AHL Morning Skate: May 11

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 6 – HAMILTON 4, Abbotsford 0 (HAM wins series, 4-2)

1. Curtis Sanford made 30 saves for his first career AHL playoff shutout as Hamilton advanced to the Western Conference Finals with a 4-0 win over Abbotsford.

2. David Desharnais tallied the eventual game-winning goal for the Bulldogs, his team-leading 13th point of the postseason (6-7-13).

3. Hamilton forward Aaron Palushaj matched his single-game playoff high with three points (1-2-3) in the winning effort.

Game 7 – Texas at Chicago, 8:00 (Series tied, 3-3)

Complete Results II Scoring Leaders II Goaltending Leaders

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 3, MANCHESTER 2
Game 5 – Wed., May 5 – Manchester 1, WORCESTER 0
Game 6 – Fri., May 7 – MANCHESTER 2, Worcester 1 (OT)

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 – HAMILTON 3, Abbotsford 1
Game 3 – Tue., May 4 – Hamilton 3, ABBOTSFORD 2
Game 4 – Thu., May 6 – ABBOTSFORD 4, Hamilton 1
Game 5 – Sat., May 8 – Hamilton 5, ABBOTSFORD 2
Game 6 – Mon., May 10 – HAMILTON 4, Abbotsford 0

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 – CHICAGO 4, Texas 3 (2OT)
Game 3 – Tue., May 4 – Chicago 5, TEXAS 3
Game 4 – Wed., May 5 – TEXAS 3, Chicago 2
Game 5 – Fri., May 7 – TEXAS 5, Chicago 3
Game 6 – Sun., May 9 – CHICAGO 2, Texas 0
Game 7 – Tue., May 11 – Texas at Chicago, 8:00

Eastern Conference Finals – Series “M” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. A3-Manchester Monarchs

Game 1 – Wed., May 12 – Manchester at Hershey, 7:00
Game 2 – Sat., May 15 – Manchester at Hershey, 7:00
Game 3 – Mon., May 17 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:00
Game 4 – Tue., May 18 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:00
*Game 5 – Thu., May 20 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sat., May 22 – Manchester at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 7 – Sun., May 23 – Manchester at Hershey, 5:00

*if necessary… All times Eastern

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 7 – Texas at Chicago, 8:00 (Series tied, 3-3)
It comes down to a Game 7 at Allstate Arena as Texas visits Chicago tonight for the right to advance to a conference finals date with Hamilton… This is the third straight spring in which the West Division Finals have gone the distance: the Wolves earned a home-ice win over Rockford in Game 7 of the 2008 division finals, while Houston went into Milwaukee and knocked off the Admirals in 2009… Chicago, which needed seven games to get past Milwaukee in the opening round this year, forced this winner-take-all contest with a 2-0 win over Texas in Game 6 on Sunday, a victory which improved the Wolves to 11-4 all-time when facing Calder Cup Playoff elimination… Making his first start of the 2010 postseason, goaltender Drew MacIntyre turned in a 28-save shutout for the Wolves… It was MacIntyre’s first whitewash on home ice this season after posting three regular-season shutouts on the road… MacIntyre, who has stopped all 34 Texas shots he has faced in the series, is 2-1 lifetime in AHL Game 7’s, earning the win in relief for Grand Rapids vs. Manitoba in 2006, winning a start for Manitoba vs. Grand Rapids in 2007 and losing with Milwaukee to Houston in 2009… Wolves forwards Anthony Stewart and Joey Crabb netted goals in the victory, and Tim Stapleton and Matt Anderson assisted on both markers… Stewart, who recorded his league-leading sixth power-play goal of the postseason, leads all scorers in this series with six goals and eight points through the first six contests, and he is riding a seven-game points streak overall (7-2-9)… Anderson put up his second straight two-assist performance, while Stapleton now has a point in four of his last five games (1-5-6)… The Wolves own the AHL’s top-ranked postseason power play (31.4 percent) and have scored at least one man-advantage goal in all six games vs. Texas (8-for-25, 32.0%)… Stars goaltender Brent Krahn left Game 6 due to injury in the first period, and Matt Climie made 26 saves on 27 shots the rest of the way… Climie, who appeared in five Calder Cup Playoff games for Houston last spring, has now stopped 134 of 142 shots (.944) in his AHL postseason career… The Stars’ Jamie Benn still leads all AHL rookies this playoff year with seven goals and 13 points in 10 outings, and leads Texas with four goals and seven points in the series… Francis Wathier and former Calder Cup-winning defensemen Andrew Hutchinson and Dan Jancevski all have 1-4-5 in the series for the Stars… Chicago is a perfect 6-0 in winner-take-all playoff games since joining the AHL in 2001-02, including a 3-0 mark in Game 7’s… Texas has not lost this postseason when leading at the end of a period (5-0 after the first, 5-0 after the second), but has not won a game when trailing at intermission (0-2 after the first, 0-3 after the second)… The Stars have gone 93:15 without a goal at Allstate Arena since the third period of Game 2.


Goaltending is such a key position in the postseason it can carry a team all the way to a championship. If a goalie gets hot, he can stay in the net every game. But a little loss of confidence, or an injury, can turn things topsy-turvy for a team, and it’s time to bring in the backup. Both the Texas Stars and Chicago Wolves found that to be the case in Sunday’s Game 6 at Chicago. And both teams are glad to have capable backups going into tonight’s Game 7.

