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The A-List: 10 things you need to know

November 5, 2013


10 Things You Need to Know About the American Hockey League This Week
AHL Standings || Scores and Schedules || League Leaders


1. The Milwaukee Admirals remain the only team in the AHL without a regulation loss this season, earning a 4-2 victory vs. Rockford on Friday night and a 5-2 win at Iowa on Sunday to improve to 6-0-2-0.

Going back to the end of last season, when they won seven of their last eight, the Admirals are 13-1-2-0 in their last 16 regular-season outings.

Defenseman Anthony Bitetto leads Milwaukee in scoring with 4-4-8 through eight games. As a rookie in 2012-13, Bitetto totaled 1-5-6 in 34 games with the Admirals. Rookie forward Colton Sissons has four goals and two assists for Milwaukee.

2. After playing eight of their first 10 games on the road, the Charlotte Checkers will be home for 16 of 19 between now and the Christmas break.

Six different goaltenders have seen action in the Checkers' crease through 10 games this season, including current Carolina call-ups Justin Peters and Mike Murphy and former No. 1 overall draft pick Rick DiPietro.

Despite the travel load and the goaltending carousel, Charlotte owns a record of 5-4-0-1 heading into its two-game set with Chicago, Thursday and Saturday at the Time Warner Cable Arena.

3. Nikita Kucherov's nine-point showing in three games for Syracuse earned the 20-year-old rookie the CCM/AHL Player of the Week award.

Kucherov, who had back-to-back four-point games on Wednesday and Friday, leads the AHL with 11 goals and is tied with Texas's Travis Morin for the top spot with 20 points on the year. Kucherov was a second-round draft pick by the parent Tampa Bay Lightning in 2011, a draft that also yielded Kucherov's Crunch teammates Vladislav Namestnikov and Nikita Nesterov for the Bolts.

4. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton earned a home-and-home sweep of Hershey, downing their in-state rivals 3-2 in overtime on home ice Friday and 4-2 in Chocolatetown on Saturday.

The Penguins and Bears have played each other in different cities on consecutive nights 10 times in the regular season. Last weekend marked the third time that Wilkes-Barre won both meetings -- and the first since Oct. 8-9, 2005. Hershey has also swept a home-and-home with the Pens three times, most recently Dec. 26-27, 2012.

The teams have one more home-and-home set scheduled for this season, Feb. 15-16.

5. The Grand Rapids Griffins' 7-2-1-1 record (16 pts.) marks the team's best start since 2005-06 (8-2-0-1, 17 pts.), when they went on to win the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the AHL's regular-season points champions.

The Griffins, last seen winning three games in Syracuse during the Calder Cup Finals, are also 6-0-1-1 away from Van Andel Arena in 2013-14. It is the second-best road start in franchise history; the 2002-03 club earned a point in nine consecutive road games to start that season (6-0-1-2 W-L-T-OTL).

Tom McCollum, who backed up Petr Mrazek during last year's Calder Cup run, is 5-0 out of the gate this season, marking just the fourth time that a Griffins goalie has started an AHL season with five or more wins. Mrazek began 6-0 last season, Ty Conklin was 5-0 in 2011-12 and Joey MacDonald won his first five decisions in 2004-05.

6. Ryan Strome and Mike Halmo led the way for Bridgeport in a 7-1 win at Worcester on Friday night.

Strome, the fifth overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, notched two goals and three assists while Halmo added two goals and two assists. Both forwards had four points in the second period alone.

Bridgeport, which entered the game 4-for-47 on the power play for the season, went 4-for-9 with the man advantage in the win.

Strome ranks second among AHL rookies with 14 points (3g, 11a) in nine games this season. Halmo now has 6-4-10 in eight games on the season; he had 5-9-14 in 46 games as a rookie with the Sound Tigers last season.

7. Strome (2-3) and Halmo (2-2) were among 14 players around the AHL who recorded at least three points on Friday night.

Syracuse's Nikita Kucherov (2-2) and Rochester's Brayden McNabb (1-3) both had four points in the Crunch's 5-4 shootout win over the Americans. Vladislav Namestnikov (1-2) added three points for the Crunch.

Chicago's Ty Rattie (2-1), Shane Harper (2-1) and Keith Aucoin (0-3); Manchester's Tanner Pearson (1-2), Brandon Kozun (1-2) and Jordan Weal (1-2); Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's Tom Kostopoulos (1-2) and Nick Drazenovic (0-3); and Grand Rapids' Gustav Nyquist (0-3) all notched three-point games on Friday also.

8. The five teams in the East Division -- each of which has reached the Calder Cup Finals in the last six years -- are showing their dominance again early on in 2013-14.

Binghamton, Hershey, Norfolk, Syracuse and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton are a combined 15-4-1-3 against teams from outside the division, a .739 points percentage.

9. The Adirondack Phantoms have won four games in a row for the first time since Feb. 25 to Mar. 3, 2012, matching the team's longest winning streak since moving to Glens Falls in 2009.

Late in their final season in Philadelphia, the Phantoms won six straight from Mar. 28 to Apr. 5, 2009.

Adirondack puts its streak on the line with three road games this weekend, visiting Springfield, Albany and Bridgeport.

10. Congratulations to AHL call-ups Jordan Szwarz, Ben Chiarot, Reto Berra, Jon Merrill and Adam Almquist, who all made their NHL debuts in the last week. The 2013-14 total now stands at 42.