AHL Morning Skate: April 19, 2023

Photo: Mike Zitek

A3-Charlotte Checkers vs. A6-Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Game 2 – Thursday, 7:00 ET,
(Lehigh Valley leads series, 1-0)

Game 1 – Tue., Apr. 18 – Lehigh Valley 4, CHARLOTTE 3 | Recap
Game 2 – Thu., Apr. 20 – Lehigh Valley at Charlotte, 7:00
*Game 3 – Fri., Apr. 21 – Lehigh Valley at Charlotte, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

A4-Springfield Thunderbirds vs. A5-Hartford Wolf Pack
Game 1 – Tonight, 7:05 ET,

Game 1 - Wed., Apr. 19 - Hartford at Springfield, 7:05
Game 2 - Fri., Apr. 21 - Springfield at Hartford, 7:00
*Game 3 - Sat., Apr. 22 - Hartford at Springfield, 7:05
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Separated by just 25 miles of Interstate 91, Springfield and Hartford renew their rivalry with the first Calder Cup Playoff series between the cities since 2003... The Thunderbirds, defending Eastern Conference champions, won nine of 12 meetings from the Wolf Pack during the regular season, including shutouts in each of Hartford’s last three visits to MassMutual Center... Second Team AHL All-Star Joel Hofer (27-15-5, 2.50, .921) has not allowed a goal in his last 201:47 of work against the Wolf Pack, including a 35-save shutout in a 1-0 win on Saturday that snapped Hartford’s eight-game winning streak... The Wolf Pack surrendered just 10 goals over its last nine regular-season games, with Louis Domingue (22-12-8, 2.51, .911) going 6-0-0 with an 0.83 GAA and a .970 save percentage in his last six starts... Hartford is making its first postseason appearance since 2015, when the Pack advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals.

A1-Providence Bruins vs. lower remaining seed
Game 1 – April 28, 7:05 ET,

Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 28 at Providence, 7:05
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 29 at Providence, 7:05
Game 3 – TBD at SPR/HFD/LV
*Game 4 – TBD at SPR/HFD/LV
*Game 5 – Sun., May 7 at Providence, 7:05
*if necessary… All times Eastern

A2-Hershey Bears vs. higher remaining seed

Game 1 – TBD
Game 2 – TBD
Game 3 – TBD
*Game 4 – TBD
*Game 5 – TBD
*if necessary

N4-Utica Comets vs. N5-Laval Rocket
Game 1 – Tonight, 7:00 ET,

Game 1 - Wed., Apr. 19 - Utica at Laval, 7:00
Game 2 - Fri., Apr. 21 - Laval at Utica, 7:00
*Game 3 - Sat., Apr. 22 - Laval at Utica, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

The Comets and Rocket open their best-of-three series tonight at Place Bell... Laval won five of six meetings between the teams during the regular season, outscoring Utica by a 25-14 margin... The Rocket were led in scoring this season by Anthony Richard (30-37-67), who also had 10 points in four games against the Comets... Cayden Primeau (19-15-6, 3.04, .909), who was 6-1-0 with two shutouts in his last seven starts during the regular season, posted a .936 save percentage in 14 playoff games last spring to help Laval to within one win of reaching the Calder Cup Finals... Utica closed its regular season on Saturday with a come-from-behind 5-4 overtime win at Syracuse, the 400th victory in head coach Kevin Dineen’s AHL career... Graeme Clarke led the Comets in goals (25), assists (33) and points (58) during the regular season... Utica was assessed 249 minor penalties this season, by far the fewest in the league, and was shorthanded a league-low 208 times... Laval ranked 31st in the AHL on the penalty kill (75.6 percent), but tied for the league lead with 13 shorthanded goals scored.

N1-Toronto Marlies vs. UTC/LAV winner
Game 1 – April 27, 7:00 ET,

Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 27 at Toronto, 7:00
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 29 at Toronto, 4:00
Game 3 – TBD at UTC/LAV winner
*Game 4 – TBD at UTC/LAV winner
*Game 5 – Sun., May 7 at Toronto, 4:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

N2-Syracuse Crunch vs. N3-Rochester Americans
Game 1 – Friday, 7:00 ET,

Game 1 - Fri., Apr. 21 - Rochester at Syracuse, 7:00
Game 2 - Sat., Apr. 22 - Rochester at Syracuse, 7:00
Game 3 - Fri., Apr. 28 - Syracuse at Rochester, 7:05
*Game 4 - Sun., Apr. 30 - Syracuse at Rochester, 3:05
*Game 5 - Sat., May 6 - Rochester at Syracuse, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

