AHL Morning Skate: April 25

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

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

Tonight’s Previews

Game 1 – 3:00 ET, AHL Live
@GriffinsHockey | @TorontoMarlies | #GRvsTOR

The final Game 1 of the first round is set for this afternoon as Toronto hosts Grand Rapids at Ricoh Coliseum… The #2 seed Griffins finished the regular season with 100 points, their best showing since 2005-06, and won their fifth division title in 14 AHL seasons… The Marlies ended the regular season on a seven-game winning streak and with 19 wins in their last 25 games, climbing from 12th place in the Western Conference to seventh… Grand Rapids, which led the AHL in scoring with 249 goals in 2014-15, received First Team AHL All-Star Teemu Pulkkinen back from the parent Detroit Red Wings yesterday; Pulkkinen scored a league-best 34 goals and registered 61 points in just 46 games for the Griffins… Andy Miele (26-44-70) was also a First Team All-Star and finished second in the league in points… Miele had 2-8-10 in four meetings with the Marlies during the regular season… Toronto’s Connor Brown (21-40-61) was the top-scoring rookie in the AHL in 2014-15, and he shared the league lead among rookies in assists with teammate Brendan Leipsic (14-40-54), who had 7-12-19 in 27 games with the Marlies after being acquired from Nashville mid-season.

Western Conference Quarterfinals – Series “F” (best-of-5)
2-Grand Rapids Griffins vs. 7-Toronto Marlies

Game 1 – Sat., Apr. 25 – Grand Rapids at Toronto, 3:00
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 26 – Grand Rapids at Toronto, 3:00
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 29 – Toronto at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 4 – Sat., May 2 – Toronto at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sun., May 3 – Toronto at Grand Rapids, 5:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Game 2 – 7:00 ET, AHL Live (MCH leads series, 1-0)
@PortlandPirates | @MonarchsHockey | #MCHvsPOR

Manchester takes on Portland in Game 2 of their best-of-five series this evening with the Monarchs holding a 1-0 lead… Brian O’Neill and Jordan Weal scored two goals each in Thursday’s series opener to help the Monarchs to a 5-2 victory… Despite leading the AHL with 80 points, O’Neill had just three multiple-goal games in the regular season; Weal, who finished third in the league in points, had two… Defenseman Vincent LoVerde added a goal and two assists for Manchester… Entering Game 1, in eight career playoff games each, O’Neill had 1-1-2, Weal had 0-5-5 and LoVerde had 0-0-0… Jean-Francois Berube, whose 37 wins in the regular season were nine more than any other AHL goaltender, made 14 saves in the victory… Henrik Samuelsson and Jordan Szwarz had the goals for Portland, which was held to 16 shots on goal — seven over the final two periods… Manchester has now won 10 of 13 meetings with the Pirates this season, including six of seven at Verizon Wireless Arena.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals – Series “A” (best-of-5)
1-Manchester Monarchs vs. 8-Portland Pirates
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 23 – MANCHESTER 5, Portland 2
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 25 – Portland at Manchester, 7:00
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 26 – Manchester at Portland, 5:00
*Game 4 – Thu., Apr. 30 – Manchester at Portland, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 2 – Portland at Manchester, 7:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Game 2 – 7:00 ET, AHL Live (HER leads series, 1-0)
@TheHersheyBears | @WorcesterSharks | #HERvsWOR

