AHL Morning Skate: 5.25.22

Photo: Lucas Armstrong

A1-Charlotte Checkers vs. A2-Springfield Thunderbirds
Game 2 – Tonight, 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

Springfield takes a 1-0 series lead into tonight’s Game 2 of the Atlantic Division Finals against visiting Charlotte... The Thunderbirds opened the series with a 6-0 victory on Sunday afternoon, their eighth straight win going back to the regular season... Springfield has allowed a total of 10 goals in those eight games, including four shutouts... Sam Anas (4-6-10) scored twice ― including once on a penalty shot ― and added an assist, and Joel Hofer (2-0, 1.01, .972) made 35 saves in Game 1... The T’birds scored three times in the opening 3:34 of the third period to break the game open, en route to the largest margin of victory by a Springfield club in a Calder Cup Playoff game since the Indians’ 9-2 win at Moncton on Apr. 30, 1991... Matthew Peca (2-7-9) recorded three assists for his second consecutive three-point game... Mackenzie MacEachern (3-2-5) scored a goal for the third game in a row... Joey Daccord (3-2, 2.76, .892) stopped 19 of 23 shots for the Checkers in 43 minutes of work... Excluding shootouts, Charlotte has not lost consecutive games in three months, since a four-game skid from Feb. 20-27.

N3-Laval Rocket vs. N5-Rochester Americans
Game 3 – Tonight, 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

Rochester faces elimination but is back on home ice as the puck drops on Game 3 of the North Division Finals tonight... Laval won the first two games of the series at Place Bell, outscoring the Amerks 9-2 in the process... Thirteen different Rocket skaters have already recorded a point in the series, and Cayden Primeau (5-1, 1.65, .949) has stopped 62 of 64 Rochester shots... Brandon Gignac (2-2-4), Louie Belpedio (2-4-6) and Lucas Condotta (1-0-1) scored for Laval in Monday’s 3-1 victory in Game 2... Condotta’s goal was his first as a professional; he joined the Rocket last month following his senior season at UMass-Lowell... Danick Martel (5-2-7), Alex Belzile (4-3-7) and Sami Niku (0-7-7) are tied for the Laval team scoring lead through seven playoff games... Arttu Ruotsalainen (8-4-12) notched an assist for Rochester in Game 2, his league-leading 12th point of the postseason... Amerks rookies JJ Peterka (5-5-10) and Peyton Krebs (0-10-10) both have 10 points in nine playoff contests... Rochester is 1-0 when facing elimination this postseason, a 4-2 win in a decisive Game 5 at Utica last Thursday night... Laval is 1-1 with a chance to close out a series.

C1-Chicago Wolves vs. C3-Milwaukee Admirals
Game 3 – Tonight, 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

Chicago takes its perfect 5-0 postseason record into Milwaukee tonight with a chance to advance to the Western Conference Finals... The Wolves opened the series with 6-2 and 8-2 wins on home ice, and they have not lost a game since a 3-1 setback to the Admirals back on Apr. 23... Five Chicago skaters recorded three points apiece in Game 2 on Sunday, with Stefan Noesen’s hat trick highlighting a five-goal second period for the Wolves... Noesen (5-2-7) has followed up his 48-goal regular season with five goals in five postseason games... David Gust (3-3-6) had two goals, one assist and seven shots on goal in Game 2... Josh Leivo (2-6-8) recorded three assists and has a team-best five points (1-4-5) in the series... Alex Lyon (5-0, 1.60, .940) made 30 saves in the win, allowing two goals or fewer for the 11th time in his last 13 starts... Jimmy Huntington (4-1-5) has scored a goal in each of the first two games of the series for Milwaukee... Cole Smith (2-1-3) also scored for the Admirals in Game 2... The eight goals scored by Chicago in Game 2 equaled a Wolves franchise record for a Calder Cup Playoff game, and were also the most ever allowed by the Admirals in the AHL postseason.

P1-Stockton Heat vs. P3-Colorado Eagles
Game 3 – Friday, 9:05 ET, AHLTV
(Stockton leads series, 2-0)

Game 1 – STOCKTON 5, Colorado 0 | Recap
Game 2 – STOCKTON 1, Colorado 0 | Recap
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

Even after two difficult games against the Chicago Wolves, the Milwaukee Admirals are looking for silver linings.

