AHL Morning Skate: April 23

Take a game-day spin around the AHL ice with latest news and notes from
the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs in today’s Morning Skate.

Complete Schedule || Playoff Brackets || Today’s Scoreboard || League Leaders

Game 2 – 5:00 ET, AHL Live
(ALB leads series, 1-0)

The Albany Devils stifled Utica’s offense and came away with a 3-2 win and the early series lead heading into Game 2 of their best-of-five division semifinal this evening… Albany finished Game 1 with a 29-14 advantage in shots on goal, including 9-0 in the second period as the Comets became the first AHL team to go shotless in a playoff period since St. John’s (vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton) on May 5, 2012… Ben Thomson, Reid Boucher and Joseph Blandisi all scored for the Devils in Game 1… Boucher now has goals in all three games since returning from New Jersey, and goals in six straight AHL games overall… Scott Wedgewood needed just 12 saves to pick up the win in his playoff debut… Darren Archibald and Jordan Subban scored for the Comets, and Ronalds Kenins tallied two assists… Subban was Utica’s leading scorer vs. Albany during the regular season with 1-5-6 in eight meetings… Richard Bachman got the start in net and finished with 26 saves for the Comets… Albany improved to 13-0-2-0 all-time against Utica, including 7-0-2-0 this season… The Devils are now 28-7-3-1 at the Times Union Center this season, the best home mark in the AHL… Only seven of Utica’s 14 shots on goal in Game 1 came from forwards.

North Division Semifinals – Series “D” (best-of-5)
N2-Albany Devils vs. N3-Utica Comets
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 22 – ALBANY 3, Utica 2 
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 23 – Utica at Albany, 5:00
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 26 – Albany at Utica, 7:00
*Game 4 – Thu., Apr. 28 – Albany at Utica, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., Apr. 30 – Utica at Albany, 5:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Game 2 – 7:00 ET, AHL Live
(POR leads series, 1-0)

Behind two goals each from Rob Schremp and Shane Harper, the Portland Pirates kick-started their offense and grabbed a 6-4 win over Hershey last night to take a 1-0 series lead into Game 2 tonight… It was the first time Portland had scored six goals in a home playoff game since a 6-0 victory over Providence on Apr. 20, 2006… For Schremp, the two goals came in his North American playoff debut; the 10th-year pro’s only previous postseason experience had been in Sweden (2012, 2015) and Austria (2013)… It was also Schremp’s first multiple-point game since Jan. 8; the Pirates’ 2015-16 scoring leader had just 5-5-10 in his last 38 regular-season outings… Rocco Grimaldi dished out three assists in his return to the Portland lineup after a three-week NHL stint with Florida… Mike McKenna made 28 saves for the win… Defenseman Tyler Lewington scored two third-period goals for Hershey; he had three goals in 32 regular-season games… Ryan Stanton scored for the Bears in his first playoff game since 2010 with Rockford… Chris Bourque, Travis Boyd and Chandler Stephenson all recorded two assists… Bourque, who was playing in his 101st career Calder Cup Playoff game, now has 72 career postseason assists, tied for third place all-time with former teammate Keith Aucoin… The home team has won all five meetings between the teams this season.

Atlantic Division Semifinals – Series “A” (best-of-5)
A1-Hershey Bears vs. A4-Portland Pirates
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 22 – PORTLAND 6, Hershey 4 
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 23 – Hershey at Portland, 7:00
Game 3 – Thu., Apr. 28 – Portland at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 4 – Sat., Apr. 30 – Portland at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sun., May 1 – Portland at Hershey, 5:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Game 1 – 7:00 ET, AHL Live

The last division semifinal series to get started finally drops the puck tonight as Toronto visits Bridgeport in Game 1… The Marlies put together one of the most memorable AHL regular seasons ever in 2015-16, finishing tied for the third-best record in the league’s 80-year history (54-16-5-1, 114 points, .750) while also seeing 24 different players skate in the NHL for the parent Maple Leafs… T.J. Brennan won the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s outstanding defenseman for the second time in three seasons and was the Marlies’ leading scorer with 25-43-68 in 69 games… Brennan tied for third in the league’s overall scoring race and also ranked third overall with a plus-34 rating… Toronto’s roster featured three other 20-goal scorers in Mark Arcobello (25-34-59), Colin Smith (20-36-56) and Brendan Leipsic (20-34-54)… Arcobello, a native of nearby Milford, Conn., will be playing his first game in southern Connecticut since completing his senior season at Yale in 2010… Bridgeport’s leading scorer in 2015-16 was Bracken Kearns (23-30-53), who in his ninth AHL season set career highs in goals and points… The Sound Tigers remain without Alan Quine (19-29-48), who was the hero of the New York Islanders’ double-overtime win in Florida last night… Tonight’s game marks the first-ever meeting between the Marlies and Sound Tigers; the last time the Leafs’ and Islanders’ AHL affiliates played each other was Oct. 30, 2002, a 5-4 Sound Tigers win over the St. John’s Maple Leafs.

