AHL Morning Skate: 4.19.19

Take a game-day spin around the AHL ice with latest news and notes from the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs in today’s AHL Morning Skate.

Playoff Brackets | Today’s Scoreboard | League Stats | Series Infographics

Game 1 – Saturday, 7:05 ET, AHLTV

Atlantic Division Semifinals – Series “A” (best-of-5)
A1-Charlotte Checkers vs. A4-Providence Bruins
Game 1 – Sat., Apr. 20 – Charlotte at Providence, 7:05
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 21 – Charlotte at Providence, 5:05
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 24 – Providence at Charlotte, 7:00
*Game 4 – Fri., Apr. 26 – Providence at Charlotte, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., Apr. 27 – Providence at Charlotte, 6:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

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Game 1 – Tonight, 7:00 ET, AHLTV

Atlantic Division Semifinals – Series “B” (best-of-5)
A2-Bridgeport Sound Tigers vs. A3-Hershey Bears
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 19 – Hershey at Bridgeport, 7:00
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 20 – Hershey at Bridgeport, 7:00
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 23 – Bridgeport at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 4 – Thu., Apr. 25 – Bridgeport at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., Apr. 27 – Hershey at Bridgeport, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Bridgeport and Hershey open their Atlantic Division first-round series at Webster Bank Arena tonight… The teams split their six regular-season meetings and finished with just one point separating them in the final standings… The Sound Tigers’ leading scorer in the regular season was Chris Bourque, a three-time Calder Cup champion with Hershey who is the Bears franchise’s all-time leader in postseason points (86) and games (106)… This series marks the third time Bourque has skated against Hershey in the playoffs; he has 6-11-17 in 11 previous postseason games vs. the Bears… Bridgeport’s Otto Koivula (21-25-46) finished fourth among AHL rookies in goals… Mike Sgarbossa (30-35-65) and Riley Barber (31-29-60) both hit the 30-goal mark for the Bears in the regular season… Second Team AHL All-Star Aaron Ness (5-50-55) wound up leading all league defensemen in scoring and tied for seventh among blueliners with a plus-24 rating… Ness’s 50 assists were the most by an AHL defenseman since 2009-10 (Danny Groulx, 52)… The Sound Tigers were 12-1-1-1 in their last 15 home games and 26-7-3-2 on home ice overall in 2018-19, tied with Charlotte and Syracuse for the best home record in the league… Bridgeport and Hershey were the only two AHL teams this season to get 20 wins each from two different goaltenders… The Sound Tigers have not won a postseason series since 2003, the longest such drought in AHL history.

Game 1 – Tonight, 7:00 ET, AHLTV

North Division Semifinals – Series “C” (best-of-5)
N1-Syracuse Crunch vs. N4-Cleveland Monsters
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 19 – Cleveland at Syracuse, 7:00
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 20 – Cleveland at Syracuse, 7:00
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 23 – Syracuse at Cleveland, 7:30
*Game 4 – Thu., Apr. 25 – Syracuse at Cleveland, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., Apr. 27 – Cleveland at Syracuse, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Syracuse hosts Cleveland in Game 1 of a North Division semifinal series between two of the AHL’s charter cities… The Crunch posted the best record in their 25-year history in 2018-19, going 47-21-4-4 (.671) to win their third division title in seven years as the top affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning… The Monsters were the 16th and final team to clinch a postseason berth, getting in with a 5-1 win at Toronto on Sunday… Syracuse’s roster features AHL scoring champion Carter Verhaeghe (34-48-82) and rookie of the year Alex Barre-Boulet (34-34-68), who both also shared the Willie Marshall Award for leading the league in goals… Crunch forward Cory Conacher (22-42-64) has 19-33-52 in 70 career Calder Cup Playoff games and has reached the Finals in each of his last three AHL postseason trips (2012, 2015, 2017)… Zac Dalpe (33-22-55) led the Monsters in goals and points in 2018-19, including 18-8-26 in 22 games since Feb. 22… Brad Thiessen, who started each of Cleveland’s last 11 regular-season games (6-3-2, 1.99, .924) to help them reach the playoffs, has a .926 save percentage in 41 career Calder Cup Playoff appearances… This is the first Calder Cup Playoff meeting between teams from these cities since the Cleveland Barons defeated the Syracuse Warriors in the 1953 league semifinals.

Game 1 – Tonight, 7:05 ET, AHLTV

North Division Semifinals – Series “D” (best-of-5)
N2-Rochester Americans vs. N3-Toronto Marlies
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 19 – Toronto at Rochester, 7:05
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 21 – Toronto at Rochester, 3:05
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 24 – Rochester at Toronto, 7:00
*Game 4 – Fri., Apr. 26 – Rochester at Toronto, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sun., Apr. 28 – Toronto at Rochester, 5:05
*if necessary… All times Eastern

The defending Calder Cup champions find themselves in an unfamiliar spot as they open the postseason with Game 1 in Rochester tonight… Toronto finished third in the North Division in 2018-19, their lowest finish since 2011, and will not have home-ice advantage in their first-round series with the Amerks… Rochester put up 99 points in the regular season, its best showing since 2004-05… Victor Olofsson (30-33-63) led the Amerks in scoring in his first season of play in North America, and second-year pro C.J. Smith added 28-30-58… Zach Redmond (21-29-50) captured the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s outstanding defenseman, joining Steve Kraftcheck (1959) and Al Arbour (1965) as the only Amerks to win that honor… First Team AHL All-Star Jeremy Bracco finished second in the league in scoring with 22-57-79, a year after totaling 6-26-32 in 50 games as a rookie… 11th-year pro Chris Mueller (33-32-65), voted a Second Team AHL All-Star, set a career high for goals in a season… Rochester is eyeing its first series win since 2005… The Marlies swept the Amerks in the first round in both 2012 and 2013.

