AHL Morning Skate: June 2

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.

Game 1 – Hershey 5, MANITOBA 4 (OT) (HER leads series, 1-0)

1. AHL MVP Alexandre Giroux finished off a hat trick with the game-winning goal in overtime as Hershey took a 5-4 win to open the Calder Cup Finals.

2. Michael Grabner tallied two goals and an assist for Manitoba in the losing effort.

3. Mark Cullen posted a goal and an assist for the Moose.

Game 2 – Hershey at Manitoba, 8:30 (HER leads series, 1-0)

Complete Results || Scoring Leaders || Goaltending Leaders

2009 Calder Cup Finals – Series “O” (best-of-7)
N1-Manitoba Moose vs. E1-Hershey Bears
Game 1 – Sat., May 30 – Hershey 5, MANITOBA 4 (OT)
Game 2 – Tue., June 2 – Hershey at Manitoba, 8:30 ET
Game 3 – Sat., June 6 – Manitoba at Hershey, 7:00 ET
Game 4 – Sun., June 7 – Manitoba at Hershey, 5:00 ET
*Game 5 – Tue., June 9 – Manitoba at Hershey, 7:00 ET
*Game 6 – Fri., June 12 – Hershey at Manitoba, 8:30 ET
*Game 7 – Sun., June 14 – Hershey at Manitoba, 8:30 ET

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 2 – Hershey at Manitoba, 8:30 (HER leads series, 1-0)
Video Webcast: AHL Live
Official Media Notes (PDF – 503 KB)
Manitoba and Hershey suit up for Game 2 of the Calder Cup Finals tonight at the MTS Centre… Fresh off a 5-4 overtime victory in Game 1, the Bears are looking to take a 2-0 series lead home to Hershey for the next three contests… Hershey, which captured its 50th playoff overtime win in team history on Saturday (50-47), has won five straight games and seven of eight since falling into a 3-2 series hole to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the East Division Finals… AHL MVP Alexandre Giroux tallied a hat trick for the Bears on Saturday, finishing it off by scoring the game-winning goal on the power play at 13:33 of overtime… Giroux paces Hershey with 12 goals and 23 points in 17 postseason games and has registered at least one point in eight straight contests (8-6-14)… Giroux’s third goal of the night set two AHL records: most goals in one year, regular season and playoffs combined (72), and most career playoff overtime goals (four)… The hat trick was the sixth in a Finals game since 1994, and the first by a Bear in the Finals since Mike McHugh scored three times – also including the overtime winner – in a 6-5 victory over Hamilton in Game 2 of the 1997 series… Giroux had no points in Hershey’s five-game loss to Hamilton in the 2007 Finals… Oskar Osala scored two of the Bears’ three third-period goals in the opener, and five of his six goals this postseason have now come in Game 1’s… Keith Aucoin has multiple points in three straight games (1-5-6) after registering a pair of assists in Game 1, and his 18 playoff points (3-15-18) are tied with Chris Bourque (4-14-18) for second on the team… Bourque was held off the scoresheet on Saturday for just the third time in 17 postseason outings this year… Rookie goaltender Michal Neuvirth made 26 saves in the victory and denied Matt Pope‘s penalty shot in the second period… Pope’s penalty shot was the second in the Finals in as many years; John Curry of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton denied Chicago’s Steve Martins in Game 1 last spring… Hershey captain Bryan Helmer skated in his 112th career AHL postseason game, moving into a tie for fourth place all-time with three former Bears in Mike Nykoluk, Willie Marshall and Les Duff… Second-year pro Michael Grabner notched two goals and an assist for the Moose on Saturday… The former first-round draft pick has racked up 8-2-10 in his last six games after totaling five points (1-4-5) in his first nine playoff games this spring… Cory Schneider made 30 saves, allowing five goals for the second time in his last four starts… Schneider is now 0-7 lifetime in overtime playoff games, but 13-1 in regulation playoff games… Manitoba also received Game 1 tallies from Mark Cullen (1-1-2) and Maxime Fortunus, and leading scorer Jason Krog (7-13-20) picked up two assists… Cullen and Fortunus scored their goals on separate 5-on-3 power plays for the Moose… The team that wins Game 1 of the Finals has taken the Cup on 55 of 72 previous occasions (76.4 percent), including 13 of the last 15… Only one team in the last 30 years has lost Game 1 of the Finals at home and come back to win the Calder Cup (Saint John Flames, 2001)… Nine of the last 10 Calder Cup Finals have opened with a one-goal margin in Game 1.