North Division Semifinals – Series “C” (best-of-5) 
N1-Toronto Marlies vs. A5-Bridgeport Sound Tigers 
Game 1 – Sat., Apr. 23 – Toronto at Bridgeport, 7:00 
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 24 – Toronto at Bridgeport, 5:00 
Game 3 – Thu., Apr. 28 – Bridgeport at Toronto, 7:30 
*Game 4 – Fri., Apr. 29 – Bridgeport at Toronto, 7:30 
*Game 5 – Sun., May 1 – Bridgeport at Toronto, 3:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Game 3 – 7:00 ET, AHL Live
(LE leads series, 2-0)

After a pair of decisive wins in Rockford, the Lake Erie Monsters can put the wraps on the first series victory in franchise history with a Game 3 win back on home ice tonight… Josh Anderson had a hat trick in Game 2 on Thursday, part of a four-point night, to lift the Monsters to a 5-1 win… Former IceHog Alex Broadhurst has 1-2-3 in the series, as does rookie Oliver BjorkstrandDillon Heatherington (0-3-3) and Markus Hannikainen (0-2-2) each picked up two assists in Game 2, and Joonas Korpisalo (2-0, 1.50, .945) stopped 24 of 25 shots in the win… Lake Erie, now 11-1-1-0 in its last 13 games overall, has outscored Rockford 10-3 in the series, and 19-6 in the teams’ last four meetings… The Monsters are 3-for-8 on the power play in the series after going 4-for-41 in eight regular-season games against the IceHogs… Rockford has lost 11 of its last 14 road games (3-8-3-0)… In its only previous playoff appearance (2011), Lake Erie had a 3-1 series lead on Manitoba before losing in seven games.

Central Division Semifinals – Series “F” (best-of-5)
C2-Lake Erie Monsters vs. C3-Rockford IceHogs

Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 20 – Lake Erie 5, ROCKFORD 2
Game 2 – Thu., Apr. 21 – Lake Erie 5, ROCKFORD 1
Game 3 – Sat., Apr. 23 – Rockford at Lake Erie, 7:00
*Game 4 – Mon., Apr. 25 – Rockford at Lake Erie, 7:00
*Game 5 – Thu., Apr. 28 – Rockford at Lake Erie, 7:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Game 3 – 7:05 ET, AHL Live
(WBS leads series, 2-0)

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are one win away from the second round as their series shifts to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence for Game 3 tonight… The Penguins won the first two games at home in overtime, but Providence was 23-7-4-4 on home ice in 2015-16, including a 23-game home points streak (18-0-3-2) from Dec. 4 to Mar. 12… Daniel Sprong (2-0-2), who made his AHL debut in Game 1, scored his first two goals in Game 2, including the game-winner 5:13 into overtime… Sprong was Pittsburgh’s second-round draft pick in 2015… Jake Guentzel (1-2-3), Carter Rowney (1-2-3) and Kael Mouillierat (0-3-3) lead the Penguins in scoring in the series… Noel Acciari (1-2-3) has a team-best three points for the Bruins… Providence’s Colby Cave (2-0-2) is the only player with a goal in each of the first two games… The teams are a combined 0-for-13 on the power play in the series, and 2-for-67 over eight games head-to-head this season.

Atlantic Division Semifinals – Series “B” (best-of-5) 
A2-Providence Bruins vs. A3-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 20 – W-B/SCRANTON 3, Providence 2 (OT) 
Game 2 – Thu., Apr. 21 – W-B/SCRANTON 4, Providence 3 (OT) 
Game 3 – Sat., Apr. 23 – W-B/Scranton at Providence, 7:05 
*Game 4 – Mon., Apr. 25 – W-B/Scranton at Providence, 7:05 
*Game 5 – Tue., Apr. 26 – W-B/Scranton at Providence, 7:05
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Game 2 – 8:00 ET, AHL Live
(GR leads series, 1-0)

Tyler Bertuzzi scored twice and Tom McCollum made 32 saves as Grand Rapids opened its series with a big 3-1 road win over Milwaukee last night… The Griffins now head into tonight’s Game 2 with a chance to take a commanding series lead back home… Bertuzzi now has 9-5-14 in 15 Calder Cup Playoff games since turning pro with Grand Rapids last spring… Martin Frk continued his breakout season with a goal and two assists in Game 1; Frk had 9-15-24 in 82 AHL games over his first two seasons before notching 27-17-44 in 67 games in 2015-16… McCollum did not start any of the Griffins’ eight regular-season games vs. the Admirals, but got the call in Game 1 and improved to 10-6 for his playoff career… Trevor Murphy provided the only Milwaukee offense with a five-on-three power-play goal in the first period… Juuse Saros made 19 saves in the loss… Grand Rapids is now 20-6-1-0 in its last 27  games vs. Milwaukee… The Griffins have won nine consecutive playoff series following a Game 1 victory; their last loss was in the conference quarterfinals vs. Chicago in 2002… The Admirals have lost six consecutive playoff series following a Game 1 loss; their last victory was in the division semifinals vs. Cincinnati in 2004… Milwaukee is 1-11 in its last 12 postseason games.

