AHL Morning Skate: April 24

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 6 – MILWAUKEE 5, Chicago 4 (OT) (Series tied, 3-3)
Game 4 – Texas 4, ROCKFORD 2 (TEX wins series, 4-0)
Game 5 – MANITOBA 5, Hamilton 2 (HAM leads series, 3-2)
Game 5 – ABBOTSFORD 3, Rochester 1 (RCH leads series, 3-2)

1. Texas goaltender Brent Krahn made 38 saves on 40 shots as Texas completed an opening-round sweep of Rockford with a 4-2 victory.

2. Ryan Maki scored 4:22 into the first overtime, lifting Milwaukee to a 5-4 win over Chicago to force Game 7 in the teams’ West Division semifinal.

3. Goaltender Cory Schneider turned aside 28 shots as defending conference champion Manitoba kept its season alive with a 5-2 win over Hamilton in Game 5.

Game 1 – Albany at Hershey, 7:00

Atlantic Division Finals – Series “I” (best-of-7)
A1-Worcester Sharks vs. A3-Manchester Monarchs

Game 1 – Sun., Apr. 25 – Manchester at Worcester, 3:05
Game 2 – Wed., Apr. 28 – Manchester at Worcester, 7:05
Game 3 – Fri., Apr. 30 – Worcester at Manchester, 7:30
Game 4 – Sat., May 1 – Worcester at Manchester, 7:00
*Game 5 – Wed., May 5 – Manchester at Worcester, 7:05
*Game 6 – Fri., May 7 – Worcester at Manchester, 7:30
*Game 7 – Sat., May 8 – Manchester at Worcester, 7:05

East Division Finals – Series “J” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. E2-Albany River Rats
Game 1 – Sat., Apr. 24 – Albany at Hershey, 7:00
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 25 – Albany at Hershey, 5:00
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 27 – Hershey at Albany, 7:00
Game 4 – Thu., Apr. 29 – Hershey at Albany, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 1 – Albany at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 6 – Mon., May 3 – Hershey at Albany, 7:00
*Game 7 – Wed., May 5 – Albany at Hershey, 7:00

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 – MANITOBA 5, Hamilton 2
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 – ABBOTSFORD 3, Rochester 1
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 – MILWAUKEE 5, Chicago 4 (OT)
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 4, ROCKFORD 2

*if necessary… All times Eastern

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 1 – Albany at Hershey, 7:00
Albany and Hershey kick off second-round action in the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs tonight as the East Division Finals get underway at the Giant Center… The River Rats ousted Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the division semifinals for their first postseason series win since 1998, while the defending champion Bears are coming off a five-game triumph over Bridgeport… Hershey is in the division finals for the fourth time in five years, and the previous three trips (2006, 2007, 2009) ultimately resulted in a Calder Cup Finals berth… The Bears went 3-0 at home during the first round and have won 32 of their last 33 games at Giant Center overall… Alexandre Giroux paces Hershey with nine points – including a league-leading six goals – this postseason and put up a remarkable 15 points (7-8-15) in just six regular-season games against Albany… Former River Rats captain Keith Aucoin brings 0-7-7 totals into the second round for Hershey and had an assist in each of the team’s five opening-round contests… Aucoin was a member of the Rats when these teams met in a first-round series in 2007, which the Bears won in five games… Bears goaltender Michal Neuvirth, the reigning Calder Cup Playoffs MVP, is 3-0-0 (1.67, .924) to begin the 2010 postseason… Hershey was outscored 5-3 in the first period during round one but outscored Bridgeport 16-7 the rest of the way… The River Rats were outscored 25-9 in dropping all four regular-season visits to Hershey in 2009-10… Albany rookie defenseman Jamie McBain totaled seven goals (7-33-40) in 68 regular-season AHL contests before scoring a team-high four (4-0-4) in the Rats’ first-round sweep of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton… Nick Dodge recorded four points (3-1-4) in his first two games against Wilkes-Barre but was held scoreless in the last two contests… Albany went 0-for-20 on the power play in the division semifinals and will now go up against a Hershey penalty-killing unit which ranked first in the AHL during the regular season (87.4 percent).


We know this for sure as the AHL’s North Division semifinal series heads back to Hamilton for Game 6 on Sunday night. The underdog in the series has gotten better as it’s progressed. The Moose were a tactical and confident mess for Games 1 and 2 at Copps Coliseum. Generated little, scored about as much. An embarrassing 8-2 defeat in Game 2 seems to have shocked them onto the right track. If Friday night’s 5-2 win at the MTS Centre, bringing the series to 3-2 for favoured Hamilton, is any indication, things will get even more interesting before one team moves on to the second round.