Gary Lawless, Winnipeg Free Press
In streetfighting parlance, the Manitoba Moose are on one knee and they’d better get up and land a shot of their own in a hurry. The Moose find themselves down 1-0 to the Hershey Bears in this best-of-seven Calder Cup Final with Game 2 set for the MTS Centre tonight. A second loss wouldn’t finish Manitoba but heading down to Hershey for the next three scheduled games in the series trailing 2-0 is not a scenario anyone in Mooseland wants to entertain. A win, however, puts the Moose right back in the scrap and that has to be the focus for the home side heading into tonight’s action.

Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Sun
Mike Keane was quick to put things in perspective when asked about falling behind in the Calder Cup final. Keane was more than happy to remind his teammates — and members of the media — that the best-of- 7 series is not a race to one. “At this stage of the game, it’s a real mental thing,” Keane said after the Moose and Bears hit the ice at the Gateway Recreation Centre yesterday morning. “It’s important for us to stay in the now. We’re not panicking and we’re not worried.”

Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Sun
Matt Pope had the outcome of the game riding on the blade of his stick. With the Manitoba Moose leading the Hershey Bears during the second period in the first game of the Calder Cup final, Pope used his speed to create a clear-cut breakaway. Just as Pope was getting ready to shoot, Bears defenceman Staffan Kronwall showed tremendous hustle and extended fully, causing Pope to fall to the ice. The roar of the crowd told Pope all he needed to know. “I didn’t even look at the ref, I was still down on the ice and I heard the crowd go nuts.”

Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Sun
Alexandre Bolduc wasn’t making any firm commitments about suiting up for Game 2 of the Calder Cup final, he spoke only of progress. Having said that, the Manitoba Moose remain hopeful he’ll be back in uniform when they host the Hershey Bears at the MTS Centre. “Every day is getting a little bit better,” said Bolduc, who has five goals and nine points in 10 post-season games this spring. “It’s a possibility, yeah. We’ll see how I feel in the morning. It’s day-to-day right now.” With three more days between Games 2 and 3, there is a better chance Bolduc could return tonight but there are no guarantees.

Tim Leone, Harrisburg Patriot-News
The Hershey Bears can understand the plight of the Manitoba Moose. Hershey lost Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals at home to the Providence Bruins but revived to win the series in five games. The Moose, who lost Game 1 of the Calder Cup finals to Hershey, aim to start a similar rebound in Game 2 tonight at MTS Centre. “It’s long from over,” Bears head coach Bob Woods said. “We’re going to see a pretty desperate hockey team in Manitoba. They know they don’t want to come back to our building 0-2.” Manitoba, though, isn’t playing Providence. Its foe is a Hershey club running on all cylinders at the most opportune time.

Dan Sernoffsky, Lebanon Daily News
One down, three to go. But a lot easier said than done. The Hershey Bears try to make it a two-game sweep in Winnipeg tonight when they square off with the Manitoba Moose at MTS Centre in the Calder Cup finals. “We thought we wanted to come in here and win at least one,” said Hershey coach Bob Woods in a phone interview from Winnipeg yesterday. “Now we’d like to win again and come home up 2-0. But I’m sure we’ll see a pretty desperate team in Manitoba.”

