AHL Morning Skate: April 20, 2008

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.


PORTLAND 3, Hartford 2 (POR leads, 2-1)

Providence 3, MANCHESTER 2 (OT) (PRO leads, 3-0)

W-B/SCRANTON 6, Hershey 2 (WBS leads, 2-0)

Manitoba 3, SYRACUSE 2 (OT) (Series tied, 1-1)

Houston 1, ROCKFORD 0 (2OT) (Series tied, 1-1)


1. Tim Brent tallies two goals and an assist to help Wilkes-Barre/Scranton take a 2-0 series lead with a 6-2 win over Hershey.

2. Ryan Jones’ first professional goal gives Houston a 1-0 victory over Rockford in double overtime, squaring their series at a game apiece.
3. Mike Brown ends Syracuse’s winning streak with the overtime winner in Manitoba’s 3-2 decision over the Crunch in Game 2.


Game 3 – Albany at Philadelphia, 5:05 (Series tied, 1-1)

Game 3 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 5:05 (WBS leads, 2-0)

Game 3 – Chicago at Milwaukee, 6:00 (Series tied, 1-1)

Game 4 – Hartford at Portland, 6:05 (POR leads, 2-1)

Atlantic Division Semifinal – Series “A” (best-of-7)
A1-Providence Bruins vs. A4-Manchester Monarchs || Preview
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 16 – PROVIDENCE 3, Manchester 2 (OT)
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 18 – PROVIDENCE 2, Manchester 0
Game 3 – Sat., Apr. 19 – Providence 3, MANCHESTER 2 (OT)
Game 4 – Mon., Apr. 21 – Providence at Manchester, 7:05
*Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 25 – Manchester at Providence, 7:05
*Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 26 – Manchester at Providence, 7:05
*Game 7 – Mon., Apr. 28 – Providence at Manchester, 7:05

Atlantic Division Semifinal – Series “B” (best-of-7)
A2-Hartford Wolf Pack vs. A3-Portland Pirates || Preview
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 16 – HARTFORD 3, Portland 1
Game 2 – Thu., Apr. 17 – Portland 3, HARTFORD 2 (2OT)
Game 3 – Sat., Apr. 19 – PORTLAND 3, Hartford 2
Game 4 – Sun., Apr. 20 – Hartford at Portland, 6:05
Game 5 – Tue., Apr. 22 – Portland at Hartford, 7:00
*Game 6 – Thu., Apr. 24 – Hartford at Portland, 7:05
*Game 7 – Sat., Apr. 26 – Portland at Hartford, 7:00

East Division Semifinal – Series “C” (best-of-7)
E1-W-B/Scranton Penguins vs. E4-Hershey Bears || Preview
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 16 – W-B/Scranton 2, HERSHEY 1 (OT)
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 19 – W-B/SCRANTON 6, Hershey 2
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 20 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 5:05
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 23 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 25 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 26 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 7 – Sun., Apr. 27 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 5:05

East Division Semifinal – Series “D” (best-of-7)
E2-Philadelphia Phantoms vs. E3-Albany River Rats || Preview

Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 16 – ALBANY 4, Philadelphia 0
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 18 – PHILADELPHIA 3, Albany 0
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 20 – Albany at Philadelphia , 5:05 (WC)
Game 4 – Tue., Apr. 22 – Philadelphia at Albany , 7:00
Game 5 – Thu., Apr. 24 – Philadelphia at Albany , 7:00
*Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 26 – Albany at Philadelphia, 7:05 (WC)
*Game 7 – TBA – Albany at Philadelphia (WC)


North Division Semifinal – Series “E” (best-of-7)
N1-Toronto Marlies vs. W5-San Antonio Rampage || Preview
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 16 – TORONTO 4, San Antonio 3
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 18 – San Antonio 6, TORONTO 3
Game 3 – Mon., Apr. 21 – Toronto at San Antonio, 8:00
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 23 – Toronto at San Antonio, 8:00
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 25 – Toronto at San Antonio, 8:00
*Game 6 – Sun., Apr. 27 – San Antonio at Toronto, 4:00
*Game 7 – Mon., Apr. 28 – San Antonio at Toronto, 7:30

North Division Semifinal – Series “F” (best-of-7)
N2-Syracuse Crunch vs. N3-Manitoba Moose || Preview
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 18 – SYRACUSE 2, Manitoba 1 (OT)
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 19 – Manitoba 3, SYRACUSE 2 (OT)
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 22 – Syracuse at Manitoba, 8:30
Game 4 – Fri., Apr. 25 – Syracuse at Manitoba, 8:30
Game 5 – Sat., Apr. 26 – Syracuse at Manitoba, 8:30
*Game 6 – Mon., Apr. 28 – Manitoba at Syracuse, 7:00
*Game 7 – Tue., Apr. 29 – Manitoba at Syracuse, 7:00

