AHL Morning Skate: April 25

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 1 – HERSHEY 4, Albany 3 (OT) (HER leads series, 1-0)

1. Kyle Wilson scored 10:41 into overtime to give Hershey a 4-3 win over Albany in Game 1 of the East Division Finals at Giant Center.

2. River Rats goaltender Justin Peters stopped 44 Hershey shots, including 25 in the third period and overtime.

3. Andrew Gordon scored twice for the Bears and assisted on the game-tying goal with 6:44 left in regulation.

TODAY’S SCHEDULE (all times ET):
Game 1 – Manchester at Worcester, 3:05
Game 2 – Albany at Hershey, 5:00 (HER leads series, 1-0)
Game 6 – Abbotsford at Rochester, 5:05 (RCH leads series, 3-2)
Game 6 – Manitoba at Hamilton, 7:00 (HAM leads series, 3-2)

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 – HERSHEY 4, Albany 3 (OT)
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 – Manchester at Worcester, 3:05
Worcester and Manchester get the Atlantic Division Finals started this afternoon at the DCU Center… The regular-season division champions advanced after a five-game victory over Lowell, and the Monarchs earned a four-game sweep of Portland… The Sharks are making their second consecutive appearance in the division finals, while the Monarchs are in the second round for the first time since 2007, when they defeated Providence in round two after ousting the Sharks in a six-game opening-round series… Worcester forward T.J. Trevelyan brings a three-game goal-scoring streak (4-1-5) into Game 1 and ranks second on the Sharks with six points in five postseason outings… Dan DaSilva paced the Sharks with seven points (2-5-7) in the first round… Rookie Benn Ferriero netted three goals in the final two games of the series after being held to just one assist in the first three contests… This series will pit Worcester’s AHL All-Rookie goaltender Alex Stalock (4-1, 1.89, .935) against AHL Goaltender of the Year Jonathan Bernier (4-0, 1.24, .962) from Manchester… Bernier surrendered only five goals on 130 shots against Portland in the division semifinals… Bud Holloway tallied the Monarchs’ game-winning goal in all four victories, already leaving him just two shy of the AHL record for an entire postseason… Rookie Corey Elkins (1-3-4) and Justin Azevedo (0-4-4) have each contributed a point in each postseason game thus far… The Sharks are 0-4 all-time in postseason Game 1’s; the Monarchs are 3-7.

Game 2 – Albany at Hershey, 5:00 (HER leads series, 1-0)
Nineteen hours after Kyle Wilson won Game 1 in overtime, Hershey and Albany play Game 2 of the East Division Finals today at Giant Center… Wilson’s rebound goal at 10:41 of the first extra session lifted the Bears to victory last night and handed the River Rats their first loss of the 2010 postseason… The Bears held an 11-3 shots advantage in overtime after outshooting Albany 16-4 during the third period… It marked Hershey’s third consecutive Game 1 OT victory, following a 4-3 decision over Bridgeport in the division semifinals and a 5-4 win at Manitoba to start the 2009 Calder Cup Finals… Andrew Gordon notched two goals and an assist to pace Hershey’s offense in regulation… Gordon’s six postseason goals (6-3-9) are now tied with linemate Alexandre Giroux (6-5-11) for the AHL lead… Giroux had two helpers in Game 1, and his 11 points earn him a share of the league lead… AHL MVP Keith Aucoin registered his first playoff goal and added an assist for the Bears and now shows nine points (1-8-9) in six postseason outings… Michal Neuvirth moved to 4-0 (1.92, .915) in the playoffs with 25 saves… First Team AHL All-Star Jerome Samson scored twice for the River Rats, and his four playoff goals (4-0-4) are now tied with rookie defenseman Jamie McBain (4-0-4) for tops on the team… Samson’s first goal ended Albany’s postseason-opening power play drought at 0-for-22… Rookie forward Drayson Bowman netted his first career AHL playoff goal in the loss… The Bears, 4-0 at home this postseason, have won 33 of their last 34 games at Giant Center overall… Hershey has trailed in the third period of four of its six playoff games and has won three of them.

