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.
2011 Calder Cup Finals – Series “O” (best-of-7)
W2-Houston Aeros vs. E5-Binghamton Senators
Game 1 – Fri., May 27 – HOUSTON 3, Binghamton 1
Game 2 – Sat., May 28 – Binghamton 2, HOUSTON 1 (OT)
Game 3 – Wed., June 1 – Houston at Binghamton, 7:05
Game 4 – Fri., June 3 – Houston at Binghamton, 7:05
Game 5 – Sat., June 4 – Houston at Binghamton, 7:05
*Game 6 – Tue., June 7 – Binghamton at Houston, 8:05
*Game 7 – Thu., June 9 – Binghamton at Houston, 8:05
*if necessary… All times Eastern
SATURDAY’S THREE STARS:
1. Jim O’Brien netted the game-winning goal 7:54 into overtime to give Binghamton a 2-1 win at Houston in Game 2 of the Calder Cup Finals.
2. Rookie forward Casey Wellman tallied Houston’s lone goal in the losing effort.
3. Bobby Butler notched his AHL rookie-leading 12th goal of the playoffs as the Senators tied up the series.
GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 3 – Houston at Binghamton, 7:05 (Series tied, 1-1)
TV: Comcast 110 (Houston), Time Warner Cable 23 & HD 813 (Binghamton), Rogers Sportsnet Sens
Video Webcast: AHL Live (www.ahllive.com)
Series Preview: http://theahl.com/finals-p171201
The 2011 Calder Cup Finals shift to the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton tonight as the hometown Senators host the Houston Aeros with the best-of-7 series deadlocked at a game apiece… Tonight marks the first Calder Cup Finals game in Binghamton since May 8, 1982, when the Binghamton Whalers dropped a 4-1 decision in Game 4 en route to a five-game defeat to the New Brunswick Hawks in the city’s only prior appearance in the AHL championship series… The Senators and Aeros split the first two games in Houston last weekend; Houston snagged a 3-1 win in the series-opener on Friday, and Binghamton bounced back to post a 2-1 overtime victory in Game 2 on Saturday… Former first-round draft pick Jim O’Brien notched the game-winning goal at 7:54 of the extra session, with the lone assist going to Erik Condra… O’Brien, selected 29th overall by Ottawa in 2007, registered his third goal of the playoffs but first since scoring in Game 6 of the division finals at Portland on May 6… Condra’s assist gave him a point in four of his last six games (2-4-6)… The goal by O’Brien improved Binghamton to 6-1 in overtime this postseason… Senators rookie forward Bobby Butler has netted a goal in each of the first two games of this series (2-0-2) and has scored in five of his last six contests overall (5-1-6)… The 24-year-old Butler has produced 12 playoff tallies overall (12-3-15), recording single goals in 12 of his club’s 19 games to date… Kaspars Daugavins collected only three points (2-1-3) in Binghamton’s opening-round win over Manchester but has produced 15 points (8-7-15) in 12 outings since, including an assist on Butler’s goal in Game 2… Binghamton forward Ryan Potulny has been held without a point in each of the first two games vs. Houston, the first time all postseason that the AHL’s leading scorer (14-11-25) has gone consecutive contests without finding the scoresheet… Senators rookie goaltender Robin Lehner earned the Game 2 victory with 28 saves on 29 shots, improving his impressive mark to 11-3 (2.27, .935) in 15 playoff appearances… In the games following his three losses this postseason, the 19-year-old Lehner is a perfect 3-0 and has stopped 86 of 88 shots (.977)… Rookie Casey Wellman tallied the Aeros’ lone goal in Game 2 for his sixth marker of the postseason (6-5-11)… Wellman’s six goals are tied with Jed Ortmeyer (6-7-13) and Chad Rau (6-3-9) for second-most on the club behind Colton Gillies (7-5-12)… Prior to Saturday, three of Wellman’s first five playoff goals had come in Houston’s Game 7 victories over Milwaukee and Hamilton… A former first-round draft pick, Gillies is trying to snap a seven-game goal-scoring drought; he has not lit the lamp since Game 2 of the conference finals vs. the Bulldogs on May 15… Saturday marked the third time this postseason that the Aeros were held to just one goal… Each side has scored one power play goal through the first two games – Binghamton is 1-for-8, and the Aeros check in at 1-for-7… Houston is 5-4 on the road during these playoffs, but the Aeros were outscored 12-3 in dropping their most recent two road contests – Games 4 and 5 of the conference finals… Binghamton is just 4-4 at the Broome County Arena and will be playing its first home game since completing a sweep of Charlotte in the conference finals on May 18.
AEROS LOOKING FORWARD TO FASTER PACED CHALLENGE – Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
After playing the first two games of the Calder Cup Finals on choppy ice in the warm confines of the Toyota Center in Houston, the Binghamton Senators were excited to come home to the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. The Houston Aeros were surprised to be greeted by 90-degree temperatures when they got off their plane in Elmira Monday, but skating at the Arena Tuesday was a treat for them, too.
