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Morning Skate: Crucial Game 3 for Monarchs

Every game day from now until the end of the Calder Cup Playoffs, the AHL Morning Skate takes a spin around the AHL ice with recaps and previews, news and notes, facts and figures, and the top headlines from around the American Hockey League.


SUNDAY’S SCORES:
Game 2 – HAMILTON 3, Texas 1 (HAM leads series, 2-0)


SUNDAY’S THREE STARS:
1. Brock Trotter posted two assists as Hamilton topped Texas by a 3-1 count to take a 2-0 series lead in the Western Conference Finals.

2. Hamilton goaltender Curtis Sanford improved to 4-0 this postseason with 22 saves in net.

3. Warren Peters notched the Stars’ lone goal in the Game 2 loss.


TONIGHT’S SCHEDULE (all times ET):
Game 3 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:00 (HER leads series, 2-0)


2010 CALDER CUP PLAYOFFS:
Complete Results II Scoring Leaders II Goaltending Leaders

Eastern Conference Finals – Series “M” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. A3-Manchester Monarchs

Game 1 – Wed., May 12 – HERSHEY 4, Manchester 2
Game 2 – Sat., May 15 – HERSHEY 3, Manchester 2 (OT)
Game 3 – Mon., May 17 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:00
Game 4 – Tue., May 18 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:00
*Game 5 – Thu., May 20 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sat., May 22 – Manchester at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 7 – Sun., May 23 – Manchester at Hershey, 5:00

Western Conference Finals – Series “N” (best-of-7)
N1-Hamilton Bulldogs vs. W2-Texas Stars
Game 1 – Fri., May 14 – HAMILTON 3, Texas 2
Game 2 – Sun., May 16 – HAMILTON 3, Texas 1
Game 3 – Wed., May 19 – Hamilton at Texas, 8:30
Game 4 – Fri., May 21 – Hamilton at Texas, 8:30
*Game 5 – Sat., May 22 – Hamilton at Texas, 8:00
*Game 6 – Mon., May 24 – Texas at Hamilton, 7:30
*Game 7 – Wed., May 26 – Texas at Hamilton, 7:30

*if necessary… All times Eastern


GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 3 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:00 (HER leads series, 2-0)
Video Webcast: AHL Live
Satellite Radio: XM 204, Sirius 208

Manchester is hoping home-ice advantage will help turn the tide in the Eastern Conference Finals as the Monarchs, down 2-0 in the series, host Hershey for Game 3 tonight at the Verizon Wireless Arena… The Monarchs, who were swept by Hershey in 2007, are now 0-6 all-time in the conference finals round… The Bears have won six straight conference finals game since a Game 1 loss to Providence last spring, and Hershey is 11-1 in its last 12 conference finals tilts dating back to its Game 7 overtime ouster of Portland in 2006… Overall, the Bears enter tonight’s contest sporting a seven-game winning streak and a 10-1 mark in the 2010 postseason… Hershey authored its seventh third-period comeback of the playoffs in Game 2 on Saturday, rallying from a 2-1 deficit to claim a 3-2 overtime victory… Chris Bourque scored twice for the Bears, including the game-winner 10:28 into OT, and Bourque now has a point in all seven games over Hershey’s current winning streak (6-9-15)… Bourque shows 18 points (6-12-18) in 11 playoff contests, tied for the league lead along with teammate Alexandre Giroux (10-8-18)… Giroux was held off the scoresheet on Saturday for just the second time all postseason… Hershey forward Steve Pinizzotto also notched a goal in Game 2 and Keith Aucoin earned a helper, giving the AHL MVP an assist in 11 straight games (1-15-16) to begin the playoffs… Bears goaltender Michal Neuvirth made 31 saves on 33 shots and improved his postseason record to a perfect 8-0 (2.27, .903)… With the Game 2 victory, Hershey improved to 5-0 in overtime during the playoffs and 4-1 when trailing after two periods of play… Gabe Gauthier tallied both goals for the Monarchs, giving him four goals in his last three games and six in his last six… Nineteen-year-old Kyle Clifford, a second-round draft pick by Los Angeles in 2009, has an assist in the first two games of the series for Manchester, as does Trevor LewisBud Holloway continues to pace the Monarchs with 11 points (6-5-11) in 12 playoff games, but he has yet to record a point in the series… Goaltender Jonathan Bernier (8-4, 1.79, .942) and the Monarchs have dropped consecutive games for the first time this postseason… During the playoffs, Bernier is 8-0 when he allows two or fewer goals, and 0-4 when he surrenders three or more… Manchester is 4-1 on home ice to this point… The Bears franchise has won 299 playoff games all-time.