Corey Masisak, Washington Times
Oskar Osala has been something of a victim of circumstance in his first professional season in North America, but that hasn’t stopped him from finding success with the Hershey Bears. Osala, a fourth-round draft pick by the Washington Capitals in 2006 and one of the top forward prospects in their organization, has found it tough to earn time on the power play for the Bears, who boast one of the deepest and most talented rosters in the American Hockey League.

Lindsay Kramer, NHL.com
Before his mercurial career could continue taking flight, Manitoba Moose rookie forward Cody Hodgson had to learn a little bit about how AHL teams get on an airplane. That small, but important, detail was crossed off the list during the Western Conference finals. The possible explanations are a little murky. Perhaps the brilliant prospect thought that travel days were dress-down days. It could be argued that Hodgson’s roommate – whom he did not want to publicly blame – should have tipped him off differently. The bottom line was that when Hodgson showed up at the airport for the flight to Houston, he was rocking shorts and a golf shirt.

The Manitoba Moose didn’t win Saturday night, but the local business community in Winnipeg did. More than 15,000 packed into the downtown MTS Centre on Saturday. It was the largest crowd for any opening game in the 73-year history of the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup finals. Before and after the game, fans dispersed throughout downtown Winnipeg, bringing business to bars, restaurants and shops. Chuck Davidson, vice president of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, said the Moose’s playoff run is like “found money” to the local economy.

Pierre LeBrun, ESPN.com
It must be that time of year again. The Detroit Red Wings are in the Stanley Cup finals, and we are examining how they build their teams. But perhaps we’ve been asking the wrong question all along. For years, the focus has been on whom the Wings were selecting and how ridiculously low those players were being selected in the NHL draft. But just as important a question as whom the Wings have been drafting may be how they are developing them. The contributions of the latest round of Detroit newcomers – Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader, Ville Leino and Jonathan Ericsson – speak more to that question.

Former AHL All-Stars Jonathan Ericsson (2008) and Valtteri Filppula (2006) each scored a goal, and 2008-09 AHL All-Rookie forward Justin Abdelkader, who scored his first NHL goal in Game 1, added his second tally in as many nights to help Detroit to a 3-1 victory over Pittsburgh on Sunday and a 2-0 series lead in the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals… Abdelkader has notched both of his goals in the third period for the Red Wings after scoring five of his team-leading six Calder Cup Playoff tallies in the third period for Grand Rapids this spring… Nearly 75 percent of the players, coaches and managers involved in the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals are American Hockey League alumni.

15-4 – Scoring edge held by Hershey in the third period and overtime during its current five-game winning streak.

14 – Consecutive games played by Manitoba without losing in regulation… The Moose have 11 wins and three overtime defeats since a Game 3 loss to Toronto in the first round.

8 – Teams who have lost the first two games of a Calder Cup Finals series on home ice, a fate Manitoba is looking to avoid tonight… All eight lost the series.

June 2, 2007 – Behind two Scott Barney goals, Hershey bounces back from a Game 1 loss and doubles up Hamilton, 4-2, to even the Calder Cup Finals at a game apiece.

June 2, 2006Scottie Upshall and Darren Haydar score goals and Pekka Rinne makes 36 saves as Milwaukee defeats Hershey, 2-1, in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals.

June 2, 2005 – Mike Richards scores and Antero Niittymaki stops 27 shots as Philadelphia opens the Calder Cup Finals with a 1-0 win in Chicago.

June 2, 2004Andrew Hutchinson scores twice and Darren Haydar records three assists as Milwaukee downs Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 8-4, in Game 2 of the Calder Cup Finals.

June 2, 2000Jean-Francois Labbe’s 40-save shutout leads Hartford to a 3-0 win over Rochester and a 3-2 series lead in the Calder Cup Finals.

June 2, 1996Steve Shields makes 29 saves as Rochester grabs a 2-0 lead in the Calder Cup Finals with a 5-1 win over Portland.

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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