AHL Morning Skate: 6.2.18

Take a game-day spin around the AHL ice with latest news and notes from the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs in today’s AHL Morning Skate.

Playoff Brackets | Today’s Scoreboard | League Stats | Series Infographics

Game 1 – Today, 4:00 ET, AHL Live
TV: TSN2, Leafs Nation Network, NHL Network (tape delay)

The 2018 Calder Cup Finals get underway at Ricoh Coliseum this afternoon with the Eastern Conference champion Toronto Marlies hosting the Western Conference champion Texas Stars… Toronto enters Game 1 with a nine-game winning streak after sweeps of Syracuse and Lehigh Valley… The nine-game run coincides with the returns of Andreas Johnsson (6-9-15) and Travis Dermott (1-2-3) to the lineup after the Maple Leafs were knocked out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Apr. 25… Toronto has trailed for a total of 22:57 during the streak, or 3.9 percent of the more than 586 minutes played… Garret Sparks (10-2, 1.96, .926), who has won 13 consecutive starts at Ricoh Coliseum, is the first Baz Bastien Award winner to reach the Calder Cup Finals since Cory Schneider with Manitoba in 2009… Texas reaches the Finals with eight wins in its last 10 games after knocking off a pesky Rockford team in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals on Monday… Rookie Roope Hintz (4-7-11) scored the series-clinching goal in overtime, his third goal of the series and fourth of the postseason… Mike McKenna (11-4, 1.97, .940) made 38 saves in the Game 6 win… McKenna, who backstopped Syracuse to the Calder Cup Finals last spring, is the first goaltender to reach the Finals with two different teams in back-to-back years since Olaf Kolzig (1993 Rochester, 1994 Portland)… Texas forwards Curtis McKenzie (6-8-14), Travis Morin (4-4-8) and Justin Dowling (2-7-9) were all members of the Stars’ Calder Cup championship team in 2014, as was Marlies forward Chris Mueller (2-8-10)… Texas defeated Toronto in seven games during the Western Conference Finals that spring… The Stars’ Andrew Bodnarchuk (1-0-1) and the Marlies’ Vincent LoVerde (0-1-1) were defense partners on Manchester’s 2015 Calder Cup championship team… After leading the AHL with 11 overtime wins during the regular season, seven of the Stars’ 11 playoff victories have come in OT… The Marlies are the fifth regular-season champs to reach the Finals since 2010; the other four all won the Calder Cup (2010 Hershey, 2012 Norfolk, 2014 Texas, 2015 Manchester)… Since the Calder Cup Playoffs expanded to four rounds in 1991, only the 1993 Cape Breton Oilers (10 games) have entered the Finals with a longer winning streak than the 2018 Marlies… Toronto has also won 12 in a row at home, as well as 12 straight home playoff games going back to last year… Texas is 5-1 all-time on the road in Calder Cup Finals games; Toronto is 0-2 at home… Thanks to their two series sweeps, the Marlies enter Game 1 of the Finals having played just eight games over the previous 33 days… Game 1 will air live on TSN2 and Leafs Nation Network, and can be seen on NHL Network tomorrow at 9 a.m. ET.

2018 Calder Cup Finals (best-of-7)
N1-Toronto Marlies vs. P2-Texas Stars
Game 1 – Sat., June 2 – Texas at Toronto, 4:00
Game 2 – Sun., June 3 – Texas at Toronto, 4:00
Game 3 – Tue., June 5 – Toronto at Texas, 8:00
Game 4 – Thu., June 7 – Toronto at Texas, 8:00
*Game 5 – Sat., June 9 – Toronto at Texas, 8:00
*Game 6 – Tue., June 12 – Texas at Toronto, 7:00
*Game 7 – Thu., June 14 – Texas at Toronto, 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 61 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.

