AHL Morning Skate: Game 3

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.


Game 2 – MANITOBA 3, Hershey 1 (Series tied, 1-1)

1. Jason Jaffray scored all three goals for Manitoba as the Moose evened up the Calder Cup Finals with a 3-1 win over Hershey.

2. Moose goaltender Cory Schneider stopped 27 of 28 shots in the winning effort.

3. Hershey rookie goaltender Michal Neuvirth took the loss despite making 27 saves on 29 shots between the pipes.

Game 3 – Manitoba at Hershey, 7:00 (Series tied, 1-1)

CC09rd4_160x600.jpg2009 CALDER CUP PLAYOFFS:
Complete Results || Scoring Leaders || Goaltending Leaders

2009 Calder Cup Finals – Series “O” (best-of-7)
N1-Manitoba Moose vs. E1-Hershey Bears || Preview
Game 1 – Sat., May 30 – Hershey 5, MANITOBA 4 (OT)
Game 2 – Tue., June 2 – MANITOBA 3, Hershey 1
Game 3 – Sat., June 6 – Manitoba at Hershey, 7:00 ET
Game 4 – Sun., June 7 – Manitoba at Hershey, 5:00 ET
Game 5 – Tue., June 9 – Manitoba at Hershey, 7:00 ET
*Game 6 – Fri., June 12 – Hershey at Manitoba, 8:30 ET
*Game 7 – Sun., June 14 – Hershey at Manitoba, 8:30 ET
   *if necessary

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 3 – Manitoba at Hershey, 7:00 (Series tied, 1-1)
Video Webcast: AHL Live
TV: Shaw Cable 9, MTS TV 50 (Manitoba)
Satellite Radio: XM 204, Sirius 208
Official Media Notes (PDF – 503 KB)
Tied at one game apiece, the 2009 Calder Cup Finals shift to south-central Pennsylvania tonight as Hershey hosts Manitoba in Game 3… The Bears, who have not played on home ice since Game 2 of the conference finals against Providence on May 17, sport a 7-1 record at Giant Center this postseason after going 27-10-0-3 there during the regular season… Manitoba earned a split of the first two games at the MTS Centre courtesy of a 3-1 come-from-behind victory on Tuesday night… Jason Jaffray, who had gone eight games without scoring, netted all three goals for the Moose, including the game-winner with 46.9 seconds remaining in regulation… Jaffray’s nine playoff goals (9-8-17) are tied with Michael Grabner (9-7-16) for the team lead, and his 17 points rank second on the club… Grabner picked up an assist on Tuesday, and the former first-round draft pick now shows seven points (4-3-7) in his last four games and 11 points (8-3-11) in his last seven outings… 2008 Calder Cup Playoffs MVP Jason Krog continues to pace the Moose with 21 points (7-14-21) this postseason and now has 5-12-17 in 13 career Calder Cup Finals games… Manitoba goaltender Cory Schneider (13-4, 2.11, .921) picked up the victory in Game 2 with 27 saves, allowing just one goal in a game for the seventh time this postseason… Moose defenseman Maxime Fortunus shows four points (1-3-4) in his last five games after totaling four points (2-2-4) in his first 13 playoff outings this year… With two goals each in Games 1 and 2, the Moose are 4-for-14 on the power play in the series to improve their overall postseason conversion rate to 20.4 percent (19-for-93)… Coming off a hat trick of his own in Game 1, Alexandre Giroux got the Bears on the board first on Tuesday with his league-leading 13th goal of the playoffs… The AHL MVP also leads the league this postseason with 24 points in 18 contests, and he brings a nine-game scoring streak (9-6-15) into tonight’s tilt… Giroux and rookie Oskar Osala, who scored twice in the Bears’ 5-4 Game 1 victory, are the only Hershey skaters to find the net so far in the series… Graham Mink earned the lone assist on Giroux’s Game 2 goal and has a point in five of his last six games (2-4-6)… Chris Bourque is tied for second on the Bears with 18 points (4-14-18) this postseason but has been held scoreless in the first two games of the series and shows just 1-0-1 in seven career Finals games… Hershey was outscored 2-0 in the third period on Tuesday after outscoring opponents 15-4 in the third frame and overtime during its previous five contests, all victories… Bears rookie goaltender Michal Neuvirth (13-5, 2.11, .926) has recorded each of his league-leading three playoff shutouts at Giant Center… The Bears are 7-0 at home this postseason when they score the game’s first goal and have won 12 straight home contests when scoring first overall since a 5-4 loss to Norfolk on Feb. 14… Hershey had outshot its opponents in nine consecutive games before Manitoba finished with a 30-28 edge in Game 2… The team that scored first has gone on to lose both games of this series so far… The Moose are 5-3 on the road in the playoffs after going a league-best 25-10-1-4 away from home during the regular season… In Calder Cup Finals history, when a series is tied at 1-1, the Game 3 winner has eventually captured the championship on 22 of 31 previous occasions (71.0 percent).

