AHL Morning Skate: Bears, B’s set for Game 2

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.

Providence 3, HERSHEY 2 (PRO leads series, 1-0)
MANITOBA 5, Houston 2 (MTB leads series, 2-0)

1. Michael Grabner netted a pair of goals to help Manitoba to a 5-2 win over Houston in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals last night.

2. Rookie Zach Hamill registered two assists as Providence held off Hershey, 3-2, in the opener of the Eastern Conference Finals.

3. Jason Krog tallied a goal and an assist for the Moose, who won their ninth straight game and took a 2-0 series lead on the Aeros.

Game 2 – Providence at Hershey, 5:00 (PRO leads series, 1-0)

CC09rd3_160x600.jpg2009 CALDER CUP PLAYOFFS:
Complete Results || Scoring Leaders || Goaltending Leaders

Eastern Conference Finals – Series “M” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. A2-Providence Bruins
Game 1 – Sat., May 16 – Providence 3, HERSHEY 2
Game 2 – Sun., May 17 – Providence at Hershey, 5:00
Game 3 – Fri., May 22 – Hershey at Providence, 7:05
Game 4 – Sun., May 24 – Hershey at Providence, 7:05
*Game 5 – Mon., May 25 – Hershey at Providence, 4:05
*Game 6 – Wed., May 27 – Providence at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 7 – Thu., May 28 – Providence at Hershey, 7:00

Western Conference Finals – Series “N” (best-of-7)
N1-Manitoba Moose vs. W3-Houston Aeros

Game 1 – Fri., May 15 – MANITOBA 2, Houston 1
Game 2 – Sat., May 16 – MANITOBA 5, Houston 2
Game 3 – Mon., May 18 – Manitoba at Houston, 8:05
Game 4 – Wed., May 20 – Manitoba at Houston, 8:05
*Game 5 – Fri., May 22 – Manitoba at Houston, 8:35
*Game 6 – Mon., May 25 – Houston at Manitoba, 8:30
*Game 7 – Wed., May 27 – Houston at Manitoba, 8:30

*if necessary… All times Eastern

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 2 – Providence at Hershey, 5:00 (PRO leads series, 1-0)
Hershey hosts Providence for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals today looking to rebound from a 3-2 loss to the Bruins in last night’s series opener… Providence won for the ninth time in its last 11 games, while handing the Bears their first home loss of the postseason… Jeff Penner and Jordan Knackstedt each scored first-period power-play goals in Game 1 against a Hershey penalty-killing unit that had killed off 26 of 28 previous opportunities (92.9 percent) at home this postseason… Matt Marquardt scored his first career Calder Cup Playoff goal at even strength midway through the second period, and became the fifth different Bruins rookie to be credited with a game-winning goal this postseason… Tuukka Rask (9-3, 1.74, .943) made 30 saves on 32 shots and allowed two goals or fewer for the 10th time in 12 outings this postseason… Rookie Zach Hamill and Peter Schaefer each registered two assists for Providence last night… Hamill is on a three-game scoring streak (0-4-4), and Schaefer shows three helpers in his last two contests… The Bruins’ power play finished 2-for-4 in Game 1 and now ranks second in the AHL during the playoffs at 23.5 percent (12-for-51)… Rookie Oskar Osala, who entered the series with two goals in 11 postseason games this spring, notched both of Hershey’s tallies in the Game 1 loss… Prior to Saturday, Osala had not registered a multiple-goal effort since scoring twice on Nov. 26 in a 4-1 win over Binghamton… Ex-Bruin Keith Aucoin has a point in three straight games (1-3-4) and five of his last six (2-4-6) for Hershey… Bears goaltender Michal Neuvirth saw his shutout streak end at 151:38 on Penner’s first-period goal Saturday, and he finished with 25 saves in the loss… Hershey has not lost consecutive home games since losing three straight from Feb. 8-14… Providence is 12-3 all-time in playoff series after winning Game 1… Both the Bears and Bruins are 2-0 in Game 2’s this postseason.


Andrew P. Shay, Harrisburg Patriot-News
One goal in the first period would not have been enough for Providence. The Bruins were vastly superior to Hershey in the initial 20 minutes of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday night at Giant Center. Allowing the slumbering Bears, who for whatever reason were nowhere near ready to play, off the hook with only a one-goal deficit would have been a mini defeat for Providence. The Bears were that bad in the first period. Hershey woke up after 20 minutes, but the bulk of the damage was done and Providence snared Game 1 by a slim 3-2 count.

