AHL Morning Skate: 5.12.22

Photo: Ross Dettman

A1-Charlotte Checkers vs. A6-Bridgeport Islanders
Game 2 – Tonight, 7:00 ET, AHLTV
(Charlotte leads series, 1-0)

Game 1 – Charlotte 3, BRIDGEPORT 2 | Recap
Game 2 – Thu., May 12 – Charlotte at Bridgeport, 7:00
Game 3 – Sat., May 14 – Bridgeport at Charlotte, 4:00
*Game 4 – Mon., May 16 – Bridgeport at Charlotte, 7:00
*Game 5 – Wed., May 18 – Bridgeport at Charlotte, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Coming off a Game 1 victory on Tuesday, Charlotte can take a commanding series lead back home with them with another win in Bridgeport tonight... In action for the first time in 17 days, the Checkers fell behind 2-0 in the opener before rallying for a 3-2 decision... Defenseman Gustav Olofsson, an eighth-year pro skating in his first career postseason game, scored the winning goal with 3:20 to play in regulation... After leading the Checkers in scoring during the regular season, Alexander True scored twice in the second period of Game 2 to wipe out the Islanders’ early lead... Austin Czarnik scored both Bridgeport goals, giving him 9-11-20 in 27 career Calder Cup Playoff games... Aatu Raty (1-2-3) tallied an assist, giving him points in each of his first three playoff outings for Bridgeport... Joey Daccord made 25 saves for Charlotte in Game 1, the first playoff start of his career... Cory Schneider (2-1, 1.49, .951) stopped 22 of 25 shots for Bridgeport in the loss.

A2-Springfield Thunderbirds vs. A4-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Game 2 – Tonight, 7:05 ET, AHLTV
(Springfield leads series, 1-0)

Game 1 – SPRINGFIELD 4, W-B/Scranton 1 | Recap
Game 2 – Thu., May 12 – W-B/Scranton at Springfield, 7:05
Game 3 – Sun., May 15 – Springfield at W-B/Scranton, 5:05
*Game 4 – Mon., May 16 – Springfield at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 5 – Wed., May 18 – W-B/Scranton at Springfield, 7:05
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Behind a 50-save performance from Charlie Lindgren, Springfield grabbed the upper hand in their Atlantic Division semifinal series with a 4-1 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in Game 1 last night... The teams are back at it tonight at the MassMutual Center, the fifth game in seven nights for the Penguins to open their postseason... Playing the first playoff game in franchise history, the Thunderbirds got a goal and an assist each from Will Bitten and Klim Kostin to lead the offense last night... Sam Anas and Dakota Joshua also scored for Springfield, which was outshot 51-27 for the game... Lindgren’s 50 saves matched a career high, set in his AHL debut with the St. John’s IceCaps in a 4-1 win at Providence on Oct. 21, 2016... Felix Robert (2-1-3) netted the lone goal for the Penguins, extending his scoring streak to three games... Pierre-Olivier Joseph (0-4-4) notched his fourth assist in as many games this postseason... Tommy Nappier (2-2, 1.97, .932) stopped 23 of 26 shots in the loss... Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has lost six straight road games since a 4-1 win in Providence on Apr. 22.

N1-Utica Comets vs. N5-Rochester Americans
Game 2 – Saturday, 7:00 ET, AHLTV
(Utica leads series, 1-0)

Game 1 – UTICA 6, Rochester 3 | Recap
Game 2 – Sat., May 14 – Rochester at Utica, 7:00
Game 3 – Sun., May 15 – Utica at Rochester, 5:05
*Game 4 – Tue., May 17 – Utica at Rochester, 7:05
*Game 5 – Thu., May 19 – Rochester at Utica, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

N2-Syracuse Crunch vs. N3-Laval Rocket
Game 3 – Tonight, 7:00 ET, AHLTV
(Series tied, 1-1)

Game 1 – SYRACUSE 5, Laval 3 | Recap
Game 2 – Laval 3, SYRACUSE 2 | Recap
Game 3 – Thu., May 12 – Syracuse at Laval, 7:00
Game 4 – Sat., May 14 – Syracuse at Laval, 3:00
*Game 5 – Tue., May 17 – Laval at Syracuse, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Syracuse and Laval resume their best-of-five series tonight in the first playoff game ever at Place Bell... The Rocket return home after earning a split of the first two games in Syracuse with a 3-2 victory in Game 2 on Saturday night... Brandon Gignac (1-0-1) scored the winning goal with 1:47 to play in Game 2... Jesse Ylönen (1-1-2) notched a goal and an assist and Cayden Primeau stopped 37 shots in his playoff debut... Simon Ryfors (1-0-1) and Daniel Walcott (1-0-1) scored for the Crunch in Game 2, while Max Lagace (1-1, 3.04, .898) made 25 saves... Syracuse was 0-for-5 on the power play on Saturday after going 2-for-4 in Friday's Game 1... Laval was 8-1-1-1 in its last 11 games at Place Bell during the regular season, and has won six straight home games from Syracuse dating back to 2019.

