AHL Morning Skate: April 26, 2008

AHL Quick Hits is now the Morning Skate… Every morning, take 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.


W-B/SCRANTON 7, Hershey 3 (WBS wins, 4-1)

Rockford 5, HOUSTON 2 (RFD wins, 4-1)

Toronto 2, SAN ANTONIO 1 (TOR leads, 3-2)

MANITOBA 5, Syracuse 2 (Series tied, 2-2)


1. AHL All-Rookie defenseman Alex Goligoski scored twice and added an assist as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton moved on to the division finals with a 7-3 win over Hershey.

2. Jason Jaffray posted a goal and an assist to help Manitoba take a 5-2 win over Syracuse and even their North Division semifinal at two games apiece.

3. Rockford goaltender Corey Crawford stopped 28 of 30 shots as the IceHogs posted a 5-2 win at Houston and captured their opening-round series, 4-1.


Game 6 – Albany at Philadelphia, 1:05 (PHI leads, 3-2)

Game 1 – Portland at Providence, 7:05

Game 5 – Syracuse at Manitoba, 8:30 (Series tied, 2-2)
Game 6 – Chicago at Milwaukee, 8:30 (CHI leads, 3-2)

Atlantic Division Finals – Series “I” (best-of-7)
A1-Providence Bruins vs. A3-Portland Pirates || Preview

Game 1 – Sat., Apr. 26 – Portland at Providence, 7:05
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 27 – Portland at Providence, 4:05
Game 3 – Fri., May 2 – Providence at Portland, 7:05
Game 4 – Sun., May 4 – Providence at Portland, 4:05
*Game 5 – Tue., May 6 – Providence at Portland, 7:05
*Game 6 – Fri., May 9 – Portland at Providence, 7:05
*Game 7 – Sat., May 10 – Portland at Providence, 7:05

Atlantic Division Semifinal – Series “A” (best-of-7)
A1-Providence Bruins def. A4-Manchester Monarchs, 4-0

Atlantic Division Semifinal – Series “B” (best-of-7)
A3-Portland Pirates def. A2-Hartford Wolf Pack, 4-1

East Division Semifinal – Series “C” (best-of-7)
E1-W-B/Scranton Penguins vs. E4-Hershey Bears || Preview
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 16 – W-B/Scranton 2, HERSHEY 1 (OT)
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 19 – W-B/SCRANTON 6, Hershey 2
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 20 – W-B/SCRANTON 5, Hershey 1
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 23 – HERSHEY 3, W-B/Scranton 2 (OT)
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 25 – W-B/SCRANTON 7, Hershey 3

East Division Semifinal – Series “D” (best-of-7)
E2-Philadelphia Phantoms vs. E3-Albany River Rats || Preview

Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 16 – ALBANY 4, Philadelphia 0
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 18 – PHILADELPHIA 3, Albany 0
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 20 – Albany 4, PHILADELPHIA 1
Game 4 – Tue., Apr. 22 – Philadelphia 2, ALBANY 1
Game 5 – Thu., Apr. 24 – Philadelphia 3, ALBANY 2 (5OT)
Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 26 – Albany at Philadelphia, 1:05 (WC)
*Game 7 – Tue., Apr. 29 – Albany at Philadelphia, 7:05 (WC)


North Division Semifinal – Series “E” (best-of-7)
N1-Toronto Marlies vs. W5-San Antonio Rampage || Preview
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 16 – TORONTO 4, San Antonio 3
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 18 – San Antonio 6, TORONTO 3
Game 3 – Mon., Apr. 21 – SAN ANTONIO 3, Toronto 2
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 23 – Toronto 3, SAN ANTONIO 2
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 25 – Toronto 2, SAN ANTONIO 1
Game 6 – Sun., Apr. 27 – San Antonio at Toronto, 4:00
*Game 7 – Mon., Apr. 28 – San Antonio at Toronto, 7:30

North Division Semifinal – Series “F” (best-of-7)
N2-Syracuse Crunch vs. N3-Manitoba Moose || Preview
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 18 – SYRACUSE 2, Manitoba 1 (OT)
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 19 – Manitoba 3, SYRACUSE 2 (OT)
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 22 – Syracuse 2, MANITOBA 1 (OT)
Game 4 – Fri., Apr. 25 – MANITOBA 5, Syracuse 2
Game 5 – Sat., Apr. 26 – Syracuse at Manitoba, 8:30
Game 6 – Mon., Apr. 28 – Manitoba at Syracuse, 7:00
*Game 7 – Tue., Apr. 29 – Manitoba at Syracuse, 7:00

