AHL Morning Skate: 6.11.17

Scott Thomas Photography

Take a game-day spin around the AHL ice with latest news and notes from the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs in today’s AHL Morning Skate.

Playoff Brackets | Today’s Scoreboard | League Stats

Game 6 – Tuesday, 7:00 ET – AHL Live free-view, SiriusXM 91
(GR leads series, 3-2)

Syracuse scored five times in the opening period and beat Grand Rapids, 5-1, to spoil the Griffins’ celebration plans in Game 5 of the Calder Cup Finals last night… Cory Conacher and Ben Thomas each tallied a goal and an assist, Yanni Gourde had three assists and Mike McKenna made 36 saves as the Crunch became the first AHL team to win an elimination game in the Finals since they beat Grand Rapids twice in the 2013 series… Syracuse finished the home portion of their playoff schedule with an 11-1 record at the War Memorial Arena, outscoring their opponents 54-27… The Crunch were the first team to score five goals in a single period of a Calder Cup Finals game since Chicago in 2008 (Game 3 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton)… Grand Rapids was 0-for-16 on the power play in the three games in Syracuse; the Griffins were 4-for-11 in Games 1-2 at Van Andel Arena, where they host Game 6 on Tuesday.

2017 Calder Cup Finals – Series “O” (best-of-7)
Grand Rapids Griffins vs. Syracuse Crunch | Finals Infographic
Game 1 – Fri., June 2 – GRAND RAPIDS 3, Syracuse 2 | Recap/Highlights
Game 2 – Sat., June 3 – GRAND RAPIDS 6, Syracuse 5 (2OT) | Recap/Highlights
Game 3 – Wed., June 7 – SYRACUSE 5, Grand Rapids 3 | Recap/Highlights
Game 4 – Fri., June 9 – Grand Rapids 3, SYRACUSE 2 | Recap/Highlights
Game 5 – Sat., June 10 – SYRACUSE 5, Grand Rapids 1 | Recap/Highlights
Game 6 – Tue., June 13 – Syracuse at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 7 – Wed., June 14 – Syracuse at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Uphill Climb
Grand Rapids is the 37th team in Calder Cup Finals history to hold a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven format; 33 of the previous 36 (91.7 percent) went on to win the championship… All three comebacks came during a four-year span in the late 1940s:

1949 – Providence Reds def. Hershey, 4-3
1947 – Hershey Bears def. Pittsburgh, 4-3
1946 – Buffalo Bisons def. Cleveland, 4-3

Quick Strikes
Kevin Lynch‘s goal 17 seconds into last night’s Game 5 was the fastest goal to start a Calder Cup Finals contest in the last 20 years:

:17 – Syracuse, 2017 Game 5 vs. Grand Rapids (Kevin Lynch)
:19 – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 2001 Game 1 at Saint John (Darcy Verot)
:20 – Hershey, 2006 Game 5 vs. Milwaukee (Brooks Laich)
:32 – Philadelphia, 1998 Game 6 vs. Saint John (Jim Montgomery)

Reading List
Full of health and hope, Crunch targets 2 more wins (Syracuse.com)
Nelson on Game 5 blowout: ‘Just one of those things’ (Grand Rapids Press)
Opening period blitz earns Syracuse Crunch a Game 6 in Calder Cup Finals (Syracuse.com)

Working Overtime
There have been 18 overtime games played in the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs so far:

June 3 – GRAND RAPIDS 6, Syracuse 5 (Ben Street, 27:02)
May 21 – PROVIDENCE 2, Syracuse 1 (Jordan Szwarz, 8:28)
May 14 – Hershey 3, PROVIDENCE 2 (Madison Bowey, 1:58)
May 11 – Hershey 2, PROVIDENCE 1 (Chris Bourque, 7:14)
May 10 – San Jose 4, SAN DIEGO 3 (Timo Meier, 17:40)
May 7 – HERSHEY 3, Providence 2 (Travis Boyd, 5:44)
May 5 – San Diego 3, SAN JOSE 2 (Kevin Roy, 0:38)
*May 2 – SAN JOSE 2, Stockton 1 (Ryan Carpenter, 8:52)
*Apr. 28 – TORONTO 2, Albany 1 (Justin Holl, 46:43)
*Apr. 28 – SYRACUSE 2, St. John’s 1 (Gabriel Dumont, 2:18)
*Apr. 26 – Grand Rapids 3, MILWAUKEE 2 (Kyle Criscuolo, 10:03)
Apr. 26 – TORONTO 3, Albany 2 (Colin Greening, 0:45)
Apr. 26 – Lehigh Valley 2, HERSHEY 1 (Chris Conner, 1:49)
Apr. 23 – Charlotte 4, CHICAGO 3 (Connor Brickley, 9:28)
Apr. 23 – W-B/Scranton 6, PROVIDENCE 5 (Derrick Pouliot, 7:49)
Apr. 22 – Syracuse 4, ST. JOHN’S 3 (Tye McGinn, 30:37)
Apr. 21 – GRAND RAPIDS 4, Milwaukee 3 (Tomas Nosek, 9:32)
Apr. 21 – Hershey 1, LEHIGH VALLEY 0 (Nathan Walker, 7:38)
*clinched series

