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.
THURSDAY’S THREE STARS:
1. Chris Bourque figured into all five Hershey goals, scoring twice and assisting on three others as the Bears took a 5-4 overtime win at Albany to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
2. David Van der Gulik netted his third goal of the playoffs to help Abbotsford jump to a 1-0 series lead on Hamilton with a 3-2 victory.
3. Hershey forward Mathieu Perreault tied the game late in the third period and then tallied the game-winner 2:23 into overtime.
TONIGHT’S SCHEDULE (all times ET):
Game 3 – Worcester at Manchester, 7:30 (Series tied, 1-1)
Game 1 – Texas at Chicago, 8:30
2010 CALDER CUP PLAYOFFS:
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 3, WORCESTER 2 (OT)
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 6, ALBANY 5 (OT)
Game 4 – Thu., Apr. 29 – Hershey 5, ALBANY 4 (OT)
North Division Finals – Series “K” (best-of-7)
N1-Hamilton Bulldogs vs. vs. N3-Abbotsford Heat
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 29 – Abbotsford 3, HAMILTON 2
Game 2 – Sun., May 2 – Abbotsford at Hamilton, 2:00
Game 3 – Tue., May 4 – Hamilton at Abbotsford, 10:00
Game 4 – Thu., May 6 – Hamilton at Abbotsford, 10:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 8 – Hamilton at Abbotsford, 10:00
*Game 6 – Mon., May 10 – Abbotsford at Hamilton, 7:30
*Game 7 – Tue., May 11 – Abbotsford at Hamilton, 7:30
West Division Finals – Series “L” (best-of-7)
W1-Chicago Wolves vs. W2-Texas Stars
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 30 – Texas at Chicago, 8:30
Game 2 – Sun., May 2 – Texas at Chicago, 4:00
Game 3 – Tue., May 4 – Chicago at Texas, 8:30
Game 4 – Wed., May 5 – Chicago at Texas, 8:30
*Game 5 – Fri., May 7 – Chicago at Texas, 8:30
*Game 6 – Sun., May 9 – Texas at Chicago, 4:00
*Game 7 – Tue., May 11 – Texas at Chicago, 8:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern
GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 3 – Worcester at Manchester, 7:30 (Series tied, 1-1)
The Atlantic Division Finals shift to Manchester tonight with the Monarchs and Sharks deadlocked at a game apiece… The first two contests have each featured come-from-behind victories: Worcester rallied for a 4-3 win in the series opener on Sunday, and Manchester came back to take a 3-2 overtime decision in Wednesday’s Game 2… Monarchs second-year pro Bud Holloway scored 4:29 into OT to record his fifth game-winning goal in as many Manchester victories this postseason… Holloway, who totaled five game-winners during the entire regular season, is now just one shy of Darren Haydar’s AHL-record six game-deciding goals for an entire postseason, set in 2006 with Milwaukee… Justin Azevedo picked up a goal and an assist in Game 2, and his seven postseason points (1-6-7) are tied with Holloway (5-2-7) for the Manchester team lead… Azevedo has found the scoresheet in each of the Monarchs’ first six playoff games… Corey Elkins also scored for the Monarchs on Wednesday, and the rookie now shows a point in five of six postseason outings (2-3-5)… Manchester’s Oscar Moller is riding a three-game scoring streak (2-2-4) after going scoreless in his first three playoff contests… Rookie Brandon Mashinter and defenseman Derek Joslin netted Game 2 goals for the Sharks, and Steven Zalewski assisted on both markers… Zalewski now shows multiple points in each of the first two games against Manchester (1-3-4) after racking up eight points (5-3-8) in eight regular-season meetings with the Monarchs… Eddie Shore Award winner Danny Groulx has a point in four straight (0-5-5) and six of seven playoff games (1-6-7), and his seven points give him a share of the Worcester team lead with Dan DaSilva (2-5-7), who has been held scoreless through the first two games of this series… Both teams went 1-for-3 on the power play in Game 2 after being held to 0-for-4 (Manchester) and 0-for-3 (Worcester) performances in the series opener.
Game 1 – Texas at Chicago, 8:30
Chicago and Texas, who finished first and second in their division during the regular season, kick off the West Division Finals tonight at Allstate Arena… The Wolves advanced after a seven-game victory over Milwaukee in the division semifinals, while the Stars will hit the ice for the first time since completing a four-game sweep of Rockford on Apr. 23… The road team won six of these teams’ eight regular-meetings, including each of the last five; Chicago’s lone victory over Texas at Allstate Arena came on Nov. 22, a 3-1 decision… Joey Crabb (4-2-6), Tim Stapleton (2-4-6) and Matt Anderson (0-6-6) paced the Wolves with six points apiece in the first round, while Johnny Pohl (3-2-5), Spencer Machacek (2-3-5) and Nathan Oystrick (0-5-5) each had five points… Jason Krog, who was limited to two goals and two assists against Milwaukee, put up a team-high 11 points (3-8-11) in seven clashes with Texas during the regular season… The Wolves scored the first goal in five of their seven opening-round contests (4-1), and the Stars nabbed the first score in all four of their outings… Chicago (30.8 percent) and Texas (27.8 percent) rank second and third, respectively, on the power play this postseason, and the Stars went 4-for-8 in their two road games vs. Rockford… Stars rookie Travis Morin shows a team-high seven points, all assists, and he recorded at least one helper in all four first-round contests… Fellow rookie Jamie Benn, assigned by parent-club Dallas for the playoffs, boasts three goals and three assists in his first four AHL contests… Mathieu Beaudoin, who recorded 17 points in 20 AHL playoff games for Houston in 2009, missed Texas’s first two playoff games but tallied a goal in each of the last two… Texas goaltender Brent Krahn, a member of the Wolves last season, leads all AHL goaltenders with a 1.25 goals-against average and .961 save percentage, having stopped 122 of 127 shots in the division semifinals… Krahn and the Stars took a shutout into the third period of all four games vs. Rockford.
ANOTHER RALLY LIFTS BEARS TO SERIES SWEEP – Harrisburg Patriot-News
After rallying from one-goal deficits in the third period to win the first three games of the East Division finals, the Hershey Bears upped the ante for Game 4 Thursday night at Times Union Center. They revived from a two-goal hole in the third before beating the Albany River Rats 5-4 in overtime to sweep the best-of-seven series and advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the fourth time in the last five seasons.
BEARS TRIP UP RATS – Albany Times Union
Some refer to overtime as sudden death. In this case, it was the passing away of a 17-year-old American Hockey League franchise. The game, season and existence for the Albany River Rats came to an abrupt end Thursday night with one quick flip of the puck by the Hershey Bears. Mathieu Perreault was the one who pulled the switch to implode the River Rats, scoring 2:23 into overtime for a 5-4 Hershey victory.
INSPIRATION TO FOLLOW RATS ON TO CHARLOTTE – Albany Times Union
On an Albany River Rats team with a Zack FitzGerald and Zach Boychuk and Zac Dalpe, there’s a Zach that looms largest of them all. Zach Bennett is the River Rat with the Z on his jersey, No. 02. He’s a goalie, his painted mask never far from his head. You’ve never seen Bennett play, but make no mistake, he is every bit a River Rat, or at least was. Like his teammates after Thursday’s loss, it’s time for Bennett – and his wheelchair, goalie mask and whole family – to pack up and head off to North Carolina.
END OF THE LINE – Troy Record
The Albany River Rats have lived dangerously all series long against the Hershey Bears. When the Rats looked to have finally broken through in the series to avoid elimination, the Bears found a way to again break their hearts, this time in the franchise’s final game.
EVEN IN DEFEAT, RIVER RATS SALUTE FAITHFUL – Troy Record
This wasn’t the way it was supposed to end for the Albany River Rats. The River Rats saluted their faithful fans by raising their sticks to the crowd after they shook hands with the victorious Hershey Bears in the hockey tradition following the deciding game of a series. Thursday’s loss to Hershey closed the books on the 17-year Albany franchise, which will be relocated to North Carolina to become the Charlotte Checkers for next season.
ABBOTSFORD TAKES GAME ONE – Hamilton Spectator
Since the start of the American Hockey League playoffs, Hamilton Bulldogs coach Guy Boucher has griped about how much he doesn’t like the 2-3-2 playoff format. His argument is that it doesn’t favor the higher-placed team. Now, he really has something to complain about. The Abbotsford Heat beat the Dogs 3-2 last night at Copps Coliseum to steal away Hamilton’s home-ice advantage.
RED-HOT HEAT STUN BULLDOGS IN GAME 1 – Abbotsford News
Playoff momentum is hard to quantify and capture, but there’s no doubt the Abbotsford Heat have it in spades right now. Fresh off three consecutive victories to close out the Rochester Americans in the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs, the Heat beat the Hamilton Bulldogs 3-2 on Thursday at Copps Coliseum to open their North Division final series.