Game 1 – Tonight, 8:00 ET, AHLTV

Central Division Semifinals – Series “E” (best-of-5)
C1-Chicago Wolves vs. C4-Grand Rapids Griffins
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 19 – Grand Rapids at Chicago, 8:00
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 20 – Grand Rapids at Chicago, 8:00
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 23 – Chicago at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 24 – Chicago at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sun., Apr. 28 – Grand Rapids at Chicago, 4:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Chicago and Grand Rapids renew their rivalry in the Central Division semifinals, meeting for the fifth time in the Calder Cup Playoffs and sixth time in the postseason overall… The Wolves went 17-5-1-3 in their final 26 games to secure their third consecutive division title and eighth in the last 15 years… Chicago’s T.J. Tynan (12-59-71), a Calder Cup winner with Lake Erie in 2016, led the AHL in assists and tied for third in points in the regular season… Curtis McKenzie, who recorded 20-34-54 in his first season with the Wolves, led the AHL with 11 goals during the 2018 playoffs while with Texas… Chicago’s roster boasts three of the league’s top rookie defensemen in Nic Hague (13-19-32, +31), Zach Whitecloud (6-22-28, +39) and Dylan Coghlan (15-25-40, +4)… The Griffins finished the regular season on a nine-game losing streak, getting outscored 38-15… Chris Terry led Grand Rapids in scoring with 29-32-61, his sixth career 60-point season… Defenseman Brian Lashoff is the only remaining Griffin who played on both their 2013 and 2017 Calder Cup title teams… Grand Rapids head coach Ben Simon and assistant Brad Tapper won a Calder Cup with the Wolves in 2002.

Game 1 – Sunday, 5:00 ET, AHLTV

Central Division Semifinals – Series “F” (best-of-5)
C2-Milwaukee Admirals vs. C3-Iowa Wild
Game 1 – Sun., Apr. 21 – Milwaukee at Iowa, 5:00
Game 2 – Tue., Apr. 23 – Milwaukee at Iowa, 8:00
Game 3 – Thu., Apr. 25 – Iowa at Milwaukee, 8:00
*Game 4 – Fri., Apr. 26 – Iowa at Milwaukee, 8:00
*Game 5 – Mon., Apr. 29 – Iowa at Milwaukee, 8:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Game 1 – Tonight, 9:05 ET, AHLTV

Pacific Division Semifinals – Series “G” (best-of-5)
P1-Bakersfield Condors vs. P4-Colorado Eagles
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 19 – Bakersfield at Colorado, 9:05
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 20 – Bakersfield at Colorado, 9:05
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 23 – Colorado at Bakersfield, 10:00
*Game 4 – Sat., Apr. 27 – Colorado at Bakersfield, 10:00
*Game 5 – Sun., Apr. 28 – Colorado at Bakersfield, 8:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Bakersfield and Colorado both make their Calder Cup Playoff debuts tonight as the Eagles host Game 1… A 17-game winning streak from Jan. 12 to Feb. 25 propelled the Condors to the Pacific Division crown and their first postseason trip since joining the league in 2015… The Eagles, meanwhile, defeated San Jose on the last night of the regular season and then watched Tucson lose to San Diego, giving the first-year Colorado club the fourth and final spot in the Pacific… The Condors’ .654 points percentage marked the best record ever for a non-shared AHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers… Tyler Benson‘s 51 assists for Bakersfield in the regular season were the most by an AHL rookie since Teddy Purcell (58) in 2007-08… With Benson and Cooper Marody (19-45-64), the Condors had the second- and third-leading rookie scorers in the league… AHL All-Rookie Team goaltender Shane Starrett (27-7-5, 2.33, .918) had a .933 save percentage in four appearances vs. Colorado… Andrew Agozzino was the Eagles’ top scorer with 26-34-60… Pavel Francouz (27-17-3, 2.68, .918) ranked first in the league in shots faced (1,528) and saves (1,403), as well as fifth in save percentage… The Eagles are making the first playoff trip by a Colorado Avalanche affiliate since 2011 (Lake Erie).

Game 1 – Tonight, 10:00 ET, AHLTV
(Series tied, 1-1)

Pacific Division Semifinals – Series “H” (best-of-5)
P2-San Jose Barracuda vs. P3-San Diego Gulls
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 17 – SAN DIEGO 6, San Jose 5 (OT) | Recap
Game 2 – Thu., Apr. 18 – San Jose 5, SAN DIEGO 3 | Recap
Game 3 – Mon., Apr. 22 – San Diego at San Jose, 10:00
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 24 – San Diego at San Jose, 10:00
*Game 5 – Thu., Apr. 25 – San Diego at San Jose, 10:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Alumni Watch
In last night’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, Warren Foegele and Teuvo Teravainen scored and 2013 Calder Cup champion Petr Mrazek made 30 saves as Carolina defeated Washington, 2-1… Jordan Binnington stopped 29 shots and St. Louis rallied for a 3-2 win at Winnipeg… Former San Jose Barracuda forward and 2016 AHL All-Star Barclay Goodrow scored the winning goal in the Sharks’ 5-2 victory over Vegas.

Watch the Calder Cup Playoffs on AHLTV
Don’t miss a second on the road to the 2019 Calder Cup championship. AHLTV features live streaming of every AHL game in high definition on desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile devices, as well as OTT platforms such as Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV. A subscription is just $24.99 for the entire postseason, or just $7.99 for a day pass. Visit theahl.com/AHLTV for details.