AHL Morning Skate: Marlies look to advance

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.


Albany 1, PHILADELPHIA 0 (OT) (Series tied, 3-3)
PROVIDENCE 4, Portland 0 (PRO leads, 1-0)

Chicago 3, MILWAUKEE 0 (CHI wins, 4-2)

Syracuse 3, MANITOBA 2 (OT) (SYR leads, 3-2)


1. 2007-08 “Baz” Bastien Award winner Michael Leighton pitched a 40-save shutout to help Albany post a 1-0 overtime win at Philadelphia and force a Game 7 in their East Division semifinal.

2. Rookie goaltender Ondrej Pavelec posted a 30-save shutout as Chicago advanced to the division finals with a 3-0 win at Milwaukee.

3. Derek MacKenzie notched a goal at 10:54 of overtime as Syracuse took a 3-2 road win over Manitoba and a 3-2 lead in their North Division semifinal.


Game 6 – San Antonio at Toronto, 4:00 (TOR leads, 3-2)

Game 2 – Portland at Providence, 4:05 (PRO leads, 1-0)

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 – Portland at Providence, 4:05
Game 3 – Fri., May 2 – Providence at Portland, 7:05
Game 4 – Sun., May 4 – Providence at Portland, 4:05
*Game 5 – Tue., May 6 – Providence at Portland, 7:05
*Game 6 – Fri., May 9 – Portland at Providence, 7:05
*Game 7 – Sat., May 10 – Portland at Providence, 7:05

Atlantic Division Semifinals
A1-Providence Bruins def. A4-Manchester Monarchs, 4-0

A3-Portland Pirates def. A2-Hartford Wolf Pack, 4-1

East Division Semifinal – Series “C” (best-of-7)
E1-W-B/Scranton Penguins vs. E4-Hershey Bears || Preview
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 16 – W-B/Scranton 2, HERSHEY 1 (OT)
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 19 – W-B/SCRANTON 6, Hershey 2
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 20 – W-B/SCRANTON 5, Hershey 1
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 23 – HERSHEY 3, W-B/Scranton 2 (OT)
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 25 – W-B/SCRANTON 7, Hershey 3

East Division Semifinal – Series “D” (best-of-7)
E2-Philadelphia Phantoms vs. E3-Albany River Rats || Preview

Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 16 – ALBANY 4, Philadelphia 0
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 18 – PHILADELPHIA 3, Albany 0 (WC)
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 20 – Albany 4, PHILADELPHIA 1 (WC)
Game 4 – Tue., Apr. 22 – Philadelphia 2, ALBANY 1
Game 5 – Thu., Apr. 24 – Philadelphia 3, ALBANY 2 (5OT)
Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 26 – Albany 1, PHILADELPHIA 0 (OT) (WC)
Game 7 – Tue., Apr. 29 – Albany at Philadelphia, 7:05 (WC)


North Division Semifinal – Series “E” (best-of-7)
N1-Toronto Marlies vs. W5-San Antonio Rampage || Preview
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 16 – TORONTO 4, San Antonio 3
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 18 – San Antonio 6, TORONTO 3
Game 3 – Mon., Apr. 21 – SAN ANTONIO 3, Toronto 2
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 23 – Toronto 3, SAN ANTONIO 2
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 25 – Toronto 2, SAN ANTONIO 1
Game 6 – Sun., Apr. 27 – San Antonio at Toronto, 4:00
*Game 7 – Mon., Apr. 28 – San Antonio at Toronto, 7:30

North Division Semifinal – Series “F” (best-of-7)
N2-Syracuse Crunch vs. N3-Manitoba Moose || Preview
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 18 – SYRACUSE 2, Manitoba 1 (OT)
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 19 – Manitoba 3, SYRACUSE 2 (OT)
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 22 – Syracuse 2, MANITOBA 1 (OT)
Game 4 – Fri., Apr. 25 – MANITOBA 5, Syracuse 2
Game 5 – Sat., Apr. 26 – Syracuse 3, MANITOBA 2 (OT)
Game 6 – Mon., Apr. 28 – Manitoba at Syracuse, 7:00
*Game 7 – Tue., Apr. 29 – Manitoba at Syracuse, 7:00

West Division Semifinal – Series “G” (best-of-7)
W1-Chicago Wolves vs. W4-Milwaukee Admirals || Preview

Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 16 – Milwaukee 4, CHICAGO 3 (OT)
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 18 – CHICAGO 2, Milwaukee 1
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 20 – Chicago 4, MILWAUKEE 3 (OT)
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 23 – MILWAUKEE 2, Chicago 0
Game 5 – Thu., Apr. 24 – CHICAGO 4, Milwaukee 1
Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 26 – Chicago 3, MILWAUKEE 0

