AHL Quick Hits is now the Morning Skate… Every morning, take 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.
WEDNESDAY’S THREE STARS:
1. Corey Locke set a Bulldogs franchise record with six points (3g, 3a) in
2. Jiri Tlusty tallied two goals and two assists in his AHL return to lead
3. Martins Karsums recorded two goals and an assist as
FRIDAY’S SCHEDULE (all times ET):
CALDER CUP PLAYOFF RACES:
Click here for up-to-date AHL standings
1. Hershey clinches a playoff berth (a) a win at
GAME NOTES (all times ET):
The Penguins and River Rats meet tonight at the
A first-round playoff preview pits
Lowell at Bridgeport, 7:30
Bridgeport is four points out of a playoff spot with three games to play as it welcomes Lowell to the Arena at Harbor Yard tonight… The Sound Tigers are 3-2-0-0 in the season series and have captured both home tilts against the Devils this season… Two-time AHL All-Star Jeff Tambellini has 36 goals – one off the league lead – and 72 points in just 54 games for Bridgeport… Blake Comeau has six points (1-5-6) in three games since returning from the parent N.Y. Islanders… The Devils enter the weekend winless in their last four games (0-3-0-1).
Syracuse at Rochester, 7:35
Syracuse brings its 12-game winning streak and 20-game points streak (17-0-0-3), both AHL season highs and franchise records, to a battle with arch-rival Rochester on Friday… The Crunch haven’t lost in regulation since Feb. 18 and are 9-2-0-0 against the Americans this season… Syracuse rookie Derick Brassard, the sixth overall pick by Columbus in the 2006 draft, brings an eight-game scoring streak (7-14-21) into tonight’s action… Nate DiCasmirro has a point in three straight (2-3-5) and six of his last seven (2-7-9)… 2008 AHL All-Star Mark Mancari is riding a five-game scoring streak (3-3-6) for the Americans.
Houston at Milwaukee, 8:00
Playoff positioning in the tightly packed West Division is on the line when Houston visits Milwaukee for the first of three meetings between the teams this weekend… The Aeros and Admirals are part of a three-way tie with San Antonio for third place in the division, two points back of second-place Rockford… The Admirals are 12-3-1-0 since Mar. 1, while the Aeros boast a 12-6-0-1 mark over that same span… Milwaukee’s Matt Ellison has a point in eight of his last nine games (6-5-11) and a team-high 26 goals for the campaign… Houston goaltender Nolan Schaefer has a league-best 2.04 GAA in 32 games this season (18-12-0).
San Antonio at Peoria, 8:00
San Antonio looks to improve its playoff position on Friday when it visits Peoria, which will miss the playoffs for the second straight year… The Rampage are 5-2-0-0 in their last seven games overall and 5-1-0-1 against the Rivermen this season… San Antonio’s Matt Murley has a team-high 58 points (19-39-58) this season, including two goals and nine assists in seven meetings with Peoria… David Spina sports a point in six of his last seven contests (6-5-11)… Peoria’s Julian Talbot is tied for fifth on the AHL’s rookie scoring list with 49 points (24-25-49) in 75 games.
Iowa at Quad City, 8:05
Division rivals Iowa and Quad City tangle for the 12th and final time this season tonight at the I Wireless Center in Moline… The Flames are 8-3-0-0 against the Stars, including a 4-1-0-0 mark on home ice… Grant Stevenson leads Quad City with career highs in goals (30), assists (42) and points (72) in 77 games… David Van der Gulik has six goals and nine points in the season series… Quad City is 9-for-45 (20.0%) on the power play against Iowa this year… Stars rookie James Neal shows a point in five of his last six contests (4-3-7)… Marty Sertich scored twice in Wednesday’s 3-2 overtime loss to San Antonio.
Chicago at Rockford, 8:30
West Division champion Chicago travels to Rockford for the first tilt of a home-and-home with the IceHogs this weekend… The Wolves are 5-2-0-1 thus far in the season series but just 1-2-0-1 at the MetroCentre… Chicago can clinch home-ice advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs with a win combined with a Toronto regulation loss… First Team AHL All-Star Jason Krog leads the AHL in assists (68) and points (104), and he boasts a team-high 15 points (5-10-15) in eight games against Rockford… The IceHogs’ Martin St. Pierre ranks second behind Krog with 84 points (20-64-84) but is scoreless in back-to-back games for just the third time this season.
OUT OF NOWHERE: BOUDREAU, STEVENS IN NHL PLAYOFFS
Joseph White, Associated Press
With his balding head, pleasant chubby smile, off-the-cuff humor and a wardrobe that won’t exactly land him in Vogue, Bruce Boudreau looks more like the neighborhood butcher than a hockey coach. On the other hand, check out John Stevens. Nice suit. Nice hair. Measured words, at least in public. A good bet to win a foot race between the two. “I’m not going out and getting a toupee,” Boudreau said Wednesday with a laugh and a shrug. “And the weight’s not coming off quite the way I like it to. That’s who I am.” Looks can be deceiving. Although they will never pass for identical twins, the coaches commanding the benches in Friday’s Game 1 between the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers actually have quite a bit in common… Link
REGULAR SEASON’S END BITTERSWEET FOR BONVIE
Jonathan Bombulie, Citizen’s Voice
As an optional practice wound down around noon on Thursday, Dennis Bonvie and 13 other Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins players lingered on the ice at the Wachovia Arena. Led by Chris Minard and Kurtis McLean, seasoned veterans in this group, the other 13 players had a combined 784 AHL career games on their AHL resumes. That’s still more than a full season short of Bonvie’s 870 games of AHL experience. What was the 35-year-old Bonvie doing on the ice with a group of fresh-faced teammates? After all, veterans don’t usually take part in such practices, especially this late in the year… Link
Lindsay Kramer, Syracuse Post-Standard
Obscured by the most improbable and electric turnaround in the 14-year history of the Syracuse Crunch is the forgotten nugget that this year’s edition was never all that terrible to begin with. The team at times was mediocre, inconsistent and, more than anything else, just plain blah. It was never worse than six games under .500, but never close to anything that could be described as Calder Cup contender. That all seems like another era, which is