AHL Morning Skate: April 16

Game 2 – WORCESTER 3, Lowell 2 (OT) (Series tied, 1-1)
Game 1 – Abbotsford 3, ROCHESTER 2 (ABB leads series, 1-0)
Game 1 – HAMILTON 2, Manitoba 0 (HAM leads series, 1-0)

1. Rookie defenseman Keith Seabrook scored twice as Abbotsford took a 3-2 road win over Rochester in Game 1.

2. Worcester captain Ryan Vesce notched his second career playoff overtime goal to the Sharks over Lowell by a 3-2 count and even their series at a game apiece.

3. Second Team AHL All-Star Cedrick Desjardins posted a 21-save shutout in his AHL playoff debut as Hamilton dropped Manitoba, 2-0.

Game 1 – Manchester at Portland, 7:00
Game 2 – W-B/Scranton at Albany, 7:00 (ALB leads series, 1-0)
Game 2 – Bridgeport at Hershey, 7:00 (HER leads series, 1-0)
Game 2 – Milwaukee at Chicago, 8:30 (CHI leads series, 1-0)
Game 1 – Rockford at Texas, 8:30

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

Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 14 – Lowell 3, WORCESTER 2
Game 2 – Thu., Apr. 15 – WORCESTER 3, Lowell 2 (OT)
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

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

Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 14 – HERSHEY 4, Bridgeport 3
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

Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 14 – ALBANY 4, W-B/Scranton 3
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

Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 15 – HAMILTON 2, Manitoba 0
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

Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 15 – Abbotsford 3, ROCHESTER 2
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

Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 14 – CHICAGO 6, Milwaukee 5
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 – Fri., Apr. 23 – 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

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 – Manchester at Portland, 7:00
Back in the playoffs after a one-year absence, Manchester begins its Atlantic Division semifinal in Portland on Friday… The Monarchs and Pirates have been division rivals since 2001-02, but this marks their first-ever postseason meeting… Baz Bastien Award winner Jonathan Bernier led all AHL goaltenders in save percentage (.936) and shutouts (9) while ranking second in goals-against average (2.03) and third in victories (30) in 58 regular-season appearances for the Monarchs (30-21-6)… Bernier posted a 1.81 GAA in seven appearances vs. Portland during the regular year but won just two of the seven contests (2-2-3)… Bud Holloway paced Manchester with 47 regular-season points (19-28-47), making the Monarchs the AHL’s only playoff team this year that did not feature a 50-point scorer… Holloway (3-3-6) and rookie Corey Elkins (3-2-5) each tallied three goals in the season series against Portland… The Pirates, conference finalists in 2006 and 2008, are making a third straight playoff appearance for the first time since making it four years in a row from 1994-97… AHL Rookie of the Year Tyler Ennis (23-42-65) is on recall to the parent Buffalo Sabres, but Mark Mancari enters the playoffs after registering a career-high 73 points (28-45-73) in 74 games for the Pirates… Portland had the AHL’s fifth-best power play (20.2 percent) during the regular season, while Manchester ranked sixth (19.7 percent).

Game 2 – W-B/Scranton at Albany, 7:00 (ALB leads series, 1-0)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Albany hit the Times Union Center ice for Game 2 of their East Division semifinal on Friday… The River Rats took a 4-3 win in Wednesday’s opener on the strength of two goals from Nick Dodge, including the game-winner with just 50.4 seconds left in regulation… Dodge had not recorded a multiple-goal performance during the entire regular season prior to his Game 1 performance… Jacob Micflikier and defenseman Jamie McBain also scored for the River Rats in Game 1, and goaltender Justin Peters turned aside 30 of 33 shots to pick up the win in his first professional playoff game… Albany will be trying to take a 2-0 series lead for the first time since the 1998 conference semifinals vs. Hamilton, which is also the last series the Rats won… An official scoring change made this morning gave Nick Johnson a hat trick in Game 1, his first career three-goal game and his first three-point effort since Dec. 28 vs. Adirondack (3a)… Mark Letestu registered two assists for Wilkes-Barre… The Penguins are looking to snap a three-game playoff losing streak, which dates back to Games 6 and 7 of last spring’s East Division Finals against Hershey… Wilkes-Barre has dropped five straight playoff contests on the road since taking a 2-1 win at Bridgeport in a first-round game on Apr. 22, 2009.

Game 2 – Bridgeport at Hershey, 7:00 (HER leads series, 1-0)
Fresh off a 4-3 overtime victory on Wednesday, Hershey bids for a 2-0 series lead over Bridgeport when the teams resume their East Division semifinal at Giant Center tonight… Hershey captured Game 1 for the fourth time in its last five playoff series, with the 2009 conference finals against Providence serving as the lone exception… Bears forward Andrew Joudrey tallied the overtime winner after Francois Bouchard and Mathieu Perreault scored late third-period goals to pull Hershey out of a 3-1 deficit… AHL regular-season goal-scoring champion Alexandre Giroux also potted a goal for the Bears, and rookie goaltender Braden Holtby made 21 saves in his pro playoff debut… Defenseman Andrew MacDonald and forward Matt Martin each had a goal and an assist for Bridgeport, and Trevor Smith also scored… Smith’s goal gives him five points (2-3-5) in six career Calder Cup Playoff games… The teams went a combined 0-for-14 on the power play in Game 1, including an 0-for-8 showing from a Bears unit which led the AHL in 2009-10 (20.7 percent)… Including the regular season, Wednesday marked the Bears’ 30th victory in their last 31 home games… Since 2004, 17 of Bridgeport’s 20 playoff games have been decided by a single goal, including 11 in OT.

