AHL Morning Skate: 5.7.22

A3-Providence Bruins vs. A6-Bridgeport Islanders
(Bridgeport wins series, 2-0)

Game 1 – Bridgeport 2, PROVIDENCE 1 (OT) | Recap
Game 2 – BRIDGEPORT 2, Providence 1 (OT) | Recap

A4-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. A5-Hershey Bears
Game 2 – Sunday, 5:00 ET, AHLTV
(W-B/Scranton leads series, 1-0)

Game 1 – W-B/SCRANTON 3, Hershey 0 | Recap
Game 2 – Sun., May 8 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 5:00
*Game 3 – Mon., May 9 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*if necessary… All times Eastern

A1-Charlotte Checkers vs. A6-Bridgeport Islanders
Game 1 – Tuesday, 7:00 ET, AHLTV

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

N4-Belleville Senators vs. N5-Rochester Americans
(Rochester wins series, 2-0)

Game 1 – ROCHESTER 4, Belleville 3 (OT) | Recap
Game 2 – Rochester 4, BELLEVILLE 3 (OT) | Recap

N1-Utica Comets vs. N5-Rochester Americans
Game 1 – Tuesday, 7:00 ET, AHLTV

Game 1 – Tue., May 10 – Rochester at Utica, 7:00
Game 2 – Sat., May 14 – Rochester at Utica, 7:00
Game 3 – Sun., May 15 – Utica at Rochester, 5:05
*Game 4 – Tue., May 17 – Utica at Rochester, 7:05
*Game 5 – Thu., May 19 – Rochester at Utica, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

N2-Syracuse Crunch vs. N3-Laval Rocket
Game 2 – Tonight, 7:00 ET, AHLTV
(Syracuse leads series, 1-0)

Game 1 – SYRACUSE 5, Laval 3 | Recap
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 go right back at it in Game 2 tonight following the Crunch’s 5-3 win in last night’s series opener... Anthony Richard led the Syracuse offense with two goals and an assist in Game 1; Richard has 29 points in 41 games since joining the Crunch in a mid-season trade with the Nashville organization... Rookie Cole Koepke added a goal and an assist in his postseason debut... Remi Elie, a Calder Cup finalist with Texas in 2018, also scored, and Gemel Smith notched his first career playoff goal... Max Lagace, who was the AHL Goaltender of the Month in April, turned aside 28 shots to earn the win in net for Syracuse; Lagace is 18-2-2 in his last 22 decisions... Alex Belzile, who played six games for Montreal during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, scored twice for Laval in his Calder Cup Playoffs debut... Joel Teasdale added a goal, his fifth in seven games vs. Syracuse this season... Defenseman Sami Niku notched three assists for the Rocket, and Kevin Poulin finished with 26 saves.

C4-Rockford IceHogs vs. C5-Texas Stars
(Rockford wins series, 2-0)

Game 1 – ROCKFORD 2, Texas 1 | Recap
Game 2 – ROCKFORD 1, Texas 0 (OT) | Recap

C1-Chicago Wolves vs. C4-Rockford IceHogs
Game 1 – Thursday, 8:00 ET, AHLTV

Game 1 – Thu., May 12 – Rockford at Chicago, 8:00
Game 2 – Sat., May 14 – Rockford at Chicago, 8:00
Game 3 – Sun., May 15 – Chicago at Rockford, 5:00
*Game 4 – Tue., May 17 – Chicago at Rockford, 8:00
*Game 5 – Thu., May 19 – Rockford at Chicago, 8:00
*if necessary... All times Eastern

C2-Manitoba Moose vs. C3-Milwaukee Admirals
Game 2 – Tonight, 8:00 ET, AHLTV
(Milwaukee leads series, 1-0)

Game 1 – Fri., May 6 – MILWAUKEE 3, Manitoba 2 | Recap
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

Milwaukee took the early jump in the Central Division Semifinals with a 3-2 win in Game 1 last night; Manitoba looks to pull even tonight before the series shifts to Winnipeg... Admirals captain Cole Schneider, coming off the first 30-goal season of his 10-year pro career, scored with 4:07 left in regulation to lift the Admirals to the Game 1 win... It was Schneider’s first goal in 13 career Calder Cup Playoff games... Brayden Burke and Matt Donovan also scored for Milwaukee, and Tommy Novak recorded three assists... Devin Cooley got the Game 1 start in net for Milwaukee with Connor Ingram on NHL recall to Nashville, and finished with a season-high 40 saves as the Moose owned a 42-21 advantage in shots on goal... C.J. Suess and Declan Chisholm scored the Moose goals, and Mikhail Berdin turned aside 18 shots.


