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AHL Morning Skate: May 25

May 25, 2013


Take a game-day spin around the AHL ice with latest from around the American Hockey League in today's Morning Skate.

Complete Schedule || Playoff Brackets || Today's Scoreboard || League Leaders || Series Previews

Tonight's Previews

wbs  syr
Game 1 - 7:00 ET, AHL Live
Two teams carrying loads of momentum collide in this year's Eastern Conference Finals as Syracuse hosts Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in Game 1 tonight... The Crunch are a perfect 7-0 this postseason following series sweeps of Portland and Springfield, while the Penguins are coming off four consecutive season-saving victories over Providence as they became the third team in AHL history to win a series after going down 0-3... Syracuse's trio of Ondrej Palat (4-11-15), Richard Panik (4-4-8) and regular-season AHL MVP Tyler Johnson (7-7-14) have combined to score half of the team's 30 goals this postseason... Cedrick Desjardins (7-0, 2.02, .916), who enters the series on a personal 10-game winning streak for the Crunch going back to the regular season, owns a 13-4 record in 17 career AHL playoff appearances... Mark Barberio (3-1-4), who entered the postseason with three goals in 24 career AHL playoff games, had three in the first two rounds this year... Brad Thiessen (5-1, 0.89, .970) was the star of Wilkes-Barre's comeback over Providence, stopping 177 of 181 shots (0.70, .978) in the series... From the second period of Game 4 until the end of Game 7, the Penguins outscored the Bruins 14-1 despite being outshot 133-86... Trevor Smith (4-7-11), who played for the Crunch in 2010-11 and was teammates with several current Syracuse players in Norfolk last season, has 3-3-6 in Wilkes-Barre's last three games... Syracuse leads the AHL in playoff scoring (4.29 goals per game) and is second in defense (2.14 goals allowed per game)... The Pens enter the series with the AHL's top-ranked power play in the playoffs (25.5 percent), while their penalty killing has snuffed out 20 consecutive chances.

Eastern Conference Finals – Series “M”
3-Syracuse Crunch vs. 5-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Game 1 – Sat., May 25 – W-B/Scranton at Syracuse, 7:00
Game 2 – Sun., May 26 – W-B/Scranton at Syracuse, 7:00
Game 3 – Wed., May 29 – Syracuse at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Game 4 – Fri., May 31 – Syracuse at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 5 – Sat., June 1 – W-B/Scranton at Syracuse, 7:00
*Game 6 – Mon., June 3 – Syracuse at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 7 – Wed., June 5 – W-B/Scranton at Syracuse, 7:00
   *if necessary... All times Eastern

okc  gr
Game 2 - 7:00 ET, AHL Live (GR leads series, 1-0)
Landon Ferraro's goal 2:35 into the second period snapped a 1-1 tie and held up as the difference as Grand Rapids edged Oklahoma City, 2-1, in last night's opener of the Western Conference Finals... Two of the three goals scored by Ferraro (3-7-10) this postseason have been game-winners... The Barons had scored 16 goals in the final three games of their second-round series vs. Texas, but got just one puck past Petr Mrazek (8-4, 2.09, .911)... Mrazek's 27 saves matched his single-game high for this postseason... Griffins defenseman Brennan Evans (1-1-2), who had gone 109 games without a goal since scoring on Feb. 21, 2012 (with Peoria), pocketed the first playoff goal of his 10-year pro career... Riley Sheahan (1-9-10), Tomas Tatar (8-4-12), Mitch Callahan (1-2-3) and Tomas Jurco (4-5-9) all had an assist last night for Grand Rapids, which is 4-0 all-time in best-of-seven AHL playoff series after winning Game 1... Andrew Hotham (2-3-5) scored the Barons' only goal, assisted by Jonathan Cheechoo (2-5-7) and Mark Arcobello (9-7-16)... Arcobello extended his scoring streak to eight games and took over sole possession of the lead in the AHL playoff scoring race... Yann Danis (7-4, 2.18, .935) stopped 26 of 28 shots for Oklahoma City... Grand Rapids' first 12 playoff games have all followed three-game patterns of lose-win-win.

Western Conference Finals – Series “N” (best-of-7)
3-Grand Rapids Griffins vs. 5-Oklahoma City Barons

Game 1 – Fri., May 24 – GRAND RAPIDS 2, Oklahoma City 1
Game 2 – Sat., May 25 – Oklahoma City at Grand Rapids, 7:00
Game 3 – Wed., May 29 – Grand Rapids at Oklahoma City, 8:00
Game 4 – Fri., May 31 – Grand Rapids at Oklahoma City, 8:00
*Game 5 – Sat., June 1 – Grand Rapids at Oklahoma City, 8:00
*Game 6 – Tue., June 4 – Oklahoma City at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 7 – Wed., June 5 – Oklahoma City at Grand Rapids, 7:00
   *if necessary... All times Eastern

About Last Night...
James Neal, who played 62 games with the AHL's Iowa Stars as a rookie in 2007-08, recorded three goals and an assist and former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins defenseman Kris Letang added a goal and two assists as Pittsburgh advanced to the NHL's Eastern Conference Finals with a 6-2 win over Ottawa in Game 5... Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre are now both four wins away from reaching their respective league championship series, a feat they accomplished previously in 2008.

