AHL Morning Skate: Game 6

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.

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
Game 4 – Sun., June 7 – HERSHEY 2, Manitoba 1
Game 5 – Tue., June 9 – Manitoba 3, HERSHEY 2 (HER leads series, 3-2)
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. Goaltender Cory Schneider stopped 31 of 33 shots in net as Manitoba extended the Calder Cup Finals with a 3-2 road win over Hershey in Game 5.

2. Michael Grabner tallied a goal and fired seven shots on net for the Moose.

3. Manitoba rookie forward Cody Hodgson registered his second professional goal in the winning effort.

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 6 – Hershey at Manitoba, 8:30 (HER leads series, 3-2)
Video Webcast: AHL Live
TV: Shaw Cable 9, MTS TV 50 (Manitoba)
WHTM Digital 27.2, Comcast Digital 246, Verizon FiOS Digital 461 (Harrisburg-Lancaster-York)
Official Media Notes (PDF – 503 KB)
Hershey takes its second crack at claiming its league-record 10th Calder Cup title as the AHL’s championship series shifts back to the MTS Centre in Winnipeg for Game 6 tonight… The Bears dropped a 3-2 decision to Manitoba on Tuesday at Giant Center and are now 9-12 all-time with a chance to clinch a Calder Cup championship… Tuesday’s Game 5 was scoreless through most of the first 40 minutes before former Vancouver first-round draft picks Michael Grabner (14th overall, 2006) and Cody Hodgson (10th overall, 2008) scored just 1:07 apart for the Moose… Grabner lit the lamp for the first time since Game 1 of the series and now shows a team-high 10 goals (10-7-17) in 19 playoff games after tying for the club lead with 30 regular-season tallies (30-18-48)… For Hodgson, who was scratched from Manitoba’s Game 4 lineup on Sunday, it was his second professional goal and first since May 16 vs. Houston… Jason Krog added an empty-net goal – which turned out to be the game-winner – and contributed an assist for the Moose, and he continues to lead Manitoba with 23 points (8-15-23) in 21 games this postseason… Jason Jaffray picked up an assist, and his five points (3-2-5) are tied with Grabner (3-2-5) and Krog (1-4-5) for tops on the Moose during the Calder Cup Finals… AHL goaltender of the year Cory Schneider (14-6, 2.10, .923) stopped 31 of 33 shots in net for Manitoba on Tuesday… Graham Mink and 2008 first-round draft pick John Carlson tallied the Bears’ goals in Game 5… Carlson, who suffered an 11-game points drought after scoring his first professional goal on May 3 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, now has a point in consecutive games (1-1-2)… Linemates Alexandre Giroux and Keith Aucoin picked up the assists on Mink’s tally… Giroux extended his scoring streak to 12 games (10-8-18) and upped his postseason league-leading total to 27 points (14-13-27) in 21 games, while Aucoin now shows a point in three straight tilts (1-3-4) and six of his last seven (2-8-10)… The Bears, who failed to convert their lone power play opportunity on Tuesday, are 1-4 this postseason when their power play is held scoreless and 14-2 when they score at least one man-advantage marker… Manitoba, which is 9-6 all-time when facing AHL playoff elimination, is seeking to become the second team in as many years to win two elimination games in the Calder Cup Finals (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 2008); the previous four championship series were all decided in the first potential elimination game… The Finals have not extended to Game 7 since 2003, when Houston topped Hamilton.

1. Darren Haydar 135
2. Willie Marshall 119
3. Jody Gage 110
4. Jason Krog 107
5. Fred Glover 104
17. Alexandre Giroux 72

1. Darren Haydar 59
2. Jody Gage 51
T3. Willie Marshall 48
T3. Fred Glover 48
5. Brad Smyth 46
T10. Jason Krog 37
T13. Alexandre Giroux 35

1. Darren Haydar 76
2. Willie Marshall 71
3. Jason Krog 70
4. Mike Nykoluk 62
5. Domenic Pittis 61

Games Played
1. Ken Gernander 123
2. Fred Glover 120
3. Bryan Helmer 116
4. Jody Gage 115
T5. Willie Marshall 112
T5. Les Duff 112
T5. Mike Nykoluk 112
T20. Alexandre Giroux 90


Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Sun
Can a push from the hometown crowd help the Manitoba Moose push the Calder Cup to a seventh and deciding game? After playing three games in a hostile building, the Moose are certainly hoping to get a little extra energy from a supportive crowd of 15,003 at the MTS Centre when the puck drops for Game 6. “I hope it’s going to be awesome. It’s been great so far in the first two games (of the final) and all through the playoffs,” said Moose goalie Cory Schneider. “There’s electricity in the air during the anthems and the starting lineup. You get goose-bumps, just hearing the energy in the crowd.” Crowd support has been fantastic for both the Moose and Hershey Bears during this championship series. The atmosphere is expected to go to another level when the series resumes tonight.

Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Sun
This was merely the first step of the steep, uphill climb. The Manitoba Moose still have a pulse in this Calder Cup final, thanks mostly to an inspired showing from top-notch goaltender Cory Schneider in Tuesday’s 3-2 victory. To suggest the Moose have snatched momentum from the high-octane Hershey Bears is probably a stretch. However, you can’t deny Tuesday’s win gave the Moose life and more importantly, hope. “We’re desperate,” said Moose forward Guillaume Desbiens. “If we lose a game, it’s over.” The fear of watching a memorable season go down the drain can be a great motivational tool.

Tim Leone, Harrisburg Patriot-News
Game 6 of the Calder Cup finals tonight at MTS Centre will be the Hershey Bears’ 22nd playoff game of 2008-09. That is more than the 21 games played during the 2005-06 Calder Cup campaign. And, if the Manitoba Moose force a Game 7 Sunday, the Bears will tie the club record of 23 games set during the 1996-97 run to the Calder Cup. “Anytime you have the travel that we have, the distances, it’s going to wear on you a little bit,” head coach Bob Woods said. “I think the hockey’s been so good. Really, it’s been fun to be part of, so I think that keeps you going.”

Tim Campbell, Winnipeg Free Press
Away from the frothing Giant Center in Hershey and inside his own quiet, sane office, Manitoba Moose coach Scott Arniel gained a better grasp of Game 5 of this Calder Cup final. His conclusion: Unbeknownst to some who would just settle for a superficial assessment, goalie Cory Schneider was not the only Moose player on the ice in Tuesday’s 3-2 Moose win that extended this best-of-seven title series to tonight’s sold-out Game 6 at the MTS Centre. “I said down in Hershey after the game that we stood around a little and that Cory saved our butt a little but I went back and watched the game today and actually the first five or six minutes we were real good and parts of that second period we were real good,” Arniel told reporters on Thursday while his team was having optional ice time.

Dan Sernoffsky, Lebanon Daily News
This time of year, Winnipeg is a great place to visit. The weather’s nice, there’s no cold wind blowing across the Canadian plains from the arctic, and it’s still too early for the annoying insects to be out in force. But pardon the Hershey Bears for wanting to make this particular trip a short one. The Bears square off against the Manitoba Moose tonight at Winnipeg’s MTS Centre in Game 6 of the best-of-seven Calder Cup championship series. If the Bears win, they’ll be heading back to Hershey in tomorrow’s pre-dawn hours, carrying with them the prize they’ve been chasing since training camp opened in September. If the Moose win, Game 7 will be Sunday.

Gary Lawless, Winnipeg Free Press
There are hockey games and then there are hockey games. This one, folks, promises to be a doozy. Everything is in place for a night to remember at the MTS Centre as the Manitoba Moose and Hershey Bears lock up in Game 6 of the Calder Cup Final with elimination a possibility on one side and a chance to celebrate a championship on the other. Throw in a sellout crowd of Winnipeg hockey fans and a city that is caring about instead of just cheering for these Moose, and the tension is thick. Let’s set the stage. The Moose trail the Bears three games to two in this best-of-seven series and with a win will force a Game 7 here in Winnipeg on Sunday night. For Hershey, a victory would allow them to celebrate their 10th Calder Cup in franchise history.

Kevin Freeman, Lancaster Intelligencer Journal
Just what went through the minds of the Hershey Bears as they waited for the start of Tuesday night’s Game 5 of the Calder Cup finals? On one hand, a win would bring a Calder Cup. Something they had spent 100 games trying to achieve. On the other hand, could they have played in fear of losing, which would have meant surrendering the momentum to the Moose as the series headed back to Manitoba? How were they to play? Play to win, or play not to lose? As the game itself played out, the Bears didn’t hold anything back. They threw their bodies around, they cycled the puck, they took hits to make plays. But so did the Manitoba Moose, and in a series where there is a fine line between winning and losing, the Moose were one goal better.