West Division Semifinal – Series “G” (best-of-7)
W1-Chicago Wolves vs. W4-Milwaukee Admirals || Preview

Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 16 – Milwaukee 4, CHICAGO 3 (OT)
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 18 – CHICAGO 2, Milwaukee 1
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 20 – Chicago at Milwaukee, 6:00
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 23 – Chicago at Milwaukee, 8:00
Game 5 – Thu., Apr. 24 – Milwaukee at Chicago, 8:00
*Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 26 – Chicago at Milwaukee, 8:30
*Game 7 – Mon., Apr. 28 – Milwaukee at Chicago, 8:00

West Division Semifinal – Series “H” (best-of-7)
W2-Rockford IceHogs vs. W3-Houston Aeros || Preview

Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 18 – ROCKFORD 3, Houston 1
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 19 – Houston 1, ROCKFORD 0 (2OT)
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 22 – Rockford at Houston, 8:05
Game 4 – Thu., Apr. 24 – Rockford at Houston, 8:05
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 25 – Rockford at Houston, 8:35
*Game 6 – Sun., Apr. 27 – Houston at Rockford, 5:05
*Game 7 – Mon., Apr. 28 – Houston at Rockford, 8:05


*if necessary… All times Eastern

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 3 –
Albany at Philadelphia, 5:05 (Series tied, 1-1)

Philadelphia takes its 14-game postseason home-ice winning streak into this afternoon’s pivotal Game 3 against Albany… The Phantoms’ Scott Munroe (18 saves in Game 2) answered the River Rats’ Michael Leighton (39 saves in Game 1) to even the series, marking the first time in 43 years that an AHL playoff series has begun with alternating shutouts (1965 league semifinal, Hershey vs. Buffalo)… Jared Ross, Pete Zingoni and Boyd Kane scored in Philadelphia’s 3-0 win on Friday, while Stefan Ruzicka added two assists… The Phantoms have a 79-43 edge in shots through two games… Albany defenseman Bryan Rodney leads all scorers in the series with three points (1-2-3)… Including the regular-season series, the home team has won nine of the 10 clashes between these teams.


Game 3 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 5:05 (WBS leads, 2-0)

Hershey looks to snap a five-game postseason losing skid and get back in its East Division semifinal series with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton as the teams tangle for Game 3 this evening at the Wachovia Arena… This marks the first time the Penguins have held a 2-0 series lead since the 2001 Eastern Conference Finals – also against Hershey… The Pens won that series in four straight to advance to their first Calder Cup Final… Tim Brent recorded two goals and an assist and Kurtis McLean dished out three assists in last night’s 6-2 Wilkes-Barre victory… The Penguins scored three times in 2:15 early in the third period to break it open… Brent leads all scorers in this series with four points (2-2-4), while Chris Minard has lit the lamp in both games thus far (2-1-3)… Andrew Gordon netted both Bears goals in the Game 2 loss.


Game 3 – Chicago at Milwaukee, 6:00 (Series tied, 1-1)

After splitting the first two games in Rosemont, Milwaukee and Chicago travel north to the Bradley Center for Game 3 of their West Division semifinal series this evening… Each of the first two games were decided by one goal, including a 2-1 victory by the Wolves in Game 2 on Friday… Chicago’s Jesse Schultz scored in both games, and rookie goaltender Ondrej Pavelec picked up his first career playoff victory on Friday with 26 saves… Milwaukee played Game 2 without Josh Langfeld, recalled by Nashville after his three-goal, four-point effort in the series opener… Pekka Rinne made 36 saves in Friday’s loss… The Admirals have dropped four straight home playoff games dating back to 2006.


Game 4 – Hartford at Portland, 6:05 (POR leads, 2-1)

After capturing a 3-2 squeaker on Saturday, Portland welcomes Hartford back to the Cumberland County Civic Center for Game 4 of their Atlantic Division semifinal this evening… 2008 AHL All-Rookie forward Bobby Ryan posted a goal and an assist for the Pirates last night after returning from parent-club Anaheim, where he played two Stanley Cup Playoff games earlier this month… Jason King netted the decisive goal in the second period after the teams traded the first four tallies… Hartford rookie Artem Anisimov netted his first pro playoff goal for the Wolf Pack… University of Maine product Greg Moore netted his first playoff goal since May 7, 2006, also at Portland.