Nate Schmidt‘s goal with 2:21 left in regulation broke a 1-1 tie and sent Hershey to a 4-1 win last night; Worcester looks to even the series as it hosts Game 2 this evening… Pheonix Copley made 41 saves — one short of his season high — in his AHL playoff debut, improving to 15-1-3 in his last 19 decisions… Schmidt, Stanislav Galiev (19:03) and Chris Brown (19:30) all scored during a major power play to propel the Bears to the 1-0 series lead… Galiev had led the AHL with 15 power-play markers in the regular season… Micheal Haley, who paced the Sharks with 18 goals in the regular season, had Worcester’s only tally in Game 1… The Sharks finished with a 42-24 edge in shots on goal; during the regular season, Worcester was third in the league in shots per game (33.0) and sixth in shots against (28.3)… The Bears were officially 3-for-5 on the power play in Game 1 after going 0-for-8 in four regular-season meetings with the Sharks.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals – Series “B” (best-of-5)
2-Hershey Bears vs. 7-Worcester Sharks
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 24 – Hershey 4, WORCESTER 1
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 25 – Hershey at Worcester, 7:00
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 29 – Worcester at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 4 – Fri., May 1 – Worcester at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sun., May 3 – Worcester at Hershey, 5:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Game 2 – 7:00 ET, AHL Live (HFD leads series, 1-0)
@AHLBruins | @WolfPackAHL | #HFDvsPRO

Following two days off, Hartford and Providence get back at it with Game 2 of their series at the XL Center… The Wolf Pack grabbed a 1-0 series lead on Wednesday night with a 3-1 victory, getting goals from Steve Spinell, Danny Kristo and Carl Klingberg and 28 saves from Yann DanisZach Trotman had the lone goal for the Bruins in Game 1… Alexander Khokhlachev earned an assist, and now has 9-6-15 in 13 games for Providence over the two postseasons… Danis has now allowed two goals on 87 shots in three games vs. Providence this season (0.67, .977)… Jeremy Smith stopped 22 shots in the loss, his fifth straight playoff defeat dating back to 2011… In the four previous postseason meetings between Hartford and Providence, the Game 1 winner has lost the series three times.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals – Series “C” (best-of-5)
3-Hartford Wolf Pack vs. 6-Providence Bruins

Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 22 – HARTFORD 3, Providence 1
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 25 – Providence at Hartford, 7:00
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 26 – Hartford at Providence, 7:05
*Game 4 – Tue., Apr. 28 – Hartford at Providence, 7:05
*Game 5 – Fri., May 1 – Providence at Hartford, 7:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Game 2 – 7:05 ET, AHL Live (WBS leads series, 1-0)
@SyracuseCrunch | @WBSPenguins | #WBSvsSYR
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Syracuse get right back at it tonight with the Penguins holding a 1-0 series lead following last night’s 5-1 victory… Kasperi Kapanen, Pittsburgh’s first-round pick (22nd overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, scored twice during a quick three-goal outburst as the Pens needed just 100 seconds early in the second period to turn a 1-0 lead into a comfortable 4-0 cushion… Carter Rowney added a goal and two assists, Dominik Uher notched a goal and an assist, and Jayson Megna and Barry Goers tallied two helpers apiece… Matt Murray finished with 22 saves, allowing no more than one goal for the 13th time in his last 18 starts… Danny Syvret‘s third-period goal for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was the first playoff goal of his 10-year career… Matthew Peca had the only goal for the Crunch in Game 1.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals – Series “D” (best-of-5)
4-W-B/Scranton Penguins vs. 5-Syracuse Crunch

Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 24 – W-B/SCRANTON 5, Syracuse 1
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 25 – Syracuse at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 29 – W-B/Scranton at Syracuse, 7:00
*Game 4 – Thu., Apr. 30 – W-B/Scranton at Syracuse, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 2 – Syracuse at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Game 2 – 8:00 ET, AHL Live (OKC leads series, 1-0)
@SARampage | @OKCBarons | #SAvsOKC

The only lower seed to win a series opener so far, Oklahoma City hosts San Antonio in Game 2 tonight looking to build on Thursday’s 5-2 victory… Ryan Hamilton scored the go-ahead goal with 5:55 left in regulation in Game 1, part of a four-goal outburst for the Barons over the final 9:38 of the game… Brad Hunt tallied a goal and an assist for Oklahoma City, Joshua Winquist scored the goal that tied the game at 2-2, and Connor Jones and Matthew Ford added empty-netters… Hunt now has 5-9-14 in 10 games vs. San Antonio this season… Laurent Brossoit made his AHL playoff debut and stopped 29 of 31 shots in the win… Vincent Trocheck and Rocco Grimaldi scored for the Rampage in Game 1… Dan Ellis made 33 saves for the Rampage in his first postseason action since 2011 with the Anaheim Ducks.

