AHL Morning Skate: April 26, 2023

Photo: David Moll


A1-Providence Bruins vs. A5-Hartford Wolf Pack
Game 1 – Friday, 7:05 ET,

Game 1 - Fri., Apr. 28 - Hartford at Providence, 7:05
Game 2 - Sat., Apr. 29 - Hartford at Providence, 7:05
Game 3 - Wed., May 3 - Providence at Hartford, 7:00
*Game 4 - Fri., May 5 - Providence at Hartford, 7:00
*Game 5 - Sun., May 7 - Hartford at Providence, 7:05
*if necessary… All times Eastern

A2-Hershey Bears vs. A3-Charlotte Checkers
Game 1 – Friday, 7:00 ET,

Game 1 - Fri., Apr. 28 - Hershey at Charlotte, 7:00
Game 2 - Sat., Apr. 29 - Hershey at Charlotte, 6:00
Game 3 - Wed., May 3 - Charlotte at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 4 - Thu., May 4 - Charlotte at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 5 - Sun., May 7 - Charlotte at Hershey, 5:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

N1-Toronto Marlies vs. N4-Utica Comets
Game 1 – Thursday, 7:00 ET,

Game 1 - Thu., Apr. 27 - Utica at Toronto, 7:00
Game 2 - Sat., Apr. 29 - Utica at Toronto, 4:00
Game 3 - Wed., May 3 - Toronto at Utica, 7:00
*Game 4 - Fri., May 5 - Toronto at Utica, 7:00
*Game 5 - Sun., May 7 - Utica at Toronto, 4:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

N2-Syracuse Crunch vs. N3-Rochester Americans
Game 3 – Friday, 7:05 ET,
(Syracuse leads series, 2-0)

Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 21 – SYRACUSE 3, Rochester 2 (OT) | Recap
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 22 – SYRACUSE 3, Rochester 0 | Recap
Game 3 - Fri., Apr. 28 - Syracuse at Rochester, 7:05
*Game 4 - Sun., Apr. 30 - Syracuse at Rochester, 3:05
*Game 5 - Sat., May 6 - Rochester at Syracuse, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

C1-Texas Stars vs. C5-Rockford IceHogs
Game 1 – Friday, 8:00 ET,

Game 1 - Fri., Apr. 28 - Texas at Rockford, 8:00
Game 2 - Sun., Apr. 30 - Texas at Rockford, 5:00
Game 3 - Wed., May 3 - Rockford at Texas, 8:00
*Game 4 - Fri., May 5 - Rockford at Texas, 8:00
*Game 5 - Sat., May 6 - Rockford at Texas, 8:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

C2-Milwaukee Admirals vs. C3-Manitoba Moose
Game 1 – Friday, 8:00 ET,

Game 1 - Fri., Apr. 28 - Milwaukee at Manitoba, 8:00
Game 2 - Sun., Apr. 30 - Milwaukee at Manitoba, 3:00
Game 3 - Wed., May 3 - Manitoba at Milwaukee, 8:00
*Game 4 - Fri., May 5 - Manitoba at Milwaukee, 8:00
*Game 5 - Sat., May 6 - Manitoba at Milwaukee, 7:00
*if necessary... All times Eastern

P1-Calgary Wranglers vs. P4-Abbotsford Canucks
Game 1 – Tonight, 9:00 ET,

Game 1 - Wed., Apr. 26 - Abbotsford at Calgary, 9:00
Game 2 - Fri., Apr. 28 - Abbotsford at Calgary, 9:00
Game 3 - Wed., May 3 - Calgary at Abbotsford, 10:00
*Game 4 - Fri., May 5 - Calgary at Abbotsford, 10:00
*Game 5 - Sun., May 7 - Calgary at Abbotsford, 10:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