P2-Ontario Reign vs. P7-San Diego Gulls
(Ontario wins series, 2-0)

Game 1 – ONTARIO 7, San Diego 4 | Recap
Game 2 – ONTARIO 3, San Diego 2 (OT) | Recap

P3-Colorado Eagles vs. P6-Henderson Silver Knights
(Colorado wins series, 2-0)

Game 1 – COLORADO 5, Henderson 2 | Recap
Game 2 – COLORADO 5, Henderson 2 | Recap

P4-Bakersfield Condors vs. P5-Abbotsford Canucks
(Bakersfield wins series, 2-0)

Game 1 – BAKERSFIELD 2, Abbotsford 1 (OT) | Recap
Game 2 – BAKERSFIELD 3, Abbotsford 2 | Recap

P1-Stockton Heat vs. P4-Bakersfield Condors
Game 1 – Tuesday, 9:30 ET, AHLTV

Game 1 – Tue., May 10 – Bakersfield at Stockton, 9:30
Game 2 – Wed., May 11 – Bakersfield at Stockton, 9:30
Game 3 – Fri., May 13 – Stockton at Bakersfield, 10:00
*Game 4 – Sun., May 15 – Stockton at Bakersfield, 8:00
*Game 5 – Tue., May 17 – Bakersfield at Stockton, 9:30
*if necessary... All times Eastern

P2-Ontario Reign vs. P3-Colorado Eagles
Game 1 – Wednesday, 9:05 ET, AHLTV

Game 1 – Wed., May 11 – Ontario at Colorado, 9:05
Game 2 – Fri., May 13 – Ontario at Colorado, 9:05
Game 3 – Sun., May 15 – Colorado at Ontario, 11:00
*Game 4 – Tue., May 17 – Colorado at Ontario, 10:00
*Game 5 – Wed., May 18 – Colorado at Ontario, 10:00
*if necessary... All times Eastern

With just two games in a 12-day span before beginning the Calder Cup Playoffs, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins had ample time to prepare for Friday’s best-of-three Atlantic Division first-round series with the archrival Hershey Bears.

And amid a chaotic week for their National Hockey League affiliate, head coach J.D. Forrest’s team also had plenty of time to think before even beginning the Calder Cup Playoff run. Injuries to Pittsburgh Penguins goaltenders Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith meant that Wilkes-Barre/Scranton had lost both Louis Domingue and Alex D’Orio in quick succession.

Fortunately for Forrest, however, he still had Tommy Nappier in town. With just 28 career AHL appearances ― none of them in the postseason ― entering this series, the 24-year-old Nappier delivered a 23-save shutout in Game 1.

The host Penguins quickly smothered the Bears, outshooting them in the first period, 15-3, and leaving Forrest impressed. Now Wilkes-Barre/Scranton can finish the series with a win in Game 2 Sunday at Hershey.

“The first period was really wanted to accomplish right away from the start,” Forrest said, “whether it was in the offensive zone or the D zone. I thought we just played smart hockey. We didn’t give up really much of anything, and I thought that was as good of a start as we really could have had. It’s exactly what we were looking for.

“[Nappier] looked pretty relaxed to me. He’s not somebody that gets shaken too easily. He’s got a very calm demeanor that can be settling when things are going on fast around you.”

Nappier had gone 13-10-2 in 25 AHL games this season (most among Wilkes-Barre/Scranton netminders), recording a 2.87 goals-against average and an .897 save percentage.

