AHL Morning Skate: 5.24.22

A1-Charlotte Checkers vs. A2-Springfield Thunderbirds
Game 2 – Wednesday, 7:05 ET, AHLTV
(Springfield leads series, 1-0)

Game 1 – SPRINGFIELD 6, Charlotte 0 | Recap
Game 2 – Wed., May 25 – Charlotte at Springfield, 7:05
Game 3 – Sat., May 28 – Springfield at Charlotte, 6:00
*Game 4 – Sun., May 29 – Springfield at Charlotte, 6:00
*Game 5 – Tue., May 31 – Springfield at Charlotte, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

N3-Laval Rocket vs. N5-Rochester Americans
Game 3 – Wednesday, 7:05 ET, AHLTV
(Laval leads series, 2-0)

Game 1 – LAVAL 6, Rochester 1 | Recap
Game 2 – LAVAL 3, Rochester 1 | Recap
Game 3 – Wed., May 25 – Laval at Rochester, 7:05
*Game 4 – Fri., May 27 – Laval at Rochester, 7:05
*Game 5 – Sun., May 29 – Rochester at Laval, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

C1-Chicago Wolves vs. C3-Milwaukee Admirals
Game 3 – Wednesday, 8:00 ET, AHLTV
(Chicago leads series, 2-0)

Game 1 – CHICAGO 6, Milwaukee 2 | Recap
Game 2 – CHICAGO 8, Milwaukee 2 | Recap
Game 3 – Wed., May 25 – Chicago at Milwaukee, 8:00
*Game 4 – Fri., May 27 – Chicago at Milwaukee, 8:00
*Game 5 – Sun., May 29 – Milwaukee at Chicago, 4:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

P1-Stockton Heat vs. P3-Colorado Eagles
Game 2 – Tonight, 9:30 ET, AHLTV
(Stockton leads series, 1-0)

Game 1 – STOCKTON 5, Colorado 0 | Recap
Game 2 – Tue., May 24 – Colorado at Stockton, 9:30
Game 3 – Fri., May 27 – Stockton at Colorado, 9:05
*Game 4 – Sun., May 29 – Stockton at Colorado, 9:05
*Game 5 – Tue., May 31 – Stockton at Colorado, 9:05
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Stockton and Colorado hit the ice again tonight for Game 2 of the Pacific Division Finals following the Heat’s 5-0 win in the series opener yesterday... The Eagles had outscored its opponents 30-11 in winning its first five games of the postseason, but they were held to 23 shots on goal in Game 1 and were shut out for the first time since Jan. 20, 2020 ― also a 5-0 loss in Stockton... Dustin Wolf (4-0, 1.75, .940) earned the first shutout of his pro career with 23 saves last night, including 19 over the final two periods... Justin Kirkland (3-1-4) led the Heat offense with two goals and an assist, while Andy Welinski (1-2-3) and Matthew Phillips (1-2-3) added a goal and an assist apiece... Eetu Tuulola (1-1-2) scored his first goal of the postseason... Stockton was 2-for-2 on the penalty kill in Game 1, and has allowed just one goal in 37 chances (97.3 percent) against Colorado this season... Justus Annunen (5-1, 2.57, .918) made 25 saves in the loss for the Eagles... Stockton is 35-4-4-1 this season when scoring the game’s first goal, including 4-0 in the postseason.

The Charlotte Checkers are shaking off their 6-0 loss to the Springfield Thunderbirds in Game 1 of the Atlantic Division Finals as they prepare for Game 2 tomorrow.

Charlotte was down 1-0 late in the second period before the game fell out of reach.

“We didn’t play the right way,” Checkers head coach Geordie Kinnear said via the team’s Twitter account. “But give full marks to Springfield, I thought they played a great game.”

After ranking fourth in the AHL during the regular season allowing 2.74 goals per game, the Checkers have given up 17 goals in five playoff games (3.40) to Springfield and Bridgeport.

With two full days between games, the Checkers have time to regroup.

