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AHL Morning Skate: April 27

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 7 – Manitoba 4, LAKE ERIE 1 (MTB wins series, 4-3)

1. Forward Alexandre Bolduc notched the eventual game-winning goal in the third period as Manitoba completed a rally from a 3-1 series deficit with a 4-1 victory at Lake Erie in Game 7.

2. AHL All-Rookie goaltender Eddie Lack continued to sparkle with a 32-save effort in the clinching win.

3. Defenseman Jonas Holos netted the Monsters’ lone goal in the losing effort.

Game 1 – Binghamton at Portland, 7:00

Atlantic Division Finals – Series “I” (best-of-7)
A1-Portland Pirates vs. E5-Binghamton Senators
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 27 – Binghamton at Portland, 7:00
Game 2 – Thu., Apr. 28 – Binghamton at Portland, 7:00
Game 3 – Sat., Apr. 30 – Portland at Binghamton, 7:05
Game 4 – Mon., May 2 – Portland at Binghamton, 7:05
*Game 5 – Tue., May 3 – Portland at Binghamton, 7:05
*Game 6 – Fri., May 6 – Binghamton at Portland, 7:00
*Game 7 – Sat., May 7 – Binghamton at Portland, 7:00

East Division Finals – Series “J” (best-of-7)
E1-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. E3-Charlotte Checkers
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 28 – Charlotte at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 30 – Charlotte at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Game 3 – Mon., May 2 – W-B/Scranton at Charlotte, 7:00
Game 4 – Wed., May 4 – W-B/Scranton at Charlotte, 7:00
*Game 5 – Fri., May 6 – W-B/Scranton at Charlotte, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sat., May 7 – Charlotte at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 7 – Mon., May 9 – Charlotte at W-B/Scranton, 7:05

North Division Finals – Series “K” (best-of-7)
N1-Hamilton Bulldogs vs. N3-Manitoba Moose

Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 28 – Manitoba at Hamilton, 7:30
Game 2 – Sun., May 1 – Manitoba at Hamilton, 4:00
Game 3 – Tue., May 3 – Hamilton at Manitoba, 8:30
Game 4 – Wed., May 4 – Hamilton at Manitoba, 8:30
*Game 5 – Fri., May 6 – Hamilton at Manitoba, 8:30
*Game 6 – Sun., May 8 – Manitoba at Hamilton, 7:30
*Game 7 – Mon., May 9 – Manitoba at Hamilton, 7:30

West Division Finals – Series “L” (best-of-7)
W1-Milwaukee Admirals vs. W2-Houston Aeros
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 29 – Houston at Milwaukee, 8:00
Game 2 – Sun., May 1 – Houston at Milwaukee, 6:00
Game 3 – Tue., May 3 – Milwaukee at Houston, 8:05
Game 4 – Thu., May 5 – Milwaukee at Houston, 8:05
*Game 5 – Fri., May 6 – Milwaukee at Houston, 8:35
*Game 6 – Sun., May 8 – Houston at Milwaukee, 6:00
*Game 7 – Tue., May 10 – Houston at Milwaukee, 8:00

Atlantic Division Semifinal – Series “A” (best-of-7)
A1-Portland Pirates vs. A3-Connecticut Whale || Preview
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 14 – PORTLAND 3, Connecticut 2
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 16 – PORTLAND 3, Connecticut 2 (OT)
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 17 – CONNECTICUT 3, Portland 1
Game 4 – Tue., Apr. 19 – CONNECTICUT 3, Portland 1
Game 5 – Thu., Apr. 21 – PORTLAND 5, Connecticut 4
Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 23 – Portland 6, CONNECTICUT 4

Atlantic Division Semifinal – Series “B” (best-of-7)
A2-Manchester Monarchs vs. E5-Binghamton Senators || Preview
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 14 – MANCHESTER 2, Binghamton 1
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 15 – Binghamton 4, MANCHESTER 3 (OT)
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 17 – Manchester 5, BINGHAMTON 4 (OT)
Game 4 – Tue., Apr. 19 – Manchester 6, BINGHAMTON 3
Game 5 – Wed., Apr. 20 – BINGHAMTON 5, Manchester 4 (OT)
Game 6 – Fri., Apr. 22 – Binghamton 2, MANCHESTER 1 (2OT)
Game 7 – Sat., Apr. 23 – Binghamton 6, MANCHESTER 5 (OT)