Game 2 – Milwaukee at Chicago, 8:30 (CHI leads series, 1-0)
Chicago goes for a 2-0 lead in its West Division semifinal against Milwaukee when the teams clash at Allstate Arena tonight… The Wolves built leads of 3-0 and 6-3 in Game 1 on Wednesday but had to hold on for a 6-5 victory, which marked their eighth straight home-ice win in the playoffs… Chicago scored three goals on Wednesday before Milwaukee registered a shot on net… Joey Crabb hadn’t recorded a multiple-goal game since Feb. 9 prior to scoring twice in Game 1… Wolves defensemen Arturs Kulda (1-1-2) and Nathan Oystrick (0-2-2) also put up multiple points in Game 1, as did forward Matt Anderson (0-3-3)… Anthony Stewart, Kevin Doell, and 2008 Calder Cup Playoffs MVP Jason Krog rounded out Chicago’s scoring… Mike Santorelli tallied a pair of goals for the Admirals, giving him 11 points (4-7-11) in nine games against Chicago dating back to the regular season… Jonathon Blum (1-1-2), Ryan Maki and Ben Guite also scored for the visitors, and Dave Scatchard was denied on a first-period penalty shot by Wolves goaltender Peter Mannino… Counting the regular season, seven of these teams’ 11 meetings in 2009-10 have been decided by a one-goal margin, including four of six at Allstate Arena.

Game 1 – Rockford at Texas, 8:30
Rockford and Texas kick off their West Division semifinal tonight at the Cedar Park Center in suburban Austin… The IceHogs made the playoffs for the third time in as many AHL seasons, while the Stars qualified in their inaugural campaign… Rockford has been a different seed in each of its three years; the ’Hogs finished second in the West Division in 2007-08, fourth in 2008-09, and third this season… The IceHogs were just 21-18-2-2 on the morning of Jan. 10 but went 24-12-1-1 the rest of the way to finish at 44-30-3-3… Mark Cullen, who won the Calder Cup with Houston in 2003 and reached the Finals with Manitoba in 2009, topped Rockford with 53 points (21-32-53) in 62 games during the regular season… Cullen racked up four goals and five assists in six games against the Stars… IceHogs goaltender Corey Crawford finished the regular season on a three-game winning streak, surrendering only one goal in each of the three contests… Texas was tied for the AHL’s second-best defense, surrendering just 2.48 goals per game… Goaltender Brent Krahn missed much of the year to injury but still posted a 17-4-0 mark (1.83, .945) with five shutouts in 22 appearances for the Stars… Rookie Travis Morin tallied a team-high 10 points (1-9-10) in eight meetings with Rockford, helping Texas to a 6-2-0-0 mark in the season series.

AMERKS GET SCORCHED EARLY IN LOSS – Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

Two things the Rochester Americans couldn’t afford to let happen in their playoff opener did indeed happen. They fell behind very early and they took a lot of penalties. That’s a deadly daily double against the Abbotsford Heat. The Heat scored on the game’s first shift, then connected two more times on power plays before the first period ended and rolled to a 3-2 victory over the Amerks in Game 1 of their first-round Calder Cup playoff series.

EFFICIENT DOGS BEAT MOOSE, 2-0 – Hamilton Spectator
The Hamilton Bulldogs have drawn first blood. Mike Glumac and Ryan Russell scored and Cedrick Desjardins turned aside all 21 shots he faced to lead Hamilton to a 2-0 win over the Manitoba Moose last night at Copps Coliseum in the first game of their best-of-seven Calder Cup North Division semifinal.

A few things are going to have to happen if the Manitoba Moose are going to upset the Hamilton Bulldogs in their opening round AHL playoff series: The Moose will need solid goaltending, stifling defense, good penalty-killing and to find a way to shut down Hamilton’s prolific top line. The Moose got all of it here last night — and they still lost Game 1 by a score of 2-0.

VESCE SCORES OT WINNER TO EVEN SERIES – Worcester Telegram & Gazette
When one goal is all it takes to win, the Sharks know who to look for. They’re just not sure how long it’ll take him to win it. Captain Ryan Vesce did it again last night for Worcester, scoring at 19:03 of overtime to give the Sharks a critical 3-2 victory over the Lowell Devils to even their best-of-seven, first-round series at one victory apiece.

After the luxury of having four days to prepare, the Portland Pirates appear ready to play the Manchester Monarchs in the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs. Game 1 of the best-of-seven AHL playoff series starts today at 7 p.m. at the Cumberland County Civic Center. “It’s been a long week for both teams,” Portland defenseman Mike Weber said. “I’m sure they’re in the same situation as us, anxious and ready to get going.”