Game 6 – Abbotsford at Rochester, 5:05 (RCH leads series, 3-2)
Rochester takes its second crack at eliminating Abbotsford as the teams’ North Division semifinal shifts back to upstate New York for Game 6 today… The Amerks were denied a bid to the second round on Friday when Abbotsford captured a 3-1 victory in Game 5… Heat forward David Van der Gulik had been scoreless in the first four games of the series before tallying a third-period goal on Friday, and Garth Murray’s first goal of the playoffs turned out to be the game-winner… Jon Rheault also scored for the Heat, and goaltender David Shantz turned aside 18 of 19 shots in net… Abbotsford built a 2-1 lead after the first period and outshot the Americans 19-6 during those opening 20 minutes… Rochester, which held an 11-1 scoring advantage in the second period through the first four contests, was held without a second-frame goal in Game 5… Mike York notched Rochester’s lone goal in the first period, and York is now tied for the AHL lead with 11 points – including a league-best nine assists – in five postseason games… Shawn Matthias (2-5-7) and Jeff Taffe (1-6-7) are each riding four-game scoring streaks for the Americans after being held scoreless in the club’s 3-2 series-opening loss on Apr. 15… Graham Mink put up five points (3-2-5) in the first three games but has not found the scoresheet in two outings since… The Americans have a chance to close out a Calder Cup Playoff series on home ice for the first time since the 2004 North Division Finals vs. Hamilton… The Heat rank second in the AHL allowing just 24.8 shots per game in the playoffs, but are last in goals against (4.20 per game).

Game 6 – Manitoba at Hamilton, 7:00 (HAM leads series, 3-2)
After staving off elimination on Friday at home, defending Western Conference champion Manitoba heads to Hamilton tonight for Game 6 of the teams’ North Division semifinal… The Moose saved their season courtesy of a 5-2 victory, and Manitoba has now outscored Hamilton 12-4 in its two victories this series… Acquired late in the season from Milwaukee, Peter Olvecky had been without a goal in his first four playoff outings before scoring twice in Game 5 for the Moose, staking his club to a 2-0 lead after two periods… Guillaume Desbiens chipped in a pair of third-period goals in the victory, and rookie Aaron Volpatti added his first professional playoff tally… Dan Sexton and Moose captain Mike Keane each contributed two assists, and for Keane, they marked his first points of the 2010 postseason… Manitoba goaltender Cory Schneider stopped 28 of 30 shots and held strong during a third period in which his club was outshot by a 16-7 margin… David Desharnais and Andre Benoit tallied goals for the Bulldogs… Desharnais is riding a four-game scoring streak (2-4-6), and First Team AHL All-Star P.K. Subban, who posted an assist on Friday, has a point in four of the five games this series (3-4-7) to rank tied for second in scoring among all AHL defensemen… The Bulldogs are looking to win a playoff series for the first time since capturing the 2007 Calder Cup championship… That year, Hamilton earned three of its four series-clinching wins on home ice, the lone exception being a second-round triumph over the Moose… Hamilton is now 16-12 all-time with a chance to close out an opponent, and Manitoba shows a 10-7 mark when facing Calder Cup Playoff elimination.

BEARS RALLY TO BEAT ALBANY IN OT – Harrisburg Patriot-News

The last time the Hershey Bears and Albany River Rats met in the playoffs, Shane Willis won Game 1 in overtime for Albany in 2007. A player whose last name also begins with W won Game 1 of the East Division finals in OT Saturday night at Giant Center, only this time the triumph went to Hershey. Kyle Wilson’s score at 10:41 of OT lifted the Bears, who twice rallied from one-goal deficits, to a 4-3 victory.

If there are wounds, the Albany River Rats won’t have time to lick them. They go right back into the scrap this afternoon. The Rats lost a tough one Saturday night against the Hershey Bears, the American Hockey League’s best regular-season team. After overcoming a third-period deficit, Hershey scored 10:41 into overtime to beat Albany 4-3 in the opening of the teams’ best-of-7 series.

In the Hershey Bears’ method of thinking, one 20-minute chunk of hockey is no different from another. Call it the Reese’s Pieces approach. When their game Saturday night against the Albany River Rats drifted into overtime, the Bears didn’t change. Their offense-first philosophy remained, almost to their detriment, but in the end Hershey wound up winning the opener of a best-of-7 series, 4-3.

Justin Peters and the Albany River Rats continue to live on the edge in the playoffs. But this time, Peters and his teammates could only hold off the Hershey Bears for so long. Center Kyle Wilson scored midway through overtime as Hershey rallied past Albany, 4-3 in Game 1 of the East Division final on Saturday before a raucous crowd of 7,651 at the Giant Center.

GREAT SCOTT! – Lebanon Daily News
Red Henry was in goal that night, as usual, but the guy who caught his eye was a speedy winger named Silvio Bettio. The Hershey Bears were starting the 1948-49 hockey season, and 10-year-old Don Scott was getting introduced to a game that has led to a life-long love affair.