Western Conference Quarterfinals – Series “G” (best-of-5)
3-San Antonio Rampage vs. 6-Oklahoma City Barons

Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 23 – OKLAHOMA CITY 5, San Antonio 2
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 25 – San Antonio at Oklahoma City, 8:00
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 29 – Oklahoma City at San Antonio, 8:00
*Game 4 – Fri., May 1 – Oklahoma City at San Antonio, 8:30
*Game 5 – Sat., May 2 – Oklahoma City at San Antonio, 8:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Game 2 – 8:00 ET, AHL Live (RFD leads series, 1-0)
@GoIceHogs | @TexasStars | #RFDvsTEX
Five years after its last postseason appearance and seven years after its last playoff win, Rockford scored three times in the third period last night and defeated Texas, 4-2, in the opener of the teams’ Western Conference quarterfinal series at Cedar Park Center… Game 2 is tonight in the Austin suburb… The IceHogs had lost 10 consecutive playoff games since a 5-1 win at Chicago on May 9, 2008, and had been swept out of their most recent postseason trips in 2009 and 2010… Spencer Abbott scored twice for Rockford and Kirill Gotovets scored the go-ahead goal with 7:41 remaining in the contest… Abbott, who had 12-9-21 in 19 games after joining the IceHogs following a trade from Toronto, now has six goals in eight postseason games against Texas over the last two springs… Michael Leighton made 33 saves in the win for Rockford… Julius Honka notched a goal, an assist and a team-high six shots for the Stars… Jussi Rynnas stopped 33 of 36 shots in defeat.

Western Conference Quarterfinals – Series “H” (best-of-5)
4-Rockford IceHogs vs. 5-Texas Stars
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 24 – Rockford 4, TEXAS 2
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 25 – Rockford at Texas, 8:00
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 29 – Texas at Rockford, 8:00
*Game 4 – Fri., May 1 – Texas at Rockford, 8:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 2 – Texas at Rockford, 8:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

About Last Night…
Late strikes give Bears win in Game 1
Penguins handle Crunch in opener
Wolves hang on to even series
IceHogs end drought with Game 1 win

Long Time Coming
Rockford’s 10-game postseason losing streak was two shy of the all-time AHL record, established by the Buffalo Bisons more than 60 years ago… Most consecutive playoff losses:

12 — Buffalo Bisons (1950-51-52-54)
10 — Providence Reds (1941-43-46-48)
10 — Rochester Americans (1993-94-95)
10 — Rockford IceHogs (2008-09-10)
10 — Rochester Americans (2010-12-13-14)

Alumni Watch
Carl Hagelin, who made his pro debut with the Connecticut Whale during the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs, scored 10:52 into overtime last night as the N.Y. Rangers eliminated Pittsburgh with a 2-1 win in Game 5… Former AHL All-Star Bobby Ryan scored twice, Calder Cup champions Patrick Wiercioch and Erik Condra had goals and Craig Anderson made 45 saves as Ottawa defeated Montreal, 5-1, in Game 5 of their series… Devan Dubnyk stopped 36 shots and former AHL All-Stars Nino Niederreiter and Mikko Koivu scored for Minnesota in a 4-1 win at St. Louis in Game 5… Dubnyk, 2006 Calder Cup finalist Pekka Rinne, and 2007 Calder Cup Playoffs MVP Carey Price were revealed as the finalists for the NHL’s Vezina Trophy as outstanding goaltender for 2014-15.

AHL Live

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