AHL Morning Skate: June 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.

Playoff Bracket
|| Scoring Leaders || Goaltending Leaders

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 2, BINGHAMTON 1
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

1. Aeros captain Jon DiSalvatore scored one goal and assisted on another in Houston’s 2-1 win in Game 3 on Wednesday night.

2. Senators captain Ryan Keller had Binghamton’s only goal of the game, deflecting home a shot on a third-period power play.

3. Patrick O’Sullivan recorded two assists for Houston.

GAME NOTES (all times ET):

Game 4 – Houston at Binghamton, 7:05 (HOU leads series, 2-1)
TV: Comcast 110 (Houston), Time Warner Cable 23 & HD 813 (Binghamton), Rogers Sportsnet Sens
Satellite Radio: NHL Home Ice (Sirius 207, XM 92)
Video Webcast: AHL Live (www.ahllive.com)
Series Preview: https://theahl.com/finals-p171201

Houston looks to move within one win of a championship tonight when it battles Binghamton in Game 4 of the Calder Cup Finals at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena… Each of the first three contests has been decided by either a one-goal margin (Games 2 and 3) or a two-goal margin with an empty-netter tacked on (Game 1)… The teams have combined for only 10 goals though the first three contests, and Binghamton has totaled just four markers in the series (1.33 goals per game) after averaging a league-best 3.94 goals per game through the first three playoff rounds… Aeros captain Jon DiSalvatore registered a goal and an assist in his club’s 2-1 win in Game 3 on Wednesday, and rookie defenseman Nate Prosser notched the eventual game-winner midway through the second period… It marked the first career game-winning goal for Prosser, who now shows two postseason tallies (2-2-4) after scoring eight times (8-19-27) in 73 regular-season contests… Warren Peters added an empty-netter and Patrick O’Sullivan contributed two assists for the Aeros, his first points since recording a pair of helpers in Game 7 of the conference finals vs. Hamilton on May 24… O’Sullivan, the AHL’s rookie of the year in 2005-06, continues to pace Houston with 13 assists and 17 points in 21 postseason games this spring… Ryan Keller netted the Senators’ lone goal of Game 3 on the power play early in the third period, with Zack Smith and defenseman Andre Benoit picking up assists… Prior to Wednesday, Keller had gone pointless in the first two games of this series after bringing a five-game scoring streak (2-5-7) into the Calder Cup Finals… Smith also registered his first point of the series, and he too had brought a five-game scoring run (4-4-8) into the Finals… Benoit, a 2007 Calder Cup champion with Hamilton, paces all AHL defensemen this postseason with 15 points (3-12-15) in 20 games after registering a career-high 55 points (11-44-55) in 73 regular-season outings… Binghamton forward Ryan Potulny, who leads all AHL playoff scorers with 25 points (14-11-25), remains without a point through the first three games of this series… This marks Potulny’s longest drought since closing the regular season with three consecutive scoreless efforts… Rookie Bobby Butler, who tallied a goal in Game 1 and Game 2 for Binghamton, failed to score on Wednesday night but still ranks second on the club behind Potulny with 12 postseason goals overall (12-3-15)… Senators rookie goaltender Robin Lehner (11-4, 2.25, .935) stopped 28 of 30 shots in Game 3, and he has now allowed two or fewer goals in five of his last six appearances… Aeros counterpart Matt Hackett made 28 saves on Friday, his most in a winning effort since turning aside 38 of 39 shots in Game 1 of the conference finals vs. Hamilton on May 13, also a 2-1 victory… Hackett has claimed each of Houston’s 14 playoff wins to date (14-7, 2.37, .905)… The Aeros have not won back-to-back road games in the same series since finishing off their first-round sweep of Peoria with victories in Games 3 and 4 at Carver Arena… Binghamton is now just 4-5 at home this postseason and 9-2 on the road… The past two games of the series have each featured a goal within two minutes of the opening face-off; Butler scored 1:45 into Game 2 for Binghamton on May 28, and Houston’s DiSalvatore lit the lamp at the 1:08 mark of Game 3 on Wednesday.


SENATORS REGROUP, RE-LINE FOR GAME 4 – Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
The Binghamton Senators know they’ll have another sold-out crowd backing them Friday night at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena for Game 4 of the Calder Cup Finals. There is a lot less certainty about what will happen on the ice. The B-Sens trail the Houston Aeros 2-1 in the best-of-seven championship series, and they feel they have yet to find their game on the biggest stage of the season. “It’s a little disheartening that we haven’t played our best hockey yet,” said forward Zack Smith.

