AHL Quick Hits is now the Morning Skate… Every morning, take a spin around the AHL ice with recaps and previews, news and notes, facts and figures, and the top headlines from around the American Hockey League.
FRIDAY’S THREE STARS: 1. Junior Lessard recorded two goals and two assists as Iowa clinched a Calder Cup Playoff spot with a 6-2 win at Houston. 2. Jordan Parise’s 21-save shutout of Portland kept Lowell’s postseason hopes alive. 3. Jason Bacashihua made 26 saves as Peoria improved to 10-0-0-0 all-time at Omaha.
SATURDAY’S SCHEDULE (all times ET): Toronto at Manitoba, 4:00 Norfolk at Albany, 5:00 Philadelphia at Bridgeport, 7:00 Hamilton at Grand Rapids, 7:00 Hershey at Binghamton, 7:05 Lowell at Portland, 7:05 Providence at Springfield, 7:05 Rochester at Syracuse, 7:30 Worcester at Manchester, 7:35 Iowa at Chicago, 8:00 Houston at San Antonio, 8:00 Omaha at Peoria, 8:00
ATLANTIC DIVISION 1. Manchester has clinched first place 2. Hartford has clinched second place 3. Worcester clinches a playoff berth with (a) a point at Manchester; or (b) a Lowell loss (regulation/OT/SO) at Portland 4. Providence clinches a playoff berth with (a) a point at Springfield; or (b) a Lowell loss (regulation/OT/SO) at Portland
EAST DIVISION 1. Hershey has clinched first place in the overall AHL standings 2. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton clinches second place with a Norfolk regulation loss at Albany 3. Albany has clinched fourth place NORTH DIVISION 1. Manitoba has clinched first place 2. Rochester clinches second place with (a) a win at Syracuse and a Hamilton loss (regulation/OT/SO) at Grand Rapids; or (b) an OT/SO loss at Syracuse and a Hamilton regulation loss at Grand Rapids 3. Grand Rapids clinches a playoff berth with (a) a win vs. Hamilton and a Peoria loss (regulation/OT/SO) vs. Omaha; or (b) an OT/SO loss vs. Hamilton and a Peoria regulation loss vs. Omaha
WEST DIVISION 1. Omaha clinches first place with (a) a win at Peoria and a Chicago loss (regulation/OT/SO) vs. Iowa; or (b) an OT/SO loss at Peoria and a Chicago regulation loss vs. Iowa 2. Milwaukee has clinched third place 3. Iowa has clinched fourth place
GAME NOTES (all times ET): Toronto at Manitoba, (Rogers Sportsnet) The Moose have a perfect 7-0-0-0 record against the Marlies this season after last night’s 3-2 victory, and are 13-0-1-1 vs. Toronto over the last two years… Brad Moran (5g, 6a) and Jason Jaffray (3g, 8a) each has 11 points against Toronto in 2006-07… Toronto has had its last three games decided by one goal, including two by a shootout… This is the Moose’s final regular-season tune-up before opening the Calder Cup Playoffs next week.
Norfolk at Albany, 5:00 The River Rats own a 4-2-0-1 record against Norfolk this season, and have won the last three meetings, outscoring the Admirals 16-8 in that span… Albany secured its first Calder Cup Playoff berth since 2000 last night, despite dropping a 5-4 overtime decision to Binghamton… River Rats captain Keith Aucoin set a franchise record with his 99th point of the season in the loss… Norfolk’s Martin St. Pierre has four goals and seven points in six games against the Rats this year… The Admirals have just one regulation loss when leading after the second period this season (30-1-2-0).
hiladelphia at Bridgeport, 7:00 Frans Nielsen leads the Sound Tigers with three goals in four games against the Phantoms in 2006-07… Both Philadelphia and Bridgeport are on three-game losing streaks entering tonight’s game… The Phantoms has taken the last two meetings with the Sound Tigers, outscoring them 10-4… Claude Giroux, the Flyers’ first-round pick in the 2006 NHL draft, scored his first pro goal for the Phantoms on Friday.
Hamilton at Grand Rapids, 7:00 The Bulldogs are 6-1-0-2 and have won three of the last four meetings against the Griffins this year… Heralded prospect Carey Price made his professional debut and stopped 27 of 28 shots in Hamilton’s 3-1 win over Grand Rapids last night… Duncan Milroy, Andre Benoit and Jonathan Ferland scored for the Bulldogs in the win… Matt Ellis has three goals and four points in his last three games for the Griffins.
Hershey at Binghamton, Binghamton won the last meeting between the teams, a 4-1 decision on Apr. 4… Kyle Wilson has five goals and eight points in six games for Hershey against the Senators this season… Maxime Daigneault is 3-0-0 with a 0.97 goals-against average and .966 save percentage against the B-Sens… The Bears have clinched their first division title since 1994, and will finish first in the overall AHL standings for the first time since 1988.
Lowell at Portland, 7:05 Jordan Parise stopped all 21 shots as the Devils shut out the Pirates 2-0 on Friday… Lowell’s leading scorer Chris Minard has six goals in seven games against Portland this season… The Pirates have only two losses in regulation when leading after the first period this season (19-2-0-5)… Lowell has lost three in a row on the road.
