The Providence Bruins and Bridgeport Islanders open the 2022 Calder Cup Playoffs tonight at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center... It is the first postseason meeting ever between the clubs, who have squared off 150 times in the regular season since 2001... The teams split their 12 meetings in 2021-22, with the Islanders earning 14 points to the Bruins’ 12 on the strength of two shootout losses... Providence netminder and 2021-22 Second Team AHL All-Star Troy Grosenick (16-6-4, 2.00, .933) led the AHL in goals-against average and save percentage during the regular season... Cameron Hughes (14-31-45) paced the Bruins in scoring with a career-high 45 points... Bridgeport went 13-7-2-0 over its last 22 games to gain the sixth and final playoff position in the Atlantic Division... Chris Terry (30-31-61) led the Islanders in scoring in 2021-22, hitting the 30-goal mark for the fourth time in his AHL career... Bridgeport is looking for its first playoff series victory since 2003... Islanders head coach Brent Thompson finished his 14-year playing career with Providence in 2004-05, serving as team captain.
Game 1 – Fri., May 6 – Laval at Syracuse, 7:00
Game 2 – Sat., May 7 – Laval at Syracuse, 7:00
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
Game 1 – Fri., May 6 – Manitoba at Milwaukee, 8:00
Game 2 – Sat., May 7 – Manitoba at Milwaukee, 7:00
Game 3 – Wed., May 11 – Milwaukee at Manitoba, 8:00
*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
by Patrick Williams
The Bridgeport Islanders say they are ready for the Calder Cup Playoffs.
At 33 years old, leading scorer Chris Terry continues to chase his first pro championship. The 13-year pro advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2011 with the Charlotte Checkers, but he has only had a chance to play 14 postseason games since then.
He is hungry for another deep playoff run.
“The first half of the year (13-16-3-4) didn’t go as planned, and we’ve worked hard to play meaningful games down the stretch and sneak into the playoffs,” Terry said.
A 10-5-2-0 finish earned Bridgeport that postseason trip. Terry’s 30 goals this season tied him for seventh in the league, giving him his fourth AHL season with 30 or more goals. He generated nine of those goals in his final 11 games in helping Bridgeport to lock up the Atlantic Division’s final playoff berth.
“You never know,” Terry said of having another opportunity to pursue a Calder Cup. “Now that you’re in, everybody has a chance.”
Forward Michael Dal Colle was part of the New York Islanders’ run to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals in the summer of 2020 and says Bridgeport compares favorably to that club.
“I was lucky enough to be part of that group the last couple of years,” Dal Colle began. “We had such a tight-knit group and played a similar style to our team [in Bridgeport]. When I was up top, we knew we could play with anyone. We were big, strong, solid goaltending, and we have all the same parts down here.
“We’re excited for the challenge. I think we match up well against anyone in our division, no matter who we play. So as long as we focus on ourselves, we’ll have a shot, and we all feel good.”
Terry termed his club’s identity as “resilient.”
“I feel like we struggled to be in tight games [in the first half of the season],” Terry continued. “Instead of finding ways to win, we were finding ways to lose. And then I think [the] maturity as a group, we learned as the season went along. A lot of the games that we lost in the first half, we were winning. So I think we’re just a resilient bunch. I don’t think there’s ever a game that we’re out of.”
After a tense and emotional weekend, the Rochester Americans can move on to prepare for the Belleville Senators. The teams open their first-round series Wednesday night at Blue Cross Arena.
It was the B-Sens, after all, who helped send Rochester to the postseason. Even after the Amerks’ 8-1 home win against the Utica Comets on Friday, they needed Belleville’s 5-2 win over Toronto on Saturday afternoon to allow Rochester to take the North Division’s final playoff berth.
Nothing came easily for the Amerks during the regular season, so why should the postseason be any different? Goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen left the regular-season finale following a collision.
Luukkonen is “certainly out” for the Belleville series, Rochester head coach Seth Appert said Sunday via the team’s website.
Still, the Amerks still have plenty of positives. Veteran goaltender Aaron Dell has played 126 games in the NHL over the last six seasons, as well as four appearances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with San Jose. Dell went 12-7-1 (2.91, .909) in 22 games for the Amerks.
Rochester, which already boasts two of the top young forwards in the league in Jack Quinn and JJ Peterka, received significant additional help from the parent Buffalo Sabres. Forward Peyton Krebs and defenseman Mattias Samuelsson will be at practice today to prepare for the series, Appert announced, and Rochester had already received defenseman Casey Fitzgerald from the Sabres for the regular-season finale. Krebs played 57 games in the NHL this season (seven goals, 15 assists) along with 20 AHL contests between Rochester and Henderson.
The Utica Comets earned a first-round bye and will not begin postseason action until next week, taking on the Belleville-Rochester series winner.
In the meantime, however, the parent New Jersey Devils continue to fortify the Utica roster. New Jersey sent 19-year-old forward Chase Stillman, the 29th overall pick in the 2021 National Hockey League Draft, to Utica on Sunday. Stillman, the son of long-time NHL forward and former AHL All-Star Cory Stillman, spent this season in the Ontario Hockey League, posting 49 points in 59 games with Sudbury and Peterborough.
Utica finished atop the Eastern Conference in the regular season with a 43-20-8-1 record (.660).
The 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs also get underway tonight with four series openers... During the regular season, 141 AHL players made their NHL debuts... Toronto’s Michael Bunting, an AHL All-Star with Tucson in 2019, was the NHL’s leading rookie scorer with 63 points this season... Hartford Wolf Pack graduate Igor Shesterkin led the NHL with a 2.07 GAA and a .935 save percentage for the New York Rangers... Five head coaches in the Stanley Cup Playoffs have won the Calder Cup during their time as head coaches in the AHL (Sheldon Keefe, Jared Bednar, Jon Cooper, Todd McLellan, Peter Laviolette), and a sixth (Craig Berube) won a title as an AHL assistant.
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.