C4-Iowa Wild vs. C5-Rockford IceHogs
Game 1 – Tonight, 8:00 ET,

Game 1 - Wed., Apr. 19 - Iowa at Rockford, 8:00
Game 2 - Fri., Apr. 21 - Rockford at Iowa, 8:00
*Game 3 - Sun., Apr. 23 - Rockford at Iowa, 4:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

After surviving a heated battle for the last two playoff spots in the Central Division, Iowa and Rockford begin their first-round series tonight at BMO Center before shifting to Des Moines for Games 2 and 3... The Wild and IceHogs both won their regular-season finales on Sunday evening to fend off Chicago and finish with 79 points each, one point ahead of the Wolves... Iowa earned fourth place based on the first standings tiebreaker, regulation wins; Rockford earned only 20 of its 35 wins in regulation, posting a league-high nine OT wins and adding six shootout victories... Seven of the 12 meetings between these teams in the regular season went beyond regulation, with the Wild winning five of them... Iowa’s Marco Rossi (16-35-51) led all skaters with 14 points in 11 games during the season series... Nic Petan (23-39-62) led the Wild in points and plus/minus (+20) during the regular season, and recorded a team-best eight game-winning goals... Rockford’s Rocco Grimaldi (33-40-73) tallied 6-11-17 in 16 games for the IceHogs after being acquired from San Diego, and set career highs in goals, assists and points in 2022-23... Iowa was 20-11-4-1 on the road this season, including 4-0-1-1 in Rockford.

C1-Texas Stars vs. IA/RFD winner

Game 1 – TBD at IA/RFD winner
Game 2 – TBD at IA/RFD winner
Game 3 – Wed., May 3 at Texas, 8:00
*Game 4 – Fri., May 5 at Texas, 8:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 6 at Texas, 8:00
*if necessary... All times Eastern

C2-Milwaukee Admirals vs. C3-Manitoba Moose
Game 1 – April 28, 8:00 ET,

Game 1 - Fri., Apr. 28 - Milwaukee at Manitoba, 8:00
Game 2 - Sun., Apr. 30 - Milwaukee at Manitoba, 3:00
Game 3 - Wed., May 3 - Manitoba at Milwaukee, 8:00
*Game 4 - Fri., May 5 - Manitoba at Milwaukee, 8:00
*Game 5 - Sat., May 6 - Manitoba at Milwaukee, 7:00
*if necessary... All times Eastern

P2-Coachella Valley Firebirds vs. P7-Tucson Roadrunners
Game 1 – Tonight, 10:00 ET,

Game 1 - Wed., Apr. 19 - Tucson at Coachella Valley, 10:00
Game 2 - Fri., Apr. 21 - Tucson at Coachella Valley, 10:00
*Game 3 - Sun., Apr. 23 - Tucson at Coachella Valley, 6:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Coachella Valley begins its first postseason run following a remarkable expansion season that saw the Firebirds finish second overall in the AHL with 103 points... Their opponent in the first playoff game at Acrisure Arena is Tucson, which served the same role for the building’s first regular-season game back on Dec. 18... The Roadrunners stumbled to the finish line with a seven-game winless skid (0-4-2-1), but they boast the AHL’s scoring champion in Michael Carcone (31-54-85)... The Firebirds had 10 skaters reach double digits in goals, and 16 skaters finish with a plus/minus rating of plus-10 or better... Joey Daccord (26-8-3, 2.38, .909) ranked fifth in the AHL in both goals-against average and save percentage for Coachella Valley... The Firebirds won six of the eight meetings between the teams during the regular season, but the teams have seen each other just twice since Christmas... Coachella Valley head coach Dan Bylsma reached the Calder Cup Finals as an assistant coach with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2008, a year before winning the Stanley Cup as head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

P3-Colorado Eagles vs. P6-Ontario Reign
Game 1 – Tonight, 9:05 ET,

Game 1 - Wed., Apr. 19 - Ontario at Colorado, 9:05
Game 2 - Fri., Apr. 21 - Ontario at Colorado, 9:05
*Game 3 - Sat., Apr. 22 - Ontario at Colorado, 9:05
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Colorado and Ontario begin their best-of-three series in Loveland tonight... It is a rematch of last spring’s division semifinal series between the clubs, won by the Eagles three games to none... Colorado was 7-1-1-2 in its last 11 home games and 22-8-3-3 at the Budweiser Events Center overall during the regular season, tied for third behind only Coachella Valley and Calgary for the best home record in the AHL... The Eagles also hit the postseason with a 10-2-3-0 mark in its last 15 overall, including wins over the Reign on Mar. 29 and Apr. 2... Charles Hudon (29-25-54) led Colorado in scoring, including a league-leading 17 power-play goals; Ontario’s Lias Andersson (31-28-59) was second with 15 PPG... Jean-Luc Foudy (11-25-36) scored three game-winning goals during the 2022 postseason for Colorado, including a pair of overtime winners... Former Eagle T.J. Tynan (8-73-81) finished third in the AHL scoring race for the Reign, and led the league in assists for the second year in a row and the third time in his career... Tynan had 1-13-14 in eight meetings with Colorado... Ontario’s special teams ranked second in the league on the penalty kill this season (84.4 percent), but allowed a league-high 15 shorthanded goals.

