AHL Morning Skate: April 14

Game 1 – W-B/Scranton at Albany, 7:00
Game 1 – Bridgeport at Hershey, 7:00
Game 1 – Lowell at Worcester, 7:05
Game 1 – Milwaukee at Chicago, 8:00

Atlantic Division Semifinal – Series “A” (best-of-7)
A1-Worcester Sharks vs. A4-Lowell Devils | Series Preview

Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 14 – Lowell at Worcester, 7:05
Game 2 – Thu., Apr. 15 – Lowell at Worcester, 7:05
Game 3 – Sat., Apr. 17 – Worcester at Lowell, 7:00
Game 4 – Tue., Apr. 20 – Worcester at Lowell, 7:00
*Game 5 – Wed., Apr. 21 – Worcester at Lowell, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 24 – Lowell at Worcester, 7:05
*Game 7 – Sun., Apr. 25 – Lowell at Worcester, 5:05

Atlantic Division Semifinal – Series “B” (best-of-7)
A2-Portland Pirates vs. A3-Manchester Monarchs | Series Preview

Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 16 – Manchester at Portland, 7:00
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 17 – Manchester at Portland, 7:00
Game 3 – Mon., Apr. 19 – Portland at Manchester, 7:00
Game 4 – Tue., Apr. 20 – Portland at Manchester, 7:00
*Game 5 – Thu., Apr. 22 – Manchester at Portland, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 24 – Portland at Manchester, 7:00
*Game 7 – Sun., Apr. 25 – Manchester at Portland, 7:00

East Division Semifinal – Series “C” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. A5-Bridgeport Sound Tigers | Series Preview

Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 14 – Bridgeport at Hershey, 7:00
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 16 – Bridgeport at Hershey, 7:00
Game 3 – Sat., Apr. 17 – Hershey at Bridgeport, 7:00
Game 4 – Sun., Apr. 18 – Hershey at Bridgeport, 3:00
*Game 5 – Wed., Apr. 21 – Bridgeport at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 6 – Fri., Apr. 23 – Hershey at Bridgeport, 7:00
*Game 7 – Sat., Apr. 24 – Bridgeport at Hershey, 7:00

East Division Semifinal – Series “D” (best-of-7)
E2-Albany River Rats vs. E3-W-B/Scranton Penguins | Series Preview

Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 14 – W-B/Scranton at Albany, 7:00
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 16 – W-B/Scranton at Albany, 7:00
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 18 – Albany at W-B/Scranton, 3:05
Game 4 – Mon., Apr. 19 – Albany at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 5 – Wed., Apr. 21 – W-B/Scranton at Albany, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 24 – Albany at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 7 – Sun., Apr. 25 – W-B/Scranton at Albany, 5:00

North Division Semifinal – Series “E” (best-of-7)
N1-Hamilton Bulldogs vs. N4-Manitoba Moose | Series Preview

Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 15 – Manitoba at Hamilton, 7:30
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 17 – Manitoba at Hamilton, 2:00
Game 3 – Mon., Apr. 19 – Hamilton at Manitoba, 8:30
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 21 – Hamilton at Manitoba, 8:30
*Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 23 – Hamilton at Manitoba, 8:30
*Game 6 – Sun., Apr. 25 – Manitoba at Hamilton, 7:00
*Game 7 – Tue., Apr. 27 – Manitoba at Hamilton, 7:30

North Division Semifinal – Series “F” (best-of-7)
N2-Rochester Americans vs. N3-Abbotsford Heat | Series Preview

Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 15 – Abbotsford at Rochester, 7:05
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 17 – Abbotsford at Rochester, 7:05
Game 3 – Mon., Apr. 19 – Rochester at Abbotsford, 10:00
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 21 – Rochester at Abbotsford, 10:00
*Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 23 – Rochester at Abbotsford, 10:00
*Game 6 – Sun., Apr. 25 – Abbotsford at Rochester, 5:05
*Game 7 – Tue., Apr. 27 – Abbotsford at Rochester, 7:05

West Division Semifinal – Series “G” (best-of-7)
W1-Chicago Wolves vs. W4-Milwaukee Admirals | Series Preview

Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 14 – Milwaukee at Chicago, 8:00
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 16 – Milwaukee at Chicago, 8:30
Game 3 – Sat., Apr. 17 – Chicago at Milwaukee, 8:00
Game 4 – Mon., Apr. 19 – Chicago at Milwaukee, 8:00
*Game 5 – Wed., Apr. 21 – Milwaukee at Chicago, 8:00
*Game 6 – TBA – Chicago at Milwaukee, 8:00
*Game 7 – Mon., Apr. 26 – Milwaukee at Chicago, 8:00

West Division Semifinal – Series “H” (best-of-7)
W2-Texas Stars vs. W3-Rockford IceHogs | Series Preview

Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 16 – Rockford at Texas, 8:30
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 17 – Rockford at Texas, 8:00
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 21 – Texas at Rockford, 8:05
Game 4 – Fri., Apr. 23 – Texas at Rockford, 8:05
*Game 5 – Sat., Apr. 24 – Texas at Rockford, 8:05
*Game 6 – Mon., Apr. 26 – Rockford at Texas, 8:30
*Game 7 – Tue., Apr. 27 – Rockford at Texas, 8:30

*if necessary… All times Eastern

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 1 – W-B/Scranton at Albany, 7:00
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton kicks off its eighth straight trip to the Calder Cup Playoffs with Game 1 tonight at Albany, which is in the playoffs for the third time in four years… The River Rats have not won a postseason round since 1998, while the Penguins have captured at least one series in each of their previous eight playoff trips… Wilkes-Barre went 6-1-0-1 against the Rats in the regular season, but the teams split their four clashes at the Times Union Center… Pens leading regular-season scorer Dustin Jeffrey (24-47-71), who nearly doubled the 37 points he put up as a rookie in 2008-09, registered 11 points (3-8-11) in eight meetings with Albany, tied with captain Wyatt Smith (3-8-11) for the team high… Second Team AHL All-Star Jerome Samson finished the regular year on a six-game scoring streak (4-7-11) for the River Rats, and NHL trade-deadline acquisition Oskar Osala had three goals in his last two contests, including a pair vs. the Penguins last Friday.

Game 1 – Bridgeport at Hershey, 7:00
After setting AHL records for wins (60) and home victories (34) during the regular season, Hershey begins defense of its 2009 Calder Cup title with Game 1 of the East Division semifinals against Bridgeport… The Bears boast the AHL’s top two regular-season scorers in league MVP Keith Aucoin (35-71-106) and Alexandre Giroux (50-53-103), and three of its top five goal-scorers when linemate Andrew Gordon (37-34-71) is factored in… Giroux (3-4-7) and Chris Bourque each posted seven points in regular-season match-ups with Bridgeport, which is crossing over to the East Division playoffs after placing fifth in the Atlantic… The Sound Tigers are making consecutive playoff appearances for the first time since 2002-04 but have not won a round since a conference quarterfinal sweep of Manchester in 2003… Jeremy Reich (2-4-6) and Jesse Joensuu (3-2-5) each finished the season on three-game scoring streaks for Bridgeport… Sound Tigers goaltender Scott Munroe squared off against Hershey in last spring’s opening playoff round as a member of the Philadelphia Phantoms.

Game 1 – Lowell at Worcester, 7:05
Atlantic Division champion Worcester hosts in-state rival Lowell to open its Atlantic Division semifinal tonight… The Sharks are making their third playoff trip in four years of existence but hold home-ice advantage for the first time… These teams combined for 75 goals in their 10-game season series, an average of 7.5 per contest… Eddie Shore Award winner Danny Groulx tallied a goal in three of his last four regular-season games (3-1-4) for the Sharks and registered seven points (2-5-7) in 10 meetings with Lowell… Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock led the AHL with 39 victories, a league record for a rookie, during the regular season (39-19-2, 2.63, .908)… The fourth-year Devils are in the playoffs for the first time in team history… Michael Swift recorded six points (3-3-6) in his final five regular-season contests, and Alexander Vasyunov ended on a five-game scoring run (2-3-5)… Lowell played only two road games after Mar. 16, finishing with 10 of 12 at Tsongas Center… The Sharks have dropped the first two games in each of their three previous playoff series.

Game 1 – Milwaukee at Chicago, 8:00
West Division champion Chicago takes on rival Milwaukee in the division semifinals for the third time in four years, and in the 1-vs.-4 matchup for the second time in three springs… The first-place Wolves defeated the fourth-place Admirals in 2008 en route to their second Calder Cup championship… Jason Krog was Chicago’s leading scorer that year and paced the Wolves again in 2009-10 with 75 points (14-61-75) in 78 games, including a goal and eight assists in 10 match-ups against the Admirals… Wolves forward Johnny Pohl racked up 14 points (4-10-14) against Milwaukee this season and shows eight points (1-7-8) in 11 career Calder Cup Playoff games… Chicago finished 29-8-0-3 at Allstate Arena, one of only two AHL teams with fewer than 10 regulation losses on home ice (Hershey)… Milwaukee’s Mike Santorelli recorded a point in 14 of his final 17 regular-season games (7-13-20) and led the Admirals with 26 goals and 59 points in just 57 contests overall… Dave Scatchard put up four goals and an assist against Chicago last Friday in an 8-1 Admirals victory.


Nowhere in the 284-page American Hockey League Guide and Record Book is there a section titled, “Recipe for Calder Cup Success.” There has to be one, however — a recipe, if not a section — since some teams are in contention for the playoff title almost every year. Worcester has never played a final four game in 12 trips to the playoffs. The Sharks have a chance to change that starting tonight.