HEAT DRAW FIRST BLOOD AGAINST BULLDOGS – Calgary Herald/Canwest Publishing
The Abbotsford Heat are becoming the road warriors of the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup playoffs. The Heat, the top farm club of the Calgary Flames, won their fourth road game in five post-season attempts Thursday night at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, dumping the host Bulldogs 3-2 to open the best-of-seven North Division final.
HEAT WIN! HEAT WIN! (ROUND ONE, ANYWAY) – Abbotsford Times
It is the AHL’s version of David vs. Goliath. Hamilton finished 25 points ahead of Abbotsford this season, securing the regular season division title well in advance of the playoffs. The Dogs scored far more goals than did the Heat, and allowed far fewer goals as well. Despite the difference in numbers between the two clubs – the only two Canadian teams left in the AHL playoffs – during the regular season, head coach Jim Playfair likes the match-up.
MONARCHS SEEK THE EDGE – New Hampshire Union Leader
The Manchester Monarchs have stolen home ice advantage from Worcester. Tonight, they get the chance to capitalize. The Monarchs will host Worcester tonight at Verizon Wireless Arena in Game 3 of the Atlantic Division finals best-of-seven playoff series. With tonight’s game in Manchester as well as Game 4 tomorrow, the Monarchs have a chance to take control of the series.
STARS’ ‘D’ A CHALLENGE FOR WOLVES – Chicago Sun-Times
The Wolves’ strong offense may be hard-pressed to score against the Texas Stars’ tough defense when they open their best-of-seven West Division final tonight in Allstate Arena. The Stars tied the league-leading Hershey Bears for second in league defense during the regular season, allowing just 195 goals in 80 games. They’ve been even better in the playoffs. They swept the Rockford IceHogs 4-0 and allowed a league-low five goals against in the series.
WOLVES READY TO COOL DOWN RED-HOT TEXAS – Daily Herald
The Chicago Wolves take their next step in pursuit of their third Calder Cup by taking on the Texas Stars in the Western Division Finals at Allstate Arena on Friday night. But in order to move on, the Wolves need to play 60 minutes every night, especially against a Texas team that swept the Rockford IceHogs and outscored them 15-5 in their opening round series.
TWO-MAN APPROACH AT GOALIE MAKES STARS DOUBLY DANGEROUS – Austin American-Statesman
He might not be much into espionage, but Brent Krahn is a Star in a Wolves’ jersey. Though he wasn’t there to collect intelligence, the Texas Stars’ goalie spent 13 games with the Chicago Wolves last season. He’ll be between the pipes tonight in Chicago as the Stars open up the AHL West division finals against the Wolves.
FROM CALDER TO STANLEY:
In Thursday’s only Stanley Cup Playoff action, Joe Pavelski notched two goals and added an assist to help San Jose open its Western Conference semifinal with a 4-3 win over Detroit… Devin Setoguchi also scored for the Sharks, while 2000 AHL All-Star Dan Boyle (0-3-3) and Jason Demers (0-2-2) each contributed multiple assists in the win.
BY THE NUMBERS:
6 – Former AHL All-Star defensemen set to suit up in the West Division Finals, with Texas’s Andrew Hutchinson, Garrett Stafford and Dan Jancevski opposing Chicago’s Ivan Vishnevskiy, Nathan Oystrick and Noah Welch.
13 – Consecutive series in which Chicago has held home-ice advantage… The Wolves have not been a lower seed since their 2004 division final meeting with Milwaukee.
10.6 – Percentage of play during its four-game sweep of Albany that Hershey held a lead (28:39 of 269:12).
5 – Points recorded by Chris Bourque in last night’s Game 4 at Albany, the first five-point game in the AHL playoffs since former Bears teammate Tomas Fleischmann had 1-4-5 in a series-clinching win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on May 11, 2007.
April 30, 1997 – Sheldon Souray scores 16:08 into overtime as Albany opens its second-round series with a 3-2 win at Rochester.
April 30, 1993 – The Binghamton Rangers (124 pts.) avoid the biggest upset in AHL history with a 5-3 win over the Baltimore Skipjacks (68 pts.) in Game 7 of their division semifinal… Byron Dafoe makes 47 saves in the loss.
April 30, 1989 – Adam Graves scores 10:31 into overtime as Adirondack beats Hershey, 2-1, to become the second team in AHL history to rally from an 0-3 series deficit and advance.
April 30, 1967 – The Hornets win their final AHL game in Pittsburgh, capturing the Calder Cup on Billy Harris’s overtime goal against Rochester at the Civic Arena (now Mellon Arena).
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.