C1-Chicago Wolves vs. C4-Rockford IceHogs
Game 1 – Tonight, 8:00 ET, AHLTV

Game 1 – Thu., May 12 – Rockford at Chicago, 8:00
Game 2 – Sat., May 14 – Rockford at Chicago, 8:00
Game 3 – Sun., May 15 – Chicago at Rockford, 5:00
*Game 4 – Tue., May 17 – Chicago at Rockford, 8:00
*Game 5 – Thu., May 19 – Rockford at Chicago, 8:00
*if necessary... All times Eastern

Chicago and Rockford renew one of the AHL’s biggest rivalries when they open their Central Division semifinal series at Allstate Arena tonight... The Wolves been idle since a 3-2 win over the IceHogs on Apr. 30, a victory which helped them secure the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy on the last day of the season... At 50-16-5-5 (.724), Chicago won its fifth Central Division title in the last six years and posted the best single-season record since the franchise joined the AHL in 2001... Offensively, the Wolves boasted the AHL’s top point-getter in Andrew Poturalski (28-73-101) and leading goal-scorer in Stefan Noesen (48-37-85); defensively, Chicago allowed a league-low 2.55 goals per game... After a fourth-place finish in the regular season, Rockford defeated Texas, two games to none, in its first-round playoff series... Arvid Soderblom (2-0, 0.50, .986) stopped 69 of 70 Stars shots en route to 2-1 and 1-0 victories... Rockford won eight of 12 meetings from Chicago in the regular season, with rookie Lukas Reichel leading all scorers with 5-10-15... These teams last squared off in the postseason in 2018, a three-game sweep by the IceHogs.

C2-Manitoba Moose vs. C3-Milwaukee Admirals
Game 4 – Friday, 8:00 ET, , AHLTV
(Milwaukee leads series, 2-1)

Game 1 – MILWAUKEE 3, Manitoba 2 | Recap
Game 2 – MILWAUKEE 2, Manitoba 1 | Recap
Game 3 – MANITOBA 5, Milwaukee 2 | Recap
Game 4 – Fri., May 13 – Milwaukee at Manitoba, 8:00
*Game 5 – Sun., May 15 – Milwaukee at Manitoba, 3:00
*if necessary... All times Eastern

P1-Stockton Heat vs. P4-Bakersfield Condors
Game 2 – Friday, 10:00 ET, AHLTV
(Stockton leads series, 2-0)

Game 1 – STOCKTON 3, Bakersfield 1 | Recap
Game 2 – STOCKTON 3, Bakersfield 2 | Recap
Game 3 – Fri., May 13 – Stockton at Bakersfield, 10:00
*Game 4 – Sun., May 15 – Stockton at Bakersfield, 8:00
*Game 5 – Tue., May 17 – Bakersfield at Stockton, 9:30
*if necessary... All times Eastern

P2-Ontario Reign vs. P3-Colorado Eagles
Game 2 – Friday, 9:05 ET, AHLTV
(Colorado leads series, 1-0)

Game 1 – COLORADO 10, Ontario 1 | Recap
Game 2 – Fri., May 13 – Ontario at Colorado, 9:05
Game 3 – Sun., May 15 – Colorado at Ontario, 11:00
*Game 4 – Tue., May 17 – Colorado at Ontario, 10:00
*Game 5 – Wed., May 18 – Colorado at Ontario, 10:00
*if necessary... All times Eastern


Admittedly for the Manitoba Moose, going down 2-0 in an elimination game provoked some concern.

The Milwaukee Admirals had built a 2-0 series lead on the Moose in the teams’ Central Division Semifinals going into Game 3 last night in Winnipeg. Then the visitors went up two goals on tallies by Cody Glass and Jimmy Huntington. Manitoba had already been frustrated twice by Admirals netminder Devin Cooley in the two contests at Milwaukee, where he stopped 83 of 86 Moose shots.

Moose head coach Mark Morrison managed to settle down his players in the first intermission. A good American Hockey League head coach always knows when to prod and when to encourage.

