AHL Morning Skate: April 20

Game 3 – MANCHESTER 2, Portland 1 (OT) (MCH leads series, 3-0)
Game 4 – Albany 5, W-B/SCRANTON 3 (ALB wins series, 4-0)
Game 4 – Chicago 1, MILWAUKEE 0 (CHI leads series, 3-1)
Game 3 – MANITOBA 7, Hamilton 2 (HAM leads series, 2-1)
Game 3 – Rochester 8, ABBOTSFORD 4 (RCH leads series, 2-1)

1. Rochester winger Shawn Matthias scored two goals, chipped in two assists and posted a plus-5 rating to pace the Americans past Abbotsford, 8-4.

2. Jordan Schroeder’s first professional hat trick (plus an assist) helped Manitoba roll past Hamilton, 7-2.

3. Bud Holloway scored two minutes into overtime to give Manchester a 2-1 win over Portland and a commanding 3-0 series lead.

Game 4 – Worcester at Lowell, 7:00 (WOR leads series, 2-1)
Game 4 – Portland at Manchester, 7:00 (MCH leads series, 3-0)

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 3, LOWELL 2
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 2, PORTLAND 1
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 17 – Manchester 3, PORTLAND 1
Game 3 – Mon., Apr. 19 – MANCHESTER 2, Portland 1 (OT)
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 (OT)
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 16 – HERSHEY 3, Bridgeport 2
Game 3 – Sat., Apr. 17 – Hershey 7, BRIDGEPORT 2
Game 4 – Sun., Apr. 18 – BRIDGEPORT 4, Hershey 1
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 – ALBANY 3, W-B/Scranton 2
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 18 – Albany 2, W-B/SCRANTON 1
Game 4 – Mon., Apr. 19 – Albany 5, W-B/SCRANTON 3

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 – HAMILTON 8, Manitoba 2
Game 3 – Mon., Apr. 19 – MANITOBA 7, Hamilton 2
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 –  ROCHESTER 4, Abbotsford 1
Game 3 – Mon., Apr. 19 – Rochester 8, ABBOTSFORD 4
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 – CHICAGO 3, Milwaukee 0
Game 3 – Sat., Apr. 17 – MILWAUKEE 6, Chicago 0
Game 4 – Mon., Apr. 19 – Chicago 1, MILWAUKEE 0
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 – TEXAS 2, Rockford 1
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 17 –  TEXAS 3, Rockford 1
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 4 – Portland at Manchester, 7:00 (MCH leads series, 3-0)
Holding a 3-0 series lead, Manchester looks to sweep its way to the Atlantic Division Finals tonight when it hosts Portland in Game 4 of their first-round series… The Monarchs are trying to win a postseason series for the first time since advancing to the conference finals in 2007, while also looking to complete the franchise’s first-ever series sweep… Monarchs second-year pro Bud Holloway has netted the game-winning goal in each of the first three contests after leading the club with 47 points (19-28-47) in 75 regular-season games and tying for the club lead with five game-winners… Holloway’s most recent heroics came last night when he scored two minutes into overtime to break a 1-1 deadlock… Marc-Andre Cliche also scored in Game 3 for Manchester, and Jonathan Bernier stopped 37 of 38 shots, surrendering just one goal for the third consecutive game (0.99, .964)… Manchester has won all three games of this series despite not scoring more than three goals in any of them; the Monarchs collected 19 of their 43 regular-season victories when scoring three goals or fewer… Defenseman Mike Weber tallied the Pirates’ lone goal in Game 3, with former second-round draft pick Luke Adam earning one of the assists for his first professional point… The Pirates, who are playing without AHL Rookie of the Year Tyler Ennis (NHL recall), have gone three straight games without scoring more than one goal for the first time all season… Regular-season leading scorer Mark Mancari (28-46-74) is scoreless in the series… Portland, which is on a seven-game playoff losing skid, has not been swept since dropping a best-of-five first-round series to Saint John in 2001… The Pirates have a record of 9-11 all-time when facing playoff elimination, while the Monarchs are 2-6 with a chance to close out a series.

