AHL Morning Skate: April 21

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 4 – Worcester 4, LOWELL 2 (WOR leads series, 3-1)
Game 4 – MANCHESTER 7, Portland 2 (MCH wins series, 4-0)

1. Jonathan Bernier stopped 44 of 46 shots to lead Manchester to a 7-2 win over Portland, completing a four-game sweep of the Pirates.

2. Dan DaSilva tallied three assists as Worcester rallied past Lowell, 4-2, to take a 3-1 series lead.

3. Trevor Lewis scored twice during Manchester’s four-goal second period, sending the Monarchs on their way to the second round.

Game 5 – Bridgeport at Hershey, 7:00 (HER leads series, 3-1)
Game 5 – Worcester at Lowell, 7:00 (WOR leads series, 3-1)
Game 5 – Milwaukee at Chicago, 8:00 (CHI leads series, 3-1)
Game 3 – Texas at Rockford, 8:05 (TEX leads series, 2-0)
Game 4 – Hamilton at Manitoba, 8:30 (HAM leads series, 2-1)
Game 4 – Rochester at Abbotsford, 10:00 (RCH leads series, 2-1)

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 4, LOWELL 2
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 – MANCHESTER 7, Portland 2

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 5 – Worcester at Lowell, 7:00 (WOR leads series, 3-1)
Worcester can punch its second straight ticket to the Atlantic Division Finals tonight with another road win over Lowell… The Sharks have won three straight games since dropping the series opener, most recently a 4-2 triumph last night… Rookies John McCarthy and Benn Ferriero joined T.J. Trevelyan in notching third-period goals for the Sharks, who rallied back from a 2-1 deficit entering the final 20 minutes… Ferriero had gone his previous 24 games without a goal since scoring against Abbotsford on Feb. 26… Andrew Desjardins also had a goal for Worcester in Game 4, and Dan DaSilva contributed three assists to give him a team-high seven points (2-5-7) in the playoffs, a total which ranks third in the entire AHL… Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock made 25 saves in net, as his club held a 41-27 advantage in shots on goal… Patrick Davis and Alexander Vasyunov tallied goals for the Devils in the losing effort… Vasyunov now has four points (2-2-4) in the series, tied with defenseman Matt Taormina (1-3-4) for the team lead… The Devils have not gone three straight games at Tsongas Center without collecting a victory since a five-game skid (0-2-1-2) from Jan. 13 to Feb. 6… Game 4 marked Lowell’s first regulation loss this season when leading after two periods; the Devils were 30-0-1-2 in the regular season in that scenario.

Game 5 – Bridgeport at Hershey, 7:00 (HER leads series, 3-1)
Hershey takes its second crack at eliminating Bridgeport tonight when the teams meet in Game 5 at Giant Center, where the Bears have won 31 of their last 32 games… A victory would send the Bears to a date with Albany in the East Division Finals… The Sound Tigers avoided a sweep on Sunday when they collected a 4-1 win on home ice… Defenseman Andrew MacDonald netted a pair of goals for Bridgeport and now shows 3-1-4 in the series… Bridgeport also got Game 4 goals from Robin Figren and Sean Bentivoglio, who each scored for the first time this postseason… Defenseman Dylan Reese chipped in two assists for Bridgeport, and rookie Mikko Koskinen stopped 26 of 27 shots to earn his first career AHL postseason victory… Sound Tigers forward Trevor Smith has a point in three of the first four games (1-2-3)… Andrew Gordon notched Hershey’s lone goal on Sunday in the third period, his fourth of the playoffs (4-2-6)… Gordon’s four goals and six points both rank second on the team; Alexandre Giroux is setting the pace with five goals and eight points thus far… Hershey outscored its opponents 105-56 in the first period in the regular season, but Bridgeport holds a 4-0 edge in the opening 20 minutes during this series.