Bob Flounders, Harrisburg Patriot-News
Hershey had the right players in the right positions to force overtime Saturday night at Giant Center. But Providence had the right guy in net. The Bears couldn’t solve lanky goalie Tuukka Rask late, and the 22-year-old secured Providence’s 3-2 win with several brilliant saves in the final minutes of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. Game 2 is set for 5 p.m. today at Giant Center, and the Bears can’t afford to fall two games behind Providence. Not the way Rask is playing.

Dan Sernoffsky, York Sunday News
The Providence Bruins made the opening of the AHL’s Eastern Conference finals something “special” Saturday night. Totally dominating the first period – and picking up a pair of power-play goals in the process – the Bruins rang up a 3-2 victory over the Hershey Bears at Giant Center. As a result, Providence took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series and handed the Bears their first home-ice setback of the playoffs. It also cost the Bears their home ice advantage. After tonight’s Game 2 at Giant Center, the Bruins have three straight games in Providence.

Kirk Luedeke, New England Hockey Journal
It didn’t take Jamie Arniel long to make a splash with the Providence Bruins. The rookie forward did just that in his third career AHL game by scoring the winning goal against the Worcester Sharks in Game 6 to move his team on to the Eastern Conference finals. “Yeah, it’s a big surprise for me,” Arniel said, just before he and his teammates boarded a bus for Hershey, Pa., and a series that will send its winner on to the Calder Cup finals. “I thought I would come up (to Providence) right after the season, but I got a little injured. I took a few weeks off, but came up, got into a game then saw a little more ice time and the chance to play, so it’s been great so far.”

Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Sun
Houston coach Kevin Constantine thought the Manitoba Moose would be better and he was bang-on. Playing with purpose after shaking off the rust of an eight-day layoff in the series opener, the Moose roared out of the gates with three goals in the first period and jumped out to a 5-0 edge before hanging on to a 5-2 victory over the Houston Aeros before a crowd of 9,736 at the MTS Centre last night. “That was a complete game from all 20 guys,” said Moose head coach Scott Arniel. “All of the lines were good and our top people were our top people. It was a real solid lineup throughout our whole lineup.”

Gary Lawless, Winnipeg Free Press
They’re the last pro hockey team in Canada still at work and if the Houston Aeros were wondering what all the fuss is about the Manitoba Moose they got their answer Saturday night. The Moose ripped off their ninth straight win in these Calder Cup playdowns with a glitzy 5-2 spanking of the Aeros before 9,736 long weekend hockey watchers at the MTS Centre. Manitoba leads the best-of-seven Western Conference Final 2-0 with the series switching to Houston for Game 3 on Monday night. The Moose have not lost in the post-season since Game 3 of the first round, a 2-1 loss to the Toronto Marlies back on April 19.

Jim Bender, Houston Chronicle
Houston might have a serious problem. In the countdown to the AHL finals, the Aeros’ ship is listing. The Manitoba Moose overwhelmed the Aeros 5-2 before 9,736 fans Saturday night at the MTS Centre, giving the Moose a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference finals. “We’re down 2-0, but we’ve got three games at home and we’re a confident bunch in here,” said Aeros captain Clayton Stoner. “Give them a lot of credit, they’re a great team, but no one in here is counting us out of it. I wouldn’t even say the guys are too worried about it.”

– Times in its history that Hershey has opened a best-of-seven series with two home losses… The Bears were swept by Cincinnati in 1972, and rallied to defeat Springfield in the 1997 conference finals… That ’97 series featured current Hershey head coach Bob Woods on the Bears roster and current Providence head coach Rob Murray skating for the Falcons.

2 – Providence Bruins players with relatives competing in the Western Conference Finals… Peter Schaefer’s brother Nolan tends goal for the Houston Aeros, and Jamie Arniel’s uncle Scott is head coach of the Manitoba Moose.

May 17, 2006Tomas Fleischmann and Brooks Laich score two goals each as Hershey opens the Eastern Conference finals with a 5-0 win over Portland, the Bears’ ninth straight win to open the playoffs.

May 17, 2003 – Houston takes a 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference finals with a 2-1 win over Grand Rapids in Game 4.

May 17, 2001Darcy Verot scores 19 seconds into the game and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goes on to a 4-3 win at Saint John in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals.

May 17, 1993 – Olaf Kolzig makes 30 saves as Rochester advances to the Calder Cup Finals with a 3-2 win in Game 7 against the Binghamton Rangers, who had set AHL records for wins and points in the regular season (57-13-10)… Cape Breton gets a record-tying seven points (4g, 3a) from Bill McDougall in a 9-3 win over Springfield, sending the Oilers to the Finals as well.

Don’t miss a step on the road to the 2009 Calder Cup championship. AHL Live continues to bring AHL action to your computer all postseason 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.