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AHL Morning Skate: April 17

Every game day from now until the end of the Calder Cup Playoffs, the AHL Morning Skate takes 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.


Game 2 – PORTLAND 3, Connecticut 2 (OT) (POR leads series, 2-0)
Game 2 – Norfolk 2, W-B/SCRANTON 0 (NOR leads series, 2-0)
Game 2 – HAMILTON 2, Oklahoma City 1 (HAM leads series, 2-0)
Game 1 – LAKE ERIE 6, Manitoba 4 (LE leads series, 1-0)
Game 2 – Texas 3, MILWAUKEE 1 (Series tied, 1-1)

1. Derek Whitmore scored the tying goal in the third period and the winner in overtime as Portland took a 2-0 series lead with a 3-2 win over Connecticut.

2. Drew MacIntyre’s 38-save performance included stopping all 27 shots over the last two periods, preserving Hamilton’s 2-1 win over Oklahoma City.

3. Dustin Tokarski made 27 saves as Norfolk shut out Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 2-0, to grab a surprising 2-0 edge in their East Division semifinal.

TODAY’S SCHEDULE (all times ET):
Game 2 – Manitoba at Lake Erie, 3:00 (LE leads series, 1-0)
Game 2 – Charlotte at Hershey, 5:00 (CHA leads series, 1-0)
Game 3 – Manchester at Binghamton, 5:05 (Series tied, 1-1)
Game 3 – Portland at Connecticut, 6:00 (POR leads series, 2-0)

Atlantic Division Semifinal – Series “A” (best-of-7)
A1-Portland Pirates vs. A3-Connecticut Whale || Preview
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 14 – PORTLAND 3, Connecticut 2
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 16 – PORTLAND 3, Connecticut 2 (OT)
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 17 – Portland at Connecticut, 6:00
Game 4 – Tue., Apr. 19 – Portland at Connecticut, 7:00
*Game 5 – Thu., Apr. 21 – Connecticut at Portland, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 23 – Portland at Connecticut, 7:00
*Game 7 – Mon., Apr. 25 – Connecticut at Portland, 7:00

Atlantic Division Semifinal – Series “B” (best-of-7)
A2-Manchester Monarchs vs. E5-Binghamton Senators || Preview
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 14 – MANCHESTER 2, Binghamton 1
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 15 – Binghamton 4, MANCHESTER 3 (OT)
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 17 – Manchester at Binghamton, 5:05
Game 4 – Tue., Apr. 19 – Manchester at Binghamton, 7:05
Game 5 – Wed., Apr. 20 – Manchester at Binghamton, 7:05
*Game 6 – Fri., Apr. 22 – Binghamton at Manchester, 7:00
*Game 7 – Sat., Apr. 23 – Binghamton at Manchester, 7:00

East Division Semifinal – Series “C” (best-of-7)
E1-W-B/Scranton Penguins vs. E4-Norfolk Admirals || Preview
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 15 – Norfolk 2, W-B/SCRANTON 1
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 16 – Norfolk 2, W-B/SCRANTON 0
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 19 – W-B/Scranton at Norfolk, 7:15
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 20 – W-B/Scranton at Norfolk, 7:15
*Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 22 – W-B/Scranton at Norfolk, 7:30
*Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 23 – Norfolk at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 7 – Mon., Apr. 25 – Norfolk at W-B/Scranton, 7:05

East Division Semifinal – Series “D” (best-of-7)
E2-Hershey Bears vs. E3-Charlotte Checkers || Preview
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 14 – Charlotte 5, HERSHEY 4
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 17 – Charlotte at Hershey, 5:00
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 19 – Hershey at Charlotte, 7:00
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 20 – Hershey at Charlotte, 7:00
*Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 22 – Hershey at Charlotte, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sun., Apr. 24 – Charlotte at Hershey, 5:00
*Game 7 – Mon., Apr. 25 – Charlotte at Hershey, 7:00

North Division Semifinal – Series “E” (best-of-7)
N1-Hamilton Bulldogs vs. W5-Oklahoma City Barons || Preview
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 14 – HAMILTON 5, Oklahoma City 2
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 16 – HAMILTON 2, Oklahoma City 1
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 19 – Hamilton at Oklahoma City, 8:05
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 20 – Hamilton at Oklahoma City, 8:05
*Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 22 – Hamilton at Oklahoma City, 8:05
*Game 6 – Sun., Apr. 24 – Oklahoma City at Hamilton, 4:00
*Game 7 – Mon., Apr. 25 – Oklahoma City at Hamilton, 7:30