Chicago has a 2-0 series lead in the Central Division Finals, outscoring the Admirals in the two games, 14-4. In preparing for their fight to fend off elimination tonight on home ice, Milwaukee head coach Karl Taylor was stressing the positive.

“It’s May 24th, we’re playing hockey,” Taylor said yesterday. “We’re excited to still be playing hockey. We wish we would have got a split in Chicago ― that would have been a victory for us in our mind. It didn’t happen, so now we move on.

“We get ready for shift one, period one, and we try to win the first shift, the first period, the second period, try to win a game, and then we move on to the next one.”

Milwaukee is 1-0 when facing elimination in the Calder Cup Playoffs, taking a Game 5 road decision against the Manitoba Moose in the teams’ Central Division semifinal series.

Tonight’s situation for the Charlotte Checkers is less perilous than the one that Milwaukee faces.

Still, the Checkers badly need a win tonight against the Springfield Thunderbirds following Sunday’s 6-0 loss in Game 1 of the Atlantic Division Finals. Win Game 2, and the Checkers go back to Charlotte with an even series and as many as three tries on home ice to close it out. Lose, and the Checkers face a situation in which they would need to defeat Springfield three consecutive times.

Starting with Checkers head coach Geordie Kinnear, a consistent message has been stressed by Charlotte: they are capable of much more. The Checkers won the Atlantic Division title in the regular season on the strength of a 16-3-2-1 record in their final 22 games. They then eliminated the stubborn Bridgeport Islanders in a four-game Atlantic Division semifinal series.

With two full days between games for practice and video, Kinnear has the Checkers working to clear up what ailed them in Game 1.

“I think just collectively rebounding from not the effort we wanted,” captain Zac Dalpe said of the team’s goal in Game 2. “It felt like they played well, but we beat ourselves at times, too.”

And then there are the Rochester Americans, who like Milwaukee are also trying to fight off elimination tonight.

Fiery Rochester defenseman Brandon Davidson spoke passionately following the Amerks’ 3-1 loss to the Laval Rocket in Game 2 of the North Division Finals on Monday.

“We need to really not play like them,” Davidson said. “We need to play like us.”

“I think there’s minor details all over the ice that need to be cleaned up, but nothing huge. I think we’re right there. We’re a second behind the puck or a second ahead of it. We're just not in a sweet spot right now.”

The Rocket won twice on the road in their first series against Syracuse, including the deciding Game 5 overtime victory. But fresh off two games at sold-out Place Bell, the Rocket will now be the team dealing with a hostile environment going into Rochester.

The Amerks have staved off elimination once already in the postseason, winning Game 5 of their division semifinal in Utica. Davidson predicted that the Rocket will be facing a stubborn Amerks club tonight.

“I think [us] going down 2-0, that puts a lot of pressure on them,” Davidson said.

Patrick Williams

In last night’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, Andrew Copp recorded a goal and two assists, Frank Vatrano added a goal and an assist and Ryan Lindgren tallied two assists in the New York Rangers’ 4-1 win over Carolina... Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice, including the winning goal with 3:27 remaining, as Edmonton defeated Calgary, 5-3.

In action at the 2022 IIHF World Championship yesterday, 2016 AHL All-Star William Nylander scored the only goal and 2018 AHL All-Star Linus Ullmark made 21 saves as Sweden shut out Latvia, 1-0... 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs MVP Tomas Tatar scored twice for Slovakia in a 7-1 win over Denmark... Matt Boldy, who began this season with the AHL’s Iowa Wild before recording 39 points in 47 NHL games with Minnesota, scored for the United States in their 4-2 victory over Norway... 2019 Calder Cup finalist Zach Whitecloud notched a goal and an assist and 2019 AHL All-Star Drake Batherson tallied four assists as Canada defeated France, 7-1... Reto Berra made 24 saves for Switzerland in a 4-3 shootout win over Germany... Jussi Olkinuora stopped 24 shots for Finland in a 3-0 win over the Czech Republic.

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.