AHL Morning Skate: April 23

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 5 – Worcester 5, LOWELL 1 (WOR wins series, 4-1)
Game 5 – HERSHEY 4, Bridgeport 1 (HER wins series, 4-1)
Game 5 – Milwaukee 5, CHICAGO 4 (CHI leads series, 3-2)
Game 3 – Texas 6, ROCKFORD 1 (TEX leads series, 3-0)
Game 4 – Hamilton 5, MANITOBA 4 (2OT) (HAM leads series, 3-1)
Game 4 – Rochester 6, ABBOTSFORD 1 (RCH leads series, 3-1)

1. AHL All-Rookie defenseman P.K. Subban scored twice, including the game-winner in double overtime, as Hamilton rallied for a 5-4 victory at Manitoba in Game 4.

2. Rookie Jamie Benn notched two goals and two assists, leading Texas to a 6-1 rout at Rockford in Game 3.

3. Goaltender Tyler Plante stopped 46 of 47 shots as Rochester took a commanding 3-1 series lead on Abbotsford with a 6-1 victory.

Game 6 – Chicago at Milwaukee, 8:00 (CHI leads series, 3-2)
Game 4 – Texas at Rockford, 8:05 (TEX leads series, 3-0)
Game 5 – Hamilton at Manitoba, 8:30 (HAM leads series, 3-1)
Game 5 – Rochester at Abbotsford, 10:00 (RCH leads series, 3-1)

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 5, LOWELL 1

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 – HERSHEY 4, Bridgeport 1

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 5, MANITOBA 4 (2OT)
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 6, ABBOTSFORD 1
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 5, CHICAGO 4
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 6, ROCKFORD 1
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 6 – Chicago at Milwaukee, 8:00 (CHI leads series, 3-2)
After a stirring comeback kept its season alive on Wednesday, Milwaukee will try to push this West Division semifinal to the limit tonight when it hosts Chicago for Game 6 at the Bradley Center… The Admirals trailed 3-0 and 4-1 before rallying to avoid elimination with a 5-4 victory on the road in Game 5… Rookie Ryan Thang’s first career playoff goal tied the game midway through the third period, and Chris Mueller notched the game-winner on the power play with just 1:55 left to play in regulation… Andreas Thuresson (1-1-2), Mark Santorelli and Ben Guite also tallied goals for the Admirals, while defenseman Alexander Sulzer (0-3-3) and Jonathon Blum (0-2-2) each contributed multiple assists… Thuresson leads the Admirals with eight points (2-6-8) in the series, and Blum has seven points (1-6-7) to rank second among all AHL defensemen… The Admirals were shut out in Games 2 and 4 of this series but have averaged 5.33 goals per game in the other three contests, resulting in two wins and a 6-5 loss in the opener… Chicago went 3-for-5 on the power play in Game 5 and has the AHL’s second-best conversion rate in the postseason (6-for-22; 27.3 percent)… Tim Stapleton, Kevin Doell, Joey Crabb and Anthony Stewart all netted goals on Wednesday for the Wolves, who built a 4-1 lead with 12:43 left in the second period… Milwaukee is looking to climb out of a 3-1 series hole and force Game 7 for the second straight postseason; in last spring’s division finals vs. Houston, the Admirals got the series to a decisive game before falling.