STIRLING HAS BEEN PART OF THE EXCITEMENT BEFORE – Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
Reaching the Calder Cup Finals has created an excitement about hockey in Binghamton that people say has not been matched since the first pro team was established here in 1973. Not many people can appreciate that more than current Binghamton Senators assistant coach Steve Stirling, who began playing for the Broome Dusters in the 1974-75 season. The decision Stirling made last summer to return to Binghamton under head coach Kurt Kleinendorst has never looked better.
BLACK ACES PART OF SENATORS’ HEART AND SOUL – Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
To reach the Calder Cup Finals, a team has to make the most of every positive that comes its way. For the Binghamton Senators, one big boost has been the skaters who aren’t cracking the game night lineup. At least six extra healthy players – known as ‘black aces’ – practice every day regardless of whether they will play, and their efforts are appreciated as the B-Sens battle the Houston Aeros for an American Hockey League championship.
TIME WELL SPENT FOR AEROS, SENATORS – Houston Chronicle
By advancing to the AHL’s Calder Cup finals, the Aeros and Binghamton Senators have captured the elusive alchemy of succeeding in a league where team accomplishments can play second fiddle to individual advancement. Entering tonight’s Game 3 at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena, the teams are even at a game apiece and nearly all square in the manner in which they have succeeded with a mixture of season-long players and players who have been up for a cup of coffee, and sometimes more, with their parent clubs.
LINE COMBINATIONS WORKING OUT WELL FOR AEROS – Houston Chronicle
When Jed Ortmeyer and Patrick O’Sullivan arrived in January, the Aeros went from a team just hoping to make the playoffs to the one that is three wins away from a Calder Cup Championship. Ortmeyer was the Game 1 hero against the Binghamton Senators, scoring two third period goals en route to a 3-1 win and a 1-0 series lead. O’Sullivan set up two goals in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals, giving the Aeros a 4-3 win in the game and sending them to the championship round.
BINGO FANS SOLD ON BABY SENS – Ottawa Sun
Bingo is more abuzz with B-Sens chatter than ever before. And the numbers are there to prove it. For Game 3 Wednesday, you can only get two seats together in the Binghamton end, near the top of sections 5 and 6. There are a few singles sprinkled around the 4,710-seat barn, however, which is more than can be said for Friday’s Game 4. As of your last dinner time, there were only three seats left for that one, and they came with obstructed views. The only hope one has of buying a ticket for Saturday’s Game 5 is through a scalper as it is sold out. This is new for Binghamton. This is huge.
ROAD WARRIORS CAN WIN AHL TITLE IN BINGHAMTON – Ottawa Citizen
The road to the Calder Cup has been very kind to the Binghamton Senators for the past six weeks, but Binghamton is now in position to win the American Hockey League title against the Houston Aeros on home ice. After splitting the opening two games in Houston, the next three games -tonight, Friday and Saturday -are at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. With a clean sweep of the three games, the Senators would avoid a return trip to Texas.
MOOSE ARE MOVING ON – Winnipeg Sun
What will become of the Manitoba Moose? In light of all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the return of the NHL to Winnipeg, significant questions still remain regarding the future of the American Hockey League team. True North Sports and Entertainment plans to operate an AHL franchise during the upcoming season and Newfoundland remains a possible destination.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE MOOSE? – Winnipeg Free Press
The AHL’s Manitoba Moose will be changing cities but it’s business as usual, Craig Heisinger, the team’s GM, said. True North Sports & Entertainment chairman Mark Chipman said it’s unlikely his group will sell the Moose AHL franchise. Rather, it will retain ownership of the team in the AHL and control its hockey department and simply enter into a business arrangement with a group in another city to run the rest of the operation.
FROM CALDER TO STANLEY:
With the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins set to square off in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, more than 90 percent of the players, coaches, and managers involved are graduates of the American Hockey League… A combined 42 of the 47 players to appear in a playoff game for Vancouver and Boston thus far are AHL graduates.
BY THE NUMBERS:
71.9 – When a Calder Cup Finals series has been tied 1-1, percentage of Game 3 winners that have gone on to win the championship (23 of 32).
2 – Playoff attendance records set by the Aeros in the first two games of this series… Game 1 saw the largest crowd ever for a Calder Cup Playoff game in Houston (8,018), a mark that was surpassed 24 hours later in Game 2 (9,002).
ON THIS DATE:
June 1, 2008 – Darren Haydar notches two goals and an assist and defenseman Joel Kwiatkowski scores a power-play goal for the sixth consecutive game as Chicago takes a 2-0 series lead with a 4-2 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in Game 2 of the Calder Cup Finals.
June 1, 2004 – Mathieu Darche scores 13:01 into overtime as Milwaukee opens up the Calder Cup Finals with a 2-1 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
June 1, 1999 – Martin Biron makes 24 saves as Rochester advances to the Calder Cup Finals for the 15th time in team history with a 4-2 win over Philadelphia in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals.
June 1, 1996 – In the first AHL game ever played in the month of June, Rochester defeats Portland, 5-3, in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals.
Don’t miss a step on the road to the 2011 Calder Cup championship. AHL Live brings AHL action to your computer all season 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.