Game 5 – Milwaukee at Chicago, 7:00 (CHI leads series, 3-1)
Holding a commanding 3-1 series lead in its West Division semifinal, Chicago hosts Milwaukee tonight for Game 5… With a victory, the Wolves would eliminate the Admirals in the first round of the playoffs for the third time in a four-year span… Chicago defeated Milwaukee in a four-game sweep in ’07, and needed six games to eliminate the Admirals in ’08… This is the first AHL playoff series to feature three consecutive shutouts since the Cleveland Barons and Springfield Indians accomplished the feat in the 1939 Calder Cup Playoffs… Wolves goaltender Peter Mannino has posted two of the three whitewashes in that span, including a 29-save performance in Monday’s 1-0 triumph… Spencer Machacek tallied the only goal of the game unassisted late in the second period, and it marked Chicago’s first 1-0 win since a regular-season game on Oct. 17, 2008 at Quad City… Machacek now has a point in three of his first four playoff games (2-1-3)… Wolves Matt Anderson has a team-high four points, all assists, but three of those came in the series opener… The Admirals are averaging 2.75 goals per game this series despite suffering a pair of shutouts… Andreas Thuresson leads Milwaukee with six points (1-5-6) thus far, while Mike Santorelli (3-2-5) shows a team-high three goals… The Admirals are 6-5 all-time when facing Calder Cup Playoff elimination, while the Wolves are 16-7 with a chance to eliminate an opponent from the AHL playoffs.

Game 3 – Texas at Rockford, 8:05 (TEX leads series, 2-0)
The scene shifts to Rockford tonight as the IceHogs host Texas tonight looking to get back into their West Division semifinal after suffering a pair of losses in Cedar Park to begin the series… The teams have been idle since Texas claimed a 3-1 victory in Game 2 on Saturday night… Rockford, which was swept out of the 2009 postseason by Milwaukee, has now lost eight straight playoff games since a 5-1 win at Chicago in Game 5 of the 2008 West Division Finals… Kyle Beach, the 11th overall pick in the 2008 NHL draft, had the IceHogs’ goal in Game 2, his first as a professional… Rob Klinkhammer has the other Rockford goal in the series, and Mark Cullen, Pete MacArthur, Brian Connelly and Danny Richmond have earned an assist apiece… Bracken Kearns and Jack Skille, who were two of Rockford’s top three scorers and combined for 100 points during the regular season, have been held without a point through their first two playoff games… Raymond Sawada scored for the second time in as many playoff outings for the Stars in Game 2, while Maxime Fortunus and Perttu Lindgren each notched his first of the postseason… Rookie Colton Sceviour picked up two assists, and goaltender Brent Krahn improved to 2-0 (1.00, .967) with 31 saves in Saturday’s victory… The Stars were a 4-0-0-0 at the Rockford MetroCentre in 2009-10.

Game 4 – Hamilton at Manitoba, 8:30 (HAM leads series, 2-1)
Coming off a convincing 7-2 victory on Monday, Manitoba looks to even up its North Division semifinal when it hosts Hamilton for Game 4 tonight… The Moose had totaled just two goals through the first two games before their seven-spot on Monday, which marked Manitoba’s highest single-game offensive output of the entire 2009-10 season… A first-round draft pick (22nd overall) by Vancouver in 2009, rookie Jordan Schroeder registered three goals and an assist for the Moose after putting up nine points (4-5-9) in 11 games at the end of the regular season… Gulliaume Desbiens tallied a goal and added three assists for his first-ever four-point effort in the AHL… Moose regular-season leading scorer Marco Rosa (22-33-55) notched a goal for his first point of the playoffs, and Manitoba also got Game 3 goals from Yan Stastny (1-1-2) and Dan Sexton (1-1-2)… Cory Schneider, who was pulled from the Moose’s 8-2 loss in Game 2, rebounded by turning aside 34 of 36 shots on Monday… Ryan White and defenseman Chad Anderson scored for the Bulldogs in the loss… Hamilton, the AHL’s top defensive team during the regular season, allowed seven goals for the first time since a 7-1 loss to Toronto on Feb. 28, 2009.

Game 4 – Rochester at Abbotsford, 10:00 (RCH leads series, 2-1)
Abbotsford tries to pull even against Rochester tonight when the teams collide for Game 4 of their North Division semifinal… The Heat won Game 1 of the series on the road but have been outscored 12-5 in losing the next two contests, including an 8-4 decision on home ice Monday… Abbotsford jumped out to a 2-0 lead in Game 3 but surrendered four goals in the second period and three more in the third… Shawn Matthias, who had managed just one assist in the first two games, erupted for two goals, an assist and a plus-5 rating to pace the Americans’ offense… Graham Mink and defenseman Clay Wilson also scored twice, and the two-time Calder Cup champion Mink now boasts a team-best three goals (3-3-6) in the series… Rochester defensemen Jordan Henry (1-0-1), Keaton Ellerby (1-0-1), and Jason Garrison (0-3-3) also contributed to the offense… Mike York, who was also plus-5 on the night, posted three assists for Rochester and is tied for the AHL lead with eight points – including a league-leading seven assists – in three postseason outings… The Heat have scored the first goal in all three games of the series but have just a 1-2 record to show for it after going 25-3-4-2 during the regular season after scoring first… Brett Sutter tallied two goals and Mikael Backlund (1-1-2) and Jon Rheault one apiece for the Heat in Game 3, with all three players lighting the lamp for the first time this postseason.