Game 4 – Worcester at Lowell, 7:00 (WOR leads series, 2-1)
About 30 miles down the road from Manchester, the other Atlantic Division semifinal resumes after a pair of off-days as Worcester and Lowell face off at Tsongas Center… Including the regular season, the road team has won eight of 13 meetings between these teams this year, including two of three in this series… The Sharks dropped Game 1 at home but have taken the last two contests and will be gunning for a commanding 3-1 series lead… In each of the first three games, the team which scored first went on to win by a 3-2 final, including an overtime victory by Worcester in Game 2… Dan DaSilva has a point in all three contests (2-2-4) for the Sharks, and captain Ryan Vesce had two points (1-1-2) – including the overtime winner in Game 2 – before missing Game 3 due to injury… Third-year Worcester defenseman Derek Joslin has tallied a goal in back-to-back outings for the first time in his AHL career, including the decisive tally in the Sharks’ 3-2 victory in Saturday’s Game 3… Devils defenseman Matt Taormina shows a team-high four points (1-3-4) in the series and has found the scoresheet in all three games… Seven different Lowell skaters have scored the team’s seven goals thus far… Alexander Vasyunov racked up three points (1-2-3) in Game 1 for Lowell but has been held without a point since… Michael Swift, who registered a team-high 12 points (4-8-12) in 10 regular-season clashes with Worcester, has been limited to one assist through the first three games… The Devils went 2-for-5 on the power play in Game 3 after scoring just once on 10 opportunities in the first two contests combined.

MONARCHS IN COMMAND – New Hampshire Union Leader

Stranglehold achieved. The Manchester Monarchs got a Bud Holloway goal 2:00 into overtime to earn a 2-1 win over Portland in Game 3 of their AHL Atlantic Division semifinal series in front of 2,130 fans at Verizon Wireless Arena last night. The Monarchs are now up 3-0 in the series and can close it out with a win tonight in Game 4, which is set for a 7 p.m. faceoff at the Verizon.

The Manchester Monarchs went into overtime to push the Portland Pirates to the brink of elimination Monday night. Bud Holloway scored two minutes into sudden death as the Monarchs took a 3-0 lead in the AHL playoff series with a 2-1 win at the Verizon Wireless Arena. Holloway turned a feed from Dwight King into his third winning goal of the best-of-seven series.

For a team that hadn’t won a playoff series in 12 American Hockey League seasons, the Albany River Rats sure knew how to put away an opponent when the opportunity was presented. After tying the game three times, the River Rats took their first lead on Zach Boychuk’s goal with 6:48 remaining and held on for a 5-3 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Monday night in the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

With less than seven minutes left in the third period Monday night, Zach Boychuk went behind the net, stole a puck from goaltender John Curry and put the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins out of their misery. Boychuk’s goal led the Albany River Rats to a 5-3 win and a sweep of the East Division semifinals, and the Penguins saw the least successful playoff run in franchise history end with another miserable loss.

Like a counter-puncher, the Albany River Rats kept absorbing and answering each blow delivered by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Zach Boychuk dealt the final blow to lift the River Rats to their first playoff series victory in 12 years. The River Rats scored three goals in the third period, with Boychuk scoring the game winner, as Albany completed a four-game sweep with a 5-3 triumph.

PENGUINS ELIMINATED – Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
With leads evaporating as fast as they were established, the only question remaining in Game 4 between the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Albany River Rats was who would score last. Albany had the answer, thanks to a Zach Boychuk wrap around goal into an empty net that broke a 3-3 tie late in the third period and propelled the River Rats to a 5-3 win on Monday.

Rookie Jordan Schroeder wasn’t viewing his first pro hat trick as a huge personal accomplishment. The Manitoba Moose center was just glad it came in a 7-2 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs in Monday’s American Hockey League North Division semifinal. “I haven’t had a hat trick for a while so it definitely felt really good,” said Schroeder, Vancouver’s first-round pick (22nd overall) in the 2009 NHL entry draft. “But it was even better to get the win.”

Cory Schneider needed to be better, the offence needed a spark and the Manitoba Moose absolutely needed to win the special teams battle. They got check marks next to all three things on the wish list and as a result, the Moose earned a decisive 7-2 victory over the Hamilton Bulldogs on Wednesday night before a crowd of 7,546 at the MTS Centre. With the win, the Moose now trail the best-of-7 North Division semifinal 2-1, with Game 4 set for Wednesday.

MOOSE BOUNCE RIGHT BACK – Hamilton Spectator
The Manitoba Moose gave the Hamilton Bulldogs an old fashioned butt-kicking last night to get right back into their playoff series. The Moose beat the Dogs 7-2 at the MTS centre to cut the Dogs lead in the AHL North Division semi-final to 2-1 with Game 4 back here in Winnipeg tomorrow.

The off-season exercise of projecting the depth chart is a strictly a carrot of hypotheticals for most AHL GM’s and coaches. It’s meant to keep them hopeful, like their players, but reality has usually overtaken it all by the third week of October. Such is the sanity of a development hockey league, or so it seems for the Manitoba Moose this season.

