AHL Morning Skate: 6.2.17

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 1 – Friday, 7:00 ET – AHL Live free-view, SiriusXM 91

The wait is over as the 2017 Calder Cup Finals get underway with Game 1 tonight at Van Andel Arena… Grand Rapids and Syracuse are both in the Finals for the second time in five years; the Griffins defeated the Crunch in six games to win the championship in 2013… This is also the third Finals trip in six years for Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate; Norfolk won the Calder Cup in 2012… Both clubs won their respective conference finals series in five games in identical fashion, winning Game 1, dropping Game 2 and then taking three straight at home… Grand Rapids, 3-0 in Game 1’s this spring, has gone 7-0 on home ice this postseason while outscoring its opponents 33-16… Ben Street (4-11-15) and Eric Tangradi (2-13-15) lead the Griffins in playoff scoring through three rounds, and both notched seven points in five games against San Jose in the conference finals… Tomas Nosek (7-7-14), Matt Lorito (7-5-12) and Matthew Ford (7-2-9) share the Grand Rapids team lead in goals… Jared Coreau (11-2, 2.41, .922) has allowed two goals or fewer in nine of his 13 playoff starts, while the Griffins offense has scored four goals or more in nine of 13… Grand Rapids (4.08 goals per game) and Syracuse (3.75) are the two highest-scoring teams in the league during these playoffs… With 10 points in his last three games, the Crunch’s Cory Conacher (9-11-20) has taken over the league scoring lead… Yanni Gourde (5-12-17) is tied for third in the AHL in scoring, but only two of his 17 playoff points have come on the road… Mike McKenna (11-5, 2.51, .912) posted a .932 save percentage during the Eastern Conference Finals, stopping 164 of 176 shots… Griffins Mitch Callahan, Brian Lashoff and Nathan Paetsch and Crunch defenseman Matt Taormina are the only holdovers from the teams’ 2013 Finals meeting… Paetsch, Grand Rapids’ captain, and Syracuse captain Erik Condra (Binghamton, 2011) both have Calder Cup championships to their credit… In AHL history, teams that win Game 1 of the Finals have gone on to win the championship 61 of 80 times (76.3 percent).

2017 Calder Cup Finals – Series “O” (best-of-7)
Grand Rapids Griffins vs. Syracuse Crunch | Finals Infographic
Game 1 – Fri., June 2 – Syracuse at Grand Rapids, 7:00
Game 2 – Sat., June 3 – Syracuse at Grand Rapids, 7:00
Game 3 – Wed., June 7 – Grand Rapids at Syracuse, 7:00
Game 4 – Fri., June 9 – Grand Rapids at Syracuse, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., June 10 – Grand Rapids at Syracuse, 7:00
*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

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.

Reading List
Home has been perfect so far for Crunch and Griffins (Grand Rapids Press)
Flashback: Syracuse Stars win first AHL championship in 1937 (Syracuse.com)
Uncertainty the price Lynch must pay to play hockey (Syracuse.com)
The Crunch like Mike (McKenna) (Syracuse.com)
What Griffins need to do to win the Calder Cup (Grand Rapids Press)
Zamboni driver proposes in front of AHL playoff crowd
Deep playoff experience will help Griffins, Red Wings (Detroit News)

Calder Cup Finals History
Last 20 Calder Cup Finals results and Jack Butterfield Trophy winners (playoff MVP):

2016 – Lake Erie Monsters 4, Hershey Bears 0 (Oliver Bjorkstrand, LE)
2015 – Manchester Monarchs 4, Utica Comets 1 (Jordan Weal, MCH)
2014 – Texas Stars 4, St. John’s IceCaps 1 (Travis Morin, TEX)
2013 – Grand Rapids Griffins 4, Syracuse Crunch 2 (Tomas Tatar, GR)
2012 – Norfolk Admirals 4, Toronto Marlies 0 (Alexandre Picard, NOR)
2011 – Binghamton Senators 4, Houston Aeros 2 (Robin Lehner, BNG)
2010 – Hershey Bears 4, Texas Stars 2 (Chris Bourque, HER)
2009 – Hershey Bears 4, Manitoba Moose 2 (Michal Neuvirth, HER)
2008 – Chicago Wolves 4, W-B/Scranton Penguins 2 (Jason Krog, CHI)
2007 – Hamilton Bulldogs 4, Hershey Bears 1 (Carey Price, HAM)
2006 – Hershey Bears 4, Milwaukee Admirals 2 (Frederic Cassivi, HER)
2005 – Philadelphia Phantoms 4, Chicago Wolves 0 (Antero Niittymaki, PHI)
2004 – Milwaukee Admirals 4, W-B/Scranton Penguins 0 (Wade Flaherty, MIL)
2003 – Houston Aeros 4, Hamilton Bulldogs 3 (Johan Holmqvist, HOU)
2002 – Chicago Wolves 4, Bridgeport Sound Tigers 1 (Pasi Nurminen, CHI)
2001 – Saint John Flames 4, W-B/Scranton Penguins 2 (Steve Begin, SJN)
2000 – Hartford Wolf Pack 4, Rochester Americans 2 (Derek Armstrong, HFD)
1999 – Providence Bruins 4, Rochester Americans 1 (Peter Ferraro, PRO)
1998 – Philadelphia Phantoms 4, Saint John Flames 2 (Mike Maneluk, PHI)
1997 – Hershey Bears 4, Hamilton Bulldogs 1 (Mike McHugh, HER)

Official Business
The American Hockey League has named the on-ice officials for the 2017 Calder Cup Finals… Referees working the series will be Jake Brenk (first Finals), Tom Chmielewski (third), Terry Koharski (10th), Evgenii Romasko (first) and Chris Schlenker (first)… Linesmen will be Ryan Daisy (second Finals), Francois Dussureault (first), Bevan Mills (first) and Kory Nagy (first).

Alumni Watch
In Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night, 2016-17 AHL All-Rookie forward Jake Guentzel scored twice, including his second consecutive game-winning goal, as Pittsburgh grabbed a 2-0 series lead with a 4-1 win over Nashville… Scott Wilson also scored for the Penguins, and Matt Murray made 37 saves… Pontus Åberg, whose 31 goals with Milwaukee were tied for third in the AHL in 2016-17, scored for the Predators.

On This Date
June 2, 2015 – Jacob Markstrom makes 21 saves and Cory Conacher scores the winning goal in Utica’s 2-0 victory over Grand Rapids to advance to the Calder Cup Finals.

June 2, 2009Jason Jaffray‘s hat trick includes the game-winning goal with 46.9 seconds left in regulation as Manitoba evens the Calder Cup Finals with a 3-1 win over Hershey in Game 2 at the MTS Centre.

June 2, 2006Scottie Upshall and Darren Haydar score goals and Pekka Rinne makes 36 saves as Milwaukee defeats Hershey, 2-1, in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals.

June 2, 2000Jean-Francois Labbe‘s 40-save shutout leads Hartford to a 3-0 win over Rochester and a 3-2 series lead 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.