AHL Morning Skate: Houston back home for 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.


Manitoba 3, GRAND RAPIDS 1 (MTB leads series, 3-0)

1. Alexandre Bolduc extended his goal-scoring streak to three with the game-winner in Manitoba’s 3-1 win at Grand Rapids.

2. Jason Jaffray tallied a goal and two assists for the Moose, who took a 3-0 lead in the North Division Finals.

3. Rookie Francis Pare netted the Griffins’ lone goal of the night.

Game 3 – Milwaukee at Houston, 8:05 (Series tied, 1-1)

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 3, GRAND RAPIDS 1
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 – Milwaukee at Houston, 8:05 (Series tied, 1-1)
The West Division Finals shift to Texas tonight as Houston hosts Milwaukee in Game 3… It’s the Admirals’ first visit to Toyota Center since Nov. 30… The Aeros took Game 1 of the series on the road, but the Admirals came back with a 4-1 victory on Saturday… Former Aero Ryan Jones scored twice and Mike Santorelli posted a goal and two assists in Game 2 for Milwaukee… Santorelli (4-4-8) and Jones (3-2-5) have combined for 13 points in their last four games after both went scoreless in the Admirals’ first two postseason contests against Rockford… Milwaukee defenseman Cody Franson also found the back of the net in Game 2, and Jed Ortmeyer chipped in two assists to give him six points (1-5-6) and a plus-7 rating in six playoff outings thus far… Drew MacIntyre is 5-1 in the playoffs and leads the AHL in goals-against average (1.17) while ranking second in save percentage (.954)… The Admirals have scored first in five of their six postseason games and are a perfect 5-0 in those contests… Houston won two of three games at Toyota Center during its opening-round win over Peoria, with all three contests decided by one goal… Robbie Earl tallied the Aeros’ lone goal in the Game 2 loss, his third marker of the playoffs… Corey Locke paces the Aeros with 10 playoff points (4-6-10) but has been held to just one assist through the first two games of the division finals… Tony Hrkac, a member of Milwaukee’s 2004 Calder Cup championship team, has registered an assist in both games against the Admirals and has a point in five of his last six contests overall (1-5-6)… Houston went 10-for-31 (32.3%) on the power play in the first round but has scored just once on 11 opportunities (9.1%) against Milwaukee thus far… As members of the AHL, the Aeros are 2-6 in Game 3’s of playoff series that are tied at one game apiece, including a win over Peoria last round; the Admirals are 4-2 in such contests.


Andrew J. Ferraro, Houston Chronicle
It was mission accomplished in Milwaukee for the Aeros, who picked up a split in the first two games of the best-of-seven West Division finals. The Admirals were emotional and rusty in Thursday’s Game 1. A quick five-on-three power-play goal gave the Aeros an early lead they didn’t relinquish in a 2-1 win at Bradley Center. Two days later, the Admirals got on the board in the opening minutes and dominated the second half of the game. Milwaukee finished with a 4-1 win but now must come to Toyota Center, where it has won just one of its past five games. Aeros coach Kevin Constantine said every underdog in hockey is happy to get a split in its first two road games.

Tim Campbell, Winnipeg Free Press
In the playoffs, change what you do at your peril. Along that line of thinking, the Manitoba Moose just tried to be themselves, which was the AHL’s best road team – if not dullest, at times – during the regular season. The simple, dreary approach yielded the same kind of result Monday night at Van Andel Arena, a 3-1 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins that gives the top-seeded Moose a 3-0 grip on this best-of-seven North Division final.

Steve Vedder, Winnipeg Sun
The last thing Matt Pope thought would be absent from the AHL North Division final was goals. But after the Moose knocked off the Grand Rapids Griffins 3-1 last night at Van Andel Arena, that’s been the case. The win means the Moose have won three straight in the best-of-seven series without scoring any more than three goals in any of the games. “Both teams’ last series had a lot of goals,” said Pope, who opened the scoring at 8:06 of the first period. “I think both teams realized that there was a lot of firepower.” Defense, however, has dominated the series.

Michael Zuidema, Grand Rapids Press
The Grand Rapids Griffins’ backs are up against the wall. The Manitoba Moose hold a commanding 3-0 series lead in the North Division finals after beating the Griffins 3-1 on Monday night at Van Andel Arena. As a result, the Griffins will try to become the third American Hockey League team to rally from an 0-3 series deficit, joining the 1960 Rochester Americans and 1989 Adirondack Red Wings. “From here on in, we’ve got to take it one game at a time. That’s the way it is in the playoffs,” Griffins captain Darren Haydar said.

Kevin Freeman, Lancaster Intelligencer Journal
Imagine you’ve spent the whole season on the junior varsity team. You’ve had a pretty good season but the season is done. The varsity, however, has made it to the playoffs, which is, of course, the most important time of the season. A time to play your best players. A time to play the players with the most experience. Then, the varsity coach calls you. Tells you he needs you in the lineup. For the playoffs. With all that pressure. When mistakes result in losses. In many ways, John Carlson is living such a scenario right now. He made his pro hockey debut Saturday in Game 1 of the Bears-Penguins East Division playoff series and played Sunday night, scoring his first pro goal.

