AHL Morning Skate: Game 1 in Chicago tonight

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.

Game 6 – Manchester 2, PROVIDENCE 1 (MCH wins, 4-2)
Game 6 – Hamilton 3, MANITOBA 2 (OT) (HAM wins, 4-2)

1. Bulldogs forward Eric Manlow scores game-tying and game-winning goals as Hamilton advances with an OT win at Manitoba.

2. Tim Jackman nets the decisive goal in Manchester’s third straight one-goal victory over Providence.

3. Hamilton’s Carey Price stops 40 of 42 Moose shots for his fourth straight road win.

Game 1 – Hamilton at Chicago, 8:30

Eastern Conference Final – Series "M" (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. A1-Manchester Monarchs || Series Preview
Game 1 – Sat., May 19 – Manchester at Hershey, 7:30
Game 2 – Sun., May 20 – Manchester at Hershey, 6:00
Game 3 – Wed., May 23 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:05
Game 4 – Sat., May 26 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:35
*Game 5 – Sun., May 27 – Hershey at Manchester, 6:05
*Game 6 – Wed., May 30 – Manchester at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 7 – Thu., May 31 – Manchester at Hershey, 7:00

Western Conference Final – Series "N" (best-of-7)
W2-Chicago Wolves vs. N3-Hamilton Bulldogs || Series Preview
Game 1 – Fri., May 18 – Hamilton at Chicago, 8:30
Game 2 – Sun., May 20 – Hamilton at Chicago, 4:00
Game 3 – Wed., May 23 – Chicago at Hamilton, 7:30
Game 4 – Fri., May 25 – Chicago at Hamilton, 7:30
*Game 5 – Sat., May 26 – Chicago at Hamilton, 7:00
*Game 6 – Mon., May 28 – Hamilton at Chicago, 8:00
*Game 7 – Wed., May 30 – Hamilton at Chicago, 8:00

Division Finals
A1-Manchester Monarchs def. A3-Providence Bruins, 4-2
E1-Hershey Bears def. E2-W-B/Scranton Penguins, 4-1
N3-Hamilton Bulldogs def. N1-Manitoba, 4-2
W2-Chicago Wolves def. W4-Iowa Stars, 4-2

Division Semifinals
A1-Manchester Monarchs def. A4-Worcester Sharks, 4-2
A3-Providence Bruins def. A2-Hartford Wolf Pack, 4-3
E1-Hershey Bears def. E4-Albany River Rats, 4-1
E2-W-B/Scranton Penguins def. E3-Norfolk Admirals, 4-2
N1-Manitoba Moose def. N4-Grand Rapids Griffins, 4-3
N3-Hamilton Bulldogs def. N2-Rochester Americans, 4-2
W4-Iowa Stars def. W1-Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights, 4-2
W2-Chicago Wolves def. W3-Milwaukee Admirals, 4-0

*if necessary… All times Eastern

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
chi-ham2_200.jpgGame 1 – Hamilton at Chicago, 8:30
Tonight’s official media notes (354kb PDF)

Chicago and Hamilton square off for the Western Conference championship beginning tonight at Allstate Arena… For both teams, it is their third conference final appearance in six years… Including its seven seasons in the International Hockey League, Chicago has won 17 of 18 series all-time in which it has been the higher seed (only loss: 2005 Calder Cup Final vs. Philadelphia)… The Wolves set a franchise record with 28 goals in their series win over Iowa last round… Jason Krog has a point in all 10 games this postseason and in 51 of his 54 games with Chicago on the year, including two goals in his only appearance vs. Hamilton on Mar. 4… Wolves rookie Brett Sterling leads the league with five power-play goals in the playoffs after scoring an AHL-high 21 PPG in the regular season… After being held scoreless in Games 1 and 2 of the first round, Corey Locke has recorded 14 points (7g, 7a) in Hamilton’s last 10 contests… Bulldogs rookie Carey Price is 5-1 (1.65, .952) on the road this postseason… The Wolves’ 3.15 goals allowed per game in the regular season ranked 14th out of the 16 playoff-bound teams; in the postseason, they rank second (2.20)… Darren Haydar, the AHL’s postseason scoring leader in 2004 and 2006, added another assist in Game 5 and continues to climb up the league’s all-time playoff scoring leaderboards:

 Points  Goals  Assists
1. Willie Marshall119 1. Jody Gage51 1. Willie Marshall71
2. Jody Gage110 2(t). Willie Marshall48 2. Mike Nykoluk62
3. Fred Glover104 2(t). Fred Glover48 3. Domenic Pittis61
4. Darren Haydar93 4. Brad Smyth46 4. Jody Gage59
5. Bob Solinger92 5. Gordie Clark42 5. Fred Glover56
6(t). Glenn Merkosky90 6. Darren Haydar40 6(t). Darren Haydar53
6(t). Gordie Clark90 7(t). Glenn Merkosky39 6(t). Bob Solinger53
7. Steve Maltais88 7(t). Bob Solinger39 6(t). Fred Thurier53
9(t). Fred Thurier88 9(t). Michel Picard37 9. Don Biggs52
9(t). Brad Smyth85 9(t). Steve Maltais37 10(t). Glenn Merkosky51
   10(t). Steve Maltais51


Tim Cronin, Daily Southtown

The Calder Cup Playoffs are like an intricately written novel. The deeper one goes, the more mysterious things get. So it is for the Wolves as they enter the semifinals, which begin Friday night in Rosemont. Rather than play a familiar foe, as was the case in the first two rounds in knocking off Milwaukee and Iowa, respectively, their opponent is Hamilton, which last lined up against the Wolves on March 3. While lineups in the minors are ever-changing, neither the Wolves nor the Bulldogs look a lot like they did then. But the biggest change is in the Hamilton goal. The Montreal affiliate signed 19-year-old goaltender Carey Price to a tryout contract with two games left in the season, and he hasn’t left the net yet. The Wolves haven’t seen him, except on videotape, and he hasn’t seen their high-octane offense. … Link

