AHL Morning Skate: April 29

Take a game-day spin around the AHL ice with latest from around the Calder Cup Playoffs in today’s Morning Skate.

Complete Schedule || Playoff Brackets || Today’s Scoreboard || League Leaders

Tonight’s Previews

Game 3 – 7:00 ET, AHL Live (TOR leads series, 2-0)
@TorontoMarlies | @GriffinsHockey | #GRvsTOR

After defending their own home ice twice over the weekend, Toronto takes a 2-0 series lead to Grand Rapids for tonight’s Game 3, the first of three chances the Marlies have to close out the series on the road… Van Andel Arena also happens to be the site of Toronto’s last loss, a 7-2 defeat to the Griffins on Apr. 4… Since then, the Marlies have won nine in a row, outscoring the opposition 43-19… In those nine games, the Marlies’ offense has been led by T.J. Brennan (4-12-16), Byron Froese (4-11-15), Matt Frattin (7-7-14), William Nylander (5-7-12) and Brendan Leipsic (6-5-11)… Brennan (2-2-4), Froese (1-3-4) and Josh Leivo (1-3-4) have four points each to lead all Toronto scorers in the postseason… Teemu Pulkkinen (3-0-3) has scored three of Grand Rapids’ six goals in the series, giving him 26 goals in his last 23 AHL games… Andy Miele (1-2-3) and Jeff Hoggan (0-3-3) also have three points each for the Griffins… Grand Rapids is 6-7 in its AHL history when facing elimination, including 4-3 at home.

Western Conference Quarterfinals – Series “F” (best-of-5)
2-Grand Rapids Griffins vs. 7-Toronto Marlies

Game 1 – Sat., Apr. 25 – TORONTO 7, Grand Rapids 4
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 26 – TORONTO 5, Grand Rapids 2
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 29 – Toronto at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 4 – Sat., May 2 – Toronto at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sun., May 3 – Toronto at Grand Rapids, 5:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Game 3 – 7:00 ET, AHL Live (HER leads series, 2-0)
@WorcesterSharks | @TheHersheyBears | #HERvsWOR

Hershey is one win away from its first series victory in five years, coming home with a 2-0 lead on Worcester for Game 3 tonight… Pheonix Copley (2-0, 1.00, .974) stopped 74 of 76 Sharks shots in the first two games, improving to 16-1-3 in his last 20 decisions overall… The Bears got goals from seven different scorers over Games 1 and 2, including three from defensemen (Cameron Schilling, Connor Carrick, Nate Schmidt)… Micheal Haley (Game 1) and Eriah Hayes (Game 2) have the only goals in the series for Worcester, which won five of its last eight road games to close out the regular season — including a 3-2 shootout win at Hershey on Apr. 1… Hershey is 3-for-7 (42.9 percent) on the power play in the series; Worcester is 1-for-7 (14.3 percent)… The Sharks are 2-3 all-time when facing playoff elimination.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals – Series “B” (best-of-5)
2-Hershey Bears vs. 7-Worcester Sharks
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 24 – Hershey 4, WORCESTER 1
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 25 – Hershey 3, WORCESTER 1
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 29 – Worcester at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 4 – Fri., May 1 – Worcester at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sun., May 3 – Worcester at Hershey, 5:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Game 3 – 7:00 ET, AHL Live (WBS leads series, 2-0)
@WBSPenguins | @SyracuseCrunch | #WBSvsSYR
Two convincing victories at home have put Wilkes-Barre/Scranton up 2-0 on Syracuse as the series shifts up Interstate 81 to Onondaga County… Matt Murray (2-0, 0.50, .980) made 27 saves on Saturday night for his first playoff shutout after recording 12 in the 2014-15 regular season… Kasperi Kapanen (3-0-3) is tied for second in the AHL in playoff goals, and Carter Rowney (2-2-4) is tied for third in points… Thanks to three power-play goals in the first period of Game 2, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is 3-for-11 in the series (27.3 percent); Syracuse is 0-for-6… Matthew Peca has the only goal of the series for the Crunch, 14:00 into the second period of Game 1… The Penguins are now 27-7-2-1 since Jan. 21, and are 15-2-2-0 on the road during that time… Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is the first AHL team to open a playoff series with a pair of four-goal wins since Providence in 2008 vs. Portland (4-0 and 7-1); the Bruins lost that series in six games… Syracuse, 6-11 in its history when facing elimination, has not been swept in a playoff series since a 3-0 loss to Rochester in 1997.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals – Series “D” (best-of-5)
4-W-B/Scranton Penguins vs. 5-Syracuse Crunch

Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 24 – W-B/SCRANTON 5, Syracuse 1
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 25 – W-B/SCRANTON 4, Syracuse 0
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 29 – W-B/Scranton at Syracuse, 7:00
*Game 4 – Thu., Apr. 30 – W-B/Scranton at Syracuse, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 2 – Syracuse at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Game 3 – 7:00 ET, AHL Live (Series tied, 1-1)
@Chicago_Wolves | @UticaComets | #UTIvsCHI
Calder Cup Playoff action returns to the Aud for the first time in 22 years as Utica hosts Chicago in Game 3 tonight… The last AHL playoff game at the historic Memorial Auditorium was played on Apr. 22, 1993, a 4-3 overtime win by the Rochester Americans to take a 3-1 series lead over the Utica Devils; the goaltending match-up that night pitted Martin Brodeur (Utica) against Olaf Kolzig (Rochester)… The Comets and Wolves are all square after splitting two games in Rosemont last week… Chicago bounced back from a double-overtime loss in Game 1 last Wednesday to pull out a 2-1 victory in Game 2 on Friday, just the second regulation loss suffered by Utica in its last 19 games… Former Comet Jeremy Welsh (1-0-1) scored the winning goal for the Wolves in Game 2… Chicago’s Jordan Binnington (1-1, 1.69, .946) has stopped 70 of 74 shots in the series thus far… Hunter Shinkaruk (2-1-3) scored in each of the first two games of the series and now has 10 goals in his last 15 contests going back to the regular season… The teams are a combined 1-for-20 on the power play (Chicago 1-for-11, Utica 0-for-9).