Central Division Semifinals – Series “E” (best-of-5)
C1-Milwaukee Admirals vs. C4-Grand Rapids Griffins
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 22 – Grand Rapids 3, MILWAUKEE 1
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 23 – Grand Rapids at Milwaukee, 8:00
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 26 – Milwaukee at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 27 – Milwaukee at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., Apr. 30 – Grand Rapids at Milwaukee, 8:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Game 2 – 8:00 ET, AHL Live
(SD leads series, 1-0)

San Diego took Game 1 on Thursday night, giving Texas one final chance at a win on home ice when the Stars host Game 2 this evening… Anton Khudobin, in his first playoff appearance since backstopping Houston to the AHL conference finals in 2009, made 28 saves in Game 1 and the Gulls got goals from Antoine Laganiere, Nick Ritchie and former Stars forward Chris Mueller… Mueller won the Calder Cup with Texas in 2014, as did seven players who were in the Stars’ lineup on Thursday night… Justin Dowling had the only Stars goal in the opener, a shorthanded marker… Texas, which ranked second in the AHL in offense in the regular season, was held to one goal or fewer in a home game for just the fifth time all year… The Gulls, who owned the AHL’s best record after the All-Star break (20-5-3-1), are now 10-1-1-1 in their last 13 road games… San Diego’s Dallas Eakins has never lost a first-round playoff game as an AHL head coach (7-0).

Pacific Division Semifinals – Series “H” (best-of-5)
P2-San Diego Gulls vs. P3-Texas Stars
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 21 – San Diego 3, TEXAS 1
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 23 – San Diego at Texas, 8:00
Game 3 – Thu., Apr. 28 – Texas at San Diego, 10:05
*Game 4 – Fri., Apr. 29 – Texas at San Diego, 10:05
*Game 5 – Mon., May 2 – Texas at San Diego, 10:05
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Game 2 – 10:30 ET, AHL Live
(ONT leads series, 1-0)

Jonny Brodzinski capitalized with 4:03 left in regulation to give Ontario a 2-1 win last night and a 1-0 series lead heading into tonight’s Game 2 in San Jose… Brodzinski took a pass out of the corner from Brett Sutter and put home the game-winner in the first Calder Cup Playoff contest ever played in California… Kurtis MacDermid scored the Reign’s other goal in Game 1, and Peter Budaj — making his 61st start in 69 Ontario games this season — made 28 saves to improve to 10-2-0 against the Barracuda this season… For Budaj, it was just the second playoff start of his 14-year pro career (May 9, 2013 with Montreal vs. Ottawa), and his first career postseason win… Nikita Jevpalovs provided San Jose with its only offense, converting off a nifty end-to-end rush to tie the score in the third period… Aaron Dell stopped 35 of 37 shots in the loss, maintaining his .944 save percentage in nine appearances against Ontario this season (16 goals against on 287 shots).

Pacific Division Semifinals – Series “G” (best-of-5) 
P1-Ontario Reign vs. P4-San Jose Barracuda
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 22 – Ontario at San Jose, 10:30
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 23 – Ontario at San Jose, 10:30
Game 3 – Thu., Apr. 28 – San Jose at Ontario, 10:00
*Game 4 – Fri., Apr. 29 – San Jose at Ontario, 10:00
*Game 5 – Sun., May 1 – San Jose at Ontario, 6:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Friday’s Recaps
Pirates tame Bears in Game 1
Devils stifle Comets, take Game 1
Bertuzzi scores twice as Griffins win opener
Late goal lifts Reign in Game 1
Working Overtime
There have been 2 overtime games played in the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs so far:

Apr. 21 – W-B/SCRANTON 4, Providence 3 (Daniel Sprong, 5:13)
Apr. 20 – W-B/SCRANTON 3, Providence 2 (Carter Rowney, 1:09)

Alumni Watch
In Stanley Cup Playoff action last night, 2016 AHL All-Star Alan Quine scored 16:00 into the second overtime period to give the New York Islanders a 2-1 win and a 3-2 series lead over Florida… Quine had 19 goals and 29 assists in 56 AHL games with Bridgeport this season… Two-time Calder Cup champion and 2009 Playoff MVP Michal Neuvirth made 44 saves as Philadelphia staved off elimination again with a 2-0 win at Washington in Game 5… 2005 AHL All-Star Mikko Koivu scored the tying goal late in regulation and the winner 4:55 into OT to lift Minnesota past Dallas, 5-4, forcing a Game 6 in that series… AHL grads Chris Tierney, Matt Nieto, Joe Pavelski and Melker Karlsson all scored for San Jose as the Sharks eliminated Los Angeles with a 6-3 victory.

AHL Live
Don’t miss a second on the road to the 2016 Calder Cup championship. AHL Live brings AHL action to your desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet all season long with live video webcasts and free highlights of every AHL game… Visit ahllive.com for details.