SHARKS TAKE 3-1 SERIES LEAD – Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Is there a little Mariano Rivera in the Sharks? They’ll find out here tonight when they have a chance to close out their first-round Calder Cup playoff series against the Lowell Devils, a series they lead, 3-1, in games after their 4-2 victory last night at the Tsongas Center. Worcester came from behind to score three goals in the third period and win its third straight in the series.

Ahead by a goal going to the third period, the Lowell Devils were relying on team defense and more particularly goalie Mike McKenna to get the team back into its playoff series. But the problem was they relied on McKenna too much and Worcester took advantage, scoring three third-period goals, including one on a 5-on-3 power play, to come away with a 4-2 victory.

Jonathan Bernier led the way as the Manchester Monarchs completed a four-game sweep of the Portland Pirates on Tuesday night in their AHL Atlantic Division playoff series. Bernier stopped 44 shots to lead the Monarchs to a 7-2 win at Verizon Wireless Arena.

The Manchester Monarchs eliminated the Portland Pirates with a 7-2 win in Game 4 of the AHL Atlantic Division semifinals last night at Verizon Wireless Arena. Manchester swept the best-of-seven series, four games to none. Manchester will now await the winner of the other Atlantic series between Worcester and Lowell.

Six years as a full-time pro hockey player, and Greg Mauldin had been to the playoffs once. This trip to the playoffs with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers means a lot to Mauldin, who’s in his first season with the team. “Every year, I’d play, and it’d be over April 15,” Mauldin said. “I’d go home and watch. It’s nice to be a part of it.”

Ashton Rome has had a sudden impact with the Hershey Bears. That was evident before the winger caused a pane of glass to explode Sunday in Game 4 of the East Division semifinals at the Arena at Harbor Yard. Bridgeport Sound Tigers defenseman Mark Wotton, Rome’s intended target, escaped unscathed. The shattered Plexiglas wasn’t as fortunate.

NHL CALL-UPS KEY FOR RATS – Albany Times-Union
In the first round of the AHL playoffs, the Albany River Rats were able to focus on both player development and winning, which helped them sweep the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the opening round. Seven players who ended the season with the Carolina Hurricanes, the Rats’ NHL partner, returned to Albany for the postseason and all played roles in the team’s perfect playoff start.

Jeff Daniels’ cinder-block office is crammed into a corner of the arena, big enough for a bookcase at one end and a desk at the other. Daniels, in his second season coaching the Albany River Rats, admits they are not the most glamorous surroundings. He might as well get used to that kind of view. The head coach’s office at the RBC Center is bigger, but offers the same concrete panorama. There’s a good chance Daniels will someday fill it, although there’s no telling when that might be.

MATTHIAS SHOWING AMERKS HIS WILL TO WIN – Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
To win in the Calder Cup playoffs, American Hockey League teams need their seasoned veterans to do the things that only they can do. But that doesn’t mean the younger players must only be followers. Through three games, second-year center Shawn Matthias is showing he doesn’t need to be herded along.

The morning after an 8-4 playoff trouncing at the hands of the Rochester Americans, the message emanating from the Abbotsford Heat dressing room was fascinating in its uniformity. Speaking to the media following Tuesday’s practice, Heat head coach Jim Playfair, goalie David Shantz, and Calgary Flames goaltending coach Jamie McLennan each offered up the same reaction to Monday’s Game 3 debacle, almost verbatim.

Boys enrolled in minor hockey have a minuscule 0.1 percent chance of playing a single game in the National Hockey League. Jason Jaffray defied those odds. The Rimbey, Alta., native has played 36 games with the Vancouver Canucks and, more recently, the Calgary Flames. He’s one of the select few to live the dream.