MOOSE STAY IN THE FIGHT – Winnipeg Free Press
Manitoba Moose GM Craig Heisinger has made many, many savvy player moves since he took over as GM of the AHL team in 2002. The Marty Murray-for-Peter Olvecky trade wasn’t looking like one of them. Until Friday night.

Scott Arniel wanted more from his top line and the trio of Marco Rosa, Dan Sexton and Peter Olvecky finally delivered. After combining for only three goals in the first four games of their North Division semifinal series with the Hamilton Bulldogs, the Manitoba Moose got a pair of goals from Olvecky to keep their American Hockey League season alive.


The threat of being done for the year tends to bring out the desperate in a team. Friday night was no exception, as the Manitoba Moose came out antlers lowered, reasserting themselves in their AHL playoff series with the Hamilton Bulldogs. But all the 5-2 victory does is get the Moose to within 3-2 in games, and earn them another trip to the Steel City, where they’ll have to repeat the feat twice more, or else face the indignation of a first-round ouster.

‘DOGS CAN’T FINISH MOOSE – Hamilton Spectator
Tomorrow will be Hockey Night in Hamilton after all. The Manitoba Moose beat the Hamilton Bulldogs 5-2 last night at the MTS Centre to stave off elimination in the AHL North Division semifinal. The result leaves the Dogs leading the best-of-seven series 3-2, with Game 6 tomorrow at Copps Coliseum at 7 p.m.

Happy birthday, Mr. Maki. Ryan Maki celebrated his 25th birthday Friday by scoring a goal 4 minutes 22 seconds into overtime to lift the Milwaukee Admirals to a 5-4 victory over Chicago in Game 6 of the West Division semifinals in front of 3,817 people at the Bradley Center. "I can’t think of a better way to celebrate it," Maki said. "I don’t think I had an overtime winner in a long time. It’s a pretty incredible feeling."

David Van der Gulik picked a great time for his first goal of the AHL post-season. The hometown hero, Van der Gulik, pointless in these playoffs and in Jim Playfair’s doghouse as a result, was the beneficiary of a terrible giveaway from Rochester Americans defenceman Keaton Ellerby inside the offensive zone. The tenacious forward then broke in on his off-wing, beat Mathieu Roy to the net and slid a backhand over the left pad of Tyler Plante to make it 3-1 Heat past the midway point of the third period. It would eventually turn out to be the final score as the Heat defeated the Amerks on home ice in Game 5 of the North Division semifinal to force a Game 6 in Rochester on Sunday afternoon.

HEAT STAYIN’ ALIVE – Abbotsford News
In a playoff victory laden with redemptive storylines, a pair of Davids – Shantz and Van der Gulik – were the poster boys for the Abbotsford Heat on Friday night. Earlier in the first-round series between the Heat and Rochester Americans, both players had struggled mightily. But on Friday, with the Heat’s season hanging in the balance, both Shantz and Van der Gulik were sublime. Shantz turned aside 18 of 19 shots in the Heat’s 3-1 victory, including several saves of the highlight-reel variety. Van der Gulik, meanwhile, was in the thick of things from the opening puck-drop, getting in Rochester goalie Tyler Plante‘s grill, throwing big hits, and ultimately scoring a crucial insurance goal in the third period.

The Abbotsford Heat, down 3-1 in their first-round series heading into play Friday night, staved off Calder Cup playoff elimination with a 3-1 victory over the Rochester Americans at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre. Jon Rheault, Garth Murray and David Van der Gulik scored for the Heat, while former NHLer Mike York countered for the Americans.

Other than the first six weeks of the season, the Rochester Americans have never really done anything the easy way. So why would the Calder Cup playoffs be any different? With a chance to end their best-of-seven first-round series in five games, the Amerks couldn’t hold off the determined Abbotsford Heat early and lost 3-1 late Friday night. The Amerks still lead the series 3-2.

They pitched themselves as defensive monarchs during the regular season, but the Texas Stars no longer need to sell anyone on that fact. Texas allowed a single goal in their fourth consecutive playoff victory Friday, polishing off a sweep of Rockford in the AHL West Division semifinals with a 4-2 win at the MetroCentre. They’ll open the division finals against either Chicago or Milwaukee, who face off Monday in a Game 7.

