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.
FRIDAY’S THREE STARS:
1. Trevor Lewis netted a pair of goals as Manchester cruised to a 5-0 win over Worcester to take a 2-1 series lead in the Atlantic Division Finals.
2. Defenseman Garrett Stafford lifted Texas to a 4-3 Game 1 victory at Chicago in the West Division Finals with a power play goal at 2:22 of overtime.
3. AHL Goaltender of the Year Jonathan Bernier turned aside 26 shots for Manchester to pick up his first shutout of the postseason.
TONIGHT’S SCHEDULE (all times ET):
Game 4 – Worcester at Manchester, 7:00 (MCH leads series, 2-1)
Atlantic Division Finals – Series “I” (best-of-7)
A1-Worcester Sharks vs. A3-Manchester Monarchs
Game 1 – Sun., Apr. 25 – WORCESTER 4, Manchester 3
Game 2 – Wed., Apr. 28 – Manchester 3, WORCESTER 2 (OT)
Game 3 – Fri., Apr. 30 – MANCHESTER 5, Worcester 0
Game 4 – Sat., May 1 – Worcester at Manchester, 7:00
Game 5 – Wed., May 5 – Manchester at Worcester, 7:05
*Game 6 – Fri., May 7 – Worcester at Manchester, 7:30
*Game 7 – Sat., May 8 – Manchester at Worcester, 7:05
East Division Finals – Series “J” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. E2-Albany River Rats
Game 1 – Sat., Apr. 24 – HERSHEY 4, Albany 3 (OT)
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 25 – HERSHEY 6, Albany 3
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 27 – Hershey 6, ALBANY 5 (OT)
Game 4 – Thu., Apr. 29 – Hershey 5, ALBANY 4 (OT)
North Division Finals – Series “K” (best-of-7)
N1-Hamilton Bulldogs vs. vs. N3-Abbotsford Heat
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 29 – Abbotsford 3, HAMILTON 2
Game 2 – Sun., May 2 – Abbotsford at Hamilton, 2:00
Game 3 – Tue., May 4 – Hamilton at Abbotsford, 10:00
Game 4 – Thu., May 6 – Hamilton at Abbotsford, 10:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 8 – Hamilton at Abbotsford, 10:00
*Game 6 – Mon., May 10 – Abbotsford at Hamilton, 7:30
*Game 7 – Tue., May 11 – Abbotsford at Hamilton, 7:30
West Division Finals – Series “L” (best-of-7)
W1-Chicago Wolves vs. W2-Texas Stars
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 30 – Texas 4, CHICAGO 3 (OT)
Game 2 – Sun., May 2 – Texas at Chicago, 4:00
Game 3 – Tue., May 4 – Chicago at Texas, 8:30
Game 4 – Wed., May 5 – Chicago at Texas, 8:30
*Game 5 – Fri., May 7 – Chicago at Texas, 8:30
*Game 6 – Sun., May 9 – Texas at Chicago, 4:00
*Game 7 – Tue., May 11 – Texas at Chicago, 8:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern
GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 3 – Worcester at Manchester, 7:00 (MCH leads series, 2-1)
Manchester looks to ride the momentum of Friday’s 5-0 win over Worcester into Saturday night as the teams collide at Verizon Wireless Arena for Game 4 of the Atlantic Division Finals… The Monarchs, who dropped the series opener on Apr. 25, have come back to take two straight victories and improve to 6-1 overall this postseason, including a perfect 3-0 mark on home ice… Baz Bastien Award winner Jonathan Bernier, who led the AHL with nine shutouts during the regular season, made 26 saves on Friday for his first career postseason whitewash… It also marked just the second shutout suffered by the Sharks all season long and the first since a 4-0 loss to Hartford on Nov. 14… The Monarchs went 3-for-8 on the power play on Friday, while the Sharks did not receive a power play opportunity of their own… Trevor Lewis netted a pair of power play goals for Manchester, and Gabe Gauthier also scored on the man advantage for his first tally of the playoffs… David Meckler and rookie Corey Elkins also scored in the victory, as it marked Manchester’s first win of the postseason in which Bud Holloway did not register the game-winning goal… Holloway did post an assist and now has a point in all seven postseason outings thus far (5-3-8), while Justin Azevedo (1-6-7) was held off the scoresheet for the first time in the playoffs… Manchester has scored the game’s first goal in six of its seven playoff games thus far and is 5-1 in those contests, the lone loss coming in Game 1 of this series vs. the Sharks… Worcester forward Dan DaSilva racked up five points (2-3-5) in his first three playoff games but is scoreless in four straight contests since… Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock (5-3, 2.51, .915), who took the loss in both Games 2 and 3, has not lost three outings since dropping a season-high five in a row from Nov. 11-18.