Western Conference Quarterfinals – Series “E” (best-of-5)
1-Utica Comets vs. 8-Chicago Wolves

Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 22 – Utica 3, CHICAGO 2 (2OT)
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 24 – CHICAGO 2, Utica 1
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 29 – Chicago at Utica, 7:00
Game 4 – Fri., May 1 – Chicago at Utica, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 2 – Chicago at Utica, 7:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Game 3 – 8:00 ET, AHL Live (OKC leads series, 2-0)
@OKCBarons | @SARampage | #SAvsOKC

San Antonio finds itself in an 0-2 hole as it prepares to host Game 3 of its Western Conference quarterfinal series at the AT&T Center tonight… Oklahoma City scored twice in the final 3:17 of regulation and again 4:01 into overtime to take Game 2 and grab a 2-0 series lead on Saturday night… Jordan Oesterle cut the deficit to 3-2 at 16:43 of the third and Andrew Miller‘s deflection of a Jason Williams shot with 36 seconds left tied the score before Connor Jones won it in the extra session… For the Barons, who won a league-record 14 overtime games during the regular season, Game 2 marked the seventh time this season winning a game that they had trailed inside of five minutes to go in regulation… Richard Bachman stopped all 16 shots he faced in relief to earn the win after the Rampage had opened up a 3-0 lead off starter Laurent Brossoit (1-0, 3.46, .909)… Connor Brickley, Corban Knight and John McFarland scored in Game 2 for San Antonio, giving the Rampage five different goal-scorers in the series… Oklahoma City scored three power-play goals in Game 2, improving to 5-for-11 (45.5 percent) in the series… San Antonio is 1-for-8 (12.5 percent) with the man advantage… Going back to their 2012 meeting, the Barons have won six straight playoff games vs. the Rampage, including four in overtime… San Antonio is 2-3 in games when facing elimination from the playoffs.

Western Conference Quarterfinals – Series “G” (best-of-5)
3-San Antonio Rampage vs. 6-Oklahoma City Barons

Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 23 – OKLAHOMA CITY 5, San Antonio 2
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 25 – OKLAHOMA CITY 4, San Antonio 3 (OT)
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 29 – Oklahoma City at San Antonio, 8:00
*Game 4 – Fri., May 1 – Oklahoma City at San Antonio, 8:30
*Game 5 – Sat., May 2 – Oklahoma City at San Antonio, 8:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Game 3 – 8:00 ET, AHL Live (RFD leads series, 2-0)
@TexasStars | @GoIceHogs | #RFDvsTEX
The Texas Stars’ title defense faces its first major hurdle tonight as Rockford brings a 2-0 series lead into Game 3 at the BMO Harris Bank Center… No defending Calder Cup champion has been swept out of the first round since Houston’s ouster in a best-of-three qualifier series vs. Cincinnati in 2004… Spencer Abbott (2-1-3), Peter Regin (1-2-3), Brandon Mashinter (1-2-3) and Ville Pokka (0-3-3) led the IceHogs’ offense to a pair of road wins in Cedar Park over the weekend, giving Rockford 10 consecutive victories over Texas since the Stars’ last win on Jan. 21, 2013… Michael Leighton (2-0, 1.50, .957) stopped 67 of 70 total shots in the two wins… Tanner Kero, who scored five goals in six regular-season games for the IceHogs after finishing his senior season at Michigan Tech, netted the game-winner in Game 2… Curtis McKenzie and rookie defenseman Julius Honka lead Texas with 1-1-2 each in the series… Texas is 3-3 on the road and 4-3 overall in games facing playoff elimination.

Western Conference Quarterfinals – Series “H” (best-of-5)
4-Rockford IceHogs vs. 5-Texas Stars
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 24 – Rockford 4, TEXAS 2
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 25 – Rockford 4, TEXAS 1
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 29 – Texas at Rockford, 8:00
*Game 4 – Fri., May 1 – Texas at Rockford, 8:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 2 – Texas at Rockford, 8:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

About Last Night…
Wolf Pack push series to the limit

0-2 Holes

87 teams in AHL history have lost the first two games of a best-of-five Calder Cup Playoff series, and only 10 have rallied to win the series (11.5 percent)… The last team to pull off the comeback was the Providence Bruins in 2013, winning three straight to eliminate the Hershey Bears… Only three teams have ever lost the first two games of a best-of-five at home and come back to win: Providence (2013 vs. Hershey), Rochester (1967 vs. Cleveland) and Hershey (1954 vs. Pittsburgh)… All three of those series were in a 2-2-1 format.

Alumni Watch
The Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings close out the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with Game 7 of their series tonight… Those teams’ affiliates have won two of the last three Calder Cups (Norfolk 2012, Grand Rapids 2013)… Twelve former Calder Cup champions have skated in the series so far… Tomas Jurco scored the winning goal in Grand Rapids’ 5-4 win over Oklahoma City in Game 7 of their Western Conference Finals series in 2013; current Red Wings teammates Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar, Landon Ferraro, Luke Glendening and Petr Mrazek all played in that game as well.

AHL Live

Don’t miss a second on the road to the 2015 Calder Cup championship. AHL Live brings AHL action to your desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet all season long with live video webcasts and free highlights of every AHL game… Visit ahllive.com for details.