Game 4 – Texas at Rockford, 8:05 (TEX leads series, 3-0)
Texas looks to sweep its way into the West Division Finals tonight when it takes on Rockford at the MetroCentre, a building in which the Stars have not lost all season (5-0-0-0)… After taking Games 1 and 2 by a combined score of 5-2, the Stars erupted for a 6-1 rout of the IceHogs in Game 3 on Wednesday… Texas, which ranked 12th in team offense during the regular season (2.98 goals per game) while boasting the AHL’s third-best defense (2.48), had not scored as many as six goals in a contest since collecting a 6-1 win over Abbotsford on Jan. 29… Rookie Jamie Benn paced the Stars with two goals and two assists, recording the fifth four-point performance around the league in this spring’s Calder Cup Playoffs… Benn, who was assigned to Texas after playing all 82 regular-season games for parent-club Dallas, scored both of his goals during a second period that saw the Stars strike four times in all… Landon Wilson and Greg Rallo also netted second-period markers for Texas, while Garrett Stafford and Mathieu Beaudoin scored in the first and third frames, respectively… Travis Morin, Aaron Gagnon and Dan Jancevski all contributed two assists to the Stars’ offense, which went 2-for-4 on the power play after a 1-for-10 showing in the first two games combined… Ben Smith, fresh off winning the NCAA championship with Boston College earlier this month, tallied Rockford’s lone goal in Game 3… The IceHogs have lost nine straight playoff games – scoring exactly one goal in each of the last eight – and is looking to avoid its second straight first-round sweep.

Game 5 – Hamilton at Manitoba, 8:30 (HAM leads series, 3-1)
The defending Western Conference champions are on the brink of elimination, but Manitoba will be looking to extend its season when it hosts Hamilton tonight in Game 5 of their North Division semifinal… The teams have split their first two contests at the MTS Centre, most recently a come-from-behind 5-4 win for the Bulldogs in double-overtime on Wednesday… AHL First Team All-Star rookie defenseman P.K. Subban tallied two goals in that victory, including the game-winner to end the first AHL playoff contest of 2010 which extended beyond one extra session… Subban now paces all Hamilton scorers with six points (3-3-6) in four games, a total which ranks him second among AHL rookies and third among all defensemen… Mike Glumac also scored twice and Brock Trotter once in Game 4 for the Bulldogs, who recovered from deficits of 2-1 and 4-2 to tie the game on Glumac’s second of the night with 7:41 to play in the third period… ‘Dogs goaltender Cedrick Desjardins stopped 38 shots to pick up the win, while Moose counterpart Cory Schneider turned aside 40 shots at the other end but fell to 0-8 lifetime in Calder Cup Playoff overtime games… Evan Oberg, Dusty Collins and Kevin Clark each scored his first goal of the playoffs for Manitoba, and Mario Bliznak added his second… Guillaume Desbiens posted two assists and now shows six points (1-5-6) in his last two outings for the Moose… Rookie Jordan Schroeder boasts five points (3-2-5) in his last two games, and defenseman Tom Galvin has an assist in three straight (0-3-3)… Manitoba, which will need three straight wins to advance, had three winning streaks of three games or more during the regular season… The Moose are 9-7 when facing playoff elimination, and Hamilton is 16-11 with a chance to close out an opponent.

Game 5 – Rochester at Abbotsford, 10:00 (RCH leads series, 3-1)
Rochester bids for its fourth straight win and a spot in the North Division Finals tonight as it visits Abbotsford for Game 5 of their first-round series… The Americans dropped Game 1 in this series but have outscored the Heat 18-6 in winning the last three, including a 14-5 margin in the first two games in British Columbia… Rochester scored the first goal for the first time all series in Wednesday’s Game 4, as Jamie Johnson kicked off a two-point night (1-1-2) and helped the Amerks to a 6-1 victory… Jordan Henry scored twice, and Chris Taylor (1-1-2), Michal Repik (1-1-2), Jason Garrison (1-1-2), Jeff Taffe (0-3-3) and Shawn Matthias (0-2-2) each added multiple-point performances… Mike York contributed one assist and leads all AHL playoff scorers with 10 points (1-9-10) in four games, while Garrison is pacing all defensemen with eight points (2-6-8)… The Americans have dominated the second period in the series, outscoring the Heat 11-1 in the middle frame… Rochester has the AHL’s top-ranked postseason power play (9-for-23; 39.1 percent), and goaltender Tyler Plante (3-0), coming off a 46-save performance in Game 4, ranks third in both goals-against average (1.65) and save percentage (.955)… Rookie Mikael Backlund is on a three-game scoring streak (1-3-4) for Abbotsford, and Brett Sutter has three points (2-1-3) in his last two outings… Josh Meyers scored the Heat’s goal in Game 4… The Amerks are looking to reach the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2005.