East Division Semifinal – Series “C” (best-of-7)
E1-W-B/Scranton Penguins vs. E4-Norfolk Admirals || Preview
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 15 – Norfolk 2, W-B/SCRANTON 1
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 16 – Norfolk 2, W-B/SCRANTON 0
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 19 – W-B/Scranton 2, NORFOLK 1
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 20 – W-B/Scranton 4, NORFOLK 2
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 22 – W-B/Scranton 2, NORFOLK 1
Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 23 – W-B/SCRANTON 6, Norfolk 3

East Division Semifinal – Series “D” (best-of-7)
E2-Hershey Bears vs. E3-Charlotte Checkers || Preview
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 14 – Charlotte 5, HERSHEY 4
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 17 – HERSHEY 4, Charlotte 2
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 19 – Hershey 3, CHARLOTTE 2
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 20 – CHARLOTTE 3, Hershey 2
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 22 – CHARLOTTE 5, Hershey 3
Game 6 – Sun., Apr. 24 – Charlotte 2, HERSHEY 1 (OT)

North Division Semifinal – Series “E” (best-of-7)
N1-Hamilton Bulldogs vs. W5-Oklahoma City Barons || Preview
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 14 – HAMILTON 5, Oklahoma City 2
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 16 – HAMILTON 2, Oklahoma City 1
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 19 – OKLAHOMA CITY 2, Hamilton 0
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 20 – OKLAHOMA CITY 5, Hamilton 2
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 22 – Hamilton 2, OKLAHOMA CITY 0
Game 6 – Sun., Apr. 24 – HAMILTON 4, Oklahoma City 1

North Division Semifinal – Series “F” (best-of-7)
N2-Lake Erie Monsters vs. N3-Manitoba Moose || Preview
Game 1 – Sat., Apr. 16 – LAKE ERIE 6, Manitoba 4
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 17 – Manitoba 3, LAKE ERIE 2 (OT)
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 19 – Lake Erie 2, MANITOBA 1
Game 4 – Thu., Apr. 21 – Lake Erie 6, MANITOBA 3
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 22 – MANITOBA 2, Lake Erie 0
Game 6 – Sun., Apr. 24 – Manitoba 3, LAKE ERIE 1
Game 7 – Tue., Apr. 26 – Manitoba 4, LAKE ERIE 1

West Division Semifinal – Series “G” (best-of-7)
W1-Milwaukee Admirals vs. W4-Texas Stars || Preview
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 14 – MILWAUKEE 5, Texas 2
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 16 – Texas 3, MILWAUKEE 1
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 19 – TEXAS 3, Milwaukee 2 (OT)
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 20 – Milwaukee 3, TEXAS 2
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 22 – Milwaukee 2, TEXAS 1 (OT)
Game 6 – Mon., Apr. 25 – MILWAUKEE 3, Texas 2 (2OT)

West Division Semifinal – Series “H” (best-of-7)
W2-Houston Aeros vs. W3-Peoria Rivermen || Preview
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 13 – HOUSTON 4, Peoria 1
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 15 – HOUSTON 3, Peoria 2 (OT)
Game 3 – Mon., Apr. 18 – Houston 5, PEORIA 3
Game 4 – Tue., Apr. 19 – Houston 2, PEORIA 1

