AHL Morning Skate: 5.15.22

Photo: Jonathan Kozub

A1-Charlotte Checkers vs. A6-Bridgeport Islanders
Game 4 – Monday, 7:00 ET, AHLTV
(Charlotte leads series, 2-1)

Game 1 – Charlotte 3, BRIDGEPORT 2 | Recap
Game 2 – Charlotte 7, BRIDGEPORT 6 (2OT) | Recap
Game 3 – Bridgeport 3, CHARLOTTE 2 | Recap
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

A2-Springfield Thunderbirds vs. A4-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Game 3 – Today, 5:05 ET, AHLTV
(Springfield leads series, 2-0)

Game 1 – SPRINGFIELD 4, W-B/Scranton 1 | Recap
Game 2 – SPRINGFIELD 6, W-B/Scranton 2 | Recap
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

Springfield has a 2-0 series lead, but Wilkes-Barre has home ice in Game 3 this afternoon at Mohegan Sun Arena... The Penguins have won nine of their last 10 home games, including two victories over Hershey in the first round of these playoffs, and were 3-0-0 on home ice against Springfield during the regular season... The Thunderbirds’ Game 2 win on Thursday night was headlined by Joel Hofer, who made 34 saves in his Calder Cup Playoff debut and also became the first goaltender in AHL postseason history to score a goal by shooting the puck... Mackenzie MacEachern (1-1-2), down from the St. Louis Blues on a conditioning assignment, scored the winning goal for the Thunderbirds late in the second period of Game 2... Sam Anas, Will Bitten and Matthew Peca lead Springfield with 1-2-3 apiece in the series... The Thunderbirds’ 10 goals in the series have come from 10 different scorers... Defensemen Will Reilly (2-0-2) and Pierre-Olivier Joseph (1-4-5) scored for the Penguins in Game 2.

N1-Utica Comets vs. N5-Rochester Americans
Game 3 – Today, 5:05 ET, AHLTV
(Series tied, 1-1)

Game 1 – UTICA 6, Rochester 3 | Recap
Game 2 – Rochester 4, UTICA 3 (OT) | Recap
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

Rochester hosts Utica in Game 3 this evening after the Amerks’ 4-3 overtime win last night evened the series at a game apiece... JJ Peterka (4-2-6) scored his third goal of the game with 1:29 gone in OT to give Rochester the victory... It was Peterka’s third hat trick in his last 17 games, and the first postseason hat trick by an Amerks skater since 2004 (Jason Pominville)... Peyton Krebs (0-6-6) assisted on all three of Peterka’s goals, and Jack Quinn (0-1-1) set up the overtime winner for his first career playoff point... Mark Jankowski (2-1-3) opened the scoring for Rochester 20 seconds into Game 2... Utica tied last night’s game twice in regulation after trailing 2-0 and 3-2; the Comets also trailed 2-0 and 3-2 in Game 1 before coming back for a 6-3 victory... A.J. Greer (3-1-4) scored a power-play goal with an assist from Shakir Mukhamadullin, New Jersey’s first-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft who was making his AHL debut... The Comets are 2-for-3 on the power play in the series; the Amerks are 1-for-2.

N2-Syracuse Crunch vs. N3-Laval Rocket
Game 5 – Tuesday, 7:00 ET, AHLTV
(Series tied, 2-2)

Game 1 – SYRACUSE 5, Laval 3 | Recap
Game 2 – Laval 3, SYRACUSE 2 | Recap
Game 3 – LAVAL 4, Syracuse 1 | Recap
Game 4 – Syracuse 3, LAVAL 0 | Recap
Game 5 – Tue., May 17 – Laval at Syracuse, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

C1-Chicago Wolves vs. C4-Rockford IceHogs
Game 2 – Today, 5:00 ET, AHLTV
(Chicago leads series, 2-0)

Game 1 – CHICAGO 6, Rockford 2 | Recap
Game 2 – CHICAGO 4, Rockford 1 | Recap
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

Rockford hopes some home cooking will help turn the tide of their series as they host Chicago in Game 3 this evening... The Wolves followed up Thursday’s 6-2 win with a 4-1 victory in Game 2 last night, outshooting the IceHogs by a 49-16 margin... Josh Leivo (1-1-2), CJ Smith (1-1-2), Max Lajoie (1-0-1) and Vasili Ponomarev (1-0-1) scored for Chicago, and Jack Drury (1-2-3) recorded two assists... Alec Regula (1-0-1) scored a power-play goal for Rockford... Arvid Soderblom (2-2, 2.72, .932) stopped 45 shots, his eighth game this year making 40 or more saves... Alex Lyon (2-0, 1.51, .917) made 15 saves in Game 2 and has faced only 36 shots through the first two games of the series.