Providence at Springfield, 7:05 The P-Bruins own a 16-3-0-2 record against Springfield over the last two seasons… T.J. Trevelyan has six goals and 12 points in nine games against Springfield in 2006-07… Former Bruin Eric Healey leads the Falcons with 11 points (5g, 6a) in the season series… Providence snapped a five-game road winless streak with Friday’s 4-3 victory in Worcester… The Falcons are 6-27-1-1 in their last 35 games.
Rochester at Syracuse, 7:30 Rookie Janis Sprukts scored the game-winning goal and added two assists in Rochester’s 3-2 overtime win over Syracuse last night… Sprukts now has 12 points in 10 games vs. the Crunch this season… Syracuse is 6-2-1-2 against the Amerks this year, winning three of the last four meetings… The Crunch are 8-0-1-1 in their last 10 games at the Onondaga County War Memorial heading into tonight’s home finale.
Worcester at Manchester, 7:35 Worcester takes another crack at clinching a playoff berth when its visits Manchester tonight… Mathieu Darche leads the Sharks with seven goals and 12 points in nine games vs. the Monarchs this season; Matt Moulson has 12 points in nine game vs. Worcester… When leading after two periods, Manchester is unbeaten in regulation, going 39-0-1-1… The Monarchs are outscoring their opponents 34-14 on their current seven-game winning streak.
Iowa at Chicago, Junior Lessard’s four-point night (2g, 2a) in Iowa’s 6-2 win at Houston helped the Stars capture a berth in the Calder Cup Playoffs… Francis Wathier scored twice and Chris Conner added a goal and an assist in the win… Darren Haydar has 14 assists and 19 points in nine games against Iowa this season… Haydar’s 118 points this season are the most by an AHL player since Brad Smyth recorded 126 points for the Carolina Monarchs in 1995-96.
Houston at San Antonio, 8:00 Houston and San Antonio have identical 5-4-0-1 records against each other this season, with the Rampage winning three of the last four meetings… Yanick Lehoux has 14 points (5g, 9a) in 10 games on the year against the Aeros… Houston netminder Josh Harding, who is currently on recall to the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, has all five wins for Houston against San Antonio this season… The Rampage are 3-0-1-0 in their last four home games, but have scored just three goals in their last four games overall.
Omaha at Peoria, The Rivermen shut out the Knights, 4-0, on Friday, and are now 8-0-0-1 against Omaha this season and 16-2-0-1 all-time… The Knights are 22-9-5-1 in one-goal games, and have had three of their last five games decided by a single tally… Trent Whitfield has 15 points (6g, 9a) and a plus-9 rating in nine games against Omaha in 2006-07… Peoria is two points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with two games remaining.
MORNING HEADLINES: CIVIC CENTER TO HOST PLAYOFF Matt Middleton, Glens Falls Post-Star Book it. The American Hockey League playoffs are coming back to the Glens FallsCivicCenter for the first time in eight years. The Albany River Rats clinched a playoff berth Friday night — despite a loss — and, pending league approval, will play their home games in a best-of-seven opening-round series against Hershey in Glens Falls on April 22 and 23. A third game, if necessary, will be played on April 25. Albany president Garen Szablewski, reached late Friday night, said the league must approve those three dates, which he said it will "most likely" do.
The Adirondack Red Wings won four Calder Cup championships during their 20 seasons in Glens Falls, the last coming in 1992.
HABS MEET CAREY’S PRICE Dave Stubbs, Vancouver Sun Wearing jeans, a T-shirt and a little stubble on his jaw, Carey Price sat at a table in the home of Dennis and Jill Williams at lunchtime Monday and digested nine of the most boring, most thrilling pages he will ever read. One signature later on his first professional contract, inked in the Pasco, Wash., home of the couple who billeted him his entire Western Hockey League career, Price was a member of the Montreal Canadiens organization. "I read it all before I signed anything," Price said Thursday night from his hotel in Hamilton, Ont. on the eve of his pro debut with the American Hockey League’s Bulldogs. The 19-year-old from WilliamsLake was in goal Friday night against the Grand Rapids Griffins, only three practices and less than four days since he’d arrived in Hamilton.
The fifth overall pick in the 2005 NHL draft, Carey Price made his professional debut on Friday night and made 27 saves in Hamilton’s 3-1 win over Grand Rapids.
J.P. Dumont, who had 21 points in 21 games in a Calder Cup Finals run with Rochester in 2000, scored twice in Nashville’s 5-2 win over San Jose in Game 2 on Friday.
2007 AHL All-Star Joel Lundqvist scored in Dallas’s 2-0 win over Vancouver in Game 2 on Friday night.
Francois Beauchemin, a Calder Cup finalist with Hamilton in 2003, scored twice for Anaheim in a 3-2 win over Minnesota on Friday.
BY THE NUMBERS: 33.3 – The Manchester Monarchs’ power-play efficiency in 10 games against the Springfield Falcons this season, including a 6-for-12 effort in Friday’s 7-0 win… The Monarchs rank fourth overall in the AHL on the power play at 20.4 percent.
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