*if necessary… All times Eastern

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 1 – Binghamton at Portland, 7:00
The second round of the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs gets underway tonight when Portland welcomes Binghamton to the Cumberland County Civic Center for Game 1 of the Atlantic Division Finals… The Pirates are in the division finals for the first time since 2008 after knocking off Connecticut in six games, while the Senators overcame a 3-1 series deficit against Manchester to earn their first second-round berth since 2003… Binghamton matched an AHL record by collecting four overtime victories in the same series last round, including road triumphs in Games 6 and 7… Ryan Potulny scored in overtime to give the Senators a 6-5 win in Game 7 at Manchester on Saturday – nearly three years to the day after he ended the longest game in AHL history for Philadelphia in the fifth overtime vs. Albany on Apr. 24, 2008… Potulny led all AHL scorers in the first round in both goals (8) and points (14), including a five-point effort (1-4-5) in that Game 7 victory and a hat trick in Game 4… Binghamton captain Ryan Keller posted four points (2-2-4) in Game 7 vs. Manchester and shows 10 postseason points overall (3-7-10)… Senators rookie forward Bobby Butler, who spent most of the season’s second half in the NHL with Ottawa, scored just once in the first four games but scored once each in Games 5, 6 and 7… Defenseman Andre Benoit (1-6-7) and forwards Roman Wick (1-5-6) and Erik Condra (2-3-5) also had solid offensive showings in Binghamton’s series win as the Senators scored 25 goals in the seven games… B-Sens goaltender Robin Lehner, a second-round draft pick (46th overall) by Ottawa in 2009 who doesn’t turn 20 until July 24, earned the win in all three games of Binghamton’s comeback vs. Manchester… Portland advanced despite having top goaltender Jhonas Enroth and AHL defenseman of the year Marc-Andre Gragnani on NHL recall to Buffalo during the first round, and team scoring leader Mark Mancari and first-round draft pick Dennis Persson shuttling between the Sabres and the Pirates… Mancari was back in the Portland lineup for Games 5 and 6 against Connecticut and combined for two goals, three assists and 15 shots on net… AHL rookie of the year Luke Adam was limited to 2-1-3 in the opening round… Rookie Corey Tropp paced the Pirates offensively with seven points (2-5-7) against the Whale and brings a three-game scoring streak (1-4-5) into round two… Forwards Paul Byron and Mark Parrish each had 2-2-4 over the final two division semifinal contests… Portland (74.2 percent) and Binghamton (69.2 percent) owned the AHL’s two lowest penalty killing rankings in the first round… The cities of Binghamton and Portland have been together in the AHL for 28 seasons, but this is the first time the two have met in the Calder Cup Playoffs.


MOOSE SLIP NOOSE – Winnipeg Free Press
Down three games to one in their series against the Lake Erie Monsters, it was apparent the Manitoba Moose might not all be on the same page. They won Game 5 but a serious disagreement popped up again in Game 6. Oddly enough, that set the table for a Game 7 hero to emerge for the Moose. Centre Alexandre Bolduc, who irritated his coach with three penalties during a 3-1 Game 6 victory Sunday, brushed off the scolding and fired the critical go-ahead goal that turned into the game-winner in Tuesday’s series-clinching 4-1 triumph.

Game 7 is a time for unlikely heroes and Alexandre Bolduc was more than happy to take his place at center stage. For the better part of six games in the North Division semifinal, Bolduc let his frustrations get the better of him, often taking undisciplined penalties. But on this night, Bolduc would be the one driving the opposition up the wall and right out of the Calder Cup playoffs.

Where it once appeared they might run out of paint, the Monsters ended up spraying X’s through just three of 16 numbers on their Countdown To The Calder Cup dashboard sign at The Q. The Monsters gave up four straight goals, including three in the third period, and lost to the Manitoba Moose, 4-1, in Game 7 of an AHL first-round playoff series. A crowd of 10,277 at The Q watched the Moose complete a comeback from a 3-1 series deficit.

All was even after six games and two periods of Game 7 Tuesday night between the Moose and Monsters in their tooth-and-claw AHL North Division Calder Cup playoff series. As it turned out, that spelled doom for the Monsters. After leading the series three games to one and leading Game 7, 1-0, with less than four minutes to play in the second period Tuesday, the Monsters fell apart at the most critical time and were flattened by the Moose, 4-1.

Coach Kevin Dineen didn’t spend much time drawing X’s and O’s Tuesday morning during the last full practice before the Portland Pirates host the Binghamton Senators tonight in Game 1 of their best-of-seven AHL playoff series. “We wanted to get our legs kind of warmed up,” Dineen said. “I tried to keep it fairly crisp and short.” The second-round series features two of the league’s most potent offenses. Portland led the league in scoring during the regular season and Binghamton is the postseason scoring leader among the eight teams left in the playoffs.

