AHL Morning Skate: April 26

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 – WORCESTER 4, Manchester 3 (WOR leads series, 1-0)
Game 2 – HERSHEY 6, Albany 3 (HER leads series, 2-0)
Game 6 – Abbotsford 5, ROCHESTER 1 (Series tied, 3-3)
Game 6 – HAMILTON 3, Manitoba 2 (OT) (HAM wins series, 4-2)

1. Jon Rheault registered a hat trick as Abbotsford forced Game 7 in its division semifinal with a 5-1 win at Rochester.

2. Grant Stevenson’s goal 8:49 into overtime sent Hamilton to a series-clinching 3-2 win over Manitoba and a spot in the North Division Finals.

3. Andrew Gordon racked up two goals and an assist for the second straight night as Hershey doubled up Albany, 6-3, to take a 2-0 series lead in the East Division Finals.

Game 7 – Milwaukee at Chicago, 8:00 (Series tied, 3-3)

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

Game 1 – Sun., Apr. 25 – WORCESTER 4, Manchester 3
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 – HERSHEY 6, Albany 3
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 – HAMILTON 3, Manitoba 2 (OT)

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 5, ROCHESTER 1
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 7 – Milwaukee at Chicago, 8:00 (Series tied, 3-3)
The first Game 7 of the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs is ready to go as Milwaukee meets Chicago at Allstate Arena tonight, with a date against Texas in the West Division Finals on the line… The Admirals have battled out of a 3-1 series hole to force this decisive match, capturing a pair of 5-4 victories… Milwaukee rallied from 4-1 down on the road to win Game 5 last Wednesday, and then prevailed in overtime in Friday’s Game 6… Ryan Maki netted his second goal of the playoffs 4:22 into the first extra session to tie up the series… Ben Guite and Marty Murray each had a goal and an assist in Game 6 for the Admirals, and Chris Mueller found the back of the net for the third time in his last four games (3-1-4)… Teemu Laakso rounded out Milwaukee’s offense with his first career Calder Cup Playoff goal… Andreas Thuresson registered an assist and leads the Admirals with nine points (2-7-9) and a plus-5 rating through the first six postseason games… Ryan Thang and Triston Grant each chipped in two helpers in Game 6, and goaltender Mark Dekanich made 27 saves in net for Milwaukee… Chicago scored two of its three goals on the power play and has now cashed in on eight of its 25 man-advantage chances this postseason (32.0 percent), the second-best conversion rate in the AHL… Jason Krog and Johnny Pohl netted the power-play goals for Chicago, and Pohl also struck at even strength… Wolves starting goaltender Peter Mannino was lifted in favor of ex-Admiral Drew MacIntyre after surrendering two goals on his first six shots faced in Game 6… Tim Stapleton (2-4-6) and Matt Anderson (0-6-6) are pacing the Wolves’ offense with six points apiece thus far… Chicago head coach Don Lever’s last Game 7 as a bench boss came in 1992, when his Rochester Americans completed a comeback from a 3-1 series deficit to eliminate the Binghamton Rangers in the division finals… The Wolves are a perfect 5-0 in winner-take-all playoff games since joining the AHL in 2001-02, including a 2-0 mark in Game 7’s… The Admirals are 3-2 in winner-take-all Calder Cup contests and 2-2 in Game 7’s, but this is their first one on the road… The Wolves have never been eliminated in the first round of the AHL playoffs… Since 1997, the team scoring first in a Calder Cup Playoff Game 7 is 30-3.

WOLVES NEED FULL 60 IN GAME 7 – Chicago Sun-Times

The Wolves just might be the best 40-minute team in the American Hockey League. However, regulation time is 60 minutes, plus whatever overtime is needed. The Wolves have blown a 3-1 series lead in their West Division semifinal against the Milwaukee Admirals because they haven’t consistently played a full game.

The Hamilton Bulldogs stuck to their game plan against a desperate Manitoba Moose team, and it paid off in a big way. Grant Stevenson scored in overtime as the Bulldogs advanced to the second round of the American Hockey League playoffs with a 3-2 win over the Moose on Sunday.

The Hamilton Bulldogs will open the AHL North Division final Thursday night. The Dogs beat the Manitoba Moose 3-2 in overtime last night at Copps Coliseum to win the best-of-seven semifinal 4-2. The Dogs won’t know until tomorrow night who they will meet in the second round because Abbotsford beat Rochester 5-1 last night in Rochester to tie their series at 3-3.

And in the end, if this was the end, let it be known that Cory Schneider went down fighting. The Manitoba Moose netminder, in what will almost certainly be his final game for the Moose in what has been a spectacular three-year American Hockey League career, did everything possible – and a few things that weren’t – to keep his team alive in their opening-round playoff series with the Hamilton Bulldogs.

