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AHL Morning Skate: May 31

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 5 – 7:00 ET, AHL Live, SiriusXM NHL Network Radio
Series tied 2-2

Grand Rapids continued their winning ways at home in Game 4, taking an overtime win from Utica to even the Western Conference Finals at two games apiece… Andreas Athanasiou (5-4–9) scored 5:05 into overtime for his fifth goal of the postseason and his second point of the night… Xavier Ouellet (1-4–5) got the Griffins on the board early in the second after another scoreless first period between the teams, while Anthony Mantha‘s (2-2–4) equalizer early in the third ended up forcing overtime… Jeff Hoggan (2-6–8), Nick Jensen (0-3–3), Dylan Larkin (2-2–4), and Brian Lashoff (0-3–3) all picked up assists in the win… Hoggan has assists in back-to-back games… Larkin has four points in four games… Tom McCollum (9-4-0, 2.62, .915) shined in Game 4 after struggling in Game 3, stopping 34-of-36 for the Griffins… Alex Friesen (4-6–10) and Cory Conacher (3-1–4) were the lone goal-scorers for the Comets, scoring 8:11 apart in the second frame to give Utica the lead until Mantha tied it up in the third… Sven Baertschi (6-7–13), Alexandre Grenier (4-7–11), and Cal O’Reilly (0-14–14) recorded assists in the loss… Baertschi has five points in his last three games… O’Reilly leads the Comets in scoring though he has yet to score a goal this postseason… Jacob Markstrom (9-7-0, 1.97, .927) stopped 22-of-25… The game was just the second of the playoffs to go into overtime for the Griffins, and the sixth of the playoffs for the Comets… Grand Rapids is 2-0 in overtime, Utica is 3-3.

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 4, GRAND RAPIDS 1
Game 4 – Fri., May 29 – GRAND RAPIDS 3, Utica 2 (OT)
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

Western Conference Finals History
The Robert W. Clarke Trophy is presented each season to the playoff champions of the AHL’s Western Conference… Here are the results of the Western Conference Finals since the league split into two conferences in 1995-96:

2014 – Texas Stars 4, Toronto Marlies 3
2013 – Grand Rapids Griffins 4, Oklahoma City Barons 3
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

Eastern Conference Finals
The Manchester Monarchs clinched their first-ever Eastern Conference championship with a 3-1 win over Hartford last night (recap)… The Monarchs will host Game 1 of the 2015 Calder Cup Finals on Sat., June 6.

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 5, HARTFORD 3
Game 4 – Wed., May 27 – Manchester 3, HARTFORD 1

Eastern Conference Finals History
The Richard F. Canning Trophy is presented each season to the playoff champions of the AHL’s Eastern Conference… Here are the results of the Eastern Conference Finals since the league split into two conferences in 1995-96:

2015 – Manchester Monarchs 4, Hartford Wolf Pack 0
2014 – St. John’s IceCaps 4, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 2
2013 – Syracuse Crunch 4, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 1
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, Saint John Flames 3
  *known as Northern Conference

Firing the Pul-cannon
Teemu Pulkkinen has tallied 14 goals for Grand Rapids so far this postseason… Only six players in AHL history have scored more:

26 – Bill McDougall, Cape Breton Oilers (1993)
18 – Darren Haydar, Milwaukee Admirals (2006)
16 – Tomas Tatar, Grand Rapids Griffins (2013)
15 – Alexandre Giroux, Hershey Bears (2009)
15 – Sergei Varlamov, Saint John Flames (2001)
15 – Martin Gendron, Portland Pirates (1996)

Working Overtime
There have been 15 overtime games played in the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs so far… 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

Alumni Watch
The 2015 Stanley Cup Finals begin June 3 between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Chicago Blackhawks. The Lightning have 21 AHL alumni on their roster (Mark BarberioBen BishopBrian BoyleJ.T. BrownRyan CallahanMatt CarleBraydon CoburnJonathan DrouinValtteri FilppulaJason GarrisonTyler JohnsonAlex KillornNikita KucherovJonathan MarchessaultVladislav NamestnikovNikita NesterovOndrej PalatCedric PaquetteAnton StralmanAndrej Sustr, and Andrei Vasilevskiy), in addition to their head coach Jon Cooper, who won a Calder Cup with Norfolk in 2012 alongside Barberio, Johnson, Killorn, and Palat. The Blackhawks have 24 AHL alumni on their playoff roster (Bryan BickellDaniel CarcilloCorey CrawfordKyle CumiskeyPhillip DanaultScott DarlingAndrew DesjardinsRyan HartmanNiklas HjalmarssonDuncan KeithMarcus KrugerJoakim NordstromVille PokkaAntti RaantaDavid RundbladBrandon SaadPatrick SharpAndrew ShawBrent SeabrookViktor SvedbergTeuvo TeravainenTrevor van RiemsdykAntoine Vermette, and Kris Versteeg).
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.