1. Darren Haydar 135
2. Willie Marshall 119
3. Jody Gage 110
4. Jason Krog 105
5. Fred Glover 104
22. Alexandre Giroux 69

1. Darren Haydar 76
2. Willie Marshall 71
3. Jason Krog 69
4. Mike Nykoluk 62
5. Domenic Pittis 61

1. Darren Haydar 59
2. Jody Gage 51
T3. Willie Marshall 48
T3. Fred Glover 48
5. Brad Smyth 46
12. Jason Krog 36
T14. Alexandre Giroux 34

Games Played
1. Ken Gernander 123
2. Fred Glover 120
3. Jody Gage 115
4. Bryan Helmer 113
T5. Willie Marshall 112
T5. Les Duff 112
T5. Mike Nykoluk 112


Tim Leone, Harrisburg Patriot-News
It’s been a memorable June for the Kronwall brothers. Hershey Bears defenseman Staffan Kronwall, 25, is playing in the Calder Cup finals. And Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall, 28, is playing in the Stanley Cup finals. “I talked to him before the finals started,” Staffan Kronwall said Friday. “I don’t want to bug him now. We’ll probably talk to each other once it’s all over. I think he was just as excited as I am. It’s a finals, no matter whether it’s the American League or the NHL. It’s still a finals, and it’s obviously quite an experience to be part of.” Back home in Sweden, their mother, Tove, and brother, Mattias, have been following both series. They watch the Stanley Cup finals on TV and the Calder Cup finals via the Internet. The Kronwalls both will be playing tonight in critical odd-numbered games.

Tim Campbell, Winnipeg Free Press
Having not met during the regular season, it would be easy to write off the Calder Cup final between the Manitoba Moose and Hershey Bears as just two strangers passing in the night. The connections are few but the fabric of hockey almost always ensures there are other intertwining threads. Follow two of them and you arrive at the 1987-88 Brandon Wheat Kings official team picture, where only Cam Brown separates two men on either side of this AHL championship series that continues tonight at Giant Center. Men who by every account have paid their dues and are deserving contenders. One is Moose GM Craig Heisinger, the former Brandon trainer, and the other is Bears head coach Bob Woods, once a star defenceman for the Wheaties.

Tim Leone, Harrisburg Patriot-News
Maybe Jason Krog should be granted temporary Pennsylvania citizenship. For the second straight June, the high-scoring centerman is playing in the Calder Cup finals in the Keystone State. Last year, Krog and the Chicago Wolves beat the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in six games to win the Calder Cup. Krog followed his regular-season MVP performance by being named MVP of the playoffs. This year, Krog and the Manitoba Moose are tied 1-1 with the Hershey Bears. Game 3 is tonight at Giant Center. “I guess I like coming out here to see the area this time of year,” Krog joked Friday.

Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Sun
Chris Bourque has a lot more going for him than strong bloodlines. That’s saying something in itself, since Bourque’s father is none other than Hall of Fame defenceman Ray Bourque. While his name hasn’t been on the score sheet, Bourque has been one of the more noticeable players in the first two games of the Calder Cup final between the Manitoba Moose and Hershey Bears. Moose goalie Cory Schneider isn’t surprised. “He’s all over the ice and he’s just tenacious,” said Schneider, a fellow Boston-area native who played on a select team with Bourque when he was nine or 10 years old. Generously listed at 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, the speedy left-winger carries many important intangibles.

Tim Leone, Harrisburg Patriot-News
Oskar Osala’s Game 1 production in the playoffs has been remarkable. A goal in Game 1 against the Philadelphia Phantoms. Two goals against the Providence Bruins. Two goals against the Manitoba Moose. With six goals and four assists, Osala is tied for fourth in AHL rookie playoff scoring (10 points). While he continues in the Calder Cup finals against Manitoba, the players ahead of him – Houston’s Matt Beaudoin (17), Providence’s Brad Marchand (15) and Providence’s Jeff Penner (11) – are in the clubhouse. “Always, the playoffs matter the most,” Osala said. “That’s what people remember you from is the playoffs, not the regular season.”

Dan Sernoffsky, Lebanon Daily News
The Hershey Bears are just three wins away from winning the Calder Cup. So are the Manitoba Moose. That is why tonight’s Game 3 in the best-of-seven Calder Cup championship series looms so big. Both the Bears and the Moose, tied at a game apiece, agree that the team that wins tonight’s game will have an edge. The Moose, the AHL’s best road team in the 2008-09 regular season, would like nothing better than to regain the home-ice advantage they lost when the Bears rallied for a 5-4 overtime victory in the series opener in Manitoba. The Bears, who finished tied for second in the league in wins on home ice during the regular season, would like nothing better than to take complete command of the series while the teams are playing at Giant Center.

Kevin Freeman, Lancaster Intelligencer Journal
You have one game that needed overtime to settle it and another that didn’t see the game-winner until less than a minute remained in regulation. Tight? Yeah, this Calder Cup finals series between the Hershey Bears and the Manitoba Moose has been close. So close, in fact, that you get the idea that this could be a long series and one in which each game is decided by the slightest of mistakes. But it’s the finals and these are supposed to be the two best teams in the American Hockey League. “We have two very talented, similar teams going head to head so it comes down to who executes on special teams and who gets the bounces,” said Hershey coach Bob Woods.

Corey Masisak, Washington Times
Five years ago, the Washington Capitals found a couple of steals early in the draft in defensemen Mike Green and Jeff Schultz. It hasn’t been a full year since the 2008 draft, but it is already evident the Caps’ scouting staff struck again by finding a blue-chip blueliner near the end of the first round. Few other prospects in hockey have progressed as much since last June as defenseman John Carlson, the 27th selection by Washington with a pick acquired from Philadelphia. “John Carlson has a bright future. He’s got all the tools,” Hershey Bears coach Bob Woods said. “He’s another young guy and he’s got a lot to learn, but he’s willing to do it. He does all the extra stuff, and you can see he’s having fun. I think this experience [will] only help him down the road.”

Gary Lawless, Winnipeg Free Press
The road has been romanticized by poets and authors and writers of rock songs – Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page” and Bill Bradley’s “Life on the Road” to name a few – there is no shortage of prose based on road life. In sports it’s both a glory room and a house of pain. For the Manitoba Moose, it will simply be, their future or their demise. Facing three straight Calder Cup Final games in the home of the Hershey Bears, the Moose need at least one road win at the Giant Center to extend this series to a Game 6 back in Winnipeg.

Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Sun
Through the first two games of the Calder Cup final, it’s fair to say the series featuring the Manitoba Moose and Hershey Bears has been living up to the hype. There was plenty of anticipation for a match-up between the top team in the Western Conference that was first overall in the 29-team AHL going head-to-head with the best in the Eastern Conference. Toss out an empty-net goal in Game 2 and the two teams, tied heading into Game 3 tonight in Hershey, Pa., are dead even in goals for and against. They’re probably equal in bumps and bruises too, thanks to some thundering body checks.

Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Sun
It has already been a storybook season for Bryan Helmer and the only chapter left to pen is the final one. That final chapter is sure to include a cliff-hanger ending, as Helmer is anxiously waiting to find out whether or not he’ll receive a ring and lift a hallowed mug over his head. The veteran defenceman found a new home with the Hershey Bears during the off-season and he’s enjoyed a renaissance, making it back to the NHL for the first time in five seasons and returning to the Calder Cup for the first time in a long time. “I try to tell our young guys, you don’t get the chance very often and I didn’t appreciate it when I won it because you think you’re going to do it every year.”

Elliott Pap, Vancouver Sun
Jason Jaffray and the Manitoba Moose are in the American League’s Calder Cup championship series, tied 1-1 with the Hershey Bears, and they are tied mostly because Jaffray netted a natural hat trick in Game 2 as the Moose prevailed 3-1. Talk about a moment. Or, better still, three moments. “I’ve said it before to a few people that scoring my first NHL goal was one of the biggest goals in my entire life,” an excited Jaffray said before the Moose traveled to Hershey for Game 3. “But to score three goals in the Calder Cup final, I mean, that’s got to rank up there.”

Randy Sportak, Calgary Sun
A demotion? Don’t call Jim Playfair’s decision to accept the head-coaching job of the Flames top affiliate – the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat – a demotion. “There are only so many head coaching jobs in professional hockey. If anyone thinks this is a demotion, they should go out and try to get one,” said Playfair, who was named to the post yesterday. “When you’ve been with an organization for nine years and you’re entrusted with the development of their youth and they still feel there’s a connection with helping you reach your next goal, it’s not a demotion. It’s the opposite.”

The American Hockey League has announced that select games from the Calder Cup Finals will be airing live on the NHL Home Ice channel on Sirius XM Radio and XM Canada.

Tyler Kennedy scored a goal and 2004 Calder Cup finalist Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 37 of 39 shots as Pittsburgh took a 4-2 win over Detroit on Thursday to even up the Stanley Cup Finals at two games apiece… Darren Helm, who registered 37 points in 55 AHL games for Grand Rapids this season, netted a goal for the Red Wings.

– Manitoba’s total attendance for 10 postseason home games at the MTS Centre this spring… The Moose are the second team in AHL history to draw more than 100,000 fans in a single postseason, after Philadelphia in 1998 (106,641).

7 – Goals that have been scored in the third period and overtime during the Calder Cup Finals through two games… Manitoba and Hershey have combined to score six goals in the first and second periods.

0 – Total goals scored by Hershey in its first home game of its last two Finals appearances… The Bears were shut out by Carey Price of Hamilton in Game 1 in 2007 and by Milwaukee’s Pekka Rinne in Game 3 in 2006.

June 6, 2008 Chris Minard, Dave Gove and Nathan Smith score power-play goals as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton avoids being swept out of the Calder Cup Finals with a 3-2 win over Chicago.

June 6, 2007Carey Price stops 33 shots and Duncan Milroy tallies a goal and two assists to give Hamilton a 6-2 win over Hershey and a 3-1 series lead in the Calder Cup Finals.

June 6, 2004 – Milwaukee scores seven times in the first 26 minutes of the game and cruises to a 7-2 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, finishing off a four-game sweep and capturing the Calder Cup.

June 6, 2003 – Stephane Veilleux scores with 1:46 left in regulation and again with 2:22 gone in overtime as Houston evens the Calder Cup Finals with a 3-2 win over Hamilton in Game 4.

June 6, 1999Cameron Mann registers a hat trick and John Grahame makes 27 saves as Providence shuts out Rochester, 6-0, in Game 2 of the Calder Cup Finals .

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.