Eastern Conference Finals History
The Richard F. Canning Trophy is presented each season to the playoff champions of the AHL's Eastern Conference... Either Syracuse or Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will be the 10th consecutive conference champion to come out of the East Division... Here are the results of the Eastern Conference Finals since the league split into two conferences in 1995-96:

2012 - Norfolk Admirals 4, St. John's IceCaps 0
2011 - Binghamton Senators 4, Charlotte Checkers 0
2010 - Hershey Bears 4, Manchester Monarchs 2
2009 - Hershey Bears 4, Providence Bruins 1
2008 - W-B/Scranton Penguins 4, Portland Pirates 3
2007 - Hershey Bears 4, Manchester Monarchs 0
2006 - Hershey Bears 4, Portland Pirates 3
2005 - Philadelphia Phantoms 4, Providence Bruins 2
2004 - W-B/Scranton Penguins 4, Hartford Wolf Pack 3
2003 - Hamilton Bulldogs 4, Binghamton Senators 1
2002 - Bridgeport Sound Tigers 4, Hamilton Bulldogs 3
2001 - Saint John Flames 4, Providence Bruins 1
2000 - Hartford Wolf Pack 4, Providence Bruins 3
1999 - Providence Bruins 4, Fredericton Canadiens 2
1998 - Saint John Flames 4, Hartford Wolf Pack 1
*1997 - Hamilton Bulldogs 4, Albany River Rats 1
*1996 - Portland Pirates 4,
  *known as Northern Conference

Western Conference Finals History
The Robert W. Clarke Trophy is presented each season to the playoff champions of the AHL's Western Conference... Either Grand Rapids or Oklahoma City will be the eighth different conference champion in the last eight years... Here are the results of the Western Conference Finals since the league split into two conferences in 1995-96:

2012 - Toronto Marlies 4, Oklahoma City Barons 1
2011 - Houston Aeros 4, Hamilton Bulldogs 3
2010 - Texas Stars 4, Hamilton Bulldogs 3
2009 - Manitoba Moose 4, Houston Aeros 2
2008 - Chicago Wolves 4, Toronto Marlies 1
2007 - Hamilton Bulldogs 4, Chicago Wolves 1
2006 - Milwaukee Admirals 4, Grand Rapids Griffins 0
2005 - Chicago Wolves 4, Manitoba Moose 0
2004 - Milwaukee Admirals 4, Rochester Americans 1
2003 - Houston Aeros 4, Grand Rapids Griffins 3
2002 - Chicago Wolves 4, Houston Aeros 1
2001 - W-B/Scranton Penguins 4, Hershey Bears 0
2000 - Rochester Americans 4, Hershey Bears 0
1999 - Rochester Americans 4, Philadelphia Phantoms 2
1998 - Philadelphia Phantoms 4, Albany River Rats 2
*1997 - Hershey Bears 4, Springfield Falcons 3
*1996 - Rochester Americans 4, Syracuse Crunch 1
  *known as Southern Conference

Working Overtime
There have been 13 overtime games played in the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs so far... Road teams are 10-3:

Apr. 26 - Texas 3, MILWAUKEE 2 (Brett Ritchie, 11:44)
Apr. 26 - Charlotte 4, OKLAHOMA CITY 3 (Brody Sutter, 3:06)
Apr. 27 - SPRINGFIELD 2, Manchester 1 (Cody Bass, 10:36)
Apr. 27 - W-B/Scranton 3, BINGHAMTON 2 (Chad Kolarik, 8:18)
Apr. 27 - SYRACUSE 4, Portland 3 (Richard Panik, 6:36)
Apr. 28 - Hershey 5, PROVIDENCE 4 (Jon DiSalvatore, 3:05)
Apr. 28 - SPRINGFIELD 3, Manchester 2 (Cody Bass, 18:44)
*May 1 - Toronto 3, ROCHESTER 2 (Will Acton, 5:14)
*May 2 - Syracuse 4, PORTLAND 3 (Ondrej Palat, 19:43)
*May 4 - Springfield 4, MANCHESTER 3 (Nick Drazenovic, 8:06)
May 9 - Oklahoma City 2, TEXAS 1 (Anton Lander, 1:28)
May 15 - Providence 2, W-B/SCRANTON 1 (Carter Camper, 0:31)
May 20 - W-B/Scranton 2, PROVIDENCE 1 (Trevor Smith, 3:26)
  *indicates goal ended series

Helping Hands
The American Hockey League has made a donation to the American Red Cross to help our neighbors in Barons Country after this week's devastating tornadoes in the Oklahoma City area. Visit redcross.org to find out how you can help also.

AHL Live
Don't miss a second on the road to the 2013 Calder Cup championship. 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 ahllive.com for details.