Post-season overtime continues to bring nothing but misery for the Manitoba Moose. The Moose fell 3-2 in overtime Sunday night to the Hamilton Bulldogs on what can only be described as an unfortunate bounce. It was the ninth consecutive playoff overtime defeat for the Moose, dating back to a 2008 first-round series against the Syracuse Crunch.

The Abbotsford Heat are back from the brink, thanks to an unlikely offensive hero. Jon Rheault notched a hat trick to pace the Heat to a 5-1 road win over the Rochester Americans at Blue Cross Arena on Sunday afternoon. Abbotsford’s victory knotted the first-round Calder Cup playoff series at three games apiece.

AMERKS PUSHED TO GAME 7 IN FIRST ROUND – Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
Not long after the arena doors opened late Sunday afternoon for Rochester Americans hockey, a rather odd advertising spot blared from the public address system. Something about tickets for Game 7, if necessary, being available, and to contact the Amerk office for information. Someone knew something. Game 7 is necessary.

Hershey had just given up a short-handed goal in the beginning of the third period to fall behind in Game 2 of the East Division finals to Albany. After the Bears top power-play line produced just once in Game 1 and didn’t score in its first three opportunities on Sunday, Hershey head coach Mark French was contemplating making a change. It’s probably a good thing he didn’t.

In 48 out of 80 regular-season games, the Hershey Bears led after two periods. Third-period deficits were a minority occurrence for a dominant club that set the AHL wins record. That hasn’t been the case in the playoffs. Counting Sunday night’s 6-3 victory over the Albany River Rats in Game 2 of the East Division finals, the defending Calder Cup champions have rallied from third-period deficits in four of their six postseason wins.

A CENTER OF ATTENTION – Albany Times-Union
No need for the Albany River Rats to read a media guide to learn about Hershey Bears center Keith Aucoin. A few of them played with Aucoin during his two seasons as Rats captain. All now have played against him and understand why he was voted the American Hockey League’s most valuable player.

Provided with several prime opportunities, the Hershey Bears didn’t disappoint by showing off their vaunted power play. A third period which started so promising for the Albany River Rats quickly turned south as they suffered a special teams meltdown.

SHARKS TAKE GAME 1 – Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Falling two goals behind the stingiest defensive team and the stingiest goaltender in the Calder Cup playoffs was not how the Sharks drew up their game plan for beating the Manchester Monarchs. So, they ignored the game plan and won anyway. It has been that kind of season and that kind of playoff so far.

Chris Palmer’s road to the playoffs reached a dead end when the Peoria Rivermen missed the postseason this spring. Plenty of time now for the Rivermen trainer to go down memory lane instead. Palmer, who just finished his first season with Peoria in the AHL, has watched the NBA playoffs intently. The NHL playoffs, too.

In Sunday’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, Lauri Korpikoski netted his first goal of the postseason and Taylor Pyatt posted a goal and an assist as Phoenix forced Game 7 with a 5-2 victory at Detroit; Darren Helm scored for the Red Wings… Kevin Bieksa and Alexandre Burrows each tallied a goal and Roberto Luongo made 30 saves to help Vancouver wrap up its first-round series in a 4-2 win at Los Angeles.

72-65 – All-time record of home teams in winner-take-all AHL playoff games, including 12-3 since 2006.

14 – Teams in AHL history that have won a best-of-seven playoff series after trailing 3-1, most recently the 2008 Toronto Marlies (vs. Syracuse)… Only five teams have completed such a comeback by winning Game 7 on the road.

April 26, 2009Greg Stewart scores for Hamilton nine seconds into the game, but Ville Leino goes on to record a goal and three assists as Grand Rapids eliminates the Bulldogs with a 4-1 win in Game 6.

April 26, 2008 – Chicago advances to round two with a 3-0 win over Milwaukee in Game 6 of their series, as Ondrej Pavelec makes 30 saves for the shutout.

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

April 26, 1996 – An AHL playoff record five overtime games are played on one day, including Cornwall’s 2-1 win over Albany to cap the second-biggest upset in Calder Cup Playoffs history… The Aces finished 35 points behind the defending champion River Rats in the regular season.

April 26, 1995
– Providence scores six times in the third period, including goals by Peter Laviolette and Sergei Zholtok, and defeats Portland, 6-3, in Game 7 of their first-round series.

April 26, 1983 – Jim Wiemer scores a double-overtime goal for the second straight night, giving Rochester a 2-1 win at New Haven and a 3-1 series lead.

April 26, 1962 – Jimmy Anderson’s goal 2:44 into overtime clinches Springfield’s 3-2 win over Buffalo and the Indians’ third consecutive Calder Cup championship, a feat yet to be duplicated.

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.