Almost four decades after he stepped onto the ice at the Sam Houston Coliseum as a member of the original WHA Aeros, Terry Ruskowski remains one of the game’s happy warriors, still doing his bit for hockey in Houston. Ruskowski, 56, who broke into the pros as a member of the Gordie Howe-led Aeros of the 1970s and was the first coach of the Aeros minor league franchise in the mid-1990s, is working as a part-time assistant to his former pupil, Aeros coach Mike Yeo, as Houston skates for the AHL’s Calder Cup against the Binghamton Senators.

Since their season ended, the Senators have signed two players they’ve ticketed to be in the NHL next October. Zack Smith has responded well. Colin Greening? Not so much. The strapping winger has just one goal and three assists in 20 playoff games for the Binghamton Senators. In Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to the Aeros that leaves them in a 2-1 series hole, Greening was dropped to the fourth line. And that’s where he’ll begin Game 4 Friday as the B-Sens try to avoid being shoved to the brink.

AEROS’ GOALIE A SHOW STOPPER – Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
A 21-year-old greenhorn served admirably as his team’s last line of defense in the Houston Aeros’ 2-1 victory Wednesday night over the Binghamton Senators. Ryan Keller’s power-play goal with 17:08 remaining at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena was all that Matt Hackett permitted in a steady and poised effort in goal for the Aeros, leaders by two games to one in the Calder Cup finals.

The Aeros needed a mere 68 seconds Wednesday night to make themselves unwelcome guests in Binghamton’s cramped, noisy Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena, and they withstood a furious rush in the final seconds to claim a 2-1 victory over the Senators and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven AHL Calder Cup finals.

The coach of the Ottawa Senators’ American Hockey League affiliate insists he has not been sidetracked by talk that he’s a candidate to fill the vacant head coaching job with the big league club. Instead, Kurt Kleinendorst says he’s practicing what he has preached to his Binghamton Senators’ players all season: if you work hard to improve every day, the call to the big leagues will eventually come.

Jared Cowen has never had much trouble keeping weight on before. Yet, given the air time and ice time the Ottawa Senators top defense prospect has logged in the past few months, perhaps it makes sense that he’s now carrying around “only” 225 pounds on his 6-5 frame – down from his usual 230. Since Spokane was eliminated from the playoffs, Cowen has criss-crossed the continent with the Binghamton Senators in their quest for the Calder Cup.

DINEEN HIRING: ‘IT’S ABOUT TIME’ – Portland Press-Herald
Kevin Dineen is finally getting a chance to coach a National Hockey League team and his former players couldn’t be happier for him. “It’s about time,” said forward Derek Whitmore, who played the last three seasons for the Portland Pirates. “I think the guy has done a great job in the American League level. I know he’s a very good coach and he’s so good at developing players.” Florida GM Dale Tallon made it official Wednesday when he introduced Dineen, the Pirates’ coach for the past six seasons, as the 11th head coach of the Panthers.

On Wednesday night, two-time Calder Cup finalist Raffi Torres broke a scoreless deadlock with just 18 seconds left in regulation to give Vancouver a 1-0 win over Boston in Game 1 of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals… Jannik Hansen and 2005 AHL All-Star Ryan Kesler assisted on the tally, and Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo posted a 36-save shutout in the victory.

0 – Combined points in Games 1 and 2 for the top lines of both Houston (Patrick O’Sullivan-Chad RauJon DiSalvatore) and Binghamton (Zack SmithRyan PotulnyRyan Keller).

6 – Combined points by those lines in Game 3.

4 – Houston’s goal differential so far this postseason (59-55)… The Aeros are 9-3 in one-goal games, and each of the three losses occurred in overtime.

June 3, 2010Matt Climie made 26 saves and Scott McCulloch scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period as Texas opened the Calder Cup Finals with a 2-1 win over Hershey at Giant Center, where the Bears had been 37-1 in their previous 38 home games.

June 3, 2006Tomas Fleischmann records two goals and two assists and Mike Green tallies three assists in Hershey’s 6-3 win at Milwaukee in Game 2 of the Calder Cup Finals.

June 3, 2002 – Steve Maltais nets a hat trick and Yuri Butsayev scores 2:05 into the second overtime period as Chicago captures its first Calder Cup championship with a 4-3 win over Bridgeport.

June 3, 1998Peter White gets the game-winner at 2:54 of OT as Philadelphia beats the Saint John Flames, 4-3, in the third consecutive overtime game to begin 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.