West Division Semifinal – Series “H” (best-of-7)
W2-Rockford IceHogs vs. W3-Houston Aeros || Preview

Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 18 – ROCKFORD 3, Houston 1
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 19 – Houston 1, ROCKFORD 0 (2OT)
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 22 – Rockford 2, HOUSTON 1
Game 4 – Thu., Apr. 24 – Rockford 2, HOUSTON 1
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 25 – Rockford 5, HOUSTON 2


*if necessary… All times Eastern

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 6 –
San Antonio at Toronto, 4:00 (TOR leads, 3-2)

The third-year Toronto Marlies can capture their first-ever Calder Cup Playoff series victory with a win over San Antonio in Game 6 of their North Division semifinal this afternoon at Ricoh Coliseum… All three of the Marlies’ wins in the series have been by one goal, including their road victories in Games 4 and 5… John Mitchell netted the game-winner in Friday’s Game 5 and posted an assist on defenseman Andy Wozniewski’s first career playoff goal… Scott Clemmensen picked up the victory with 26 saves on 27 shots… Rampage defenseman and former Marlie Brendan Bell leads all scorers in the series with six points (1-5-6) but was held off the scoresheet for the first time in Game 5… San Antonio’s power play is clicking at 22.2 percent (6-for-27) against the Marlies, who ranked first in penalty killing during the regular season (87.4%)… Toronto is just 1-for-27 on the power play thus far.

Game 2 – Portland at Providence, 4:05 (PRO leads, 1-0)
Providence, which has won five straight games to open the Calder Cup Playoffs, hosts Portland in Game 2 of the Atlantic Division Finals this afternoon at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center… Rookie goaltender Tuukka Rask made 28 saves for his second shutout of the playoffs in the Bruins’ 4-0 win last night… Rask ranks third in the league with a 1.14 GAA in postseason play and second with a .956 save percentage… First-Team AHL All-Star Pascal Pelletier has a team-high four goals (4-1-5), including one in Game 1, while Jeff Hoggan ranks third in the AHL with seven points (3-4-7)… The Bruins are 0-for-34 on the power play this postseason, and Portland has allowed just two power play goals in 34 shorthanded situations (94.1%)… The Pirates had their four-game winning streak snapped in the Game 1 defeat… Portland also lost the opener of its first-round series to Hartford before rolling off four consecutive victories to advance.


Pete Dougherty, Albany Times-Union
Unless they’re working on a tan, most hockey players would prefer Albany to Florida. Wouldn’t that message look great on a travel brochure? Kirk MacDonald, the one-time RPI player who hoped to be an integral part of the Albany River Rats, spent most of the season playing one level below, for the Florida Everblades of the ECHL. “I was really disappointed when we lost out in Florida,” MacDonald said. “I wasn’t expecting to come back. It’s worked out great, and I’m absolutely thrilled to be here.” The Rats were equally thrilled Saturday when MacDonald provided the only offense in a 1-0 American Hockey League playoff victory over the Philadelphia Phantoms at Wachovia Center.

Dave Boehler,
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
This wasn’t what the Milwaukee Admirals had in mind. “I thought I’d be getting on a bus for Chicago,” coach Lane Lambert said. Instead, his team’s season came to an end when Chicago beat Milwaukee, 3-0, to win the best-of-seven West Division semifinal series, 4-2. “I thought we played better than we did in Games 5 and 4, and Game 4 we won (2-0),” Lambert said. “Give their goalie credit. He played well. I thought our goalie played well. We failed to capitalize on critical situations in both Games 5 and 6 on the power play. You’re not going to win many series when you don’t score. That was basically our downfall and our demise.”

Paul Betit, Maine Sunday Telegram
The Providence Bruins have been frustrating teams in the American Hockey League the entire season. Saturday night was no different. The Bruins, the league’s top-rated team, looked solid from goalie Tuukka Rask on out, beating the Portland Pirates 4-0 in the opening game of the Atlantic Division finals before a crowd of 3,908 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The Pirates, who had been off since Tuesday night, rested ailing goalie J.S. Aubin, who played all five opening-round game against Hartford, allowing just 12 goals. “Our goalie is in a maintenance stage right now,” said Pirates Coach Kevin Dineen said. “He’s got some bumps and bruises from the first round and he needed a day off.”