North Division Semifinal – Series “F” (best-of-7)
N2-Lake Erie Monsters vs. N3-Manitoba Moose || Preview
Game 1 – Sat., Apr. 16 – LAKE ERIE 6, Manitoba 4
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 17 – Manitoba at Lake Erie, 3:00
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 19 – Lake Erie at Manitoba, 8:30
Game 4 – Thu., Apr. 21 – Lake Erie at Manitoba, 8:30
*Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 22 – Lake Erie at Manitoba, 8:30
*Game 6 – Sun., Apr. 24 – Manitoba at Lake Erie, 4:00
*Game 7 – Tue., Apr. 26 – Manitoba at Lake Erie, 7:00

West Division Semifinal – Series “G” (best-of-7)
W1-Milwaukee Admirals vs. W4-Texas Stars || Preview
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 14 – MILWAUKEE 5, Texas 2
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 16 – Texas 3, MILWAUKEE 1
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 19 – Milwaukee at Texas, 8:30
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 20 – Milwaukee at Texas, 8:30
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 22 – Milwaukee at Texas, 8:30
*Game 6 – Mon., Apr. 25 – Texas at Milwaukee, 8:00
*Game 7 – Tue., Apr. 26 – Texas at Milwaukee, 8:00

West Division Semifinal – Series “H” (best-of-7)
W2-Houston Aeros vs. W3-Peoria Rivermen || Preview
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 13 – HOUSTON 4, Peoria 1
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 15 – HOUSTON 3, Peoria 2 (OT)
Game 3 – Mon., Apr. 18 – Houston at Peoria, 8:05
Game 4 – Tue., Apr. 19 – Houston at Peoria, 8:05
*Game 5 – Wed., Apr. 20 – Houston at Peoria, 8:05
*Game 6 – Fri., Apr. 22 – Peoria at Houston, 8:35
*Game 7 – Sun., Apr. 24 – Peoria at Houston, 5:05

*if necessary… All times Eastern

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 2 – Manitoba at Lake Erie, 3:00 (LE leads series, 1-0)
It’s a second straight matinee as Manitoba and Lake Erie return to Quicken Loans Arena this afternoon for Game 2 of their North Division semifinal… Playing their first-ever postseason contest, the Monsters grabbed a 6-4 victory in Game 1… Matthew Ford, who closed the regular season on a three-game goal-scoring streak, tallied a pair of goals for the Monsters yesterday, including the eventual game-winner midway through the third period… Rookie forward Mark Olver and second-year pro Justin Mercier each registered a goal and an assist for Lake Erie… Olver contributed 40 points (23-17-40) in 58 regular-season AHL contests and also recorded nine points (2-7-9) in 18 games for the parent Colorado Avalanche… Ryan Stoa, who along with Olver spent much of the season’s second half up with Colorado, tallied a goal in his AHL postseason debut… Monsters captain Ben Walter rounded out the Game 1 offense, and Jason Bacashihua turned aside 21 of 25 shots between the pipes to earn his first career playoff win… Manitoba broke out to a 2-1 lead after the first period, and the Moose had been 23-5-1-1 during the regular season when ahead after 20 minutes… Moose forward Marco Rosa closed the regular year by recording 6-5-11 in nine games after returning from injury, and he opened up the postseason with 2-2-4 in Game 1… Two-time AHL All-Star Sergei Shirokov and rookie defenseman Kevin Connauton also scored for the Moose, and rookie Bill Sweatt contributed a pair of assists… AHL All-Rookie goaltender Eddie Lack allowed five goals on 24 shots before giving way to ex-Monster Tyler Weiman with 13:18 gone in the third period.