P4-Abbotsford Canucks vs. P5-Bakersfield Condors
Game 1 – Tonight, 10:00 ET,

Game 1 - Wed., Apr. 19 - Bakersfield at Abbotsford, 10:00
Game 2 - Fri., Apr. 21 - Bakersfield at Abbotsford, 10:00
*Game 3 - Sun., Apr. 23 - Bakersfield at Abbotsford, 10:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Abbotsford and Bakersfield meet in the Pacific Division’s first round for the second year in a row, this time playing at Abbotsford Centre... Last spring, the Condors swept the best-of-three series in Bakersfield to advance to the division semifinals... The Canucks were led in scoring this season by Christian Wolanin (6-49-55), who won the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s outstanding defenseman for 2022-23... In his first North American season, Linus Karlsson (24-25-49) led Abbotsford in goals and finished second on the team in points... Canucks forward Justin Dowling (11-35-46) has 11-28-39 in 54 career playoff games, winning the Calder Cup in 2014 and returning to the Finals in 2018 with Texas... Seth Griffith (17-43-60) led the Condors in scoring, while Raphael Lavoie (25-20-45) scored a team-high 25 goals... Abbotsford won three of four meetings during the regular season with Bakersfield, but the teams have played each other only once since the end of November, a 3-1 Condors victory on Mar. 22... Bakersfield owned the AHL’s third-best record after the All-Star break, going 19-9-0-1 (.672) in its final 29 games.

P1-Calgary Wranglers vs. lowest remaining seed
Game 1 – TBD
Game 2 – TBD
Game 3 – TBD
*Game 4 – TBD
*Game 5 – TBD
*if necessary

Highest remaining seed vs. middle remaining seed
Game 1 – TBD
Game 2 – TBD
Game 3 – TBD
*Game 4 – TBD
*Game 5 – TBD
*if necessary

Dan Bylsma will have to do some lineup juggling when his Coachella Valley Firebirds open their best-of-three first-round Pacific Division series with the Tucson Roadrunners tonight.

AHL rookie scoring leader Tye Kartye has been recalled to the Seattle Kraken, along with goaltender Chris Driedger. Seattle opened its first Stanley Cup Playoff appearance with a 3-1 win over defending champion Colorado last night.

Kartye, a 21-year-old forward, had 57 points (28 goals, 29 assists) while playing all 72 games for the Firebirds this season, earning a spot on the AHL All-Rookie Team. He did not play for the Kraken last night.

Driedger came to the Firebirds in late February after spending nine months recovering from an ACL injury. He took a heavy workload in Coachella Valley, going 9-4-0 with a 2.61 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage in 14 games.

Driedger becomes Seattle’s third-string goaltender, behind Philipp Grubauer and Martin Jones, leaving Joey Daccord and Christopher Gibson as the Firebirds’ tandem. Daccord ranked fifth in the AHL in both GAA (2.38) and save percentage (.918).

The pressure started some time ago for Rockford IceHogs goaltender Arvid Soderblom.

The 23-year-old Swede made the final seven starts (and 11 of the last 12) for Rockford as the team fought for a Calder Cup Playoff berth down to the final day of the regular season. He made 26 saves in the IceHogs’ playoff-clinching 4-1 win at Milwaukee on Sunday evening.

The Iowa Wild are Soderblom’s next test, as the teams open their best-of-three Central Division first-round series tonight in Rockford. Soderblom was a problem for Iowa this season, going 4-0-1 with a 1.93 GAA and a .936 save percentage against the Wild.

― Patrick Williams

In action around the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs last night, Chris Kreider scored twice and Filip Chytil added a goal and an assist as the New York Rangers defeated New Jersey, 5-1, in Game 1... Brayden Point had a pair of goals and Nikita Kucherov and Corey Perry notched a goal and two assists apiece as Tampa Bay rolled to a 7-3 win at Toronto... Connor Hellebuyck made 16 saves and Adam Lowry scored twice for Winnipeg in a 5-1 victory at Vegas... 2019 Calder Cup champion Morgan Geekie scored to help Seattle to a 3-1 win over Colorado.


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