Garry McKay, Hamilton Spectator

It is obvious by the way he’s playing that someone or something has lit a fire under Corey Locke. The Hamilton Bulldogs centre had a very solid regular season and is having an even better playoff. It has nothing to do, he says, with the fact his contract with the Montreal Canadiens is up this summer. “I want to be a player that performs when the game’s on the line and it counts, and to be a difference maker,” said Locke, whose seven goals and seven assists in 12 playoff games puts him in fifth place in league scoring. “And if that helps my contract with Montreal that’s great, but honestly, It’s not even on my mind. We’ll take care of that when the season ends.” … Link

Tim Leone, Harrisburg Patriot-News

Louis Robitaille joked that it’s time to get a spotlight to shine on Hershey Bears head coach Bruce Boudreau. That’s because Boudreau will be leading his current club against the Manchester Monarchs, his former club, in the Eastern Conference final. Boudreau, though, wants the series to be about hockey and not about soap opera. Douse the lights. “The storyline is really good, but it’s not really about the storyline,” Boudreau said. “All you can go on is memories. I know how great the players felt last year. I want this group to be able to experience that. To do that, you have to win. Whether it be Manchester or Manchester, England, it wouldn’t really matter.” … Link

Kevin Provencher, New Hampshire Union-Leader

Consider the Manchester Monarchs the underdog in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals that open Saturday night at 7:30 in Hershey’s Giant Center. For one, the Monarchs are toiling in new territory, never having advanced this far, and they are taking on the defending Calder Cup champs. They’ve been there, done that. In fact, the Bears have reached this round for the fifth time in the last 11 years. This might be exactly the sort of scenario — heavyweight versus unknown — where a relatively young Monarchs team could flourish. Eleven rookies have played for the Monarchs in the first two rounds of the playoffs, while the Bears have skated two rookies. If one listens to Hershey coach Bruce Boudreau though, the Monarchs are the decided favorite. … Link

Lisa Colonno, Des Moines Register

Iowa Stars players cleaned out their locker room stalls at Wells Fargo Arena this week, lugging out huge bags of equipment and toting bundles of hockey sticks. Now they disperse throughout the world, while reflecting on a choppy American Hockey League season that included a 6-0 start, a lull while they adjusted to countless lineup changes due to NHL callups and injuries, then a late-season push that netted a playoff berth. The Stars knocked off Western Conference regular-season champion Omaha in the first round of the playoffs and advanced to the West Division finals for the first time. “We came off a good start, almost too good, then we came back to reality,” Stars defenseman Nicklas Grossman said. “Through all the adversity all the guys came close and worked hard for each other. That’s what defined us as a team.” … Link

Tim Campbell, Winnipeg Free Press

The remake of the Manitoba Moose is already underway but the wheels of progress tend to move slowly once the off-season begins. That process started Monday night after the Moose were eliminated from the Calder Cup playoffs by the Hamilton Bulldogs. At the end of their season, the Moose roster was 31 players, including several who had joined the club near the end of the season on amateur tryout contracts. GM Craig Heisinger and the team’s coaching staff, headed by Scott Arniel, were conducting individual end-of-season meetings with players this week and already trying to formulate a plan for the 2007-08 season. Of the 31 players present at season’s end, only 13 have contracts with the Moose or Canucks for next season. … Link

Ron Chimelis, Springfield Republican

The last time Geoff Ward was in Springfield was in the spring of 2003, when his Hamilton Bulldogs were knocking the Falcons out of the Calder Cup hockey playoffs. Now he’s back as the Falcons coach, and hoping to get Springfield back into the playoffs, as an Edmonton Oilers affiliate. “There’s a great hockey history here,” said Ward, 45, who was introduced as the Falcons’ new coach yesterday. “We want to combine that tradition with Oilers hockey, and bring an exciting team here.” With Ward’s hiring, the Falcons are moving forward with Edmonton, which replaces Tampa Bay as the American Hockey League team’s parent club. … Link

Ryan Getzlaf
had a goal and an assist and was named the game’s first star in Anaheim’s 5-3 win over Detroit in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final last night.

.633 – Career Calder Cup Playoff winning percentage of the four remaining starting goaltenders in this year’s postseason:

Frederic CassiviHershey40-25.615
Jason LaBarberaManchester18-13.581
Michael GarnettChicago10-2.833
Carey PriceHamilton8-4.667

May 18, 2006
– Hershey improves its postseason record to 10-0 as Graham Mink’s goal 1:52 into overtime gives the Bears a 2-1 win at Portland in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final.

May 18, 1997Brad Isbister and Chad Kilger pick up a goal and an assist each and Manny Legace makes 43 saves as Springfield opens the Southern Conference Final with a 6-2 win at Hershey in Game 1.

May 18, 1996Andrew Brunette registers a goal and two assists in Portland’s 7-1 win at Saint John in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final.

May 18, 1993 – Led by Mike Sillinger with two goals and an assist, Adirondack earns a 6-3 win in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Final at St. John’s.

May 18, 1990Jeff Rohlicek scores 23 seconds into overtime as the Springfield Indians win the Calder Cup with a 4-3 win over Rochester in Game 6.

B2 Networks brings AHL action to your computer, web-enabled cell phone or PDA throughout the Calder Cup Playoffs with live video webcasts of nearly every AHL game… Visit caldercup.com for details.