Game 2 – Charlotte at Hershey, 5:00 (CHA leads series, 1-0)
After two days off to regroup from the series opener, Charlotte and Hershey get back on the Giant Center ice this afternoon for Game 2 of their East Division Semifinal… Carolina’s AHL affiliate was swept out of the 2010 division finals by Hershey when playing as the Albany River Rats, but the Checkers got the drop on the Bears this time with a 5-4 victory in Game 1 on Thursday… The tilt featured three lead changes before Charlotte forward Drayson Bowman buried his first goal of the playoffs midway through the third period to snap a 4-4 tie… 2011 AHL All-Rookie forward Zac Dalpe had a game-high three points (1-2-3) on Thursday, and the 21-year-old now boasts nine points (4-5-9) in five playoff games against Hershey over the past two springs… Dating back to the regular season, Dalpe now has a point in seven of his last eight outings overall (5-8-13)… Former first-round draft pick Zach Boychuk also scored for the Checkers in Game 1, and Chris Terry notched his first of the postseason after racking up a team-best 34 goals (34-30-64) in the regular season… Charlotte goaltender Justin Pogge made 27 saves for his first postseason victory since Game 4 of the 2008 Western Conference Finals vs. Chicago, when he was a member of the Toronto Marlies… Hershey held leads of 1-0 and 3-2 but could not hold on to either… Keith Aucoin and Brian Willsie each put up a goal and an assist for the Bears; Aucoin was a member of Hershey’s Calder Cup title teams in 2009 and 2010, while Willsie is seeing his first AHL playoff action since his first stint with the Bears in 2001… Steve Pinizzotto and Boyd Kane also scored for Hershey in Game 1… Bears goaltender Braden Holtby has allowed five goals in a game four times this season – all vs. Charlotte (Nov. 28, Dec. 12, Feb. 20 and Thursday).

Game 3 – Manchester at Binghamton, 5:05 (Series tied, 1-1)
Playoff hockey returns to New York’s Southern Tier for the first time since 2005 as Binghamton welcomes Manchester to the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena this afternoon for Game 3 of their Atlantic Division semifinal, with the series knotted up at a game apiece… After dropping Game 1 of the series on Thursday, the Senators came back from a 2-0 third-period deficit and ultimately captured a 4-3 overtime victory in Friday’s Game 2… Derek Grant notched the game-winner 4:03 into the first extra session, assisted by defenseman Patrick Coulombe… It was the first career postseason goal for Grant, who produced 1-5-6 in 14 regular-season outings with Binghamton after leading Michigan State in scoring in 2010-11… Manchester took a 2-0 lead into the third period Friday courtesy of second-period strikes by Tyler Toffoli and Justin Azevedo, who finished with three points (1-2-3)… Toffoli, a second-round draft pick by Los Angeles in 2010, has two goals in three games since joining Manchester… Binghamton grabbed a 3-2 lead on goals by Ryan Potulny – his second in as many games this series – Ryan Keller and Kaspars Daugavins, but Monarchs defenseman Jake Muzzin tied it back up with 1:02 left in regulation… For Keller, who put up a team-high 32 regular-season goals (32-19-51) for the Senators, it was his first point in 15 career AHL playoff games… The Monarchs were 34-3-2-1 when leading after two periods during the regular season, while the Senators had been just 1-20-2-0 when trailing after 40 minutes… Manchester prevailed in its only visit to Binghamton during the regular year, a 4-3 victory back on Jan. 15… Overall, the Monarchs have won four of five games at the Broome County Arena since the start of the 2006-07 season.

Game 3 – Portland at Connecticut, 6:00 (POR leads series, 2-0)
The scene shifts to the XL Center in Hartford on Sunday as Portland and Connecticut resume their Atlantic Division semifinal on Sunday night… The Pirates defended their home ice with a pair of victories to open the series, including a 3-2 overtime decision last night… Portland entered the third period in a 2-1 hole, but Derek Whitmore notched an unassisted goal with 7:40 left in regulation and then scored off a 2-on-1 rush with Brian Roloff at 12:04 of overtime to give the Pirates the win… The Pirates had grabbed an early 1-0 lead when 201-game NHL veteran Matt Ellis scored 5:02 into the first period, but Connecticut came back with a pair of goals in a span of 1:16 to take a 2-1 advantage when Francis Lemieux notched his first-ever AHL postseason goal at the 15:26 mark and John Mitchell followed up with a power-play marker at 16:42… Lemieux, who won a Calder Cup with Hamilton in 2007, entered the night with three assists in 19 career AHL playoff contests… Portland goaltender David Leggio shut the door from there and finished with 23 saves for his second straight victory in net, while ex-Pirate netminder Dov Grumet-Morris took the loss despite making 33 stops for the Whale… Portland outshot Connecticut, 36-25, in Game 2, including 28-9 from the second period on… The Whale have now lost six straight playoff meetings with Portland going back to 2008 and six straight playoff games overall since taking a 2-0 series lead in the first round vs. Worcester in 2009… These teams split their four regular-season meetings in Hartford, and all four contests were decided by a one-goal margin.


