AHL Morning Skate: Game 4


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.

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 – HERSHEY 3, Manitoba 0 (HER leads series, 2-1)
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

1. Michal Neuvirth made 28 saves for his fourth shutout of the postseason, leading Hershey to a 3-0 win in Game 3 last night.

2. Staffan Kronwall set up both of the Bears’ power-play goals on the evening.

3. Alexandre Giroux scored his league-leading 14th goal of the playoffs for Hershey.

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 4 – Manitoba at Hershey, 5:00 (HER leads series, 2-1)

Video Webcast: AHL Live
TV: Shaw Cable 9, MTS TV 50 (Manitoba)
Satellite Radio: XM 204, Sirius 208
Official Media Notes (PDF – 503 KB)
It’s a quick turnaround for the 2009 Calder Cup Finals as Hershey hosts Manitoba in Game 4 this evening, less than 24 hours after taking a 2-1 series lead with last night’s 3-0 victory… Michal Neuvirth made 28 saves for his fourth shutout of the postseason yesterday, and the Bears got power-play goals from Graham Mink and Alexandre Giroux and a shorthanded empty-netter from Quintin Laing… Neuvirth now shows an 8-1 record with a 1.12 goals-against average, a .960 save percentage and four shutouts in nine postseason starts at Giant Center, allowing just 10 goals on 249 shots… Giroux’s goal extended his scoring streak to 10 games (10-6-16) with his league-best 14th goal of the playoffs, following his 60-goal effort in the regular season… Four of Mink’s six playoff goals have been game-winners, tying him for the league lead in that category… Mink now shows 3-4-7 in his last seven games… Laing’s insurance marker came as he played his first home game since Feb. 14… Staffan Kronwall recorded two assists for the Bears, his first multiple-point effort of the playoffs… Cory Schneider stopped 21 of 23 shots as the Moose suffered their first regulation loss since Game 3 of their division semifinal series, Apr. 19 at Toronto… Manitoba’s only other shutout defeat this season came Dec. 7, 2008, at San Antonio (Josh Tordjman)… Moose forward Michael Grabner led all skaters with five shots on goal last night… Defenseman Karl Alzner, the fifth overall pick in the 2007 NHL draft, returned to the Bears lineup after missing 10 games due to injury… Attendance for Game 3 was 10,696, bringing the series total up to 40,436… Last night’s game marked the first shutout by a home team in the Finals since Chicago’s Pasi Nurminen blanked Bridgeport in Game 3 in 2002; there had been four road Finals shutouts since… Only 10 of 48 teams in AHL history have come back from a 2-1 deficit to win a best-of-seven Calder Cup Finals series, the last being Hershey (vs. Milwaukee) in 2006… This is the 100th game of the season for both clubs.

1. Darren Haydar 135
2. Willie Marshall 119
3. Jody Gage 110
4. Jason Krog 105
5. Fred Glover 104
T20. Alexandre Giroux 70

1. Darren Haydar 59
2. Jody Gage 51
T3. Willie Marshall 48
T3. Fred Glover 48
5. Brad Smyth 46
12. Jason Krog 36
T13. Alexandre Giroux 35

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

Games Played
1. Ken Gernander 123
2. Fred Glover 120
3. Jody Gage 115
4. Bryan Helmer 114
T5. Willie Marshall 112
T5. Les Duff 112
T5. Mike Nykoluk 112


Tim Leone, Harrisburg Patriot-News
Providence Bruins forward Brad Marchand serves as the answer to a topical trivia question. Who’s the only player to score against the Hershey Bears in the last seven playoff periods at Giant Center? The Bears and goalie Michal Neuvirth, continuing a postseason clamp-down at home, beat the Manitoba Moose 3-0 Saturday night in Game 3 of the Calder Cup finals. Hershey took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. “I hope for this room it was a statement that, when we play our game, we can do good things,” Bears winger Alex Giroux said. “From the first minute to the last, I think we played the way we wanted.”

Dan Sernoffsky, York Sunday News
For a rookie, Michal Neuvirth seems remarkably unflappable. Neuvirth turned away all 28 shots he faced Saturday night, backstopping the Hershey Bears to a 3-0 victory over the Manitoba Moose in front of a sell-out crowd of 10,696 at Giant Center. With the win, the Bears took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Calder Cup championship series. But for all his heroics – which included a couple of big saves on a Manitoba 5-on-3 power play in the second period and a huge glove save on Mario Bliznak breaking in alone 69 seconds into the third – Neuvirth credited his teammates for the victory.

Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Sun
A lethal power play and another strong game from a young goaltender has put the Hershey Bears back on top of the Calder Cup final. The Bears got power play goals from Graham Mink and Alexandre Giroux and received a 28-save performance from rookie Michal Neuvirth to earn a 3-0 victory over the Manitoba Moose last night before a crowd of 10,696 at the Giant Center. With the win, the Bears take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. Game 4 goes this afternoon. Eight seconds into the first power play of the game, Mink went to the net and poked home a rebound after a point shot from Staffan Kronwall at 6:22 of the opening period.