GAME 3 WAS A DOG’S BREAKFAST – Hamilton Spectator
Guy Boucher has seen it before this season, although not very often. The Hamilton Bulldogs head coach said his team was pretty awful in all facets of the game Monday night in their 7-2 loss to the Manitoba Moose at the MTS Centre.

Beyond back-up goalies, they are the most unlikely participants in the AHL first-round playoff series between the Manitoba Moose and Hamilton Bulldogs. And surely the most unlikely successful participants. On a patchwork Moose blueline, Ryan McGinnis and Matt Clark were assets with serious icetime in Monday’s 7-2 Moose win. Between them, they had nine regular-season games for Manitoba.

It was just one moment, one picture, but it said so much about this year’s playoff edition of the Manitoba Moose. There was defenseman Ryan McGinnis, skating out as the third star of Monday’s playoff romp over the Hamilton Bulldogs, blood running down the left side of his face as he acknowledged the cheers of the crowd. What’s that, kid, you’re hurt? Never mind, you’re the third star. Get out there and we’ll take care of it later.

When training camp opened, the Wolves brought in six-year veteran Drew MacIntyre to be the starting goalie, and second-year man Peter Mannino was to be his backup. When the postseason began, the roles were reversed. “I knew Drew came in with more experience,” Mannino said. “I knew exactly where I stood in the pecking order. But everybody wants to play. I just wanted a chance to compete, prove myself and help the team.”

OFFENSE ON ICEHOGS’ MIND – Rockford Register-Star
It’s been two games, two losses, two goals scored for the Rockford IceHogs. Is Texas Stars goalie Brent Krahn starting to haunt them in their sleep? Krahn has been getting in the way of Rockford’s shots on net in the AHL best-of-seven playoff series, with Texas taking a 2-0 lead into Game 3 tonight at the MetroCentre.

Starting lineups for hockey aren’t as important as in baseball, football, basketball or soccer. Still, somebody has to do it, even if it’s only for the game’s first 35 seconds or so. And there is logic behind who does. “You reward guys sometimes for a good game the previous game,” said IceHogs coach Bill Peters. “Sometimes there are games where you’re going to match up a certain line against a certain line.”

In Tuesday’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, 2008 AHL All-Star Jimmy Howard made 29 saves for his first career NHL postseason shutout, helping Detroit to a 3-0 win over Phoenix and a 2-2 tie in their opening-round series… 2004 AHL All-Star Chris Kunitz registered a goal and two assists as Pittsburgh beat Ottawa, 7-4, to take a 3-1 series lead in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal… 2005 Calder Cup champion Jeff Carter’s two goals paced Philadelphia to a 4-1 win over New Jersey and a 3-1 series lead… Joe Pavelski scored midway through the first overtime to lift San Jose past Colorado, 2-1, and even their match-up at two games apiece.

7 – Consecutive playoff games in which Rockford has scored exactly one goal.

2 – Goals scored by Portland in last night’s loss to Manchester, ending their own streak of seven consecutive playoff games in which the Pirates had scored exactly once.

13 – Wins, combined, by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Portland in their regular-season series vs. Albany and Manchester, respectively.

0 – Wins, combined, by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Portland in their playoff series vs. Albany and Manchester, respectively.

April 21, 2009 – Led by Mike Santorelli with three goals and an assist, Milwaukee finishes off a four-game sweep of Rockford with a 4-1 win.

April 21, 2006
Jiri Hudler’s goal 2:21 into the third overtime period gives Grand Rapids a 6-5 win over Toronto in Game 1, while Jeff Giuliano scores 1:46 into the second OT to lift Manchester past Hartford, 6-5, in Game 3.

April 21, 1995 – The Hershey Bears (186) and Cornwall Aces (149) combine for 335 penalty minutes, then an AHL playoff record, but the Bears’ 6-3 win extends the series to a Game 6.

April 21, 1965 – Gerry Ehman scores at 14:39 of overtime to give Rochester a 2-1 win over Hershey in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals.

April 21, 1951 – Behind the goaltending of Johnny Bower, the Cleveland Barons win the Calder Cup with a 3-1 win over Pittsburgh in Game 7.

Don’t miss a step on the road to the 2010 Calder Cup championship. AHL Live brings AHL action to your computer all season long with live video webcasts and highlights of every AHL game, as well as behind-the-scenes features and interviews in the Video On Demand section… Visit theahl.com or ahllive.com for details.