“Character” may be an overused word in sports, but that’s just what coach Don Lever said his Wolves will need when they play the Admirals tonight in Milwaukee at the Bradley Center. “The momentum’s got to be big for Milwaukee now,” Lever said about the Admirals’ 5-4 comeback victory Wednesday night. “We had complete control of them, and they came back and won. We’ll see how much character we’ve got.”

ADMIRALS RALLY TO FORCE GAME 6 – Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
The season continues. Milwaukee overcame a three-goal deficit by scoring four times in the final 23 minutes to stun Chicago, 5-4, Wednesday in Game 5 of the West Division semifinals at the Allstate Arena. “We decided to wake up,” Admirals’ coach Lane Lambert said. “I give our guys full marks, full credit for coming back, showing a lot of character. You can use all the clichés you want.”

STARS TOP ROCKFORD FOR 3-0 SERIES LEAD – Austin American-Statesman
Heading into his first AHL post-season, Glen Gulutzan had a secret that he wasn’t about to share. The eight-year coaching veteran wasn’t ready to divulge one of the most pivotal decisions of the playoffs — his goalie of choice. His secret isn’t under wraps any more, and neither is the prowess of Brent Krahn.

One of several disturbing trends for the Rockford IceHogs in their playoff series with the Texas Stars is obvious — they never score first. Facing a one-more-loss-and-it’s-over scenario Friday, a quick start could be beneficial to Rockford if it wants to host a Game 5 on Saturday.

The Manitoba Moose were given a much-needed rest Thursday, knowing full well the next break they get could be a much longer one. Hamilton earned a 5-4 double-overtime win over the Moose on Wednesday, giving the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead in their American Hockey League North Division best-of-seven semifinal. With his team facing elimination Friday in Winnipeg, Moose head coach Scott Arniel elected to cancel Thursday’s practice and meetings.

It’s no secret that the task facing the Manitoba Moose is a daunting one. Being down 3-1 in a best-of-7 series is never the preferred path in the post-season, but it’s not impossible to overcome either. The only thing that matters is that it’s the situation the Moose find themselves staring at after dropping a 5-4 double overtime decision to the Hamilton Bulldogs on Wednesday night at the MTS Centre.

He played more than anyone other than the two goalies, logging a total of 52 shifts for a staggering 40 minutes and 26 seconds, to be exact. He recorded more shots on goal than anyone. When all was said and done, P.K. Subban also had a bigger impact than anyone else on Game 4, scoring twice — including the double overtime winner — as his Hamilton Bulldogs won 5-4 Wednesday to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 North Division semi.

SUBBAN GETS IN LAST WORD – Hamilton Spectator
Hamilton Bulldogs’ head coach Guy Boucher hopes the fans at the MTS Centre tonight keep up their verbal abuse of defenseman P.K. Subban. Manitoba Moose fans booed Subban throughout Wednesday night’s game. It started every time he touched the puck and got louder as the game wore on. Subban responded by scoring two goals, including the winner six minutes into the second overtime period.

A lot of things could come to an end at the MTS Centre tonight, among them a strange playoff hockey series and a Manitoba Moose season that can only be described as tumultuous. But if tonight is the end of this season’s edition of the Moose, it could also be the end — in these parts anyway — of head coach Scott Arniel, goaltender Cory Schneider and captain Mike Keane.

AMERKS GET BIG LIFT FROM DEFENSE – Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
As the Rochester Americans were preparing last week for the start of the Calder Cup playoffs, defenseman Jordan Henry said it would be a whole lot easier to win a series if everyone in the lineup scored goals. The Amerks’ defensemen haven’t just been chipping in, they’ve been an integral part of the offense.