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

2017 – Grand Rapids Griffins 4, Syracuse Crunch 2 (Tyler Bertuzzi, GR)
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)

O, Canada
The Marlies are the seventh affiliate of a Canadian-based National Hockey League team to reach the Calder Cup Finals since 2007:

2018 – Toronto Marlies (Toronto)
2015 – Utica Comets (Vancouver)
2014 – St. John’s IceCaps (Winnipeg)
2012 – Toronto Marlies (Toronto)
2011 – Binghamton Senators (Ottawa)
2009 – Manitoba Moose (Vancouver)
2007 – Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal)

Starry Decade
The Texas Stars are making their third appearance in the Calder Cup Finals during the 2010’s, most in the AHL:

3 – Texas Stars (2010, 2014, 2018)
2 – Hershey Bears (2010, 2016)
2 – Grand Rapids Griffins (2013, 2017)
2 – Syracuse Crunch (2013, 2017)
2 – Toronto Marlies (2012, 2018)

Double Up
Texas finished 12th in the AHL standings in 2017-18, becoming the fifth double-digit overall seed to reach the Finals this century:

2018 – Texas (12) vs. Toronto (1)
2017 – Syracuse (12) lost to Grand Rapids (6)
2011 – Binghamton (12) def. Houston (6)
2007 – Hamilton (11) def. Hershey (1)
2004 – W-B/Scranton (14) lost to Milwaukee (1)
2002 – Chicago (16) def. Bridgeport (1)
2001 – W-B/Scranton (10) lost to Saint John (3)

Official Business
The American Hockey League has named the on-ice officials for the 2018 Calder Cup Finals… Referees working the series will be Terry Koharski (11th Finals), Pierre Lambert (first), Chris Schlenker (second), Furman South (first) and Corey Syvret (first)… Linesmen will be Travis Gawryletz (first), Bevan Mills (second), Libor Suchanek (first) and Jamie Tobias (first).

Alumni Watch
The 2018 Stanley Cup Final is tied at 1-1 after Washington’s 3-2 victory over Vegas on Wednesday night… Game 3 is this evening at Capital One Arena… In the series opener, Tomas Nosek scored twice — including the game-winner — in the Golden Knights’ 6-4 win, matching his feat from Game 1 of the 2017 Calder Cup Finals with Grand Rapids… 2010 Calder Cup champion Braden Holtby was the hero of Game 2 with 37 saves, including a highlight-reel stop on 2017 AHL All-Star Alex Tuch with less than two minutes remaining.

Working Overtime
There have been 16 overtime games played in the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs so far (*indicates series-ending goal):

May 28TEXAS 2, Rockford 1Roope Hintz19:51*
May 24ROCKFORD 3, Texas 2Victor Ejdsell2:32
May 22Texas 6, ROCKFORD 5Curtis McKenzie5:12
May 20TEXAS 3, Rockford 2Curtis McKenzie10:46
May 20TORONTO 3, Lehigh Valley 2Miro Aaltonen10:59
May 11TEXAS 3, Tucson 2Joel L’Esperance8:43*
May 9Lehigh Valley 2, CHARLOTTE 1Alex Krushelnyski86:48
May 7TEXAS 5, Tucson 4Sheldon Dries13:36
May 5TORONTO 2, Syracuse 1Frederik Gauthier35:10
May 2TUCSON 2, Texas 1Michael Bunting8:53
Apr. 28LEHIGH VALLEY 4, Providence 3Maxim Lamarche18:36*
Apr. 26Rockford 4, CHICAGO 3Victor Ejdsell57:22*
Apr. 22Texas 5, ONTARIO 4Samuel Laberge37:38
Apr. 21TORONTO 3, Utica 2Chris Mueller17:48
Apr. 20CHARLOTTE 3, W-B/Scranton 2Lucas Wallmark3:18
Apr. 19TEXAS 4, Ontario 3Brian Flynn1:55

On This Date
June 2, 2017 – Tomas Nosek scores twice, including the game-winning goal with 13.9 seconds remaining, as Grand Rapids opens the Calder Cup Finals with a 3-2 win over Syracuse.

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, 2009 – Jason 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, 2006 – Scottie 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, 2000 – Jean-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.

AHL Live
Don’t miss a second on the road to the 2018 Calder Cup championship. AHL Live brings AHL action to your desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet all season long with live video webcasts and free highlights of every AHL game… Visit ahllive.com for details.