MONARCHS EXPET TOUGH SERIES – New Hampshire Union Leader
And so it begins. The AHL playoffs open tonight for the Manchester Monarchs, who visit Portland at 7 o’clock in Game 1 of their Atlantic Division semifinal series. The teams play again in Portland tomorrow night (7 p.m.) before the venue shifts to Manchester on Monday and Tuesday (7 p.m.) for Games 3 and 4 of the best-of-seven series.

Bill Peters can see beyond the front the Texas Stars put up. He sees the writing on the wall that other teams have tried to sponge away. He can see the Stars for what they’re worth, and to Peters — whose Rockford IceHogs open a best-of-seven playoff series against the Stars tonight at the Cedar Park Center — their worth is worrisome.

Remember Jack Skille? Kyle Greentree? Bracken Kearns? It’s easy to wonder what happened to the Rockford IceHogs’ top line. They still rank as the team’s second-through-fourth leading scorers — but it wasn’t because of a sustained strong finish. But they feel good about themselves heading into the AHL’s Calder Cup Playoffs.

The Milwaukee Admirals aren’t worried – at least not yet. “It’s a seven-game series. It’s not one game,” said Milwaukee coach Lane Lambert after practice on Thursday. “We’re fine. We’re looking forward to (Friday). That’s all part of being in a series. You can’t get too high on the highs and too low on the lows.”

Penguins goalie John Curry is back in the spotlight, sooner than anyone could have expected. Word came down late Thursday afternoon that Pittsburgh goaltender Brent Johnson was dealing with flu-like symptoms and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton starter Brad Thiessen had been called up to take his place as Marc-Andre Fleury’s backup against the Ottawa Senators.

Bridgeport Sound Tigers coach Jack Capuano said as usual Thursday morning that he didn’t know which goalie would start Game 2 of the East Division semifinal series tonight. Unlike many coaches, Capuano has a feeling he can’t go wrong.

It’s been nearly four years since Mark Wotton won the Calder Cup with the 2005-06 Hershey Bears. The 36-year-old defenseman has returned to Giant Center numerous times with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Bridgeport’s first-round playoff series against Hershey marks his most extended visit since the Cup season.

Todd Reirden only played two games as as a member of the Albany River Rats, but his short stay here was a memorable one for him. In his rookie season as a defenseman, the current Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach made his American Hockey League debut and appeared in two games with the River Rats in 1994-95.

Back in September, if you’d predicted that Cam Cunning would be one of the Abbotsford Heat’s leading goal-scorers and be skating on the top line come playoff time, no one would have bought it. Not even Cunning himself. Cunning – in his own mind and in the minds of others – was viewed as a fourth-line grinder with limited offensive upside.

Keith Seabrook has enjoyed a solid rookie season as a defenseman with the Abbotsford Heat as he looks to eventually embark on an NHL career. For now, though, being the younger brother of an NHL mainstay has its perks, especially when that brother also won an Olympic gold medal.

One year into their tenure in Glens Falls, the ownership of the Adirondack Phantoms expressed optimism that an American Hockey League team can remain in the city for the long term. In a meeting with The Post-Star’s editorial board on Thursday, co-owners Rob and Jim Brooks reiterated their interest in eventually putting a team in Allentown, Pa., but left the door open for a future here, either with this franchise or another.

2007 AHL All-Star Game MVP Tomas Plekanec scored in overtime to give Montreal a 3-2 win over Washington in Game 1 last night… Two-time AHL All-Star Ryan Miller made 38 saves in Buffalo’s 2-1 victory over Boston… Mikael Samuelsson scored two goals, including the winner at 8:52 of OT, as Vancouver defeated Los Angeles, 3-2.

6 – Calder Cup Playoff games decided by a one-goal margin – out of seven total contests – through the first two nights of action… The lone exception was Hamilton’s 2-0 win over Manitoba on Thursday.

12 – Former Calder Cup champions in the lineup for last night’s Washington-Montreal Stanley Cup Playoff game, not including Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau and assistant Bob Woods.

April 16, 2004Michael Leighton’s second consecutive shutout gives Norfolk a clean two-game sweep of Binghamton in the teams’ East Division qualifying series… After recording three points in Game 1, Alexander Semin posts three goals and an assist in Portland’s series-clinching 6-2 win at Providence.

April 16, 2002 – Raffi Torres tallies a goal and an assist and Trent Hunter registers three assists in Bridgeport’s 4-1 win over Manitoba in Game 2 of their conference quarterfinal series.

April 16, 1993 – Martin Brodeur makes 42 saves for his first pro playoff win as the Utica Devils take a 3-2 overtime decision from Rochester.

April 16, 1953
– In the only Calder Cup Finals Game 7 ever to go to overtime, Bob Chrystal’s goal gives the Cleveland Barons a 1-0 win over the Pittsburgh Hornets and their sixth AHL championship.


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