“Confidence is huge, especially with a group that doesn’t have a lot of playoff experience,” Morrison explained.

From there the Moose rattled off three second-period goals on their way to a 5-2 win that sets up Game 4 on Friday night at Canada Life Centre.

“I think when we came in to regroup in the intermission, the focus was just on relaxing, knowing that there [was] a lot of hockey left,” said Moose forward Jeff Malott, whose second-period goal evened the score at 2-2.

“[Morrison] had a great pulse. He came in and saw the frustration. He saw how tense everybody was with that period. He just said, ‘Guys, relax. We’ve had plenty of games [where] we’ve been down before.’”

Said Morrison after the win, “I hope we’re over that hump now, and we’ll see how the next one goes. But I feel like the confidence has come back.”

If the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are to be believed, then Springfield Thunderbirds goaltender Charlie Lindgren can expect plenty of rubber again tonight. Lindgren shut down the Penguins with 50 saves and dealt them a 4-1 loss in Game 1 of the teams’ Atlantic Division Semifinals series Wednesday.

“Put pucks on him and make him work,” said Penguins head coach J.D. Forrest, who came away happy with the process rather than the result.

Plenty of traffic, too.

“Put a lot more traffic in front of the net,” said Felix Robert, the only Penguin to dent Lindgren in that defeat. “Put some screens to a pretty hot goalie out there. We have to do something to be in front of his eyes.

“Keep shooting, but a little more traffic. I think we played a really good hockey game. It would have been fun to come out on top, but it’s a good thing we play [tonight]. We’ll have a chance to redeem ourselves.”

Despite having played four playoff games in six nights, Forrest felt his team looked fresh against an opponent that had been off since April 29.

“It’s hard to be disappointed with any effort that we put out there,” Forrest said. “As far as energy, we had the energy, we had the legs. It wasn’t for lack of that, that’s for sure.”

The Rockford IceHogs are clear-eyed as they prepare for their Central Division Semifinals series with the powerhouse Chicago Wolves.

“It’s going to be fun, but it’s going to be hard,” rookie standout forward Lukas Reichel told the team website following practice Wednesday.

At 50-16-5-5 (.724), the Wolves claimed the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy for posting the top regular-season record in the AHL.

But the IceHogs, who finished fourth in the Central Division before sweeping their opening-round series with the Texas Stars, feel that they can play with the league’s best. Rockford, after all, took four of the final five regular-season match-ups between the clubs.

After finishing the Texas series, the IceHogs have used their time to rest, recover, and prepare for the potent Wolves offense that finished fourth overall in goals per game (3.43) as well as first overall with just 2.55 goals-against per game during the regular season.

But that was the regular season. This is the Calder Cup Playoffs.

“I think it was a good recovery,” Reichel said. “The boys are excited. We’re ready to go.”

Hershey Bears captain Matt Moulson came to Hershey before the 2019-20 season looking for a Calder Cup following an NHL career that spanned 13 seasons and featured 650 games and 369 points (176 goals, 193 assists).

Nearly three years later, Moulson still does not have a ring, but he does have questions about his future at age 38 after the Bears fell in three games of their opening-round best-of-three series to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

The COVID-19 pandemic cut short a promising 2019-20 season for the Bears. They went on to capture the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the AHL’s top regular-season club last season but there was again no Calder Cup at stake. This season Hershey had a promising 13-9-2-1 start when Moulson was injured Dec. 27 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and underwent back surgery three days later. With Moulson and several other key figures in their line-up injured, the Bears went 21-23-4-3 the rest of the season and landed a challenging playoff match-up with their archrival.

Given his age and the recovery process from back surgery, Moulson was non-committal about his playing future while meeting with Hershey media at Giant Center on Wednesday.

“We’ll see,” Moulson said. “I think after the season [you] take time to think and figure out the next chapter, whether that’s playing again or not playing. This back surgery might have made my decision easier, but we’ll see.”

Patrick Williams

In last night's Stanley Cup Playoff action, 2018-19 AHL scoring champion Carter Verhaeghe set a franchise playoff record with five points (2g, 3a) in Florida's 5-3 win over Washington... Filip Chytil scored the winning goal early in the third period as the New York Rangers rallied for a 5-3 win over Pittsburgh... Andrew Mangiapane tallied a goal and an assist to help Calgary to a 3-1 win over Dallas.

Watch the Calder Cup Playoffs on AHLTV
Don’t miss a second on the road to the 2022 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 $29.99 for the entire postseason, or just $8.99 for a day pass. Visit AHLTV.com for details.