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AHL Morning Skate: May 24

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 – 7:00 ET, AHL Live

The Western Conference Finals open tonight as top-seeded Utica hosts second-seeded Grand Rapids at the Utica Memorial Auditorium… The Comets were pushed to the limit in the first round by Chicago and again in the second round by Oklahoma City… The Griffins, who rallied from 0-2 down to defeat Toronto in the conference quarterfinals, took care of Rockford in five games in the conference semis… Alexandre Grenier (4-6-10) is Utica’s leading playoff scorer after putting up 4-3-7 in the second round, including the overtime winner in Game 2 and the only goal in a 1-0 win over Oklahoma City in Game 7 on Wednesday… Jacob Markstrom (7-5, 1.85, .930) has allowed two goals or fewer in 10 of his 12 playoff starts, and on Wednesday joined Johnny Bower as the only goalies in AHL history to post a 1-0 shutout victory in a Game 7… Teemu Pulkkinen (13-2-15) had 7-2-9 in five games vs. Rockford last round… Tyler Bertuzzi (6-3-9) leads the AHL with four game-winning goals this postseason… Tom McCollum (7-2, 2.68, .913) has won seven of his last eight starts in the Grand Rapids crease… The Griffins were the top-scoring team in the AHL during the regular season averaging 3.28 goals per game, and they have bettered that production this postseason with 37 goals in 10 playoff matches (3.70)… The teams split their two meetings during the 2014-15 regular season… Utica was just 1-for-23 on the power play in the conference semifinals, and is now 6-for-47 for the postseason (12.8 percent)… Grand Rapids is 9-for-41 (22.0 percent) with the man advantage.

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

Eastern Conference Picture
Manchester took a 2-0 series lead with a 7-4 win over Hartford last night (recap/highlights)… Game 3 is Tuesday night in Hartford.

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 – MANCHESTER 7, Hartford 4
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

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
Antoine Vermette, a member of the AHL’s All-Rookie Team in 2002-03, scored 5:37 into the second overtime period to give Chicago a 5-4 win over Anaheim in Game 4 of the NHL’s Western Conference Final last night… Brandon Saad had a goal and two assists and Corey Crawford finished with 47 saves for the Blackhawks… The Ducks scored three goals in 37 seconds during the third period — by AHL grads Ryan Kesler, Matt Beleskey and Corey Perry.
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.