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AHL Morning Skate: May 26

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 3 – 7:00 ET, AHL Live (MCH leads series, 2-0)

The Eastern Conference Finals move to the XL Center in Hartford for Game 3 tonight, with the host Wolf Pack looking to begin their climb out of a series hole… Manchester took a 2-0 lead with back-to-back wins on home ice, most recently a 7-4 decision in Game 2 on Saturday… Michael Mersch netted a hat trick, Sean Backman added two goals and an assist and Brian O’Neill recorded a goal and two assists in Saturday’s win… Mersch (11-7-18) has five goals in two games to begin the series, and is tied with teammate Jordan Weal (10-8-18) and Grand Rapids’ Teemu Pulkkinen (14-4-18) for the AHL playoff scoring lead… Mersch has 9-6-15 in Manchester’s seven home games this postseason, and 2-1-3 in their five road contests… Jean-Francois Berube (9-3, 2.44, .893) stopped 14 of 18 shots in Game 2, the sixth time this postseason he has faced 20 shots or fewer in a game… Oscar Lindberg (3-12-15) notched a goal and three assists for the Wolf Pack in Game 2, giving him 15 points in his last nine games… Joey Crabb (5-4-9) found the scoresheet for an eighth consecutive contest with a goal for Hartford in Game 2, and Chris Bourque (4-13-17) extended his scoring streak to five games (1-10-11) with an assist… Carl Klingberg (4-1-5) had a pair of goals in the Game 2 loss, his first two-goal effort since Mar. 21, 2014 with St. John’s (at Hartford)… Mackenzie Skapski (15-8-3, 2.40, .914 in the regular season) made his pro playoff debut in Game 2, playing the third period in relief of Yann Danis (7-6, 2.31, .920)… The teams have scored 16 goals on 98 shots in the series, leaving the goaltenders with a combined .837 save percentage… Manchester is 6-0 in Games 1 and 2 of series this postseason, but 0-2 so far in Game 3… This is only the third time in franchise history that Hartford has lost the first two games of a best-of-seven playoff series (2011 vs. Portland, 1999 vs. Providence).

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
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Western Conference Finals
Dylan Larkin scored his first two professional goals in Grand Rapids’ 4-2 win over Utica in Game 2 last night (recap/highlights)… Game 3 is Thursday in Grand Rapids.

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

Game 1 – Sun., May 24 – UTICA 2, Grand Rapids 1
Game 2 – Mon., May 25 – Grand Rapids 4, UTICA 2
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

Quick Strikes
In seven of its first 12 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 Leaders Pts
1. Darren Haydar 143
2. Willie Marshall 119
3. Jason Krog 118
4. Jody Gage 110
5. Fred Glover 104
6. Alexandre Giroux 103
7. Chris Bourque 95
8. Bob Solinger 92
T-9. Gordie Clark 90
T-9. Glenn Merkosky 90
   
Career Calder Cup Playoff Assist Leaders A
1. Darren Haydar 80
2. Jason Krog 76
3. Keith Aucoin 72
4. Willie Marshall 71
5. Chris Bourque 70
6. Mike Nykoluk 62
7. Domenic Pittis 61
8. Jody Gage 59
9. Fred Glover 56
T-10. Fred Thurier 53
T-10. Bob Solinger 53
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
Matt Beleskey, who spent his rookie season in 2008-09 with the AHL’s Iowa Chops, scored 45 seconds into overtime last night to give Anaheim a 5-4 win over Chicago and a 3-2 lead in the NHL’s Western Conference Final series… 2005 AHL All-Star Ryan Kesler and 2012-13 First Team AHL All-Star defenseman Sami Vatanen had a goal and an assist each for the Ducks… Teuvo Teravainen, who notched 6-19-25 in 39 AHL games with Rockford this season, recorded a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks.
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.