AHL Morning Skate: 5.27.22

Photo: Scott Paulus

A1-Charlotte Checkers vs. A2-Springfield Thunderbirds
Game 3 – Saturday, 6:00 ET, AHLTV
(Springfield leads series, 2-0)

Game 1 – SPRINGFIELD 6, Charlotte 0 | Recap
Game 2 – SPRINGFIELD 4, Charlotte 3 | Recap
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
(Laval wins series, 3-0)

Game 1 – LAVAL 6, Rochester 1 | Recap
Game 2 – LAVAL 3, Rochester 1 | Recap
Game 3 – Laval 6, ROCHESTER 5 (3OT) | Recap

C1-Chicago Wolves vs. C3-Milwaukee Admirals
Game 4 – Tonight, 8:00 ET, AHLTV
(Chicago leads series, 2-1)

Game 1 – CHICAGO 6, Milwaukee 2 | Recap
Game 2 – CHICAGO 8, Milwaukee 2 | Recap
Game 3 – MILWAUKEE 4, Chicago 2 | Recap
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

Milwaukee hosts Chicago in Game 4 of the Central Division Finals tonight after extending the series with a 4-2 victory on Wednesday... On his 25th birthday, Devin Cooley (3-1, 2.72, .935) made 47 saves in his first start of the series to backstop the Admirals to the win... Cooley has stopped at least 40 shots in three of his four postseason starts and is 3-0 in those games... Rocco Grimaldi (1-1-2), Cole Smith (3-2-5) and Cole Schneider (3-4-7) scored power-play goals for Milwaukee in Game 3 as the Admirals went 3-for-6 with the man advantage... Cody Glass (1-4-5) assisted on all three power-play goals... Brayden Burke (4-3-7) also scored, giving him points in all three games of the series... Josh Leivo (3-7-10) had a goal and an assist, Jack Drury (5-4-9) scored and C.J. Smith (3-5-8) tallied an assist; all three players have points in each of the Wolves' first six games this postseason... Alex Lyon (5-1, 2.02, .924) made 21 saves as he suffered his first loss since Apr. 1, also at Milwaukee... The Western Conference’s four division finalists are a combined 15-0 at home this postseason.

P1-Stockton Heat vs. P3-Colorado Eagles
Game 3 – Tonight, 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

The Colorado Eagles return home looking for their first win ― and first goal ― of the Pacific Division Finals in Game 3 tonight... The Stockton Heat held serve at home earlier this week with a pair of shutout wins, 5-0 and 1-0, to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series... Dustin Wolf (5-0, 1.40, .951) made 27 saves in Game 2 on Tuesday to become just the seventh goaltender in AHL history to record back-to-back shutouts in the first two games of a Calder Cup Playoff series; he joins Cam Talbot (2012), Michael Leighton (2004), Mika Noronen (2000), Michel Plasse (1972), Bob Perreault (1957) and Gil Mayer (1951)... Wolf’s shutout streak sits at 127 minutes and 11 seconds... Justin Kirkland (4-1-5) scored the only goal of Game 2, his fourth in the last three games... Colorado, which scored 30 goals in five games during sweeps of Henderson and Ontario to reach the division finals, had not been shut out all season before Game 1... Justus Annunen (5-2, 2.36, .922) stopped 23 of 24 shots in Tuesday’s defeat... The Western Conference’s four division finalists are a combined 15-0 at home this postseason.

It will take nothing less than a full team effort for an opponent to handle the Chicago Wolves.

Milwaukee Admirals like defenseman Dylan Blujus are providing just that. Milwaukee goes into tonight’s Game 4 of the Central Division Finals attempting to build on Wednesday’s 4-2 win and push the best-of-five series to the limit.

With Chicago unleashing 49 shots in Game 3, Blujus showed a willingness to at least disrupt some of those attempts by blocking shooting lanes. And for a Milwaukee blue line missing veteran regulars Matt Tennyson and Alex Biega against one of the American Hockey League’s most productive offenses, head coach Karl Taylor is looking for every bit of help that he can find.

“[Blujus] is a special individual,” Taylor told Admirals broadcaster Aaron Sims after Game 3. “He’s the fabric of the group. He’s an individual that is a big part of our team. He’s a guy that's sacrificing a lot right now on the ice.”

In his eighth AHL season, Blujus shifted to the Western Conference for the first time in his career after agreeing to an AHL deal with Milwaukee last September. The Buffalo, N.Y., native and 2012 second-round NHL draft pick had previously played 295 games with Syracuse, Utica and Rochester.

While Blujus was on the Crunch roster for a run to the 2017 Calder Cup Finals, this is his first time playing games beyond the first round. Blujus had another steady outing Wednesday, but Taylor also brought up a moment from a difficult loss in Game 2 last Sunday.

“An 8-2 game, seven minutes left in Chicago,” Taylor pointed out. “They’re on a five-on-three, and he blocks three shots in an 8-2 game, sacrificing his body when the game was over.

“That’s just who he is as an individual, and it’s great leadership on his part for the rest of our group.”

Rory Kerins only has two games of Calder Cup Playoff experience, but he has seen enough of the Colorado Eagles to at least know one fact.

After an atypical 5-0 loss to Kerins and the Stockton Heat in Game 1 of the Pacific Division Finals, the Eagles put up a strong fight in Game 2 despite a 1-0 loss. Now with the Eagles fighting for their season and back home before the animated Colorado fan base, the Heat are gearing up to see the best that their opponent has to offer.

A 2020 sixth-round pick by the parent Calgary Flames, the 20-year-old Kerins reported to Stockton following the completion of his season with the Ontario Hockey League’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in which he produced 118 points (43 goals, 75 assists) in 67 regular-season games.

In making the considerable jump to the AHL’s caliber of play, Kerins is acquiring valuable experience. Now he has an opportunity to further that learning process as he and the Heat attempt to close out Colorado’s season. Calder Cup Playoff success requires teams and players to continuously raise their collective level of play to match their opponent.

“The last win is always the hardest in any series,” Kerins said. “They’re going to be desperate. We’re going to try to elevate our game even more.”

Patrick Williams

In last night’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, Vincent Trocheck and Teuvo Teravainen scored to help Carolina past the New York Rangers, 3-1, in Game 5 of their series... Zach Hyman recorded a goal and two assists and Leon Draisaitl notched four assists as Edmonton eliminated Calgary with a 5-4 overtime win.

In quarterfinal action at the 2022 IIHF World Championship yesterday, 2019-20 Second Team AHL All-Star Drake Batherson scored 43 seconds into overtime as Canada rallied from three goals down to defeat Sweden, 4-3... 2020-21 Atlantic Division AHL All-Star Jeremy Swayman made 33 saves as the United States shut out Switzerland, 3-0... David Krejci notched a goal and two assists and David Pastrnak added a goal and an assist as the Czech Republic defeated Germany, 4-1... Saku Maenalanen scored for Finland in a 4-2 win over Slovakia.

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.