West Division Semifinal – Series “G” (best-of-7)
W1-Chicago Wolves vs. W4-Milwaukee Admirals || Preview

Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 16 – Milwaukee 4, CHICAGO 3 (OT)
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 18 – CHICAGO 2, Milwaukee 1
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 20 – Chicago 4, MILWAUKEE 3 (OT)
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 23 – MILWAUKEE 2, Chicago 0
Game 5 – Thu., Apr. 24 – CHICAGO 4, Milwaukee 1
Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 26 – Chicago at Milwaukee, 8:30
*Game 7 – Mon., Apr. 28 – Milwaukee at Chicago, 8:00

West Division Semifinal – Series “H” (best-of-7)
W2-Rockford IceHogs vs. W3-Houston Aeros || Preview

Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 18 – ROCKFORD 3, Houston 1
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 19 – Houston 1, ROCKFORD 0 (2OT)
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 22 – Rockford 2, HOUSTON 1
Game 4 – Thu., Apr. 24 – Rockford 2, HOUSTON 1
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 25 – Rockford 5, HOUSTON 2

*if necessary… All times Eastern

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 6 – Albany at Philadelphia, 1:05 (PHI leads, 3-2)

After posting a five-overtime victory on Thursday in the longest game in American Hockey League history, Philadelphia looks to close out Albany this afternoon as the teams play Game 6 of their East Division semifinal at the Wachovia Center… Ryan Potulny made the first goal of his professional playoff career a memorable one, scoring 2:58 into the fifth overtime to give the Phantoms the win in Game 5… Philadelphia goaltender Scott Munroe stopped 65 of 67 shots in the winning effort, while Albany counterpart Michael Leighton took the loss despite making an incredible 98 saves on 101 shots… Leighton has stopped 236 of 244 shots (.967) in the series thus far… The Phantoms are 14-8 all-time with a chance to eliminate an opponent.


Game 1 – Portland at Providence, 7:05

The Atlantic Division finals get underway tonight as Portland travels to take on Providence at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center… Both teams enter the series riding four-game winning streaks… The Bruins swept Manchester in the opening round, while Portland advanced with a five-game victory over Hartford after losing Game 1… Providence is in the division finals for third time in the last four years… Jeff Hoggan paced the P-Bruins in the first round with three goals and six points, and First-Team AHL All-Star Pascal Pelletier also netted three goals (3-1-4) in the four-game sweep… Rookie goaltender Tuukka Rask showed a 1.41 GAA and .944 save percentage in the four wins, including one shutout… Jason King (3-2-5) and Geoff Platt (2-3-5) each had five points in the first round for the Pirates… AHL All-Rookie forward Bobby Ryan posted four points (1-3-4) in three games after being reassigned by parent-club Anaheim.


Game 5 – Syracuse at Manitoba, 8:30 (Series tied, 2-2)
Syracuse and Manitoba take the MTS Centre ice tonight for a pivotal Game 5 in their North Division semifinal series… The teams have alternated wins thus far, the most recent edition being a 5-2 Moose triumph on Friday night… 2007 AHL All-Star Jason Jaffray, out of the lineup since March 16 due to injury, posted a goal and an assist in his return for Manitoba… Danny Groulx, Alexandre Bolduc, and former first-round pick Michael Grabner also scored as part of four straight Moose goals after the club fell behind 1-0… Grabner has lit the lamp in each of the last three games… Syracuse’s Joakim Lindstrom netted his second of the playoffs to begin the scoring, marking the first time all series that the Crunch struck first.


Game 6 – Chicago at Milwaukee, 8:30 (CHI leads, 3-2)

Chicago can dispatch Milwaukee in the first round for the second consecutive spring with a victory in Game 6 of their West Division semifinal tonight at the Bradley Center… The Wolves, who posted a four-game sweep of the Admirals last year, captured Game 5 of this year’s series by a 4-1 count on Thursday… Joe Motzko posted goal and an assist for Chicago in the victory, while Brett Sterling, Darren Haydar, and Brian Fahey also potted goals… Rookie goaltender Ondrej Pavelec came within eight seconds of a shutout before Milwaukee’s Mark Matheson scored at 19:52 of the third period… Josh Langfeld has six points (5-1-6) in the series for the Admirals, while AHL MVP Jason Krog shows six assists for Chicago.




