AHL Morning Skate: Griffins face must-win in 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.

HERSHEY 3, W-B/Scranton 1 (HER leads series, 2-0)

1. Rookie goaltender Michal Neuvirth stopped 24 of 25 shots as Hershey beat Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 3-1, to take a 2-0 lead in the East Division Finals.

2. Mathieu Perreault chipped in a pair of assists for the Bears in the winning effort.

3. Andrew Joudrey added a helper for Hershey, which improved to 6-0 on the postseason.

Game 3 – Manitoba at Grand Rapids, 7:00 (MTB leads series, 2-0)

CC09rd2_160x600.jpg2009 CALDER CUP PLAYOFFS:
Atlantic Division Finals – Series “I” (best-of-7)
A2-Providence Bruins vs. A4-Worcester Sharks
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Game 1 – Tue., Apr. 28 – PROVIDENCE 3, Worcester 2 (OT)
Game 2 – Wed., May 6 – Providence at Worcester, 7:05
Game 3 – Fri., May 8 – Worcester at Providence, 7:05
Game 4 – Sat., May 9 – Providence at Worcester, 7:05
*Game 5 – Mon., May 11 – Worcester at Providence, 7:05
*Game 6 – Wed., May 13 – Providence at Worcester, 7:05
*Game 7 – Thu., May 14 – Worcester at Providence, 7:05

East Division Finals – Series “J” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. E3-W-B/Scranton Penguins
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Game 1 – Sat., May 2 – HERSHEY 5, W-B/Scranton 3
Game 2 – Sun., May 3 – HERSHEY 3, W-B/Scranton 1
Game 3 – Wed., May 6 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Game 4 – Fri., May 8 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 5 – Sat., May 9 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 6 – Sun., May 10 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 5:00
*Game 7 – Tue., May 12 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 7:00

North Division Finals – Series “K” (best-of-7)
N1-Manitoba Moose vs. N3-Grand Rapids Griffins
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Game 1 – Fri., May 1 – MANITOBA 2, Grand Rapids 1
Game 2 – Sat., May 2 – MANITOBA 2, Grand Rapids 1
Game 3 – Mon., May 4 – Manitoba at Grand Rapids, 7:00
Game 4 – Wed., May 6 – Manitoba at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 5 – Fri., May 8 – Manitoba at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sun., May 10 – Grand Rapids at Manitoba, 8:30
*Game 7 – Tue., May 12 – Grand Rapids at Manitoba, 8:30

West Division Finals – Series
“L” (best-of-7)
W1-Milwaukee Admirals vs. W3-Houston Aeros || Preview
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 30 – Houston 2, MILWAUKEE 1
Game 2 – Sat., May 2 – MILWAUKEE 4, Houston 1
Game 3 – Tue., May 5 – Milwaukee at Houston, 8:05
Game 4 – Thu., May 7 – Milwaukee at Houston, 8:05
Game 5 – Sat., May 9 – Milwaukee at Houston, 8:35
*Game 6 – Mon., May 11 – Houston at Milwaukee, 8:00
*Game 7 – Wed., May 13 – Houston at Milwaukee, 8:00

*if necessary… All times Eastern

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 3 – Manitoba at Grand Rapids, 7:00 (MTB leads series, 2-0)
Manitoba looks to put a stranglehold on the North Division Finals as it brings a 2-0 series lead into Grand Rapids for Game 3 tonight… The Moose emerged with a pair of 2-1 victories over the Griffins in Winnipeg last weekend and have now won five in a row, matching their longest playoff winning streak as a member of the AHL; Manitoba also won five straight from Apr. 24 to May 5, 2006… Alexandre Bolduc has figured in on all four Moose goals in the series, scoring two and assisting on two… Jason Krog is pacing the Moose with 10 postseason points (3-7-10) and tallied the game-winning goal in Game 2 on Saturday… Cory Schneider has stopped 49 of 51 shots (1.00, .961) through the first two contests and is 6-2 (1.74, .934) in the postseason… Schneider has not surrendered more than two goals in a game since a 3-2 overtime loss to Toronto in the playoff opener on Apr. 15… Francis Pare in Game 1 and Darren McCarty in Game 2 have been the only Griffins to get a puck past Schneider in the series… Ville Leino (3-10-13), Darren Haydar (4-6-10) and Justin Abdelkader (6-2-8) racked up a combined 31 points in six first-round games but have all been held scoreless through the first two games against Manitoba… Grand Rapids lost two of three home games in the first round vs. Hamilton… The Moose won 25 road games in the regular season, tied for the most in the league.


Randy Turner, Winnipeg Free Press
Imagine for a moment that you’ve trained pretty much your entire life to earn a specific job. You’ve matured, put in the countless hours to hone your craft and feel ready to finally take the next step to fulfill your dream. Only one problem: The guy who currently holds down the job you’re seeking just happens to be widely considered the best. In the world. Eeep! Welcome to Cory Schneider’s world.

Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Sun
Alexandre Bolduc looks like a guy trying to make up for lost time. And in many ways, he is. After suffering a knee injury in the third game of the opening-round series against the Toronto Marlies, Bolduc returned to the Manitoba Moose lineup in the second round and has been playing like a man possessed. Bolduc has been in on all four of Manitoba’s goals in helping the Moose take a 2-0 series lead over the Grand Rapids Griffins as the series shifts to Michigan. Two goals, two assists, two wins.

Tom Venesky, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
There wasn’t much to be said during the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ bus ride back home on Sunday. The Hershey Bears did enough talking when they won Game 2 of the AHL East Division Finals 3-1 on Sunday evening at the Giant Center. Rather than talk, the Penguins passed the miles between Hershey and the Wilkes-Barre area thinking about how they got themselves in a 2-0 hole in the best-of-seven series. “It will be a quiet ride back because the guys will be thinking about what happened and what we have to do to get a better outcome,” said team captain Connor James.

Tim Leone, Harrisburg Patriot-News
There was more drama off the ice Sunday night at Giant Center than on it. The Hershey Bears played without defensemen Karl Alzner and Tyler Sloan, who were sidelined due to what Bears head coach Bob Woods said was illness. But it was the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins who were left in poor shape as Hershey produced a 3-1 victory in Game 2 that gave it a 2-0 lead in the East Division finals. A hush went through the crowd when Alzner and Sloan were announced as scratches. What followed once the puck dropped were numerous cheers as Hershey scored three first-period goals that buried WBS early.

Dan Sernoffsky, Lebanon Daily News
There’s no question that a lot of it is goaltending, but as well as Michal Neuvirth is playing, he’s not quite Superman in net. Which doesn’t matter, because he is getting a lot of help. The penalty kill that ranked dead last in the regular season has been devastatingly effective since the playoffs began, and that, as much as anything, is the reason the Hershey Bears are now 6-0. The Bears were 6-for-6 on the penalty kill last night, one that included 92 seconds worth of a 5-on-3 by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. It was the second lengthy 5-on-3 the Bears have killed in the playoffs and makes them a league-best 32-for-34.

Jonathan Bombulie, Citizens’ Voice
Oskar Osala is a fine young hockey player, a 6-foot-4 power forward with all the potential in the world. Scored 23 goals in this, his rookie season with the Hershey Bears. Even spent a couple of games in the NHL with Washington. With most AHL teams, he’d play a starring role. In Hershey, he’s the fourth-line left wing. That’s the kind of firepower the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are facing in the East Division finals.

Toronto Sun
In this, the second installment of a three-part series, “The Game, The Grind, The Glory,” award-winning photographer Dave Abel takes Sun readers on a revealing, unprecedented, behind-the-scenes journey with the Toronto Marlies AHL hockey team. Abel documents in pictures and online video footage the dreams, sacrifices and crushing reality that’s part and parcel of life as a pro-hockey player with the Toronto Maple Leafs farm club, and what it takes to make it to the NHL.

Dave Eminian, Peoria Journal Star
The Peoria Rivermen had their first AHL playoff series victory in their hands in April. Even though it slipped away, they settled for a 2008-09 season that represented huge strides for the St. Louis Blues farm club. “How will I remember 2008-09?” Rivermen veteran captain Trent Whitfield said. “Well, what started out as a frustrating year turned completely around into a solid, exciting team that took a big step forward for the organization.”

Former Portland Pirates Jonas Hiller (59 saves) and Ryan Getzlaf (1g, 2a) helped Anaheim to a 4-3 win at Detroit yesterday afternoon in Game 2 of their NHL Western Conference semifinal… Todd Marchant scored the game-winner at 1:15 of the third overtime period… In Boston, 2005 AHL All-Star Eric Staal and 2005 Calder Cup finalist Joe Corvo each had a goal and an assist and 2005 AHL All-Rookie goaltender Cam Ward made 36 saves as Carolina beat the Bruins, 3-0, in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal.

Morten Madsen, who registered 22 points in 56 regular-season AHL games for Houston this season, netted a goal on Sunday to help Denmark to a 5-1 win over Hungary at the IIHF World Championships in Switzerland… Matthew Lombardi and two-time AHL All-Star Jason Spezza each tallied a goal as Canada took a 5-1 victory over Norway.

3 – Teams in the Calder Cup Playoffs currently riding a winning streak of five games or more… Hershey extended its streak to six games on Sunday, Providence has reeled off five straight wins since dropping its postseason opener, and Manitoba brings a five-game run into Game 3 of the North Division Finals against Grand Rapids tonight… The AHL record for consecutive wins in a single postseason is 12, set by the 1988 Hershey Bears who went a perfect 12-0 en route to winning the Calder Cup.

May 4, 2008Kris Versteeg records a goal and an assist to lead Rockford to a 3-1 win over Chicago in Game 3 of their West Division final.

May 4, 1989 – Randy McKay scores 3:05 into the second overtime period to give Adirondack a 7-6 win over New Haven in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals.

May 4, 1973 – The Cincinnati Swords defeat Nova Scotia, 7-3, in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals, snapping the Voyageurs’ 12-game postseason winning streak.

May 4, 1968 – The Rochester Americans win the Calder Cup for the third time in four years, finishing off Quebec with a 4-2 win in Game 6.

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.