morning Skate: May 23

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 2 – 7:00 ET, AHL Live (MCH leads series, 1-0)

Manchester hosts Hartford in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals tonight… Michael Mersch scored twice to lead the Monarchs to a 3-2 victory in the series opener on Thursday night… Mersch (8-7-15) leads all AHL rookies in goals and points and is first overall in the league in plus/minus rating (+10) this postseason… Nic Dowd (2-3-5) also scored in Game 1, and Jean-Francois Berube (8-3, 2.31, .900) made 24 saves for his sixth win in the last seven games… David Van der Gulik (2-5-7) extended his scoring streak to six games with an assist for the Monarchs in Game 1… Mersch’s first goal of the night came 35 seconds into Game 1, the fifth goal scored by the Monarchs this postseason in the opening minute of a game (see below)… Oscar Lindberg (2-9-11) and Mat Bodie (3-2-5) scored for the Wolf Pack on Thursday, and Chris Bourque (4-12-16) picked up two assists to improve to 1-9-10 in the last four games… Bourque, who also faced Manchester in the conference finals in 2007 and 2010 while with Hershey, now has 3-9-12 in 11 career playoff games against the Monarchs… Joey Crabb, scoreless in Hartford’s first-round series vs. Providence, has points in seven straight contests since then following his assist in Game 1 (4-4-8)… Yann Danis (7-5, 2.05, .928) stopped 22 shots in defeat… The Monarchs have now won 12 in a row (6-0 in the playoffs) on home ice, and 33 of their last 38 home games… The Wolf Pack are 6-3 all-time in Game 2’s following a Game 1 loss… Game 1 winners gone on to take 10 of the 12 series played thus far this postseason.

Eastern Conference Finals – Series “M” (best-of-7)
1-Manchester Monarchs vs. 3-Hartford Wolf Pack
Game 1 – Thu., May 21 – MANCHESTER 3, Hartford 2
Game 2 – Sat., May 23 – Hartford at Manchester, 7:00
Game 3 – Tue., May 26 – Manchester at Hartford, 7:00
Game 4 – Wed., May 27 – Manchester at Hartford, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 30 – Hartford at Manchester, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sun., May 31 – Manchester at Hartford, 7:00
*Game 7 – Tue., June 2 – Hartford at Manchester, 7:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Thursday’s Recaps/Highlights
Monarchs hang on to win Game 1
Quick Strikes
In seven of its first 11 playoff games, Manchester has grabbed a 1-0 lead within the first 2:07 of play:

Game 1 vs. Hartford – 0:35, Michael Mersch (W, 3-2)
Game 5 at W-B/Scranton – 2:01, Adrian Kempe (W, 2-1)
Game 4 at W-B/Scranton – 0:42, Jordan Weal (W, 5-2)
Game 1 vs. W-B/Scranton – 0:18, Nick Shore (W, 4-3)
Game 5 vs. Portland – 1:42, Michael Mersch (W, 5-3)
*Game 2 vs. Portland – 0:30, Jordan Weal (W, 6-2)
Game 2 vs. Portland – 0:20, Michael Mersch (W, 6-2)
Game 1 vs. Portland – 2:07, Jordan Weal (W, 5-2)
   *second goal of the game

Climbing the Charts
Hartford’s Chris Bourque has moved into seventh place on the AHL’s all-time postseason scoring list, and is now fifth all-time in playoff assists:

Career Calder Cup Playoff Scoring LeadersPts
1. Darren Haydar143
2. Willie Marshall119
3. Jason Krog118
4. Jody Gage110
5. Fred Glover104
6. Alexandre Giroux103
7. Chris Bourque94
8. Bob Solinger92
T-9. Gordie Clark90
T-9. Glenn Merkosky90
  
Career Calder Cup Playoff Assist LeadersA
1. Darren Haydar80
2. Jason Krog76
3. Keith Aucoin72
4. Willie Marshall71
5. Chris Bourque69
6. Mike Nykoluk62
7. Domenic Pittis61
8. Jody Gage59
9. Fred Glover56
T-10. Fred Thurier53
T-10. Bob Solinger53
West Finals Set
The Western Conference Finals get underway Sunday night with the Utica Comets hosting the Grand Rapids Griffins in Game 1.

Western Conference Finals – Series “N” (best-of-7)
1-Utica Comets vs. 2-Grand Rapids Griffins

Game 1 – Sun., May 24 – Grand Rapids at Utica, 7:00
Game 2 – Mon., May 25 – Grand Rapids at Utica, 7:00
Game 3 – Thu., May 28 – Utica at Grand Rapids, 7:00
Game 4 – Fri., May 29 – Utica at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sun., May 31 – Utica at Grand Rapids, 5:00
*Game 6 – Tue., June 2 – Grand Rapids at Utica, 7:00
*Game 7 – Wed., June 3 – Grand Rapids at Utica, 7:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Working Overtime
There have been 14 overtime games played in the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs so far… Home teams are 7-7:

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

Alumni Watch
Last night, 2007 AHL All-Star Keith Yandle recorded a goal and two assists and 2006 Calder Cup finalist Kevin Klein added two assists as the N.Y. Rangers defeated Tampa Bay, 5-1, in Game 4 of the NHL’s Eastern Conference Final… Martin St. Louis, who reached the Calder Cup Finals with the Saint John Flames in 1998 and who was an AHL All-Star in 1999, netted his first goal of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs… On Thursday night, Simon Despres scored his first career Stanley Cup Playoff goal, the game-winner in Anaheim’s 2-1 victory over Chicago in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final… Despres scored three career goals in the Calder Cup Playoffs with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton; two of those were game-winners also.
AHL Live
Don’t miss a second on the road to the 2015 Calder Cup championship. AHL Live brings AHL action to your desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet all season long with live video webcasts and free highlights of every AHL game… Visit ahllive.com for details.