PIRATES TAKE COMMAND – Maine Sunday Telegram
Breaks often determine winners in hockey, especially in the tightly contested playoffs. Portland Pirates left wing Derek Whitmore used breaks Saturday night to score the tying and winning goals, the winner at 12:04 of overtime producing a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the Connecticut Whale before 5,029 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

IT FIGURED TO BE CLOSE – New Hampshire Sunday News
Because of the series format, Binghamton’s 4-3 overtime win over the Manchester Monarchs on Friday was a big one. The best-of-seven first round AHL playoff series is tied 1-1 after a split in Manchester. The series now shifts to Binghamton for the next three games starting tonight at 5:05 p.m. “It’s huge. If we expect to win we’ve got to steal one in their barn,” said Monarchs forward Justin Azevedo. “We played fairly well on the road this year. It comes down to hard work and commitment.”

B-SENS UNLOCK KEY TO WINNING – Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
Though Derek Grant’s overtime game-winner made the final shift of Friday night’s victory over the Manchester Monarchs the most memorable for the Binghamton Senators’ fourth line, the trio’s most important work was done 24 minutes earlier. Trailing 2-0 and concerned by the lack of chemistry and physicality his team had displayed, B-Sens coach Kurt Kleinendorst kept his starting line on the bench to open the third period and put Cody Bass, David Dziurzynski and Grant on the ice.

ON THIN ICE – Citizens’ Voice
Two more games like this, and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins will be crying in their Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy. Paul Szczechura scored in the waning moments of the second period and goalie Dustin Tokarski made 27 saves as the Norfolk Admirals shut out the Penguins 2-0 Saturday night to take a 2-0 lead in the East Division semifinals at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Because the team they root for has reached the postseason every year since 2003, fans of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins might take playoff appearances for granted. Marc-Antoine Pouliot doesn’t. Pouliot was 21 when he played for the Penguins during the split Pittsburgh-Edmonton affiliation season of 2006-07.

ADMIRALS SAIL – Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
There are many ways for a team to build momentum during a game. During Saturday’s Game 2 of the Calder Cup playoff series, the Norfolk Admirals did it three ways against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins– scoring the first goal, killing all five Penguin power plays and, thanks to Admirals goaltender Dustin Tokarski, stopping all 27 shots.

CHECKERS SEEK 2-0 LEAD ON ROAD – Charlotte Observer
Buoyed by Thursday’s 5-4 come-from-behind-win, the Charlotte Checkers could further nullify the Hershey Bears’ home-ice advantage with a win Sunday in the first round of the American Hockey League playoffs. “They’re going to come out and give us their best and we’ve got to be ready for it,” Checkers coach Jeff Daniels said Saturday. “We’re off to a good start. We’re not content.”

BEARS, CHECKERS EYE GAME 2 – Harrisburg Patriot-News
Looking to defy hockey convention, the Charlotte Checkers are off to a good start in their first-round series against the Hershey Bears. Since 2006-07, only one AHL team that allowed more than 240 regular-season goals has won a playoff series. The 2006-07 Chicago Wolves, who surrendered 252, won two series before bowing to eventual Calder Cup champion Hamilton in the Western Conference finals. But those Wolves also scored 331 goals.

Drew MacIntyre made 38 saves during Hamilton’s 2-1 victory over the Oklahoma City Barons on Saturday, but after the game everyone was talking about just one. With 1:30 left in the game MacIntyre made a game-saving pad stop as he came across the crease to deny a sure goal for the Barons as Hamilton took a 2-0 series lead. “It was a tough angle and he was either going to just wire it or bank it in off of me,” said MacIntyre of the late save, “so that was the toughest part, going across having to torque my body so he couldn’t knock it in off me.”