ALL-TIME CALDER CUP PLAYOFF LEADERS

Points
1. Darren Haydar, 135
2. Willie Marshall, 119
3. Jason Krog, 118
4. Jody Gage, 110
5. Fred Glover, 104
6. Bob Solinger, 92
7(t).Alexandre Giroux, 91

Goals
1. Darren Haydar, 59
2. Jody Gage, 51
3(t). Willie Marshall, 48
3(t). Fred Glover, 48
5(t). Brad Smyth, 46
5(t). Alexandre Giroux, 46
7(t). Jason Krog, 42

Assists
1(t). Darren Haydar, 76
1(t). Jason Krog, 76
3. Willie Marshall, 71
4. Mike Nykoluk, 62
5. Domenic Pittis, 61

Games Played
1. Bryan Helmer, 128
2. Ken Gernander, 123
3. Fred Glover, 120
4. Jody Gage, 115

14(t). Alexandre Giroux, 102
14(t).
Boyd Kane, 102


MORNING HEADLINES:
XM SATELLITE RADIO TO CARRY AHL PLAYOFF ACTION – TheAHL.com

The American Hockey League announced today that action from the 2010 Calder Cup Playoff conference finals are scheduled to be heard live on XM Satellite Radio on their all-hockey NHL Home Ice channel this week.
http://theahl.com/xm-to-carry-ahl-playoff-action-p142695

TROTTER SEEMS TO HAVE STARS’ NUMBER – Hamilton Spectator
One way or the other, Brock Trotter is determined to be the hero. The Hamilton winger scored the winning goal in overtime Friday night to lift the Bulldogs to a 3-2 win over the Texas Stars at Copps Coliseum. Yesterday, Trotter made two spectacular plays that led to goals, as the Dogs won 3-1 to take a 2-0 lead in the AHL best-of-seven Western Conference final.
http://www.thespec.com/Sports/article/770693

BULLDOGS TOO TOUGH ON HOME ICE – Canadian Press
After Jamie Benn burned Hamilton for two goals in the American Hockey League Western Conference final opener, Bulldogs head coach Guy Boucher wanted his club to play closer attention to the Texas sniper. His players responded in a big way. Mike Glumac scored his team-leading 10th goal of the post-season Sunday and Benn was held off the scoresheet as Hamilton downed the Texas Stars 3-1 in Game 2 to seize a 2-0 lead in the series.
http://www.thestar.com/sports/hockey/article/810245–bulldogs-too-tough-on-home-ice

STARS LOSE TO HAMILTON, FALL BEHIND 2-0 IN SERIES – Austin American-Statesman
The Texas Stars are hoping home ice can turn their series around with the Hamilton Bulldogs in the AHL Western Conference finals. With the series shifting to the Cedar Park Center, the Stars are in a 2-0 hole following a 3-1 setback Sunday afternoon against the Bulldogs. The Stars were effectively shut out by Hamilton’s goaltender, Curtis Sanford. Texas couldn’t get any of its 23 shots past Sanford, except for a puck that bounced in from behind the net, off the pants of a Dogs defenseman.
http://www.statesman.com/sports/pro/stars-lose-to-hamilton-fall-behind-2-0-691961.html

LOSING NOT AN OPTION FOR BEARS – Lebanon Daily News
When the ill-fated Apollo 13 suffered its near-disastrous explosion on its way to the moon, the watch-word at mission control in the effort to get the three astronauts safely back to earth was “failure is not an option.” As far as the Hershey Bears are concerned, it appears that losing is not an option, either. For the fifth time since the playoffs began, the Bears found themselves trailing after two periods Saturday night. It really didn’t matter.
http://www.ldnews.com/sports/ci_15096302

BEARS AIM FOR 3-0 SERIES LEAD AT MANCHESTER – Harrisburg Patriot-News
Alexandre Giroux is closing on more AHL history. The record-setting Hershey Bears left winger has 91 career playoff points. His next point will tie him with former Bear Bob Solinger for sixth all-time. Giroux also has 46 career playoff goals. Two more will tie him with Fred Glover and former Bear Willie Marshall for third all-time. “If I can do it and help the team win,” Giroux said, “that’s going to be a bonus, for sure.”
http://blog.pennlive.com/patriotnewssports/2010/05/hershey_bears_aim_for_3-0_seri.html