It’s been a while since there was just one New England team left in the Calder Cup hunt at this stage of the postseason. But that’s precisely the case barely four weeks into April, as the Portland Pirates prepare to meet the Binghamton Senators in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Gone from the scene already are the Connecticut Whale (taken down by the Pirates in six games) and the Manchester Monarchs (ousted in dramatic Game 7 overtime fashion by the Senators).

B-SENS BRACE FOR A NEW CHALLENGE – Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
The Binghamton Senators believed the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs would be their most difficult. Five overtime games, dozens of lead changes and a rally from a 3-1 series deficit against the Manchester Monarchs made that look like an accurate assessment. But now that they’re through the first round, facing the Portland Pirates in the Atlantic Division Finals promises to be equally demanding.

The Binghamton Senators have been ravaged by injuries. The Portland Pirates are victims of postseason call-ups. But both teams found a way to get through the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs, and now they get a chance to test themselves against each other. They split the regular-season series 1-1, with each team winning on the road.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins defenseman Joey Mormina knows the secret to slowing down the high-flying offense of the Charlotte Checkers. It isn’t something assistant coach Alain Nasreddine discovered on film or head coach John Hynes drew up on the locker room wipe board. You don’t have to subscribe to Mormina’s website or buy his DVD from a late-night infomercial to find out what it is. He won’t even whisper when he reveals it. The secret to slowing down the Checkers is no secret at all.

After watching Norfolk goaltender Dustin Tokarski give up a mere three goals in the first three games of their playoff series, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins knew they had to get the hot netminder off his game. So they ran their mouths. And it worked. Sure, improved play was the main reason the Penguins were able to get enough pucks past Tokarski to win the final four games of the series. But there were some little things that helped.

BEARS BID FAREWELL TO 2010-11 SEASON – Harrisburg Patriot-News
Happy hangovers from celebrating Calder Cup championships characterized the past two season breakup days for the Hershey Bears. After a first-round exit in 2010-11, Tuesday’s breakup day at Giant Center was a sober affair. “A lot of teams, your goal at the start of the year is to win it,” defenseman Patrick Wellar said. “Here you truly feel you have a chance every year. We’re very disappointed. We feel like we let each other down.”

In last night’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, Alexandre Burrows’ two goals included the game-winner at 5:22 of overtime as Vancouver knocked off Chicago, 2-1, in Game 7 of their Western Conference quarterfinal… Former AHL All-Star Daniel Briere netted a goal and added an assist to help Philadelphia to a 5-2 victory over Buffalo in Game 7… Brian Gionta notched the game-winning goal and 2007 Calder Cup Playoffs MVP Carey Price made 31 saves as Montreal forced a seventh game with a 2-1 win over Boston.

93:02 – Total time in which Binghamton played with the lead during its division semifinal series vs. Manchester (20.0 percent of the 465:32 played) – including just 34:41 combined in their overtime victories in Games 5, 6 and 7 (15.8 percent of the 219:46 played).

48 – Games played around the AHL during the division semifinal round of the Calder Cup Playoffs, the most since 2004 (also 48).

April 27, 2010David Shantz (24 saves) becomes the ninth goaltender in AHL history to record a Game 7 shutout, leading Abbotsford to a 2-0 win at Rochester.

April 27, 2009Maxim Noreau scores the winning goal midway through the third period and Houston outlasts Peoria, 5-2, in Game 7 of their West Division semifinal.

April 27, 2008Josh Tordjman’s 38-save shutout backs San Antonio’s 3-0 victory in Toronto to force a Game 7 in their division semifinal series.

April 27, 1997Manny Legace makes 35 saves and Kevin Brown scores 10:20 into overtime as Springfield defeats Portland, 1-0, in a winner-take-all Game 5, capping a comeback from an 0-2 series deficit.

April 27, 1974 – Hershey opens the Calder Cup Finals with a 4-3 win over the Providence Reds behind Jim Pearson’s goal 1:43 into overtime.

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