“We’ll look at the video, move forward, and get better,” Kinnear said. “Nothing changes for us. A loss is a loss.”

Playing before packed crowds at Place Bell has become something of the norm for the Laval Rocket during the Calder Cup Playoffs, and defenseman Louie Belpedio appreciates that postseason boost.

Belpedio’s second-period goal was the game winner for the Rocket to help them deal the Rochester Americans a 3-1 defeat in Game 2 of the North Division Finals last night. The Rocket are 3-1 at Place Bell in the postseason and will take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series to Rochester for Game 3 on Wednesday night.

“Nobody likes hockey like people in Quebec do. I’ve learned that this year,” said Belpedio, who had spent parts of the first four seasons in another strong American Hockey League market with the Iowa Wild before signing with the Montreal Canadiens last summer. “It’s an honor to be able to play in front of them.

“It’s something that I don’t take for granted,” Belpedio said of the fan support. “You feel good when you skate out of that tunnel for puck drop and you see everyone cheering and waving their towels. I know it’s not easy for other teams to come in here and play, and we were able to take advantage of that the past two games.”

Rocket head coach J-F Houle has paired Belpedio with captain Xavier Ouellet. The pair were Laval’s top two offensive defensemen during the regular season, but Belpedio says that he is not changing his game.

“I try not to change my game, no matter what,” Belpedio said. “Some nights you get bounces, some nights you don’t. I think it’s important to stay true to yourself. I think everyone just plays to their identity, their role, and you see it up and down the scoresheet. Different guys are contributing and that’s what you need around this time of year.

“Nothing has to be pretty. You’ve just got to get it done.”

The Amerks have at least one more chance to figure out Rocket goaltender Cayden Primeau.

Primeau, the first star in Game 2 after stopping 31 of 32 shots, has held Rochester to just two goals in the first two games of the series. Rochester will attempt to fend off elimination at home Wednesday.

“We need to get more traffic on Primeau because he’s in a rhythm right now,” Rochester head coach Seth Appert said. “When a goalie’s in a rhythm, you’ve got to make it miserable on him. You have to over-screen him. You have to make him play deep in his crease. You’ve got to be sitting on top of the net. Things that we’re generally good at, we haven’t been as good at it the first two nights.”

Amerks forward Mark Jankowski did manage to solve Primeau once, breaking the goaltender’s shutout bid with 2:44 left in the game.

“I think that’s how you get to a goalie in a groove there, you make it uncomfortable for him,” Jankowski said. “You stand on the top of the crease, make sure he can’t get out, make sure he can't see pucks, and just pepper him as much as you can, and get the second or third whacks at it.”

Despite a 5-0 loss in Game 1 of the Pacific Division Finals to the Stockton Heat, the Colorado Eagles did have some good news yesterday.

Forward Dylan Sikura was back in the Colorado lineup after missing all three games of the team’s Pacific Division semifinal series against the Ontario Reign. During the regular season Sikura helped to key the second-most productive offense in the AHL and finished tied for sixth in league scoring at 73 points (33 goals, 40 assists) in just 60 games.

Colorado head coach Greg Cronin started Sikura on a line with Mikhail Maltsev and regular-season leading scorer Kiefer Sherwood against the Heat.

Patrick Williams

In last night’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, Andrei Vasilevskiy made 49 saves for his first shutout of the 2022 postseason and Pat Maroon and Ondrej Palat scored third-period goals as Tampa Bay completed a four-game sweep of Florida with a 2-0 victory... Nazem Kadri recorded a hat trick along with an assist to lead Colorado to a 6-3 win over St. Louis and a 3-1 series lead.

In action at the 2022 IIHF World Championship yesterday, Sebastian Dahm made 29 saves and Mathias Bau scored the winning goal with 7:49 remaining as Denmark upset Canada, 3-2... Thomas Raffl notched a goal and two assists during a five-goal third period as Austria rallied to defeat Great Britain, 5-3... Curtis Valk scored for Kazakhstan in their 5-2 victory over Italy.

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