The Abbotsford Heat desperately need to find a way to solve goaltender Tyler Plante. He came in for the Rochester Americans during Game 1 of their first-round series and has been virtually unbeatable since – helping his team build a 3-1 lead over Abbotsford heading into Game 5 on Friday. Despite outshooting Rochester 143-105 in the series, the Heat have been on the losing end of three lopsided games.

Just in the nick of time, Jason Jaffray is poised to return to the Abbotsford Heat lineup. Jaffray, who led the Heat in a multitude of statistical categories during the regular season – including goals (25), assists (29), points (54) and plus-minus (+24) – has been sidelined since late March with a groin pull. He skated for the first time since the injury on Wednesday, and participated in his first full practice on Thursday morning.

HEAT STAR AGONIZES IN LIMBO – Calgary Herald/Canwest News Service
Go ahead and label Kris Chucko a first-round bust. Tell him his window of NHL opportunity is closing fast. Suggest his battle with post-concussion syndrome couldn’t have come at a worse time — with the Calgary Flames set to decide this summer whether to extend a qualifying offer on his contract. “I’ve never had anything come easy to me,” the Burnaby native said from his perch in the press box at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.

For a scouting report on the Hershey Bears, their upcoming opponent in the American Hockey League playoffs, the Albany River Rats needed go no farther than Oskar Osala’s locker. Osala, a 22-year-old Finn, spent 1-1/2 seasons playing for the Bears before the Rats acquired him in a March 3 trade. He was an obvious target for media and teammates to get the lowdown on the AHL’s highbrow team.

TANGRADI MAPS PLANS FOR NHL – Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins forward Eric Tangradi will spend the month of May playing some golf and catching some rays at his home in Philadelphia. When June rolls around, however, he’ll go back to work. That’s when Tangradi will start training for next season, one he hopes will see him become the full-time NHL player that many in the Pittsburgh organization expect.

Logan Couture, like many of the Sharks’ young guns, logged plenty of frequent flier miles this season on the Worcester shuttle — traveling back and forth between the AHL affiliate and San Jose. But as the season wound down, Couture figured he would finish the year on the farm team. Instead, he is staging a coming-out party in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

In last night’s action, 2009-10 Worcester Sharks Logan Couture (2g), Dwight Helminen (1g) and Jason Demers (1a) helped San Jose past Colorado, 5-0, for a 3-2 series lead in their Western Conference quarterfinal… Claude Giroux notched two goals and an assist and 1998 Calder Cup champion Brian Boucher posted a 28-save shutout as Philadelphia eliminated New Jersey with a 3-0 win… Matt Carkner scored at 7:06 of the third overtime to give Ottawa a season-saving 5-4 victory at Pittsburgh in Game 5… 2005 Calder Cup champion Patrick Sharp scored twice and Antti Niemi made 33 saves as Chicago beat Nashville, 3-0, to even their series at 2-2.

4 – Game-winning goals scored by Manchester’s Bud Holloway in the Monarchs’ four-game sweep of Portland in the Atlantic Division semifinals.

9 – Canadian cities which Rochester has visited for Calder Cup Playoff games in its history: Quebec, Halifax, St. Catharines, Sherbrooke, Sydney, Cornwall, Hamilton, Winnipeg and now Abbotsford… The Amerks also played some home playoff games in Toronto in 1966.

April 23, 2008Pekka Rinne makes 37 saves in Milwaukee’s 2-0 win over Chicago in Game 4 of their West Division semifinal series.

April 23, 2006
– Rookies Brandon Dubinsky (2g, 2a), Nigel Dawes (2g, 2a), Daniel Girardi (1g, 1a) and Marc Staal (1a) help Hartford to a 7-0 win at Manchester in Game 4 of their first-round series.

April 23, 1994 – Mike Boback ties a Calder Cup Playoff record with seven points, recording three goals and four assists in Portland’s 9-2 win at Albany.

April 23, 1974 – Rick Middleton’s goal 16:07 into overtime gives the Providence Reds a series-clinching 4-3 win in Game 4 at New Haven, sending them to the Calder Cup Finals.


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.