Dale Oviatt, Ottawa Citizen

While much of the hockey world was focused on the NHL playoffs on Thursday, it was the fans of the Albany River Rats and Philadelphia Phantoms of the American Hockey League that got more than their money’s worth. River Rats goaltender Michael Leighton stopped 98 of 101 shots in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Phantoms in what proved to the longest game the 72-year history of the AHL. The game ended after 142:58 of play, or 2:58 seconds into the fifth overtime, with Philadelphia‘s Ryan Potulny scoring the winner at 12:39 a.m. ET on Friday, five hours and 38 minutes after the puck dropped at the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y.




Pete Dougherty, Albany Times-Union

The pivotal game of the Albany River Rats-Philadelphia Phantoms playoff series morphed into one of the most memorable in American Hockey League history. A game that neither team had to win — the best-of-7 series was tied 2-2 — turned into one neither wanted to lose. As Thursday night transformed into Friday morning, weary players fought for that one break that would end the longest game in the AHL’s 72-year existence.



Andrew Ferraro, Houston Chronicle

In a game of inches, the Aeros missed playoff success by a mile. Play every game like it’s the last, and don’t leave anything on the ice except blood and sweat. But the Aeros retired early in what was supposed to be long, hard-fought battle to the finish. They fought valiantly Friday night, but they just didn’t have enough offense in the game or the series and dropped a 5-2 decision to the IceHogs at Toyota Center. Game over. Season gone.




Jonathan Bombulie, Scranton Times-Tribune

Nearly every man in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins locker room has been stung by the Hershey Bears at some point in the last three seasons. Coach Todd Richards, then with Milwaukee, was buried by the Bears in the championship round in 2006. Leading scorer Tim Brent, then with Portland, was edged out in the conference finals a few weeks before that on a clutch Game 7 Bears goal in overtime. Any player who has pulled on a Penguins jersey for a season or more knew what it was like to be steamrolled by a powerhouse Bears team on its way to the Calder Cup finals. On Friday, the Penguins finally stung back.




Gary Lawless, Winnipeg Free Press

The next battle in the war between the Manitoba Moose and Syracuse Crunch will decide who leaves Winnipeg with a one-game edge in this best-of-seven North Division semifinal. The teams will meet in Game 5 tonight at the MTS Centre. The winner will have two chances to close out the series when it shifts to New York state for Game 6 on Monday night. Here’s some things to look for in Game 5.




Paul Betit, Maine Sunday Telegram

The Providence Bruins held the upper hand over the Portland Pirates in the regular season, but that dominance won’t mean much when they meet in the Atlantic Division finals. The best-of-seven series starts tonight with Game 1 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence. The Bruins, the top-seeded team in the Calder Cup playoffs, won six of their 10 games with the Pirates this season. Providence finished the season atop the Atlantic Division, 18 points ahead of third-place Portland.



John Whisler, Express-News

Just three days ago, the idea that the Rampage would lose two-straight Calder Cup playoff games on their home ice seemed unthinkable. After two consecutive victories, they had the Toronto Marlies on their heels and appeared in control of the series. How quickly things change. Toronto scored two second-period goals and held on for a 2-1 victory over the Rampage in Game 5 of their first-round, North Division semifinal Friday night in front of 7,022 at the AT&T Center. The Marlies lead the best-of-7 series 3-2 and can wrap it up with a victory in Game 6 in Toronto on Sunday afternoon.


Ryan Whitney, who made his pro debut during the 2004 Calder Cup Playoffs and reached the Finals with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, assisted on the game-winning goal last night as Pittsburgh rallied past the N.Y. Rangers, 5-4, in the opener of the Eastern Conference semifinal.


2001 AHL All-Star Jonathan Cheechoo tied the game with 3:02 to play in regulation, but San Jose went on to drop Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal to Dallas in overtime, 3-2.

– Active shutout streak for Philadelphia goaltender Scott Munroe after denying Albany for more than five periods to close out Thursday’s Game 5 marathon win.


April 26, 2005 – Derek Roy records two goals and an assist and Ryan Miller makes 28 saves as Rochester completes a four-game sweep of Hamilton with a 5-4 victory.

April 26, 1996 – An AHL playoff record five overtime games are played on one day, including