AHL Morning Skate: Marlies, Crunch make it best-of-1

AHL Quick Hits is now the Morning Skate… Every morning, take 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.


Chicago 4, ROCKFORD 3 (Series tied, 3-3)


1. Jason Krog netted a pair of goals – including the game-winner – and added an assist as Chicago forced a decisive game in the West Division finals with a 4-3 win at Rockford in Game 6.

2. Joel Kwiatkowski posted a goal and two helpers in the winning effort for the Wolves.

3. Petri Kontiola tallied two goals and an assist for the IceHogs.


Game 7 – Syracuse at Toronto, 7:30 (Series tied, 3-3)


Complete Results || Scoring Leaders || Goaltending Leaders

Atlantic Division Finals – Series “I” (best-of-7)

A1-Providence Bruins vs. A3-Portland Pirates || Preview

Game 1 – Sat., Apr. 26 – PROVIDENCE 4, Portland 0

Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 27 – PROVIDENCE 7, Portland 1

Game 3 – Fri., May 2 – PORTLAND 4, Providence 3 (OT)

Game 4 – Sun., May 4 – PORTLAND 3, Providence 2 (OT)

Game 5 – Tue., May 6 – PORTLAND 3, Providence 2

Game 6 – Fri., May 9 – Portland 5, PROVIDENCE 4


East Division Finals – Series “J” (best-of-7)

E1-W-B/Scranton Penguins vs. E2-Philadelphia Phantoms || Preview

Game 1 – Thu., May 1 – Philadelphia 5, W-B/SCRANTON 2

Game 2 – Sat., May 3 – W-B/SCRANTON 5, Philadelphia 4 (OT)

Game 3 – Mon., May 5 – W-B/Scranton 3, PHILADELPHIA 2 (WC)

Game 4 – Wed., May 7 – W-B/Scranton 8, PHILADELPHIA 4 (WC)

Game 5 – Fri., May 9 – W-B/SCRANTON 3, Philadelphia 1


North Division Finals – Series “K” (best-of-7)

N1-Toronto Marlies vs. N2-Syracuse Crunch || Preview

Game 1 – Fri., May 2 – Syracuse 5, TORONTO 1

Game 2 – Sun., May 4 – Syracuse 3, TORONTO 1

Game 3 – Tue., May 6 – Toronto 8, SYRACUSE 2

Game 4 – Wed., May 7 – SYRACUSE 5, Toronto 4 (OT)

Game 5 – Fri., May 9 – TORONTO 4, Syracuse 3 (OT)

Game 6 – Sat., May 10 – Toronto 3, SYRACUSE 2

Game 7 – Mon., May 12 – Syracuse at Toronto, 7:30


West Division Finals – Series “L” (best-of-7)

W1-Chicago Wolves vs. W2-Rockford IceHogs || Preview

Game 1 – Thu., May 1 – CHICAGO 4, Rockford 1

Game 2 – Sat., May 3 – CHICAGO 7, Rockford 3

Game 3 – Sun., May 4 – ROCKFORD 3, Chicago 1

Game 4 – Wed., May 7 – ROCKFORD 3, Chicago 2

Game 5 – Fri., May 9 – Rockford 5, CHICAGO 1

Game 6 – Sun., May 11 – Chicago 4, ROCKFORD 3

Game 7 – Tue., May 13 – Rockford at Chicago, 8:00


*if necessary… All times Eastern… (WC) – Wachovia Center

GAME NOTES (all times ET):

Game 7 – Syracuse at Toronto, 7:30 (Series tied, 3-3)

TV: Leafs TV, Time Warner Cable

A berth in the Western Conference championship series is on the line tonight at Ricoh Coliseum as Toronto welcomes Syracuse for Game 7 of the North Division finals… The Marlies are hosting their second Game 7 of this postseason, having defeated San Antonio, 2-1, in a deciding game exactly two weeks ago (Apr. 28)… Toronto climbed out of a 3-1 series hole by winning back-to-back one-goal games, taking a 4-3 overtime decision in Game 5 on Friday before rallying for a 3-2 road win in Game 6 on Saturday… Bates Battaglia netted the game-winning goal in both contests, and now has four goals and five points for the series… Peter Tsimikalis tallied his first career Calder Cup Playoff goal for Toronto in Game 6, and Derrick Walser also lit the lamp… David Ling has posted multiple points in four straight games (2-7-9) and leads all scorers with 10 points (3-7-10) in the series, giving him 20 points (9-11-20) in 13 games vs. Syracuse this season… Ling and Walser were the goal scorers – for Syracuse – in a 6-2 Game 7 loss to Chicago in 2002… All told, the Crunch have lost four straight winner-take-all games since the last time they reached the conference finals with a Game 7 win over Baltimore in 1996… Duvie Westcott had a goal and an assist on Saturday for Syracuse, and Alexandre Picard also scored… The last three games in the series have all been one-goal affairs after the first three games were won by a combined margin of 12 goals… The Crunch are facing elimination for the first time this postseason and are 4-8 all-time in that situation; they are also 4-11 with a chance to oust an opponent… Toronto is 1-1 when facing elimination, and 1-1 in potential series clinchers… Syracuse is bidding to avoid its first three-game losing streak since Oct. 20-26, 2007… The Marlies are attempting to become the 14th team in AHL history to win a series after trailing, 3-1.


38-31 – Home teams’ record all-time in AHL Game 7’s (.551), including eight wins in nine tries since 2006.