MONARCHS CROWN SHARKS WITH EMBARRASING RESULT – Worcester Telegram & Gazette
This was an out-and-out disaster for the Sharks. As in, they were out-muscled, out-hustled, out-skated, out-battled and most of all outscored in their 5-0 loss to the Monarchs here last night. The only thing Manchester didn’t do was out-goaltend Worcester. As terrible as the final score was, the game wasn’t even as close as that. Alex Stalock kept it from being a double-figure defeat, especially in the first period. The Monarchs lead the series, 2 games to 1, with Game 4 set for 7:05 tonight here.
MONARCHS POWER PAST SHARKS, 5-0, TAKE 2-1 SERIES LEAD – New Hampshire Union-Leader
Worcester Sharks in the penalty box meant Manchester pucks in the net in a 5-0 Monarchs win in front of 2,606 fans at Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday night. Te Monarchs scored three power-play goals in the victory to take a 2-1 lead in the AHL Atlantic Division finals best-of-seven playoff series. Trevor Lewis scored twice for Manchester and goalie Jonathan Bernier made 26 saves to earn his first career playoff shutout.
DEFICITS ARE COMMON – Worcester Telegram & Gazette
It seems inconceivable to think that a team that played as badly as the Sharks did here last night, and has played as badly as they have for the last four-plus periods, can come back and make a series of it. Seems inconceivable, but in the American Hockey League, there is no such word. The Sharks rebounded in each of their first two playoff series, in 2007 first round versus Manchester and last year, also in the first round, against Hartford.
STARS WIN PLAYOFF SERIES OPENER – Austin American-Statesman
Garrett Stafford scored a power-play goal 2 minutes, 22 seconds into overtime as the Texas Stars defeated the Chicago Wolves 4-3 in the first game of the AHL West Division playoffs at Chicago on Friday night. Game 2 of the series will be played at Chicago at 3 p.m. Sunday.
HEAT’S ON AND DUMONT’S READY – Hamilton Spectator
The Hamilton Bulldogs need something to happen, some sort of spark tomorrow if they’re going to get back into their AHL playoff series with British Columbia’s Abbotsford Heat. And without putting too much pressure on the kid they’re hoping it might come from Gabriel Dumont. The 20-year-old has just signed an ATO (amateur tryout contract) and Bulldogs coach Guy Boucher says he will not only play tomorrow, he plans to use him on one of the top lines.
RATS SAD TO BE LEAVING THE AREA – Albany Times-Union
You can take the players out of the environment, but you can’t take the environment out of the players. As the last group of skaters to represent the Albany River Rats packed their belongings Friday afternoon at Times Union Center, the atmosphere was somber. Players went through individual meetings with the coaches, then hugged one another. They may be teammates again, but not likely in the Capital Region. After 17 seasons, the franchise is officially relocating to Charlotte, N.C.
LOW-KEY NIEMI CONTINUES TO HIT A LOT OF HIGH NOTES – Chicago Daily Herald
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville remembers the moment like it was yesterday. It was the first time he saw a relatively unknown goalie named Antti Niemi play in person. "The first game I saw him in was an exhibition game," Quenneville said. "I was in Dallas as a scout and watching him play. He put on an amazing performance that game. I think he stopped about three or four 5-on-3s in the middle of the game and went on to get the win."
FROM CALDER TO STANLEY:
In Friday’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, 2008 AHL All-Star and Calder Cup finalist Alex Goligoski netted a goal and an assist, and 1994 Calder Cup champion Sergei Gonchar also scored as Pittsburgh doubled up Montreal by a 6-3 count in Game 1 of the teams’ Eastern Conference semifinal… P.K. Subban, a 2010 First Team AHL All-Star who led Hamilton with nine playoff points (3-6-9) prior to his recall earlier in the week, notched his first career NHL playoff goal for the Canadiens in the losing effort.
BY THE NUMBERS:
4-1 – Record for the road team in overtime games thus far in the division finals round of the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs.
1-5 – Record for the road team in overtime games during the division semifinals round.
ON THIS DATE:
May 1, 2007 – Jason Jaffray records a hat trick and Yannick Tremblay scores the tiebreaking goal with 5:51 left in regulation as Manitoba defeats Grand Rapids, 4-1, in Game 7 of their North Division semifinal.
May 1, 2005 – Ilya Bryzgalov makes 23 saves and Mark Popovic scores with 13 seconds left in regulation as Cincinnati stuns defending champion Milwaukee, 4-3, in Game 7 of their first-round series at the Bradley Center, capping a comeback from a 3-1 series deficit.
May 1, 1999 – Chris Ferraro scores at 17:55 of the second overtime period, giving Hamilton a 3-2 win over Albany in the winner-take-all Game 5 of their conference quarterfinal series.
May 1, 1971 – The Springfield Kings wrap up a Calder Cup championship with a 5-3 win over the Providence Reds.
May 1, 1963 – In the first AHL game ever played in the month of May, the Buffalo Bisons defeat Hershey, 6-2, in Game 7 of the Calder Cup Finals at the Aud.
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