In-state rivals Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Hershey open their Atlantic Division semifinal series tonight in Wilkes-Barre... The teams finished the regular season with identical .513 points percentages, with the Penguins getting fourth place based on their 26 regulation wins to the Bears’ 23... This is the eighth postseason series between the clubs, and the first since the Bears’ seven-game win in the 2016 division finals... Hershey won eight of the first nine meetings head-to-head in 2021-22, but Wilkes-Barre took the last three, most recently a 3-0 shutout victory on Apr. 19... The Penguins wrapped up the regular season with four consecutive losses, while the Bears dropped six of their last seven... Alex Nylander (22-20-42) and Juuso Puustinen (20-22-42) finished atop the Penguins’ scoring page; Nylander had 14-16-30 in 44 games with Wilkes-Barre after arriving from the Chicago Blackhawks organization... With Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith injured in Pittsburgh, the Penguins are without goaltenders Louis Domingue (10-9-2, 2.41, .924) and Alex D’Orio (7-10-4, 2.91, .894), but Tommy Nappier actually led the club in appearances (25) and victories (13) in the regular season... Mike Vecchione (16-28-44) led the Bears in scoring in 2021-22, including 10 points in 10 games vs. the Penguins... Joe Snively, with 15-23-38 in 35 games for Hershey this season, is back with the Bears in a long-term injury conditioning loan after suffering an injury with Washington back in February.
Game 1 – Tue., May 10 – Charlotte at Bridgeport, 7:00
Game 2 – Thu., May 12 – Charlotte at Bridgeport, 7:00
Game 3 – Sat., May 14 – Bridgeport at Charlotte, 4:00
*Game 4 – Mon., May 16 – Bridgeport at Charlotte, 7:00
*Game 5 – Wed., May 18 – Bridgeport at Charlotte, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern
Belleville hosts the first Calder Cup Playoff game ever at CAA Arena tonight, taking on Rochester in Game 2 of their best-of-three series... The Senators raced out to a 3-0 lead in Wednesday’s series opener, but the Amerks responded with three goals in the third period to tie before Arttu Ruotsalainen won it 16:54 into overtime... Lukas Rousek, who had one goal in 19 games with Rochester during the regular season, got the Amerks on the board, and defensemen Jimmy Schuldt and Casey Fitzgerald scored to tie the game with less than four minutes left in regulation... Peyton Krebs and JJ Peterka each had two assists for Rochester, and Aaron Dell made 14 of his 24 saves over the third period and overtime to earn the win in net... Cole Reinhardt, Dillon Heatherington and Rourke Chartier had the Senators goals in Game 1... Filip Gustavsson finished with 28 saves for Belleville... Game 1 was Rochester’s first playoff OT win since May 1, 2004, a Game 7 victory over Syracuse.
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
Syracuse and Laval get their North Division semifinal series underway tonight... The Crunch went 11-2-1-0 in their final 14 games to secure second place in the division, and had a franchise-record 12-game home winning streak snapped by the Rocket in their season finale on Apr. 30... Alex Barre-Boulet (16-47-63) was Syracuse’s top scorer during the regular season, followed by captain Gabriel Dumont (30-32-62) and former Rocket forward Charles Hudon (30-27-57)... The Crunch’s Max Lagace (23-9-2, 2.31, .910) was the AHL Goaltender of the Month for April after going 9-1-1 with a 1.56 GAA and a .943 save percentage... This is the first Calder Cup Playoff appearance for Laval, which was led in scoring during the regular season by second-year pro Rafael Harvey-Pinard (21-35-56)... Jean-Sebastien Dea (26-26-52) paced the Rocket with 26 goals, a career high for the eighth-year pro... Laval held the edge in the teams’ season series, winning five of eight meetings.
Rockford hosts Texas tonight with a chance to move on to the division semifinals and a date with Chicago... The IceHogs got 33 saves from Arvid Soderblom and goals from fellow rookies Lukas Reichel and Carson Gicewicz to grab a 2-1 win in Game 1 on Wednesday... Reichel, a first-round choice by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2020 NHL Draft, is coming off a regular season in which he set an IceHogs rookie scoring record with 57 points in 56 games... Gicewicz, who had scored just five times in 61 games during the regular season, beat his former UMass-Amherst teammate Matt Murray for the eventual game-winning goal; Murray made 28 saves for Texas... Fredrik Karlstrom scored the Stars’ only goal of Game 1... Texas finished with a 34-30 edge in shots on goal, including 13-9 in the third period.