The regular-season champion Calgary Wranglers begin their postseason this evening as they host Abbotsford in Game 1 of the Pacific Division semifinals... The Wranglers won eight of 12 meetings with the Canucks in 2022-23, but Abbotsford took two of three to close out the regular season two weeks ago... Calgary was led throughout the regular season by AHL MVP and goaltender of the year Dustin Wolf, who finished first in the league in wins (42), save percentage (.932), goals-against average (2.09), shutouts (seven), minutes played (3,238), shots faced (1,653) and saves (1,540)... Wolf had a 2.23 GAA, a .929 save percentage and three shutouts in 13 postseason appearances as a rookie last spring... Fellow 2022-23 First Team AHL All-Star Matthew Phillips finished second in the league with 36 goals and fifth with 76 points for the Wranglers in the regular season; he also tied an AHL record with 15 game-winning goals... Calgary has not lost a game at home in more than two months, winning six straight at the Saddledome since a 5-2 loss to Henderson on Feb. 23... After their fourth-place finish in the regular season, the Canucks defeated Bakersfield, two games to none, in their first-round series last week... Nils Höglander (2-2-4) led Abbotsford with four points in the two games, scoring the game-winning goal in both victories... Eddie Shore Award winner Christian Wolanin (0-2-2) notched three goals and 10 assists in nine games against Calgary in the regular season... This series marks the first all-Canadian matchup in the Calder Cup Playoffs since the Toronto Marlies met the Abbotsford Heat in the conference semifinals back in 2012.

P2-Coachella Valley Firebirds vs. P3-Colorado Eagles
Game 1 – Tonight, 9:05 ET,

Game 1 - Wed., Apr. 26 - Coachella Valley at Colorado, 9:05
Game 2 - Thu., Apr. 27 - Coachella Valley at Colorado, 9:05
Game 3 - Sun., Apr. 30 - Colorado at Coachella Valley, 6:00
*Game 4 - Wed., May 3 - Colorado at Coachella Valley, 10:00
*Game 5 - Fri., May 5 - Colorado at Coachella Valley, 10:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Coachella Valley and Colorado get their Pacific Division semifinal series underway tonight at the Budweiser Events Center, where the Eagles have gone 24-8-3-3 this season — including a pair of first-round playoff wins over Ontario last week... The Firebirds come to town after eliminating Tucson with a 5-1 victory on Sunday, taking their series two games to one... After establishing career scoring highs in the regular season (30-32-62), Kole Lind led Coachella Valley with three goals and three assists in the first round... Joey Daccord (2-1, 2.03, .942) allowed only six goals on 104 shots against Tucson, and fell short of shutouts in Game 1 and Game 3 by 1:17 and 2:28, respectively... The Eagles’ offense in the first round was led by Cedric Paré (3-1-4), who had scored just twice over his final 17 regular-season games... Sam Malinski, who joined Colorado after completing his season at Cornell University last month, notched four assists in the two games against Ontario... With his two victories in the first round, Justus Annunen (2-0, 2.85, .909) now has a record of 13-1-5 (2.38, .922) on home ice this season... Colorado was 3-for-3 on the power play and 5-for-5 on the penalty kill in the last series; the Eagles have killed off all 17 shorthanded situations over their last five games... These teams split their four regular-season meetings, with Colorado winning twice in overtime at home back in November... The Firebirds ended the regular season losing five of their last six road games.

“Let’s play.”

Calgary Wranglers head coach Mitch Love is ready to chase a Calder Cup.

Love, who has won the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s top coach in each of his first two seasons in the league, has had enough practice and waiting. His Wranglers, the AHL’s regular-season champion, have not played since a 3-2 win in Abbotsford on Apr. 15.

Calgary meets the Canucks again tonight, this time at Scotiabank Saddledome for Game 1 of the Pacific Division semifinals. Love intends to use the lessons learned a year ago, when the Flames’ affiliate in Stockton reached the Western Conference Finals, to spur another Calder Cup run this spring.