CANES’ YOUTH COMING TO TOWN – Raleigh News & Observer
In three years at Wisconsin, Jamie McBain kept an eye on the players he would someday join in the Carolina Hurricanes organization, but had no sense of how talented his future peers really were. McBain, who impressed Hurricanes fans during a 14-game call-up at the end of the season, is one of the key cogs in that group, along with forwards Zach Boychuk and Drayson Bowman. All three have a good shot at making the Hurricanes’ roster next season, and they may not be alone.

GOALIES KEY IN SHARKS SERIES – Worcester Telegram & Gazette
There is always history when playoff time arrives in hockey. It’s just that there is usually more of it when the teams involved are neighbors. The Sharks and Manchester Monarchs fall into that category, and they will write a few more pages when they open their second-round Calder Cup playoff series at the DCU Center.

INTO THE SHARK TANK FOR ROUND 2 – New Hampshire Sunday News
Into the Shark tank they go. The Manchester Monarchs will open up their Atlantic Division championship playoff series in Worcester today. “I think Worcester has a lot of firepower,” said Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. “They’ve got great depth and if you look at the San Jose organization, a lot of those guys have been up and had an opportunity to play in the NHL, so they’re confident.”

Losing Lawrence Nycholat to the Vancouver Canucks could’ve been the final straw. But for a team that has used 55 different players this season, it ended up being a non-issue — which is hard to believe considering Nycholat is the only blue-liner on the Manitoba Moose roster who has won the Calder Cup.

They think he’s so nice, they called him up twice. For the second time in three days, the Vancouver Canucks announced Saturday they had recalled Manitoba Moose defenceman Lawrence Nycholat. On Thursday, they announced they were recalling Nycholat, but never got around to filing the paperwork by the league-mandated deadline that day.

AMERKS IN DRIVER’S SEAT VS. ABBOTSFORD – Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
Rather than dwell on the negatives from Friday night’s 3-1 loss to the Abbotsford Heat, a defeat that prolonged their first-round Calder Cup playoff series, the Rochester Americans chose to accentuate the positive. “We’ve got our home ice and that’s what we want,” said center Chris Taylor.

For the first time in ages when you look at the Rockford head coach’s office, you have to wonder who’ll be sitting there next fall. “Playoffs are important,” IceHogs president and GM Mark Bernard said, “but I don’t think it will be the end-all or be-all on Bill Peters, that’s for sure. We’re here to develop players for the Chicago Blackhawks. And over the last two years, Bill and Teddy (assistant coach Ted Dent) have done a wonderful job doing so.”

In Saturday’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, Joe Pavelski (2g, 1a) led San Jose to a 5-2 win over Colorado and a 4-2 series triumph… Matt Cooke had a pair of goals in Pittsburgh’s series-clinching 4-3 overtime win at Ottawa… Martin Erat scored twice in the third period but Nashville dropped a 5-4 overtime decision to Chicago in Game 5 of their series.

3 – Teams in AHL history that have won both Game 6 and Game 7 of a series on the road… Manitoba and Abbotsford are looking to match the feat accomplished by only the 1983 Maine Mariners (vs. Nova Scotia) and the 1996 Portland Pirates (vs. Saint John) and the 2007 Providence Bruins (vs. Hartford).

0 – North Division semifinal series since 2007 that have been decided in fewer than six games.

9 – Dating back to the regular season, consecutive games played by Albany which have been decided by one goal or by one goal plus an empty-netter… The River Rats are 6-3 in those games, including 4-1 in the playoffs.

April 25, 2009 – Led by Dan DaSilva with two goals and an assist, Worcester earns a 5-3 win over Hartford and eliminates the Wolf Pack in six games after losing the first two contests of the series.

April 25, 2005 – With the Penguins down 0-2 in the series, Colby Armstrong’s goal at 12:26 of the third overtime lifts Wilkes-Barre/Scranton past Binghamton, 3-2, in Game 3 of their division semifinal.

April 25, 2004Konstantin Koltsov scores 11:44 into overtime to give Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a 3-2 win at Bridgeport in Game 7 of their East Division semifinal… Five of the seven games in the series required OT.

April 25, 1992 – Bruce Boudreau scores what would be the last goal of his professional career, helping the Adirondack Red Wings to a 5-3 win at Springfield in Game 1 of their second-round series.

April 25, 1964 – The Cleveland Barons cap a perfect 9-0 playoff run with a 5-2 win over the Quebec Aces, capturing the franchise’s ninth and final Calder Cup championship.

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.