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
The puck drops in Milwaukee tonight for Game 1 of the Central Division semifinal series between the Admirals and the Manitoba Moose... Milwaukee will host the first two games before the series shifts to Winnipeg for the remaining three contests... The Moose finished second in the division and eighth overall with a 41-24-5-2 record (.618), despite not placing a single scorer among the top 75 in the league; Mikey Eyssimont’s team-high 42 points were good for a tie for 80th place in the AHL... Jeff Malott scored a team-leading 23 goals for Manitoba, including eight game-winning tallies... One-third of Moose defenseman Leon Gawanke’s offensive output this season (10-26-36) came in 11 games against Milwaukee (5-7-12)... The Admirals begin the series without goaltender Connor Ingram (30-17-7, 2.70, .915), who made his first career Stanley Cup Playoff start with Nashville on Thursday night... Devin Cooley (9-10-2, 3.06, .898) is expected to get the call for Game 1... Cody Glass, who reached the Calder Cup Finals with Chicago in 2019, led Milwaukee in scoring with 14-48-62 in 66 games this season... Cole Schneider scored a career-high 30 goals during the regular season for Milwaukee; the 10th-year pro is still looking for his first career playoff goal.
Colorado can fill in the final piece of the Pacific Division semifinal picture with a win over Henderson in Game 2 tonight... The Eagles got two early goals from captain Jayson Megna on Wednesday and held on for a 5-2 win to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series... Megna opened the scoring just 31 seconds into Game 1 and added a shorthanded marker at 16:55 of the first period, his first career two-goal game in the Calder Cup Playoffs... Jean-Luc Foudy scored a key insurance tally for the Eagles in the third period, and Mikhail Maltsev and Kiefer Sherwood put the game away with empty-netters late... 2019 Calder Cup champion Roland McKeown had three assists for Colorado in Game 1... Justus Annunen made 22 saves for the win... Henderson’s goals came from Paul Cotter and Sven Baertschi... Jiri Patera stopped 33 shots in Game 1 for the Silver Knights, including all 18 he faced in the second period... The loss ended Henderson’s six-game winning streak.
The Bakersfield Condors earned themselves some rest following an impressive two-game sweep of the Abbotsford Canucks.
Following a 2-1 overtime victory in Game 1 on Tuesday night, the Condors took another one-goal win Wednesday, this time a 3-2 decision in Game 2 that completed the best-of-three series between the Pacific Division rivals. The sweep came despite the clubs posting matching .618 regular-season marks. Abbotsford had also received an impressive contingent back from the parent Vancouver Canucks in forwards Sheldon Dries, Nic Petan, and Vasily Podkolzin along with goaltender Spencer Martin.
“I tell you, our guys gave everything they had,” interim head coach Colin Chaulk said after Game 2 via the Condors website. “It’s been an emotional year for all of us.”
With 7:09 to go in regulation, Abbotsford tested that emotion again when Sheldon Rempal’s tied the game at 2-2. But the Condors continued to press and finished off the win on Cooper Marody’s tally with 1:28 to go in the game.
“I didn’t say anything,” Chaulk said about the Canucks’ tying the game late. “I waited, and I listened, and our [veteran players] were saying all the right things. More importantly, they were doing all the right things. It comes from within, the inner drive that this group has, the veteran leadership, how much everyone likes each other, how everyone pulls for each other.
“They made the game plan work because they worked. I can’t say enough of how much they believe in the staff and believe in themselves.”
Ten members of the Toronto Marlies are continuing their seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Goaltender Michael Hutchinson; defensemen Mac Hollowell, Filip Král, and Kristiāns Rubīns; and forwards Joey Anderson, Pontus Holmberg, Dmitry Ovchinnikov, Nick Robertson, Brett Seney, and Alex Steeves all received recalls to the NHL club for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Maple Leafs are taking on the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round. The Marlies missed the Calder Cup Playoffs this year for the first time since 2011.
Vancouver president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford spoke with local reporters on Tuesday and had off-ice news surrounding Abbotsford: The AHL club’s dressing room at Abbotsford Centre will be upgraded in time for next season.
“We’re going to refresh their dressing room and make it a little better,” Rutherford said via the Vancouver website.
Despite their first-round exit, the Canucks had a successful first season in the Fraser Valley.
In last night’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, Jake Oettinger made 29 saves as Dallas shut out Calgary, 2-0... Connor Ingram made 49 stops in his first career NHL postseason start, but Nashville dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to Colorado... Yakov Trenin scored for the Predators... Carter Verhaeghe notched a goal and an assist and 2018 Calder Cup champion Mason Marchment netted a goal as Florida defeated Washington, 5-1... Frank Vatrano tallied a goal and two assists for the New York Rangers in a 5-2 win over Pittsburgh.
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.