Dan Sernoffsky, Lebanon Daily News
The Hershey Bears are now 6-0 in the postseason, and so far, as head coach Bob Woods pointed out, everyone has had a hand in the success. “Everybody contributed,” Woods said. “There were no passengers. Everybody was a part of it, and when you have the depth we have and everybody’s pulling, we can be tough.” What has become readily apparent is that the depth is providing a lot at both ends of the ice, and in all situations. The Bears have allowed just 10 goals in six games while scoring 22, are an impressive 9-for-36 on the power play, and an incredible 32-for-34 on the penalty kill. They are also getting scoring from just about everyone.

Jonathan Bombulie, Citizens’ Voice
Before the puck drops for Game 3 of the East Division finals Wednesday night at the Wachovia Arena, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are left with a question to ponder. What ailed them during the first two games of the series in Hershey and is the condition fatal? If there’s one thing above all others that troubled the Penguins in a 5-3 Hershey win in Game 1 and a 3-1 Bears victory in Game 2, it’s sloppy play in the defensive zone. Exacerbating the problem is the fact that Hershey has the most dangerous collection of forwards in the AHL.

Scott Burnside, ESPN.com
From the beginning, this Eastern Conference semifinal series has been about the can’t-miss kids: Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin. It is more than a little curious, then, that the men who stand behind them each night, the men who draw up the game plans and set these players loose, come from a world far removed from “can’t miss.” In fact, Washington’s Bruce Boudreau and Pittsburgh’s Dan Bylsma are the long-shot kids in a profession that has been marked for a long time by sure things and familiar names.

Ryan O’Halloran, Washington Times
Whether he becomes a top-six NHL defenseman or a player who shuttles between the big leagues and the AHL, Tyler Sloan is going to remember Monday night until he hangs up his skates. The experience was that surreal, the excitement that unreal. A defenseman for the Hershey Bears on Saturday, Sloan was a blueliner for the Washington Capitals just 48 hours later, playing more than 16 minutes in the Caps’ thrilling 4-3 win against Pittsburgh in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series. “No nerves for him,” said defenseman Brian Pothier, who paired with Sloan. “I don’t think he made a mistake – even on the penalty kill. He was poised and did all the right things.”

Tim Wharnsby, Globe and Mail
Detroit Red Wings veteran Brian Rafalski is likely to miss his third consecutive game against the Anaheim Ducks tonight, and that means the Stanley Cup defending champions will continue to rely heavily on impressive rookie Jonathan Ericsson. Ericsson, 25, is another find in the list of mid- to late-round discoveries from the Wings’ European scout, Hakan Andersson. But unlike Pavel Datsyuk (sixth round, 1998) and Henrik Zetterberg (seventh round, 1999), Ericsson has the distinction of being the final selection of the 2002 NHL entry draft in Toronto.

Worcester Sharks forward Jamie McGinn steps into the AHL Chat Room to answer fans’ questions this Thursday, May 7… Visit theahl.com to submit questions for Jamie, and check back Thursday to see his responses.

2006 Calder Cup champion Dave Steckel netted a goal and Hershey call-up Tyler Sloan posted an assist in his NHL playoff debut as Washington captured a 4-3 win over Pittsburgh on Monday to take a 2-0 series lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal.

Defenseman Anssi Salmela, who recorded 24 points in 40 AHL games this season for Lowell and Chicago, tallied a goal on Monday to help Finland to a 4-3 win over Canada on Monday at the IIHF World Championships in Switzerland; two-time AHL All-Star Pekka Rinne made 29 saves in the winning effort… Goaltender Martin Gerber, who appeared in 14 AHL games with Binghamton in 2008-09, stopped 21 shots as Switzerland edged the United States, 4-3.

4 – Times, in 23 career appearances, that Milwaukee goaltender Drew MacIntyre has allowed more than two goals in a Calder Cup Playoff game… MacIntyre is 0-4 in those games, 13-4 when allowing two goals or fewer.

May 5, 2006
Mike Brown, Josh Green and Alex Burrows score in Manitoba’s 3-1 win over Grand Rapids in Game 1 of their division final.

May 5, 2004 – Hartford completes a four-game sweep of Worcester with a 4-3 victory in Game 4, clinching the series on Ken Gernander’s goal at 7:49 of the third overtime period.

May 5, 2003Ray Emery stops 34 shots as Binghamton advances to the conference finals with a 2-1 win over Bridgeport in Game 6.

May 5, 2000J.P. Dumont scores twice and Mika Noronen makes 32 saves for his AHL-record sixth shutout of the postseason as Rochester moves into the conference finals with a 3-0 win over Hamilton.

May 5, 1993 – Bill McDougall ties an AHL playoff record with five goals (and adds an assist) in Cape Breton’s 8-2 win over St. John’s as the Oilers complete a four-game sweep of the Maple Leafs.

May 5, 1974 – Rick Middleton’s overtime goal allows the Providence Reds to avoid a sweep with a 5-4 win over Hershey in Game 4 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.