Tim Campbell, Winnipeg Free Press
They don’t have to be chocolate-covered; the Manitoba Moose will take any kind of goal they can get at this stage of the Calder Cup final. Shut out for only the second time all season – that’s 99 games and counting – the Moose bowed 3-0 to the Hershey Bears at Giant Center Saturday night to fall behind 2-1 in the best-of-seven AHL championship series. Game 3 was decided by special teams, and in something of a surprise in form, the Bears maligned penalty-kill put a blank on the Moose. Hershey was dead-last during the regular season in that department and ranked 12th of 16 playoff teams coming into the final. Until Saturday when the Moose went zero for five, including a 50-second five-on-three early in the second period.

Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Sun
The shutouts just keep on coming for Michal Neuvirth. The pride of the Czech Republic came up big again, turning aside 28 shots for his fourth shutout of the post-season as the Hershey Bears earned a 3-0 victory over the Manitoba Moose and took a 2-1 series lead in the Calder Cup final. Despite a brilliant performance, Neuvirth wasn’t willing to take much of the credit. “It’s nice, but it’s a team effort and everybody played great,” said Neuvirth. “This game was huge for us. I just went minute by minute. I’m glad we won and I’m glad I got the shutout.”

Harold Ziegler, Lancaster Journal Intelligencer
The way goalie Simeon Varlamov performed in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the Washington Capitals, it’s generally assumed he’ll be the team’s No. 1 goalie next season. Then again, maybe not. Michal Neuvirth is playing his way into contention. The Hershey Bears’ 21-year-old rookie turned in his fourth shutout of the Calder Cup playoffs Saturday night, leading the Bears to a 3-0 victory over the Manitoba Moose in Game 3 of the finals series at Giant Center. The win gives Hershey a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, with Game 4 at 5 p.m. today in Hershey.

Patrick Williams, Canadian Press
A perfect performance from Hershey goaltender Michal Neuvirth on Saturday has given the Bears a chance to win the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup on home ice. Neuvirth made 28 saves to shut out the Manitoba Moose 3-0 and give the Bears a 2-1 series lead in the best-of-seven series. Graham Mink, Alexandre Giroux and Quintin Laing scored for the Bears, who will host the Moose in Game 4 Sunday and Game 5 on Tuesday. Happy with his club’s five-on-five play, Manitoba head coach Scott Arniel chalked up the loss to Hershey’s fourth-ranked power play. The Bears struck twice on their only two power-play opportunities of the game to build a 2-0 lead by the game’s midpoint.

Tarik El-Bashir, WashingtonPost.com
Just watched the Bears beat the Moose, 3-0, at Giant Center to take a two-games-to-one series lead in the Calder Cup final, and all I can say is I’m glad I made the drive up. Good hockey, good atmosphere, and more important, I got a good look at some of the prospects who could challenge for a spot on a Caps’ roster that might see some turnover this summer. Before I make the trek back down Rt. 15, I wanted to leave you with a few notes/observations/impressions.

Kevin Paul Dupont, Boston Globe
Joe Sacco is on the move again, which is not only a testament to his desire to stay in hockey, but also a reflection of his family genes. When he hung up the skates six years ago, after 738 NHL games, Sacco eventually headed to Woburn, where he joined his father’s business, Sacco Specialized Moving. “I took about a year off after hockey,” Sacco recalled Friday, some 24 hours after being named the coach of the Colorado Avalanche. “And then I was slowly diving into that business, working in the office. I was enjoying it, but then I got a call…” And thus began Sacco’s warp-speed ascent to directing an NHL bench.

The American Hockey League has announced that select games from the Calder Cup Finals – including this evening’s Game 4 – will be airing live on the NHL Home Ice channel on Sirius XM Radio and XM Canada.

Former AHL All-Stars Daniel Cleary, Valtteri Filppula and Niklas Kronwall all scored for Detroit in a 5-0 win over Pittsburgh last night, giving the Red Wings a 3-2 series lead in the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals.

– Hershey’s record this postseason when scoring at least one power-play goal… The Bears are 1-3 when their power play is held scoreless.

6 – AHL record for shutouts in a single playoff year, set by Rochester rookie Mika Noronen in 2000.

June 7, 2008 – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scores five unanswered goals over the game’s final 28 minutes, staving off elimination for a second straight night with a 5-1 victory over Chicago in Game 5 of the Calder Cup Finals.

June 7, 2007Ajay Baines’ shorthanded goal midway through the third period lifted Hamilton to a 2-1 win over Hershey and the Bulldogs’ first Calder Cup championship before 14,205 fans at Copps Coliseum.

June 7, 2003 – Houston grabs a 3-2 series lead in the Calder Cup Finals with a 6-4 win over Hamilton in the last game ever played at the Compaq Center.

June 7, 1998Martin St. Louis records three assists as Saint John avoids elimination with a 6-1 home win over Philadelphia in Game 5 of the Calder Cup Finals.

June 7, 1997 – After a wild third period that saw five goals scored in the final 12:12 of regulation, Mike McHugh scores 56 seconds into overtime to give Hershey a 6-5 win over Hamilton and a 2-0 series lead in 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.