SO FAR, TOUGH GOING FOR MONARCHS – New Hampshire Union Leader
Many of the small things Hershey is doing right has Manchester pointing in the wrong direction. The defending champion Bears are playing like the champs. In 11 playoff games, Hershey is 6-0 in one-goal games, 3-0 in overtime, scoring at will at 4.2 goals per game and, now with a 2-0 lead, has given itself a chance to take command of the Eastern Conference Calder Cup finals entering today’s 7 p.m. Game 3 encounter at Verizon Wireless Arena.
http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?articleId=4067ce37-26de-424b-9e4b-e1f5082e63d3

MAIN EVENT: BARON IT ALL FOR A NAME – The Oklahoman
Classified information. Top secret. Gag order. All might describe a good marketing strategy by Prodigal Hockey, LLC, to pretend it’s tight lipped but willing to keep fans and media talking by throwing a few curveballs. No one, literally, is talking at Prodigal, which will market and operate Oklahoma City’s new American Hockey League franchise. Whatever the team name will be, Prodigal Hockey, LLC, has people talking.
http://newsok.com/main-event-baron-it-all-for-a-name/article/3461904

PELECH PERSEVERED THROUGH HEALTH SCARE – Abbotsford News
Matt Pelech’s development with the Abbotsford Heat was bopping along quite nicely in January when he was blindsided by a body check. It wasn’t delivered by an opposing player, though. During a routine examination, a blood clot was found in the burly defenseman’s arm. It was serious enough he was told he wouldn’t be able to play hockey until next season. Although he was in good hands, Pelech admitted he was a bit scared.
http://www.bclocalnews.com/sports/93895834.html

NIEMI MAKING NAME FOR HIMSELF – Associated Press
When Antti Niemi was working as a goalie for a second division team in Finland, he made extra money by driving the Zamboni at a local rink. Niemi has come a long, long way in the past decade. After spending most of last season with Rockford of the AHL, he won what was expected to be the backup job to Cristobal Huet. But Niemi made the most of his chances when he did play, posted seven shutouts and took over as the starting goalie for good.
http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/nhl/news/story?id=5189857


ALUMNI WATCH:
In Sunday’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, 2005 Calder Cup champion Patrick Sharp and 2007 AHL All-Star Dustin Byfuglien tallied goals to help Chicago rally for a 2-1 win over San Jose to open the Western Conference Finals… Defenseman Jason Demers, who spent all of 2008-09 and 25 games this season in the AHL with Worcester, notched his first career NHL playoff goal in the loss… 2005 Calder Cup finalist Braydon Coburn was one of six different Philadelphia skaters to score, and 2008 Baz Bastien Award winner Michael Leighton recorded a 28-save shutout as the Flyers rolled past Montreal, 6-0, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Janis Sprukts notched a pair of goals on Sunday as Latvia cruised to a 5-0 victory over Norway at the IIHF World Championships in Germany… Brandon Dubinsky (1-2-3) and Nick Foligno (2-0-2) combined for five points in the United States’ 4-0 triumph over France… 2006 Calder Cup champion Brooks Laich tallied the only goal for Canada in a 3-1 loss to Sweden.


BY THE NUMBERS:
10 – Times, in 16 playoff series since 2006, that the Hershey Bears have held a two-games-to-none lead… The Bears have won each of the previous nine series.

.304 – Winning percentage in 23 home playoff games (7-16) for Manchester from 2002-09… The Monarchs have reversed the trend and won four of five at the Verizon Wireless Arena this postseason.


ON THIS DATE:
May 17, 2009Tuukka Rask makes 37 saves but Andrew Joudrey and Alexandre Giroux score third-period goals to give Hershey a series-tying 2-1 win over Providence in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

May 17, 2003 – Houston takes a 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference finals with a 2-1 win over Grand Rapids in Game 4.

May 17, 2001Darcy Verot scores 19 seconds into the game and Rich Parent stops 38 shots as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton takes a 4-3 win at Saint John in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals.

May 17, 1993 – Olaf Kolzig makes 30 saves as Rochester advances to the Calder Cup Finals with a 3-2 win in Game 7 against the Binghamton Rangers, who had set AHL records for wins and points in the regular season (57-13-10)… Cape Breton gets a record-tying seven points (4g, 3a) from Bill McDougall in a 9-3 win over Springfield, sending the Oilers to the Finals as well.


AHL LIVE:
Don’t miss a step on the road to the 2010 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 theahl.com or ahllive.com for details.