“We love his mojo,” said defenseman P.O. Joseph, who contributed a pair of assists on goals 31 seconds apart in the first period of Game 1. “We love the confidence he has in net, and it was great to see.”

For a player like Joseph, the COVID-19 pandemic meant that Friday was his first taste of pro playoff action despite having played parts of three American Hockey League seasons. A June 2019 trade with the Arizona Coyotes for Phil Kessel brought Joseph to the Pittsburgh organization, but the 23rd overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft had put in 136 regular-season games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton before the pay-off of playoff hockey. And for his part, Nappier had never seen pro postseason action at any level since completing a four-year run at Ohio State last season.

“Surprisingly unflappable,” Forrest said of his young players’ adjustment to Calder Cup Playoff action. “It’s a different environment, I think everyone’s just excited to be a part of [the playoffs], to have the opportunity, really. Some teams are home now, and we get to continue our season in an environment that’s just a little bit different, a little bit higher stakes than what we’ve been through throughout the season.

“The learning experience is invaluable in helping them move forward in their careers, and it’s also a lot of fun.”

The Manitoba Moose certainly could make an argument that they simply ran into a hot goaltender Friday night in Game 1 of their best-of-five Central Division Semifinal series with the Milwaukee Admirals.

Manitoba dropped a 3-2 decision despite outshooting the Admirals, 42-21. With Connor Ingram still on recall to the Nashville Predators, the Moose instead drew Milwaukee’s Devin Cooley, who frustrated them with 40 saves. Cooley, a 24-year-old in his second pro season out of the University of Denver, had been an understudy Ingram in the regular season, making 24 appearances and going 9-10-2 with a 3.06 GAA and .898 save percentage.

“I didn’t mind our effort,” said Moose head coach Mark Morrison. “I thought we were good, we put lots of pucks at the net, probably deserved a little better fate on some of those. But that’s playoffs, you know. Most times, if you bring that kind of effort in every game in a series, you should end up on the right side.”

Still, Morrison said that the Moose could do more to complicate Game 2 for Cooley and the Admirals tonight.

“One thing that we want to do is to make sure that we’re putting pucks to the net, which we did. [But] I’m not sure we had enough traffic in front. I think he saw too many of those shots. That’s one thing we’re going to have to get stronger at.

“That’s playoff hockey. It’s getting pucks through.”

Abbotsford Canucks general manager Ryan Johnson will go into the summer happy with the club’s coaching staff.

In his end-of-season availability Friday afternoon, Johnson praised the work that head coach Trent Cull, associate coach Gary Agnew, assistant coach Jeff Ulmer, and the rest of the Abbotsford staff all did this season. In the team’s first season on the West Coast based near the parent Vancouver Canucks, Abbotsford finished fifth in the Pacific Division at 39-23-5-1 (.618) before falling to the Bakersfield Condors this week in their best-of-three first-round series.

“I couldn’t be happier with the job that they have done since day one,” Johnson said of the staff, “bringing in this group, their attention to detail, the support they have from our development staff. We want more young players here. We want to develop NHL players, and that’s how you build a Stanley Cup team.”

Just 15-15-3-1 at the season's midpoint, Abbotsford went on a 24-8-2-0 tear in the second half despite an ever-changing roster hit hard by injuries and recalls to Vancouver.

To have that success, Johnson said, “You have to be a structured coaching staff. You have to have a set of values in place that players come in and execute every day. To be able to do that with players coming in and out, I don’t think people realize how hard that is on a coaching staff on a daily basis.”

― Patrick Williams

In last night’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, Brad Marchand tallied a goal and two assists and David Pastrnak and Charlie Coyle chipped in a goal and an assist each as Boston doubled up Carolina, 4-2... Jeremy Swayman made 25 saves in his first career postseason start... 2017 AHL All-Star Jack Campbell made 32 saves and 2018 Calder Cup champion Pierre Engvall recorded three assists in Toronto’s 5-2- win over Tampa Bay... 2012 AHL All-Star Mats Zuccarello scored for Minnesota in a 5-1 win over St. Louis... Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each scored twice as part of three-point nights to help Edmonton to an 8-2 win over Los Angeles.

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.