MOOSE DEFY ODDS – Winnipeg Sun
The question of the day was going to be, what’s happened to the Manitoba Moose? That was before last night’s third game of their AHL playoff series with the Hamilton Bulldogs. Actually, it remained a relevant question even after the game, but with a whole different meaning.

ADMIRALS FACING UNLIKELY ODDS – Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
If the Milwaukee Admirals advance to the second round of the American Hockey League playoffs, it will be one historic comeback. Chicago beat Milwaukee, 1-0, Monday at the Bradley Center to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven West Division semifinals. The Admirals, who play at Chicago on Wednesday, have never won a playoff series after trailing, 3-1.

If there is mercy in the sport of hockey, then the Abbotsford Heat will hope there’s no second period in Game 4 of the AHL North Division semifinal. For the second straight game, the Heat were beaten, badly, in the second period. The only difference between tonight’s game and Game 2 was Abbotsford allowed four goals as opposed to just three.

HEAT TAKE IT ON THE CHIN – Abbotsford News
During their first-round playoff series against the Rochester Americans, a couple of patterns have quickly become evident for the Abbotsford Heat. In the early going, the Heat tend to skate like they spent the afternoon chugging Red Bull. The Heat have also demonstrated a tendency to do a Rip Van Winkle impersonation in the second period. When the dust had settled in Game 3, Rochester had an 8-4 victory, and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

The Abbotsford Heat weren’t up to the challenge in the first ever American Hockey League playoff game played in the Fraser Valley City, as they dropped an 8-4 decision to the visiting Rochester Americans on Monday. The Americans scored five unanswered goals in the victory at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre, which gives them a 2-1 series lead.

Good luck and the Heat have pretty much been strangers this year. For example, six of their veteran regulars are injured and didn’t dress for Monday’s third game of the opening round best-of-seven. But none of it has dampened the enthusiasm of the Heat staff or the fans who took in the first ever AHL playoff game in B.C. at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.

When he reassigned goalie Mikko Koskinen to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers last week, New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow would only say, “I have my reasons.” Whatever his reasons, Snow looked prescient this weekend. Koskinen, 21, had to dress Saturday after Nathan Lawson cramped up Friday. Sunday, the rookie got his first AHL playoff start, and he won Game 4 of the East Division semifinals against the league-leading Hershey Bears.

Lowell Devils second-year defenseman Tyler Eckford is well aware of the New Jersey organization’s longstanding attention to defense and shutting down opponents’ top weapons. That’s part of the reason why Eckford knew he had to improve his defensive game this season if he was to have any shot at advancing his career beyond the American Hockey League.

In Monday’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, 2006 Calder Cup champions Boyd Gordon, Brooks Laich, and Eric Fehr scored to stake Washington to a 3-0 lead, and the Capitals went on to a 5-1 win at Montreal to take a 2-1 series lead… 1998 AHL All-Star Michael Handzus posted two goals and an assist to help Los Angeles past Vancouver, 5-3, giving the Kings a 2-1 edge in their first-round series… 2005 AHL All-Stars Dennis Wideman and Patrice Bergeron scored goals, and 2008 AHL All-Star Tuukka Rask made 32 saves as Boston eked out a 2-1 victory over Buffalo.

71 – Years since three consecutive shutouts were posted in a playoff series… Chicago and Milwaukee have combined to match the feat last achieved by the Cleveland Barons and Springfield Indians in the 1939 postseason.

0 – Power-play goals scored by Albany in its four-game sweep of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton… The River Rats were 0-for-20 with the man advantage, but scored 14 times at even strength.

April 20, 2009Ryan Vesce’s second goal of the night at 1:07 of double overtime gives Worcester a 3-2 win over Hartford and cuts the Wolf Pack’s lead to 2-1 in a series eventually won by the Sharks in six games.

April 20, 2003Andrew Raycroft makes 41 saves as Providence shuts out Manitoba, 1-0, at the Winnipeg Arena.

April 20, 2002Marty Wilford’s goal at 9:29 of the second overtime gives Hartford a 3-2 win in its winner-take-all Game 5 vs. Manchester.

April 20, 2000 – Chris Kenady scores four goals and assists on two others as Hartford posts a 7-2 win over Springfield in another winner-take-all Game 5.

April 20, 1994 – Yanic Perreault records four goals and an assist to lead St. John’s to an 8-2 win at Cape Breton in Game 4 of their first-round series.

April 20, 1952
– A sudden-death overtime goal by Ray Hannigan gives the Pittsburgh Hornets the Calder Cup championship with a 3-2 win over the Providence Reds.

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