Lindsay Kramer, Syracuse Post-Standard
All the Syracuse Crunch needed was a little momentum on Saturday. Forward Derek MacKenzie gave the team precisely that. MacKenzie burst down the left wing and beat frozen Moose goalie Cory Schneider for the game-winning goal at the 10:54 mark of overtime to lift the Crunch to a pivotal 3-2 win in Game 5 of an opening-round playoff series at the MTS Centre. The stunning goal nudged Syracuse ahead 3-2 in the best-of-seven series. Manitoba coach Scott Arniel still sees the series going the distance. “You know what, I said this was going to go seven and I still believe it,” Arniel said. “We’re a good road team. We’re going to go down there and do what we do best, just continue to play hard. It’s going to be a war of wills now.”

Tim Campbell,
Winnipeg Free Press
Nearly a week in Winnipeg brought them their worst game of the series and in nearly two months, but the irascible Syracuse Crunch got the better prize – two overtime victories to take a stranglehold on their playoff against the Manitoba Moose. Derek MacKenzie’s overtime marker at 10:54 Saturday night lifted the Crunch to a 3-2 victory and the same advantage in the best-of-seven North Division series. “To win in this building is very difficult,” said Crunch coach Ross Yates. “Taking two out of three, that’s just a tremendous compliment to our guys. They battled and they battled. They just wouldn’t quit.”

Jonathan Bombulie, The Citizen’s Voice
Liters of blood and bruises. Not power-play stats or regular-season win-loss records. That’s what Tim Brent said would be the difference in the East Division semifinals between the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Hershey Bears. “I told you at the beginning of the series. That’s the way it’s going to be won,” Brent said, with bags of ice taped all over his extremities. “I think everyone was committed to knowing that we’re going to get bruises and cuts and that was going to be the difference.” It’s impossible to know for sure whether Brent leads the league in ice packs applied at this point of the playoffs but his place on the league’s scoring list is easy to discern. He’s first.

Andrew J. Ferraro, Houston Chronicle
In December, when the Aeros turned things around after a slow start but were still out of a playoff spot, general manager Tom Lynn and coach Kevin Constantine were confident the team would not only make the postseason but was built to go deep into the playoffs. They were right on one count but missed on the second. The Aeros ran into a tenacious Rockford team and also had to play without their two leading scorers in the first round of the playoffs. The Aeros did not have enough offensive depth to overcome shoulder injuries to Joel Ward (21 goals) and Ryan Hamilton (20 goals).

Dan Sernoffsky, Lebanon Daily News
They got together for the last time as teammates yesterday, and while they were exchanging cell-phone numbers, they also knew that the process of building the 2008-09 Hershey Bears had started. The Bears came back to Giant Center to empty out the locker room yesterday and to meet with coach Bob Woods, Washington coach Bruce Boudreau and Hershey president and general manager Doug Yingst in their exit interviews. “We can’t expect to win championships every year even though that’s what we strive for,” said Boudreau. “This was a little bit of a rebuilding year with a lot of, I wouldn’t say turmoil, but there was a lot of topsy-turvy stuff.”

Pete Dougherty, Albany Times-Union
From coast to coast the Albany River Rats have become a feature story. Their five-overtime loss Thursday night to the Philadelphia Phantoms, setting the record for longest game in American Hockey League history, was prominent in Saturday newspapers. Even Vin Scully, the Dodgers’ venerable broadcaster, talked during Friday night’s baseball broadcast about Rats’ goaltender Michael Leighton’s 98 saves. The Associated Press, Canadian Press, ESPN.com and Canwest News Service (a Canadian news organization) had stories about the game. ESPN’s “SportsCenter” and “Pardon the Interruption” also gave it a mention.

2006 AHL All-Star Valtteri Filppula netted a goal and 2005 AHL All-Star Niklas Kronwall chipped in a pair of assists as Detroit dropped Colorado by a 5-1 final yesterday afternoon and took a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference semifinal.

2005 Calder Cup champions R.J. Umberger and Jeff Carter combined for three goals, and 1998 AHL All-Star Daniel Briere also scored as Philadelphia doubled up Montreal, 4-2, last night to even their Eastern Conference semifinal at a game apiece.

– Games this playoff year that have been scoreless through regulation… There had only been six such games in 71 AHL postseasons prior to this spring.


April 27, 2007Micki DuPont tallies a goal and four assists to lead Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to an 8-1 win at Norfolk, giving the Penguins a 3-2 series lead.

April 27, 1997Manny Legace makes 35 saves and Kevin Brown scores 10:20 into overtime as Springfield defeats Portland, 1-0, in a winner-take-all Game 5, capping a comeback from an 0-2 series deficit.

April 27, 1974 – Hershey opens the Calder Cup Finals with a 4-3 win over the Providence Reds behind Jim Pearson’s goal 1:43 into overtime.

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