The Monsters played fast and physically in disposing of the Manitoba Moose, 6-4, in Game 1 of a North Division semifinal Saturday afternoon at The Q. The crowd of 7,908 was electric from start to finish – the reason Monsters players and coach David Quinn so badly wanted home-ice advantage for as long as possible in the potential four-series run.

He wanted to score three goals but Manitoba Moose coach Claude Noel didn’t foresee his team lacking so much else. Like defense. And goaltending. The Moose exceeded Noel’s offensive wish by one on Saturday afternoon at the Quicken Loans Arena but keeping the puck out of their own net was a major problem in a 6-4 loss to the Lake Erie Monsters in the opening game of the Calder Cup playoffs.

Having your star goalie pulled isn’t usually part of the recipe for success in the post-season. The Manitoba Moose saw it happen on Saturday afternoon, so it was little surprise they fell 6-4 to the Lake Erie Monsters before a crowd of 7,908 at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena. The Monsters grabbed a 1-0 advantage in the best-of-7 North Division semifinal.

Texas capitalized on Milwaukee’s penalties, and when the Stars tried to return the favor by sitting in the penalty box, the Admirals didn’t have an answer. Texas defeated Milwaukee, 3-1, in front of 6,819 fans Saturday at the Bradley Center to even the West Division semifinal series at one game apiece. Game 3 is at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Texas. “At the end of the day, that’s the difference in the game,” Milwaukee coach Lane Lambert said.

So where do the Peoria Rivermen go from here? They spent Saturday flying back from Houston, via Nashville, then St. Louis, and a bus ride to Peoria, a 2-0 deficit in their best-of-7 West Division semifinals against the Houston Aeros included in their baggage. How much farther they go in the AHL playoffs will depend on how quickly they find a way to deal with a loaded Houston team.

The Adirondack Phantoms answered several questions with their second-half that elevated them from among the worst American Hockey League teams of all-time to one playing as well as a playoff team. But the biggest question remains a mystery as the offseason opens. Will Joe Paterson, the architect of the revival behind the bench, return to coach a second season in his hometown?

In last night’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, 2005 AHL All-Star Mike Cammalleri and 2004 Calder Cup champion Mathieu Darche scored in the first 2:20 of the game as Montreal snagged a 2-0 series lead with a 3-1 triumph at Boston… Former AHL All-Star Daniel Briere’s second-period goal proved to be the game-winner as Philadelphia evened up its first-round series with a 5-4 victory over Buffalo… 2008 AHL All-Star Jimmy Howard made 30 saves in net to lead Detroit to a 4-3 win over Phoenix and a 2-0 series lead in their Western Conference quarterfinal.

10-2 – Combined record of teams when leading after two periods of play this postseason… Both losses – suffered by Connecticut and Manchester over the past two days – came in overtime.

April 17, 2010Andrew Gordon scores three times during a six-goal second period, propelling Hershey to a 7-2 win at Bridgeport and a 3-0 series lead.

April 17, 2004 – Ilya Bryzgalov makes 34 saves and Curtis Glencross notches a goal and two assists as Cincinnati eliminates defending Calder Cup champion Houston with a 6-3 victory.

April 17, 1998Marc Savard nets five points (2g, 3a) during a seven-goal third period as Hartford rallies for a 7-4 win over New Haven in the Wolf Pack’s first-ever playoff game.

April 17, 1993 – Jozef Stumpel records two goals and two assists in Providence’s 9-0 win at Springfield, evening their best-of-seven series at 2-2.

April 17, 1984 – On a collision course towards their second straight Finals meeting, Maine defeats Adirondack, 5-3, and Rochester downs St. Catharines, 4-2, to advance to the second round… It is the first time two Game 7’s are ever contested on the same day.

April 17, 1957 – Ken Hayden completes a hat trick 6:58 into sudden-death overtime to give the Cleveland Barons a 5-4 win over Rochester and their eighth Calder Cup championship.

April 17, 1949 – The Providence Reds capture the Calder Cup with a 4-2 win over Hershey in Game 7… Sixty years later, the Reds are still the last team to come back from 3-1 down in the Finals series to win.


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