If a change in goalies is anticipated, hockey coaches normally say, “It’s a game-time decision,” when they are asked who will start. But after backup Drew MacIntyre stopped all 28 shots he faced in the Wolves’ 2-0 victory Sunday against the Texas Stars in Game 6 of the West Division final, he removed any mystery about who coach Don Lever will start in the decisive Game 7 tonight at Allstate Arena.

DOGS FINISH OFF HEAT 4-0 IN GAME 6 – Hamilton Spectator
The Hamilton Bulldogs have earned themselves another banner. They beat the Abbotsford Heat 4-0 last night at Copps Coliseum to win the AHL’s North Division final in six games. It advances them to the Western Conference final against either the Chicago Wolves or Texas Stars. Those two teams are deadlocked at 3 and play their seventh and deciding game tonight in Chicago.

The repeated clanging of the puck off the goalpost provided a cruel soundtrack for the final game of Abbotsford Heat’s inaugural season. The Heat had their opportunities to score – including five fruitless power play chances – but they were unable to squeeze a single puck past Hamilton Bulldogs goalie Curtis Sanford at Copps Coliseum on Monday evening. Sanford, the former Vancouver Canucks backup, finished with 30 saves in a 4-0 shutout victory, as the Bulldogs clinched the best-of-seven North Division final four games to two.

Cause of death for the 2009-10 version of the Calgary Flames: lack of scoring. Cause of death for the 2009-10 version of the Abbotsford Heat: lack of scoring. Do we detect a trend here? The Baby Flames ended their season Monday night with a 4-0 road loss to the Hamilton Bulldogs, the Montreal Canadiens’ farm team. With the victory, the Bulldogs wrap up the best-of-seven North Division final by a margin of 4-2.

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY – Abbotsford Times
The Abbotsford Heat were less than half a period from putting the Hamilton Bulldogs on the ropes Saturday night in Game 5 of the North Division semifinal. But then they stumbled, albeit thanks to an unfortunate bounce off the skate of defenseman Gord Baldwin, and the previously stunned Bulldogs proved how resilient they are by taking advantage of the opportunity.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins used a marketing motto this season that dubbed Mohegan Sun Arena as a place where champions are born. It was a nod to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who won the 2008-09 Stanley Cup with numerous players developed in WBS. But the slogan could apply to the Hershey Bears, too. Since they lost three in a row at what was then called Wachovia Arena to fall behind the Baby Pens 3-2 in last season’s East Division finals, the Bears have been a near-supernatural AHL force.

Uphill battles are pretty much a way of life for Rochester Americans Hall of Fame center Craig Charron. As a hockey player, he was told he wouldn’t succeed because he was always too small or too slow or too something. Yet in the end he was always too good. This time, however, his battle isn’t on a hockey rink for a roster spot or a contract. He’s fighting for his life.

In Monday’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, 2008 Baz Bastien Award winner Michael Leighton stopped all 14 shots he faced in his NHL playoff debut, combining with 1998 Calder Cup champion Brian Boucher (9 saves) for the first tandem shutout in the NHL playoffs since 1955 as Philadelphia defeated Boston, 4-0, in Game 5 of the teams’ Eastern Conference semifinal… Ville Leino, who had 13 points in 10 AHL playoff games for Grand Rapids last spring, recorded a goal and an assist for the Flyers… In Montreal, 2005 AHL goal-scoring champion Mike Cammalleri tallied a pair of goals and 2007 Calder Cup champion Andrei Kostitsyn posted two assists as Montreal rallied past Pittsburgh, 4-3, to force Game 7 in the other Eastern Conference semifinal.

2010 AHL All-Rookie forward Lars Eller nabbed a goal in regulation and Denmark went on to take a 2-1 overtime win over the United States on Monday at the IIHF World Championships in Germany… Jarkko Immomen tallied the game’s lone goal as Finland eked out a 1-0 victory over Germany… Steve Downie and Mark Giordano each scored twice and Corey Perry recorded three assists to lead Canada past Latvia, 6-1.

43-34 – Home teams’ record all-time in AHL Game 7’s (.558), including 13-4 since 2006.

14 – Calder Cup Playoff Game 7’s that have gone into overtime, most recently Hershey’s 5-4 win over Portland in the 2006 Eastern Conference Finals.

32-3 – Since 1997, record of AHL teams when scoring the first goal in a Game 7.

May 11, 2007Tomas Fleischmann records five points (1g, 4a) and Alexandre Giroux scores his second overtime goal of the series as Hershey advances to the conference finals with a 7-6 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

May 11, 2003 – Raffi Torres, Michael Ryder and Jarret Stoll score and Francois Beauchemin records an assist to lead Hamilton to a 3-2 win over Manitoba in Game 7 of their North Division finals at Copps Coliseum.

May 11, 1997Jean-Francois Labbe makes a franchise-record 62 saves and Blair Atcheynum scores 42 seconds into the third overtime period as Hershey staves off elimination with a 3-2 win over Philadelphia in Game 6 of their division final series.

May 11, 1993 – Despite being outshot 63-37, the Springfield Indians (25-41-14 in the regular season) get a three points from Michael Nylander and the winning goal from Paul Cyr to take the Northern Division finals with a 6-5 overtime victory in Game 7 at Adirondack.

May 11, 1979
– The Maine Mariners win their second consecutive Calder Cup, wrapping up a four-game sweep with an 8-4 win over New Haven.

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