AHL Morning Skate: 5.18.18

Take a game-day spin around the AHL ice with latest news and notes from the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs in today’s AHL Morning Skate.

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

Game 1 – Saturday, 4:00 ET, AHL Live
TV: TSN2, Leafs Nation Network, Service Electric TV2

Eastern Conference Finals – Series “M” (best-of-7)
N1-Toronto Marlies vs. A1-Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Game 1 – Sat., May 19 – Lehigh Valley at Toronto, 4:00
Game 2 – Sun., May 20 – Lehigh Valley at Toronto, 4:00
Game 3 – Wed., May 23 – Toronto at Lehigh Valley, 7:05
Game 4 – Fri., May 25 – Toronto at Lehigh Valley, 7:05
*Game 5 – Sat., May 26 – Toronto at Lehigh Valley, 7:05
*Game 6 – Mon., May 28 – Lehigh Valley at Toronto, 7:00
*Game 7 – Wed., May 30 – Lehigh Valley at Toronto, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

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Game 1 – Tonight, 8:00 ET, AHL Live

The Western Conference Finals open tonight as Texas and Rockford square off in Game 1 at H-E-B Center at Cedar Park… This is the third postseason meeting all-time between these clubs; the Stars won in four straight games in 2010, and the IceHogs returned the favor by sweeping a best-of-five series in 2015… Texas enters this series on a four-game winning streak, while Rockford is a perfect 7-0 in the 2018 playoffs… The IceHogs won three of four from the Stars during the regular season, but Texas got the last laugh — a 4-3 victory on April 7 that clinched the Stars’ spot in the postseason… Joel L’Esperance (1-2-3) scored the winning goal in that game, just as he did last Friday to eliminate Tucson in overtime of Game 5… Texas’s Brian Flynn (6-4-10) led all AHL players in second-round scoring with seven points, and is tops in the league with six goals on the postseason… Mike McKenna (7-2, 1.65, .952), who had never won a playoff series as an AHL starter before 2017, has now won five series since then… Collin Delia (7-0, 1.64, .948) remains unbeaten in the IceHogs crease this postseason and is now 17-1-2 (2.08, .927) in his last 20 decisions overall… Chris DiDomenico (4-7-11) posted a team-best six points in the second round to take over the AHL playoff scoring lead… Victor Ejdsell (5-3-8) has taken just seven shots on goal in seven playoff games for the IceHogs but has scored on five of them… Rockford continues to dominate on special teams this postseason, going 15-for-40 (37.5 percent) on the power play and 26-for-28 (92.9 percent) on the penalty kill… Texas has been outshot in eight of its first nine playoff games… Rockford is outscoring its opponents 14-2 during the second period of its seven playoff contests… The Stars, 4-1 in overtime during the playoffs, have needed OT in 11 of their last 18 games going back to the regular season… Texas (vs. Tucson in the second round) is the only team this AHL postseason to win a series after losing Game 1… This is the Stars’ third conference finals appearance in nine seasons as members of the AHL (2010, 2014, 2018)… The IceHogs are making the deepest playoff run by a Chicago Blackhawks AHL affiliate since New Brunswick won the Calder Cup in 1982… The last AHL team to start a postseason with at least seven straight wins was Toronto (8-0) in 2014; the Marlies would go on to lose in the conference finals to Texas.

Western Conference Finals – Series “N” (best-of-7)
P2-Texas Stars vs. C4-Rockford IceHogs
Game 1 – Fri., May 18 – Rockford at Texas, 8:00
Game 2 – Sun., May 20 – Rockford at Texas, 6:00
Game 3 – Tue., May 22 – Texas at Rockford, 8:00
Game 4 – Thu., May 24 – Texas at Rockford, 8:00
*Game 5 – Fri., May 25 – Texas at Rockford, 8:00
*Game 6 – Mon., May 28 – Rockford at Texas, 8:00
*Game 7 – Tue., May 29 – Rockford at Texas, 8:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Alumni Watch
In the Stanley Cup Playoffs last night, 2012 Calder Cup champion Alex Killorn scored the winning goal with 8:03 remaining to lift Tampa Bay to a 4-2 victory over Washington in Game 4 of the NHL’s Eastern Conference Final.

In yesterday’s quarterfinal action at the IIHF World Championships in Denmark, 2017-18 AHL’ers Teddy Blueger (W-B/Scranton) and Rudolfs Balcers (San Jose) scored for Latvia but 2015 AHL All-Rookie forward Viktor Arvidsson had a goal and 2015 Calder Cup champion Adrian Kempe notched two assists in Sweden’s 3-2 win… 2017 Calder Cup finalist Joel Vermin scored a goal as Switzerland defeated Finland, 3-2… AHL alums Kyle Turris, Colton Parayko and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were among the goal-scorers for Canada in a 5-4 overtime win over Russia… 2012 AHL All-Star Cam Atkinson scored to help the United States to a 3-2 win over the Czech Republic.

Working Overtime
There have been 11 overtime games played in the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs so far:

Date Result GWG Time
May 11 TEXAS 3, Tucson 2 Joel L’Esperance 8:43
May 9 Lehigh Valley 2, CHARLOTTE 1 Alex Krushelnyski 86:48
May 7 TEXAS 5, Tucson 4 Sheldon Dries 13:36
May 5 TORONTO 2, Syracuse 1 Frederik Gauthier 35:10
May 2 TUCSON 2, Texas 1 Michael Bunting 8:53
Apr. 28 LEHIGH VALLEY 4, Providence 3 Maxim Lamarche 18:36
Apr. 26 Rockford 4, CHICAGO 3 Victor Ejdsell 57:22
Apr. 22 Texas 5, ONTARIO 4 Samuel Laberge 37:38
Apr. 21 TORONTO 3, Utica 2 Chris Mueller 17:48
Apr. 20 CHARLOTTE 3, W-B/Scranton 2 Lucas Wallmark 3:18
Apr. 19 TEXAS 4, Ontario 3 Brian Flynn 1:55

On This Date
May 18, 2014 – Radek Faksa scores twice and Texas advances to the Western Conference Finals with a 7-1 win over Grand Rapids.

May 18, 2011 – Ryan Keller scores 13:05 into overtime to send Binghamton into the Calder Cup Finals with a 4-3 win over Charlotte and a four-game sweep of the Eastern Conference championship series.

May 18, 2009 – Michael Grabner scores twice, including the game-winner with 3:49 to play, as Manitoba grabs a 3-0 series lead in the Western Conference Finals with a 4-3 win over Houston.

May 18, 2006 – Hershey improves its postseason record to 10-0 as Graham Mink’s goal 1:52 into overtime gives the Bears a 2-1 win at Portland in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

May 18, 1990 – Jeff Rohlicek scores 23 seconds into overtime as the Springfield Indians win the Calder Cup with a 4-3 win over Rochester in Game 6.

AHL Live
Don’t miss a second on the road to the 2018 Calder Cup championship. AHL Live brings AHL action to your desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet all season long with live video webcasts and free highlights of every AHL game… Visit ahllive.com for details.