Phil Janack, Daily Gazette

When they needed him most, the Albany River Rats’ biggest player came up, well, big. After season-ending injuries to Mark Flood and Casey Borer were added to the continued absence of the promoted Tim Conboy, defenseman Joey Mormina took it upon himself to pick up the slack. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Montreal native, in his third pro season, evolved into a trusted and valued leader down the stretch, dressing as a captain or alternate for 22 of Albany’s last 25 games. Even following Conboy’s return from the NHL, Mormina was rewarded again in the playoffs, earning a steady alternate captaincy for the duration. “It’s definitely an honor,” Mormina, 25, said. “It’s a lot of responsibility, but I can’t let it affect the way I play.




Andrew Wagner, OnMilwaukee.com

The Milwaukee Admirals, who resume their West Division Semifinal series against the Chicago Wolves this evening at the Bradley Center, are confident that they have found the right mixture of intensity and relaxation, focus and a clear mind … as well as offense and defense. In the playoffs, that kind of balance is key. “It’s about not being too high and not being too low,” defenseman Cody Franson said after practice Saturday morning. “You need to understand that there’s always going to be adversity and not let it get to you. At the same time, when things are going good, you can’t get ahead of yourself. “You just have to try and stay on an even keel.”




Jonathan Bombulie, The Citizen’s Voice

Luca Caputi has only been in the Wilkes-Barre area for a few days, but the kid already loves the place. Before the chamber of commerce signs him up to do a commercial endorsement, however, they should check out exactly why. Caputi’s teammates took him the other night to a restaurant that gives discounts to players. “Half price everything,” Caputi said, his eyes lighting up. “They really embrace the team here.” Soon enough, Caputi will be in a financial position where he won’t be as excited about $5 off a plate of pasta. Pittsburgh’s fourth-round pick in the 2007 draft, Caputi broke out with a 51-goal season for Niagara of the Ontario Hockey League this year to position himself as one of the top prospects in the organization.




Paul Betit, Maine Sunday Telegram

Bobby Ryan returned after a six-week stay with the Anaheim Ducks to provide an offensive lift to the Portland Pirates. Ryan had a goal and an assist to propel the Pirates to a 3-2 win Saturday night against the Hartford Wolf Pack in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series before 3,848 fans at the Cumberland County Civic Center. Portland has a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 will be at 6 p.m. today at the Civic Center. “You always want to play in the NHL, but instead of watching from the press box you might as well come and make a run at things here,” said Ryan. “Even though I played 23 games up there, I felt that this is the series I want to be part of.”




Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Sun

When it comes to the return of Jason Jaffray, the Manitoba Moose have taken a cautious – and smart – approach. Rather than rush the skilled forward back into the lineup after missing 15 games with a shoulder injury, the Moose scratched Jaffray again yesterday. With two more days before the teams resume action at the MTS Centre, you would think Jaffray, who was cleared to practice a week ago and has been skating with the team, would be good to go for Game 3. But Game 4 won’t be played until Friday, so if Jaffray is held out of Game 3, it would give him an additional three days to return to full health. “You know me, I’d love to be in there, even if I was 80% but the playoffs are a long haul and if I get hurt in Game 1 or Game 2, then I’m out for a couple more weeks,” Jaffray said earlier this week.




Allan Lessels, Union Leader

The Manchester Monarchs couldn’t buy a break. And now they’re in a three-games-to-none hole and face elimination from the American Hockey League playoffs on Monday night in Game 4 against the Providence Bruins at the Verizon Wireless Arena. The Monarchs roared back with two goals in the last half of the third period to force overtime, but then lost 3-2 with the extra session 5:34 old when Bruin Jeff Hoggan chopped at the puck from behind the net and it bounced off a stick or someone in front of the net and ended up behind goalie Jonathan Bernier. “You certainly don’t expect the winning goal in overtime to come from behind the net,” said Providence coach Scott Gordon. “But that’s one of the things you tell the guys, get the puck to the net in overtime, you never know what’s going to happen.”


Alexander Semin, who recorded 11 points in seven AHL playoff games for Portland in 2004, netted the eventual game-winning goal on Saturday as Washington staved off elimination with a 3-2 win over Philadelphia in Game 5.

David Jones, who spent 45 games in the AHL with Lake Erie this season, picked up the primary assist on the series-winning goal as Colorado eliminated Minnesota with a 2-1 home-ice victory on Saturday.

Chris Higgins netted a pair of goals for Montreal, but Boston rallied to take a 5-4 win on Saturday and force a Game 7 in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal.