AHL Morning Skate: Game 7 in Philadelphia tonight

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.


TORONTO 2, San Antonio 1 (TOR wins, 4-3)

SYRACUSE 3, Manitoba 2 (OT) (SYR wins, 4-2)


1. Bates Battaglia tallied the winning goal with 58.1 seconds left in regulation to give Toronto a 2-1 victory over San Antonio in Game 7 of their North Division semifinal.

2. Trevor Frischmon scored Syracuse’s fourth overtime game-winner of the series as the Crunch moved on with a 3-2 win over Manitoba.

3. Scott Clemmensen stopped 37 of 38 shots in the winning effort for Toronto.


Game 7 – Albany at Philadelphia, 7:05 (Series tied, 3-3)

Atlantic Division Finals – Series “I” (best-of-7)
A1-Providence Bruins vs. A3-Portland Pirates || Preview

Game 1 – Sat., Apr. 26 – PROVIDENCE 4, Portland 0
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 27 – PROVIDENCE 7, Portland 1
Game 3 – Fri., May 2 – Providence at Portland, 7:05
Game 4 – Sun., May 4 – Providence at Portland, 4:05
*Game 5 – Tue., May 6 – Providence at Portland, 7:05
*Game 6 – Fri., May 9 – Portland at Providence, 7:05
*Game 7 – Sat., May 10 – Portland at Providence, 7:05

Atlantic Division Semifinals

A1-Providence Bruins def. A4-Manchester Monarchs, 4-0

A3-Portland Pirates def. A2-Hartford Wolf Pack, 4-1

East Division Semifinal – Series “C” (best-of-7)
E1-W-B/Scranton Penguins vs. E4-Hershey Bears || Preview
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 16 – W-B/Scranton 2, HERSHEY 1 (OT)
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 19 – W-B/SCRANTON 6, Hershey 2
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 20 – W-B/SCRANTON 5, Hershey 1
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 23 – HERSHEY 3, W-B/Scranton 2 (OT)
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 25 – W-B/SCRANTON 7, Hershey 3

East Division Semifinal – Series “D” (best-of-7)
E2-Philadelphia Phantoms vs. E3-Albany River Rats || Preview

Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 16 – ALBANY 4, Philadelphia 0
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 18 – PHILADELPHIA 3, Albany 0 (WC)
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 20 – Albany 4, PHILADELPHIA 1 (WC)
Game 4 – Tue., Apr. 22 – Philadelphia 2, ALBANY 1
Game 5 – Thu., Apr. 24 – Philadelphia 3, ALBANY 2 (5OT)
Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 26 – Albany 1, PHILADELPHIA 0 (OT) (WC)
Game 7 – Tue., Apr. 29 – Albany at Philadelphia, 7:05 (WC)


North Division Semifinal – Series “E” (best-of-7)
N1-Toronto Marlies vs. W5-San Antonio Rampage || Preview
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 16 – TORONTO 4, San Antonio 3
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 18 – San Antonio 6, TORONTO 3
Game 3 – Mon., Apr. 21 – SAN ANTONIO 3, Toronto 2
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 23 – Toronto 3, SAN ANTONIO 2
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 25 – Toronto 2, SAN ANTONIO 1
Game 6 – Sun., Apr. 27 – San Antonio 3, TORONTO 0
Game 7 – Mon., Apr. 28 – TORONTO 2, San Antonio 1

North Division Semifinal – Series “F” (best-of-7)
N2-Syracuse Crunch vs. N3-Manitoba Moose || Preview

Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 18 – SYRACUSE 2, Manitoba 1 (OT)
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 19 –
Manitoba 3, SYRACUSE 2 (OT)
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 22 –
Syracuse 2, MANITOBA 1 (OT)
Game 4 – Fri., Apr. 25 –
MANITOBA 5, Syracuse 2
Game 5 – Sat., Apr. 26 –
Syracuse 3, MANITOBA 2 (OT)
Game 6 – Mon., Apr. 28 –
SYRACUSE 3, Manitoba 2 (OT)

West Division Semifinal – Series “G” (best-of-7)
W1-Chicago Wolves vs. W4-Milwaukee Admirals || Preview

Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 16 – Milwaukee 4, CHICAGO 3 (OT)
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 18 – CHICAGO 2, Milwaukee 1
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 20 – Chicago 4, MILWAUKEE 3 (OT)
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 23 – MILWAUKEE 2, Chicago 0
Game 5 – Thu., Apr. 24 – CHICAGO 4, Milwaukee 1
Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 26 – Chicago 3, MILWAUKEE 0

West Division Semifinal – Series “H” (best-of-7)
W2-Rockford IceHogs vs. W3-Houston Aeros || Preview

Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 18 – ROCKFORD 3, Houston 1
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 19 – Houston 1, ROCKFORD 0 (2OT)
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 22 – Rockford 2, HOUSTON 1
Game 4 – Thu., Apr. 24 – Rockford 2, HOUSTON 1
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 25 – Rockford 5, HOUSTON 2


*if necessary… All times Eastern

(WC) – Wachovia Center

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 7 –
Albany at Philadelphia, 7:05 (Series tied, 3-3)

Albany and Philadelphia take the Wachovia Center ice for Game 7 of their East Division semifinal, with the winner moving on to face Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the second round beginning Thursday… The River Rats forced the decisive match by taking a 1-0 overtime victory in Game 6 on Saturday afternoon… “Baz” Bastien Award winner Michael Leighton made 40 saves for his second shutout of the series in that win… Leighton leads all AHL goaltenders in the playoffs with a 1.06 GAA and .972 save percentage, stopping 276 of 284 Phantoms shots… Kirk MacDonald scored the only goal of Game 6 at 10:38 of overtime, ending Scott Munroe‘s shutout streak at 175:22… Albany’s Bryan Rodney leads all scorers in the series with six points (3-3-6)… Jared Ross shows a team-high three goals for the Phantoms, while Pete Zingoni (2-1-3), Boyd Kane (1-2-3) and Stefan Ruzicka (0-3-3) have three points each as well… The River Rats are seeking to advance to the second round for the first time since 1998.


Phantoms Game 7 History

May 16, 1999 – Western Conference Semifinal: Philadelphia scores six times off Evgeni Nabokov en route to a 9-3 win over Kentucky and a berth in the conference finals.


May 14, 1997 – Southern Conference Semifinal: J.F. Labbe makes 40 saves to backstop Hershey to a 3-2 win at Philadelphia, ending the Phantoms’ inaugural season.


River Rats Game 7 History

May 14, 1997 – Northern Conference Semifinal: Petr Sykora records a goal and two assists to lead Albany into the conference finals with a 6-2 win at Rochester.



Lindsay Kramer, Syracuse Post-Standard

A Syracuse Crunch team that pumped new hope and enthusiasm into a franchise and an organization turned the playoffs into a party on Monday night. The streamers flew when Syracuse’s Trevor Frischmon scored at the 8 minute, 35 second mark of overtime to nudge the Crunch past the Manitoba Moose 3-2 in the decisive Game 6 of their opening-round series at the Onondaga County War Memorial. The win gave the Crunch a 4-2 series win and sent the team against North Division champ Toronto in a divisional final. That best-of-7 series starts Friday in Toronto. It was a night for the record books. The Crunch won all four of its series games in overtime, the first time in AHL history a team has done that. And the franchise won its first best-of-seven playoff series since 1996, a fact not lost on captain Zenon Konopka.

Ken Wiebe,
Winnipeg Sun
If you weren’t completely sold before, you should be now. Cory Schneider is the real deal and the hype surrounding the Vancouver Canucks goalie of the future was warranted. Schneider’s up-and-down (it was actually down then way up) rookie campaign came to a crashing halt last night as the Moose fell 3-2 in overtime to the Crunch to lose the series 4-2. “Hopefully, I can use this as valuable experience here,” said Schneider, who made another 40 saves in a losing effort. “Even though I didn’t win an overtime game, I learned what it was like to play in overtime and play in a tight series like that.”

Terry Koshan, Toronto Sun
Bates Battaglia, like all those who have come before him with hockey stick in hand, could remember one of the first things a coach tells a player – put the puck at the net. Battaglia did just that last night and boosted a hockey career that has stalled at the NHL level. Battaglia’s goal with 59 seconds left in the third period at the Ricoh Coliseum gave the Marlies a 2-1 victory against the San Antonio Rampage in Game 7 of their opening-round American Hockey League playoff series. Toronto will now play the Syracuse Crunch in the North Division best-of-seven final, with Game 1 going at the Ricoh on Friday night.


Allan Ryan, Toronto Star

All Bates Battaglia was trying to do was throw the puck towards the net and get off the ice. Instead, he had to stick around for a little goal celebration. Actually, a very big goal celebration – the Toronto Marlies’ 2-1, Game 7 winner in their Calder Cup playoff series with the San Antonio Rampage. The veteran’s long, low dump-in from just inside the blue line wound up going the distance, slipping between the legs of a screened and, otherwise, terrific Josh Tordjman in the Rampage net. “It’s never going to be a pretty goal at this time of the year,” said Battaglia. “I was just trying to throw it at the net. I had two guys going there, so a rebound, a tip, whatever. It did neither but that’s fine with me.”



Pete Dougherty, Albany Times-Union
By this point, the combination of purple, black and orange sickens the Albany River Rats. Members of the Philadelphia Phantoms, who sport the aforementioned colors, feel similarly about the red, black, silver and white Rats uniforms they’ve been focused on. After seeing more of each other than they have their own families, the Rats and Phantoms will end their two-week affair tonight. Their best-of-7 opening-round American Hockey League playoff series will come to a conclusion with a showdown in Philadelphia. One team will advance to the quarterfinals, where the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are awaiting the winner, and the other will pack its belongings and head home for the summer. That’s what makes a Game 7 one of the truly special moments in sports.

Phil Janack, Daily Gazette
Saturday’s overtime road win was merely a dress rehearsal. Tonight, the Albany River Rats go after the real thing. Albany faces the Philadelphia Phantoms in a decisive Game 7 of their first-round Calder Cup playoff series at the Wachovia Center. The winner advances to face Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the East Division finals, starting this weekend. The loser goes home for the summer. “We just played a Game 7. If we lost, we were out,” Rats goaltender Michael Leighton said. Leighton pitched a 40-save shutout against the Phantoms in Game 6, 1-0, to extend Albany’s season. “We have to play the same way. Both teams are going to play desperate. It will be interesting to see how they respond, because they haven’t really [faced] elimination. It’s going to be a good game. Both teams are going to be ready.”

Chris Fitz Gerald, Troy Record
There’s something special about Game 7 in a hockey series. While the Albany River Rats are a primarily young team, several have played in a decisive Game 7. Marc Cavosie experienced the must-win game twice – in his rookie season when he helped lead the Houston Aeros to the Calder Cup championship in 2003. Jamie Johnson also took part in a pair of Game 7s, the latest with the Iowa Stars of the AHL in the 2005-06 season. The Albany River Rats centerman’s first Game 7 was in juniors – against current teammate Michael Leighton. “It’s a winner take all,” Johnson said after Monday’s practice at the Albany County Hockey Facility. “Just knowing your season is on the line makes it special.”

Jonathan Bombulie, The Citizen’s Voice
With two days off after dispatching the Hershey Bears in the first round of the playoffs, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins had some time to work on their golf games. Winger Connor James‘ game apparently doesn’t need much work. James recorded a hole-in-one at Blue Ridge Trail Golf Club over the weekend, acing the 155-yard fourth hole with an 8-iron. He was playing with teammates Nathan Smith, Mark Ardelan and Alain Nasreddine. “It was an uphill par 3,” James said. “We all hit our shots and we had no idea. We get up there and see three balls. I walked up to the hole and I saw it in. We started running around the green, going nuts.”

Tom Venesky,
Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
It’s kind of hard to get through your first professional hockey practice on the right foot if you don’t even have the right skates. That’s the dilemma that Dustin Jeffrey, 20, found himself in Monday as he reported to the Ice Box for his first practice with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The scoring sensation from the Ontario Hockey League was signed by the Penguins to an amateur tryout contract on Monday. Jeffrey flew in from Ontario, but his skates didn’t make it in time for Monday’s practice. Not wanting to miss his first opportunity to skate with the team, Jeffrey hit the ice with a pair of used skates from the equipment room.

Paul Kenyon, Providence Journal
The Providence Bruins are taking nothing for granted. They are acting as if they have yet to accomplish anything. Never mind that they have won six straight games since the American Hockey League playoffs began. Never mind that they have dominated Portland, the team that has eliminated them from the playoffs twice in the last four years. The P-Bruins would rather talk about what is ahead of them, not behind. They insist they want to continue to work to get better. “We have to forget about these games and focus on the next one,” said winger Martins Karsums, who scored three goals in the 7-1 victory over the Pirates on Sunday. “It doesn’t matter if we won or we lost. We have to focus on the next game.”

Former Calder Cup champions Scottie Upshall (2004), R.J. Umberger (2005) and Mike Richards (2005) scored for Philadelphia as the Flyers edged Montreal, 3-2, last night to take a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal… 2007 AHL All-Rookie goaltender Jaroslav Halak made his playoff debut for the Canadiens in a relief appearance.

– Minutes of hockey already played in the Philadelphia-Albany series… By the end of Game 7, it will have become the longest series in AHL history, surpassing the 504:26 played by Cleveland and Pittsburgh in the 1953 Calder Cup Finals.