“This has been a long lay-off for us,” Love said. “We have a little bit of experience with it from last year. So the guys that returned to us have been good in a sense of leading the rest of the guys that maybe haven’t gone through this.”

To that end, Love mapped out a schedule to manage the 11-day break between games. The team took time off before easing back into on-ice workouts. From there, Love has steadily ramped up the practice intensity to lead into Game 1.

“If you’re a team that looks at going deep in the playoffs,” Love said, “you’ve got to get your injuries healed. “You’ve got to stay healthy. You’ve got to get your rest, not just physically, but mentally, after a long regular season.”

The Wranglers have not played on home ice since a 5-1 win against Henderson on Mar. 31. Between the six-game road trip that ended the regular season and this long break, the Wranglers will have gone 26 days without a home game going into tonight’s match-up.

But having three games against Abbotsford to close the regular season was a beneficial break, Love believes. The Wranglers won eight of the 12 meetings between the clubs overall, but the Canucks took two of those final three.

“We’re excited to match up,” Love said. “They played us real hard the last three regular-season games. It was a real good test for our team in terms of what a brand of playoff hockey would look like. We’ve just got to try to go and execute on our game and see what happens.

“They’re well-schooled in terms of the way they need to play the game. They play with a lot of pace. They’re competitive. They’ve got some players over there that have won, and good goaltending. We see it as a very good challenge for us.

“Now it’s time to play. The guys are getting antsy. We’re just excited to get the puck dropped here at home.”

Every Calder Cup contender needs contributors to step forward come the postseason, and the Colorado Eagles have gotten that from forward Cedric Paré and defenseman Sam Malinski.

Both players helped the Eagles to sweep Ontario in a best-of-three first-round series and set up a date with the Coachella Valley Firebirds. Game 1 of the teams’ Pacific Division semifinal showdown is set for tonight at Colorado.

Malinski, 24, signed a two-year entry-level contract with the parent Colorado Avalanche and joined the Eagles on a tryout deal. After three seasons at Cornell University, he has taken quickly to the AHL, churning out five points (three goals, two assists) in his first seven regular-season contests followed by four assists in the two games against the Reign.

Malinski has focused on improving his footwork and been rewarded with a regular role by Eagles head coach Greg Cronin.

“There’s definitely been a bit of an adjustment, especially on the defensive side of the puck,” said Malinski, who took First Team All-ECAC honors for the second consecutive season after producing 26 points (eight goals, 18 assists) in 34 games with Cornell in 2022-23.

Also 24, Paré came to the Eagles mid-year, signing a pro tryout on Nov. 29 after starting the season with Belleville and Wheeling (ECHL) and then inking a full AHL contract on Jan. 26. The third-year pro and former Boston Bruins draft pick has found his fit with Colorado; after providing 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in 42 regular-season games, Paré has three goals and an assist in his first two Calder Cup Playoff contests.

Paré worked at earning Cronin’s trust through the season, and has been used on a top line with veterans Alex Galchenyuk and Charles Hudon as well as on the power play.

“I [got] confident the last two weeks at the end of the season playing on the top-six,” Paré said. “[The coaches are] really honest. I like that. They told me what to work on, and I worked on it, so I’m grateful for that.”

The Firebirds, who finished second overall in the AHL in the regular season, are the next challenge for Colorado.

“This is the most fun time of the year and something we've all looked forward to,” Malinski said.

― Patrick Williams

In action around the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs last night, 2018 Calder Cup champion Pierre Engvall scored his first career Stanley Cup Playoff goal and added an assist as the N.Y. Islanders defeated Carolina, 3-2... Mason Marchment, another 2018 Calder Cup champion with the Toronto Marlies, scored a goal and Jake Oettinger made 27 saves in Dallas’s 4-0 win over Minnesota... Stuart Skinner made 25 saves to backstop Edmonton to a 6-3 win over Los Angeles.

Watch the Calder Cup Playoffs on AHLTV
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