C2-Manitoba Moose vs. C3-Milwaukee Admirals
Game 5 – Today, 3:00 ET, , AHLTV
(Series tied, 2-2)

Game 1 – MILWAUKEE 3, Manitoba 2 | Recap
Game 2 – MILWAUKEE 2, Manitoba 1 | Recap
Game 3 – MANITOBA 5, Milwaukee 2 | Recap
Game 4 – MANITOBA 7, Milwaukee 3 | Recap
Game 5 – Sun., May 15 – Milwaukee at Manitoba, 3:00
*if necessary... All times Eastern

Manitoba and Milwaukee are all square heading into their winner-take-all Game 5 at Canada Life Centre in Winnipeg this afternoon... The Moose were down 2-0 in the series and 2-0 in Game 3, but have scored 12 goals in the last five periods to draw even... Morgan Barron (3-2-5) and Ville Heinola (1-3-4) each posted a goal and two assists on Friday in Manitoba’s 7-3 victory in Game 4... Declan Chisholm (2-5-7), Luke Johnson (2-1-3) and Nicholas Jones (2-1-3) each posted a goal and an assist... Milwaukee’s Connor Ingram made his first appearance since rejoining the Admirals from NHL recall to Nashville, and stopped 37 shots in Game 4... Brayden Burke (3-1-4), Cole Smith (1-1-2) and Joseph LaBate (1-0-1) scored for the Admirals on Friday... Manitoba finished with a 44-25 advantage in shots on goal in Game 4, and has outshot Milwaukee 165-85 for the series... The Moose are 4-for-9 on the power play in the last two games; the Admirals are 1-for-11... This is the Moose’s ninth winner-take-all Calder Cup Playoff game all-time, but just their second on home ice; Manitoba is 5-3, including a 4-1 home win over Grand Rapids on May 1, 2007... Milwaukee is 3-5 in winner-take-all games, with only one previous occasion on the road (a 2-1 loss at Chicago on Apr. 26, 2010).

P1-Stockton Heat vs. P4-Bakersfield Condors
(Stockton wins series, 3-0)

Game 1 – STOCKTON 3, Bakersfield 1 | Recap
Game 2 – STOCKTON 3, Bakersfield 2 | Recap
Game 3 – Stockton 6, BAKERSFIELD 4 | Recap

P2-Ontario Reign vs. P3-Colorado Eagles
Game 3 – Tonight, 11:00 ET, AHLTV
(Colorado leads series, 2-0)

Game 1 – COLORADO 10, Ontario 1 | Recap
Game 2 – COLORADO 5, Ontario 4 (OT) | Recap
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

The Pacific Division semifinal series between Ontario and Colorado shifts to Toyota Arena tonight, where the host Reign will try to keep its season alive in Game 3... The Eagles took a 2-0 series lead with a pair of wins on their own home ice, following up Wednesday’s 10-1 rout with a 5-4 overtime victory on Friday... Jean-Luc Foudy (3-3-6), on his 20th birthday, scored the winning goal 13:37 into OT after the Reign had tied the game with two extra-attacker goals in the final 2:14 of regulation... Jayson Megna (4-2-6) had two goals and an assist in Game 2, Jordan Gross (1-6-7) added a goal and two assists, and Ryan Wagner (3-1-4) scored for the third consecutive game... Justus Annunen (4-0, 2.13, .931) made 32 saves in Game 2 for Colorado, including seven in an overtime period that saw the Eagles kill off two Ontario power plays... Frederic Allard (1-2-3) and Vladimir Tkachev (2-3-5) led the Reign with a goal and an assist apiece on Friday... With Matthew Villalta having been recalled to the Los Angeles Kings earlier in the day, Garret Sparks made his first start since Mar. 18 and finished with 36 saves in Game 2... The Reign were 23-5-4-2 (.765) at home during the regular season, but Colorado won back-to-back games in Ontario, Apr. 1-2.


Syracuse Crunch head coach Ben Groulx got what he had been seeking yesterday afternoon against the Laval Rocket.

Team captain Gabriel Dumont’s prediction turned out to be correct.

The Crunch fashioned a dominant 3-0 win in Game 4 of the teams’ North Division semifinal series on Saturday afternoon, setting up a deciding Game 5 in Syracuse on Tuesday night. Groulx had been unhappy with his team’s discipline in a 4-1 loss in Game 3 while Dumont had stressed that the Crunch would be a much different team after that loss.

They were, and then some.

The Crunch took just two penalties, none of them after the first period, after they had been shorthanded seven times in Game 3. In Saturday’s win, Cole Koepke gave the Crunch an early lead, they survived the loss of goaltender Max Lagace to a first-period injury, Hugo Alnefelt was perfect in relief (24 saves), and Syracuse never gave Laval an opportunity to push back.

“Everything we talked about last time was much better,” Groulx told the Crunch website. “The character of our team, the character of Hugo Alnefelt when we lost Max… I think Hugo came in, and he was phenomenal when needed.”