About half of the Rockford IceHogs raised their sticks in the air to their fans. The MetroCentre crowd of 2,403 gave them a standing ovation as the players began exiting the ice. This was after a loss. A tough loss. A final loss. But not for lack of an exciting finish. The Texas Stars completed a four-game AHL first-round playoff sweep with a 4-2 win Friday night. Down 3-0 going to the third, Rockford crept within a goal with 35 seconds left.

The East Division finals will feature two distinctly different teams. Hershey, the defending Calder Cup champions, will be making its fourth appearance in the East Division finals in the last five seasons. The Bears’ opponent, the Albany River Rats, will be in the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs for the first time since 1998. The East Division finals start tonight at 7 at Giant Center and will be followed up with Game 2 at 5 p.m. on Sunday, before the best-of-seven series shifts to Albany for Game 3 on Tuesday.

Former Albany River Rats Keith Aucoin and Bryan Helmer and former Hershey Bears Oskar Osala and Jonathan Paiement face their old teams in the East Division finals. Those are natural story lines. But much of the on-ice story of the best-of-seven, scheduled to begin Saturday night at Giant Center, figures to play out on Hershey’s blue line. It will be no surprise if Albany head coach Jeff Daniels models the approach used by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers against Hershey in the first round.

RATS HUNGRY FOR MORE – Albany Times-Union
Before they boarded a bus headed to Hershey, Pa., early Friday afternoon, the Albany River Rats talked about hunger, about not being content with their playoff resume to date. They hope to feed that appetite, not at the nearby chocolate factory, but in Giant Center, home of the Hershey Bears. The Rats begin a best-of-7 quarterfinal playoff series against the Bears, the reigning Calder Cup champions and the league’s top team in the regular season, Saturday night in Hershey.

Its only spring, but it’s now open Bear season for the Albany River Rats. The Rats will face their biggest challenge to date in the Calder Cup playoffs — league-leading Hershey. Albany players think they’ll be more than up for the challenge against the high-powered Bears, who will play host to Game 1 of the East Division final tonight at 7 and Game 2 on Sunday afternoon at 5 at the Giant Center.

In last night’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, 2010 AHL Rookie of the Year Tyler Ennis earned an assist and then buried an empty-netter for his first career NHL playoff goal as Buffalo avoided elimination with a 4-1 win over Boston… 2007 AHL All-Star Jaroslav Halak turned aside 37 of 38 shots as Montreal posted a season-saving 2-1 win at Washington in Game 5 of their series… 1996 AHL All-Star Pavol Demitra recorded a goal and two assists to help Vancouver rout Los Angeles by a 7-2 count and take a 3-2 series lead… 2008 AHL All-Star Jimmy Howard backstopped Detroit to a 4-1 win at Phoenix with 30 saves on 31 shots.

3 – Members of the 1998 Albany River Rats, the last Rats squad to advance to the second round, who are still active players in the NHL – John Madden (Chicago), Brendan Morrison (Washington), and Colin White (New Jersey)… That Albany team also featured current Hershey captain Bryan Helmer and current River Rats assistant coach Geordie Kinnear.

10 – Consecutive Calder Cup Playoff losses by Rockford, after dropping four straight to Texas in the West Division semifinals… The AHL record for most consecutive playoff defeats is 12, set by the Buffalo Bisons from 1950-54.

April 24, 2008Ryan Potulny scores at 2:58 of the fifth overtime period to give Philadelphia a 3-2 win at Albany in the longest game in AHL history… Scott Munroe makes 65 saves for the Phantoms, while Michael Leighton stops 98 of 101 shots in the loss.

April 24, 1999Martin St. Louis scores twice and J.S. Giguere makes 21 saves as Saint John defeats Lowell, 4-3 in overtime, to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five series.

April 24, 1993 – Olaf Kolzig makes 26 saves as Rochester finishes off a five-game series victory over Martin Brodeur (22 saves) and the Utica Devils, 3-2.

April 24, 1992 – Yanic Perreault records a goal and an assist and Felix Potvin makes 21 saves as St. John’s defeats Moncton, 8-4, in Game 1 of their second-round series.

April 24, 1973 – The Nova Scotia Voyageurs run their playoff winning streak to 12 games spanning two postseasons, completing a four-game sweep of the Boston Braves with a 7-1 victory at Boston Garden.

April 24, 1966 – The Cleveland Barons defeat the Springfield Indians, 3-2, for their 15th consecutive playoff win, a record that still stands today.

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.