Randy Turner, Winnipeg Free Press
The Hershey Bears had them on the ropes, up 3-1 in the series. It looked pretty bleak for the local six. One more victory and the Bears had the Cup. But the youngsters from Manitoba hadn’t given up hope. After all, they knew what a Calder Cup championship could mean. “This is what you play for,” one of them said, the other day. “Everybody wants to get up. You’re playing to be in the NHL.” The player speaking wasn’t Jason Jaffray, the hero of Game 2, nor Moose playmaker Jason Krog. It was Pete Kapusta, the Holubtsi Kid. Kapusta is 85 years old now, one of the last surviving members of the Providence Reds, the last team to ever rebound from a 3-1 series deficit to win the American Hockey League championship. It’s an unenviable task that, 60 years later, the Manitoba Moose are trying to repeat.

Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Sun
When it comes to the men behind the bench for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final, Jason Krog has a connection to both of them. The Manitoba Moose centre frequently played on a line with Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma when both were members of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks team in 2002-03 that lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final to the New Jersey Devils. That season Krog and Bylsma were coached by Mike Babcock, now the head coach of the Detroit Red Wings and trying to win a second consecutive Stanley Cup. Even though Krog will be busy playing in Game 6 of the Calder Cup final, he’s certainly interested in how the deciding game of the Stanley Cup turns out.

Tom Venesky, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
There’s a question that Ben Lovejoy is dying to ask, but won’t. Lovejoy has spent the last two months on the Pittsburgh Penguins taxi squad, along with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton teammates Jeff Taffe, Chris Minard, Dustin Jeffrey and John Curry. And while Lovejoy said the experience has been one that he will never forget, in the back of his mind he is wondering if the members of the taxi squad get a Stanley Cup ring if Pittsburgh beats the Detroit Red Wings tonight. Still, ring or no ring, Lovejoy and the other Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are just happy to accompany the NHL club as they attempt to win hockey’s most cherished prize, the Stanley Cup.

Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun
The Toronto Marlies are going for a wee highland fling. The Maple Leafs farm team will be playing exhibition games in Edinburgh, Scotland, Sept. 24-27, against their American Hockey League rival Hamilton Bulldogs, as well as the Belfast Giants from Northern Ireland and the hometown Edinburgh Capitals. “The Scottish government approached the AHL about bringing teams over for their hockey festival tournament,” said Jeff Jackson, general manager of the Marlies. “(AHL president) Dave Andrews thought the Toronto-Montreal rivalry (Hamilton is the Habs’ farm club) would be great to highlight. It will be a good experience for our guys to play and travel. Part of our training camp can be held there, too.”

Tyler Kennedy picked up an assist and then notched the eventual game-winning goal at 5:35 of the third period on Tuesday as Pittsburgh forced Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals with a 2-1 victory over Detroit; 2004 Calder Cup finalist Marc-Andre Fleury took the win with 25 saves on 26 shots for the Penguins … Nearly 75 percent of the players, coaches, and managers involved in the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals between Detroit and Pittsburgh are AHL graduates.

4 – Teams in AHL history that have come back from 3-2 down in the Finals to win the Calder Cup… The 1987 Rochester Americans (vs. Sherbrooke) pulled of the feat, as did three clubs who were down 3-1: the 1949 Providence Reds (vs. Hershey), the 1947 Hershey Bears (vs. Pittsburgh) and the 1946 Buffalo Bisons (vs. Cleveland).

8-10 – Hershey’s all-time record in Calder Cup Finals games played in Canada… The Bears’ opponents from north of the border include Manitoba, the Hamilton Bulldogs (1997, 2007), the Fredericton Express (1988), the New Brunswick Hawks (1980), the Nova Scotia Voyageurs (1976) and the Quebec Aces (1969).

28.6 – Manitoba’s power play conversion rate (4-for-14) in Games 1 and 2 of the Calder Cup Finals at the MTS Centre.

0.0 – Manitoba’s power play conversion rate (0-for-12) in Games 3-5 of the series at Hershey’s Giant Center.

June 12, 2003 – Johan Holmqvist makes 31 saves and earns the Jack Butterfield Trophy as MVP of the Calder Cup Playoffs as Houston wins its first AHL championship with a 3-0 win in Game 7 of the Finals at Hamilton… Attendance was 17,428 at Copps Coliseum, at the time the largest playoff crowd in AHL history.

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.

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