Groulx also tinkered with his lineup, going with an 11-7 set-up. Forwards P.C. Labrie and Gemel Smith did not play while defenseman Alex Green drew in.

“We decided we wanted more speed,” Groulx said of the decision. “We thought that we needed more depth on defense. With all the [penalty]-killing we had to do last game, our defensemen were on the ice a lot, so wanted to make sure that we were protected.”

Now Syracuse’s reward is a chance to play for the series in front of Crunch fans.

“That’s a huge factor,” Koepke said. “I mean, anytime we can play at home, it’s awesome. You get your own bed, you’re used to the arena, and you get your own fans. We have great fans back at our arena, so we’re pretty excited to have the home ice.”

The Charlotte Checkers have had a fight on their hands with the Bridgeport Islanders, and it is not easing up any time soon.

Bridgeport has cut Charlotte’s series lead to 2-1 in the clubs’ Atlantic Division semifinal following a come-from-behind 3-2 win yesterday afternoon. Game 3 took on a much different feel from Thursday’s chaotic Game 2, a 7-6 double-overtime win by Charlotte.

“It was just tight-checking,” said Charlotte head coach Geordie Kinnear to the team website. “They’re a really experienced hockey group, and again we made two mistakes that you need to be able to learn from. Their experience ended up putting it in the back of the net.”

Both clubs are willing and able to play physical hockey, and they did so Saturday.

“It’s supposed to [be physical],’’ said Kinnear, an unforgiving defenseman during his AHL playing days in the New Jersey Devils organization. “It’s supposed to be fun, it’s supposed to be competitive, and it’s supposed to be one-on-one battles. It’s what makes our game great, and it’s what makes playoffs great. Embrace it, enjoy it, and come out on the right end of the battle.”

Rochester Americans rookie forward JJ Peterka says that he has adjusted to the pace of the Calder Cup Playoffs, and that could be bad news for any opponent.

A key part of the future for the parent Buffalo Sabres, Peterka broke loose against the Utica Comets with a hat trick in a 4-3 win in Game 2 of the teams’ North Division semifinal series last night. The 20-year-old Peterka completed his hat trick with the overtime-winning goal that has evened the series going into tonight’s Game 3 rematch at Rochester.

The Belleville Senators had held Peterka to a pair of assists in the teams’ best-of-three opening-round series that the Amerks swept. Now Peterka has dented Utica for four goals in two games.

“I got more used to how tough the games are, how [much] less space you’ve got compared to the regular season,” Peterka said via the Amerks website. “I’ve found myself in more scoring opportunities. I can learn a lot from that.”

That overtime winner also reflected Buffalo’s promising future, as fellow top prospects Jack Quinn and Peyton Krebs earned assists on Peterka’s goal.

Someone had to play the powerful Stockton Heat in a Pacific Division semifinal series, and the Bakersfield Condors drew that assignment.

Bakersfield ended up falling to the Heat in a three-game sweep, losing 6-4 in Game 3 on home ice Friday night. However, Game 2 was a one-goal loss, and the teams were separated in Game 3 by just one goal until Justin Kirkland’s empty-netter with two seconds remaining.

Interim head coach Colin Chaulk took over the Bakersfield bench in February following Jay Woodcroft’s promotion to the parent Edmonton Oilers. In his first head-coaching role at the AHL level, Chaulk and the Condors had to navigate the grueling Pacific Division as well as other challenges.

“We’ve talked quite a bit about adversity,” Chaulk said via the Condors website following Game 3. “Everybody’s had personal challenges. A few having been new fathers, some other struggles personally for many different players, coaching changes, all those sorts of things that they didn’t plan for, didn’t choose... [I am] really proud of how well they responded, how positively they responded.”

Patrick Williams


In yesterday’s Stanley Cup Playoff Game 7 action, Nick Paul scored twice and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 30 shots as Tampa Bay beat Toronto, 2-1... Teuvo Teravainen notched a goal and an assist for Carolina in a 3-2 win over Boston... Cody Ceci scored the winning goal and Mike Smith made 29 saves as Edmonton shut out Los Angeles, 2-0.

In action at the 2022 IIHF World Championship yesterday, Joachim Blichfeld, who led the San Jose Barracuda in scoring this season, recorded a hat trick in Denmark’s 9-1 win over Kazakhstan... Joel Kellman tallied a goal and an assist as Sweden defeated Austria, 3-1... Calvin Thurkauf scored twice for Switzerland in a 5-2 win over Italy... Lukas Dostal made 17 saves as the Czech Republic beat Great Britain, 5-1... Philipp Grubauer made 28 saves in Germany’s 2-1 win over Slovakia... Mikael Granlund scored the winning goal with 2:52 remaining to lift host Finland over Latvia, 2-1.

Watch the Calder Cup Playoffs on AHLTV
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