How do you stop the irresistible force, the team that won 60 games, the defending champion, the flagship franchise of your league? How do you approach a playoff series with the Hershey Bears? Their opponent’s coach, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers’ Jack Capuano, summed it up in rhyming slang: loosey-goosey. “We’ve got nothing to lose. No one’s even giving us a chance,” Capuano said. “I like our character. I like the leadership of this team.”

STAYING ON THE ICE – Albany Times-Union
For six months the Albany River Rats did their job. They provided a breeding ground for Carolina Hurricanes prospects, 15 of whom served NHL time this season. With the Hurricanes missing the NHL playoffs, the Rats can be a little more selfish. The American Hockey League postseason begins tonight, and winning games is the only priority.

If you’re shooting for the top, sometimes it helps to start there. That’s why goalie Brad Thiessen found himself taking the Stanley Cup from Sidney Crosby last spring and skating it around Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. The Penguins let their “black aces” take the ice for their championship celebration after topping the Red Wings, so somehow Thiessen, a few weeks removed from playing at Northeastern, managed to hoist the Cup without his feet ever touching the ground.

For their first 15 years, the Wolves never had a losing season – and Wendell Young made something clear when he became general manager last season. “After all these years of winning, we’re not about to start losing,” he said. But when the team had to win its last game last season to finish 38-37-3-2 under new coach Don Granato and then started 1-5 this year, Young pulled the trigger, firing Granato and hiring Blackhawks scout Don Lever to turn things around.

Chicago had just dropped an 8-1 decision at Milwaukee on Friday, and Wolves coach Don Lever was asked for his thoughts on facing the Admirals in the first round of the playoffs. “We just can’t get outworked,” Lever said. “It’s as simple as that. They play a very patient, boring type of hockey game, and we’re going to have to play the same way.” Boring? That’s just fine with Milwaukee’s third-year coach, Lane Lambert.

Last spring, goalie J.P. Lamoureux was instrumental in helping the Alaska Aces reach the final game of the ECHL championship series. This spring, Lamoureux, of North Dakota, has a little less travel while playing in Portland, but he’s expected to be in a starting role when the Pirates open the AHL playoffs Friday against the Manchester Monarchs at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

Dan Sexton has won a championship before and he’d love nothing more than to recapture the feeling in his return to the Manitoba Moose. As someone who started the season in the ECHL and worked his way to the highest level, Sexton assured reporters he’s not back in the AHL to coast through the post-season.

Troy Brouwer and the rest of the former IceHogs on this year’s Chicago Blackhawks playoff roster will have no problem getting up for Friday’s postseason opener. The issue for most of the younger ‘Hawks is keeping the focus. “It’s not easy. I think we’ve been playing real well lately, but now it’s the playoffs, and it’s a whole different feeling,” said Brouwer, a former IceHogs scoring leader who leads this year’s Blackhawks team with seven game-winning goals.

EBERLE OPENING EYES – Edmonton Journal
Of all the prospects the Edmonton Oilers have sent to the Springfield Falcons during their three-year affiliation, Jordan Eberle had one of the shortest stays. But no prospect has made a bigger impression than the 19-year-old from Regina. In less than 20 games at the tail end of the past two seasons, Eberle showed why the Oilers chose him in the first round of the 2008 NHL entry draft.

Thirteen of the 16 head coaches taking their teams to the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs previously served as a head coach in the American Hockey League, and four of those 13 men won a Calder Cup as a bench boss in the AHL: Washington’s Bruce Boudreau (Hershey, 2006); San Jose’s Todd McLellan (Houston, 2003); Philadelphia’s Peter Laviolette (Providence, 1999); and Nashville’s Barry Trotz (Portland, 1994).

10-5 – Series record of teams that captured Game 1 during the 2009 Calder Cup Playoffs, including a 4-4 mark during the division semifinals round.

12 – Consecutive series, including their 2010 postseason opener vs. Milwaukee, in which Chicago has been the higher seed… The Wolves have had home-ice advantage in every series since their 2004 division final meeting with the Admirals.

April 14, 2004Quintin Laing scores twice and Michael Leighton makes 31 saves as Norfolk opens its best-of-three East Division qualifying series with a 3-0 win at Binghamton.

April 14, 2002 – In Bridgeport’s first-ever playoff game, Jason Krog (2g, 2a), Juraj Kolnik (1g, 3a), Trent Hunter (1g, 2a) and Rick DiPietro (20 saves) pace the Sound Tigers to a 5-0 win over Manitoba.

April 14, 1990 – Chris Joseph scores 8:44 into overtime as the Cape Breton Oilers stave off elimination with an 8-7 win over the Springfield Indians in Game 5 of their Northern Division semifinal.

April 14, 1957 – Fred Shero, Fred Glover and Andy Bathgate are among the goal scorers in Cleveland’s 5-3 win over Hershey, giving the Barons their second consecutive Calder Cup championship.


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