About the Calder Cup
The Calder Cup is named for Frank Calder, the first president of the NHL (1917-43) and one of the driving forces behind the formation of the American Hockey League.

While the AHL’s history dates back to the fall of 1936, the Calder Cup trophy was first awarded in 1938 to the Providence Reds for winning the second International-American Hockey League championship. (In 1996, George Parsons of the Syracuse Stars was presented the Calder Cup in a ceremony at the Onondaga County War Memorial; it is believed the Stars never received a trophy for their 1937 championship.)

In 2001, the trophy’s base was changed to include two tiers of plaques, which feature the rosters of each of the last 20 Calder Cup champions; the plaques from the first 60 champions are on display in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. The entire trophy now stands 24 inches tall and weighs 28 pounds. The bowl, made of sterling silver, is 12 inches high and eight inches in diameter; the base is made of Brazilian mahogany.

Alumni Watch
In Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Thursday night, Pittsburgh defeated Nashville, 6-0, to take a 3-2 series lead… 2015 AHL Rookie of Year and Goaltender of the Year Matt Murray made 24 saves to join Patrick Roy and Cam Ward as the only rookie goalies ever to record a shutout in the Stanley Cup Final… 2002 AHL All-Star and 2003 Calder Cup finalist Ron Hainsey recorded a goal and an assist for the Penguins… 2013 Eddie Shore Award winner Justin Schultz scored what would be the game-winning goal… 2017 AHL All-Rookie forward Jake Guentzel (13-8-21) tied the NHL record for points by a rookie in a single postseason, matching Dino Ciccarelli and Ville Leino.

On This Date
June 11, 2016 – The second-largest crowd in AHL playoff history (19,665) watches Lake Erie claim Cleveland’s first Calder Cup in 52 years, as Oliver Bjorkstrand scores with 1.9 seconds left in overtime for a 1-0 win over Hershey and a four-game sweep.

June 11, 2014 – Travis Morin‘s goal 7:20 into overtime gives Texas a 2-1 victory at St. John’s in Game 3 of the Calder Cup Finals.

June 11, 2010 – Alexandre Giroux scores at 13:28 of overtime, giving Hershey a 2-1 win over Texas and a 3-2 series lead in the Calder Cup Finals.

June 11, 2006 – Tomas Fleischmann notches three assists and Hershey evens up the Calder Cup Finals with a 7-2 win over Milwaukee in Game 4.

June 11, 1999 – Martin Biron makes 35 saves and records two assists as Rochester avoids a sweep with a 4-2 win over Providence in Game 4 of the Calder Cup Finals.

June 11, 1997 – Hershey takes a 3-1 lead in the Calder Cup Finals with a 4-2 win at Hamilton in Game 4.

June 11, 1996 – Portland routs Rochester, 5-1, handing the Americans their first home loss of the playoffs and forcing a Game 7 in the Calder Cup Finals.

Calder Cup Finals on AHL Live
The American Hockey League and NeuLion, Inc., are making video streaming of all seven games of the 2017 Calder Cup Finals available for viewing at no charge from AHL Live via desktop, laptop, mobile device or tablet… To watch free on AHL Live, simply visit ahllive.com from any desktop computer, log in with your AHL Live account (or create a new one), select the Finals All-Access Pass and enter the promo code FINALS17 to access all of the action of the AHL’s championship series featuring the calls of the Griffins’ Bob Kaser and the Crunch’s Dan D’Uva… You can watch on your desktop or laptop through ahllive.com, or download the official AHL Live app from iTunes or Google Play to watch on your mobile device or tablet.