18 – Teams who have come back to win a best-of-seven series after trailing 2-0, including only five who had lost the first two games on home ice (like Toronto did in this series).


3 – Number of times Syracuse has lost a series after holding a two-game lead (2002: up 2-0 vs. Chicago… 2004: up 3-1 vs. Rochester… 2006: up 2-0 vs. Manitoba).


1 – Since the AHL began two-conference play in 1995-96, number of times that both second-round series in the same conference extended to Game 7 (1997 Northern Conference: Hamilton defeated St. John’s, Albany defeated Rochester)… Both the North and West Division finals in this year’s Western Conference are headed for Game 7’s.




Lindsay Kramer, Syracuse Post-Standard

The dark side of the Syracuse Crunch emerged on Sunday morning as players prepared for a road trip that no one wanted or expected to take. Faces were grim, voices were low and objects weren’t flying through the air at unwitting targets. Gone were the loud, playful banter and frat house antics. That’s how a Game 6 loss to Toronto on Saturday that forced a decisive Game 7 tonight at Ricoh Coliseum rained on what’s been a two-month long parade for the team. “I think guys are a little ticked off,” said Syracuse defenseman Duvie Westcott, whose team allowed three third-period goals in the 3-2 loss Saturday. “It’s more of a business atmosphere.” Yet, it’s one no less confident than the one that created the funnel cloud of a 15-game winning streak to close the season, or that carried the team through a tough, opening-round series win over Manitoba.




Reed Schreck, Rockford Register Star

After winning three straight games against the Chicago Wolves and leading after one period Sunday, the Rockford IceHogs had a flashback to Games 1 and 2. It wasn’t pretty, and the timing stunk. It was something Rockford head coach Mike Haviland didn’t want his team to revisit. His IceHogs rediscovered the penalty box, and the Wolves immediately dusted off their rusty power play in the second period. Four straight man- and even two-man advantage goals later, the Wolves had just enough success to win 4-3, even the series 3-3 and set up a Game 7 showdown at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Allstate Arena. “You can’t put that team 4-on-3 or 5-on-3,” said Haviland, whose team did just that six times in the middle 20 minutes. “They’ll make you pay, and they did that tonight.”




Chris Kuc, Chicago Tribune

The Wolves couldn’t have picked a more opportune time to kick-start their power play. With their season hanging in the balance, the Wolves scored four goals with a man advantage in the second period—a franchise record for power-play scores in one postseason period. They went on to claim a 4-3 victory over the Rockford IceHogs at the Rockford MetroCentre on Sunday. “We got some ugly ones – rebounds [and] traffic in front,” said Wolves center Jason Krog, who had the first and fourth power-play goals in the second. “We know it’s do-or-die and we know the power play hasn’t been an asset for us so we had to get it going. This series has just been a battle and now we’re best-of-one.”




Jonathan Bombulie, The Citizen’s Voice

Mike Richards and Jeff Carter are a special breed. Richards led the Philadelphia Flyers in scoring this season and is a lock to inherit the team’s captaincy. Carter scored 29 goals and is one of the most skilled forwards for a team that has reached the NHL’s Eastern Conference finals. Both are just 23 years old. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins rookies Luca Caputi and Dustin Jeffrey aren’t Richards and Carter. It would be unfair to stamp expectations that high on a pair of youngsters with 12 career AHL games between them. But they are following the path Richards and Carter took to the NHL. After finishing up their junior eligibility in 2005, the Flyers duo joined the Philadelphia Phantoms for a run to a Calder Cup title.




Pierre LeBrun, Canadian Press

Before the NHL’s Eastern Conference final is over and done with, there’s a chance John Stevens and Michel Therrien will rekindle their personal rivalry. Or perhaps, as they’ve tried to spin it to the media over the last week, they’ve left all that personal animosity behind them in the AHL and they’re above that now. “Coach Therrien and I had dinner together,” Stevens said jokingly Sunday when asked about Saturday’s day off. Both coaches have downplayed their past run-ins. “Thanks for reminding me,” Therrien said this weekend when asked about their AHL battles. “He’s doing what he has to do to be successful. And I have to do what I have to do to be successful for our own team. He’s a good coach. He had success in the American Hockey League. What he did this year coming up from a tough year last year with the Flyers, he deserves a lot of respect. But the focus is not on the coaches.”



Maxime Talbot netted a goal and 1994 Calder Cup champion Sergei Gonchar chipped in three assists as Pittsburgh beat Philadelphia, 4-2, last night to take a 2-0 series lead in the NHL’s Eastern Conference finals… 2005 Calder Cup champions Jeff Carter and Mike Richards scored for the Flyers in the losing effort.

2007 AHL All-Star Ville Koistinen and 2005 AHL All-Star Mikko Koivu tallied third-period goals as Finland rallied for a 3-2 win over the United States yesterday at the IIHF World Championships in Halifax.


May 12, 2004 – Having made 54 saves in a game earlier in the series, Kari Lehtonen stops 43 of 44 shots as Chicago avoids elimination with a 2-1 win at Milwaukee.

May 12, 1998Dan Cloutier makes 52 saves, Derek Armstrong scores and Marc Savard adds two assists as Hartford keeps its season alive with a 4-1 win at Worcester in Game 6 of their division final.

May 12, 1984Bud Stefanski scores 27:43 into overtime – his second OT goal of the series – as Maine takes a 3-2 victory and a 3-1 series lead over Rochester in the Calder Cup Finals.


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