AHL Morning Skate: May 13, 2023

Photo: Christian Bonin

A2-Hershey Bears vs. A5-Hartford Wolf Pack
Game 2 – Tonight, 7:00 ET,
(Hershey leads series, 1-0)

Game 1 – Thu., May 11 – HERSHEY 3, Hartford 2 (OT) | Recap
Game 2 – Sat., May 13 – Hartford at Hershey, 7:00
Game 3 – Wed., May 17 – Hershey at Hartford, 7:00
*Game 4 – Fri., May 19 – Hershey at Hartford, 7:00
*Game 5 – Tue., May 23 – Hartford at Hershey, 7:00
*if necessary... All times Eastern

Hershey hosts Hartford in Game 2 of the Atlantic Division finals tonight after erasing a two-goal deficit to take the series opener on Thursday... Henrik Borgstrom, seeing his first action of the postseason, scored 4:41 into overtime to give the Bears a 3-2 victory in a game they had trailed 2-0 entering the third period... Logan Day (1-1-2) got Hershey on the board 2:52 into the final frame, his first goal in 40 games (regular season and playoffs) this season... Connor McMichael (3-0-3) scored the equalizer for the Bears with 2:09 to play... Hunter Shepard (4-1, 1.79, .924) finished with 25 saves for Hershey... Lauri Pajuniemi (4-2-6) and Jonny Brodzinski (1-1-2) scored for the Wolf Pack, who lost for the first time in four road games in these playoffs... Dylan Garand (5-2, 1.42, .946) made 32 saves for Hartford, which was outshot 17-3 in the first period and 35-27 for the game... Hershey has outscored its opponents 11-2 in the third period and overtime this postseason... The Wolf Pack were 2-for-4 on the power play in Game 1; they had been 2-for-16 in the playoffs entering the game, and were 2-for-21 in six regular-season meetings with the Bears in 2022-23.

N1-Toronto Marlies vs. N3-Rochester Americans
Game 2 – Today, 4:00 ET,
(Rochester leads series, 1-0)

Game 1 – Thu., May 11 – Rochester 4, TORONTO 3 | Recap
Game 2 – Sat., May 13 – Rochester at Toronto, 4:00
Game 3 – Wed., May 17 – Toronto at Rochester, 7:05
*Game 4 – Fri., May 19 – Toronto at Rochester, 7:05
*Game 5 – Sun., May 21 – Rochester at Toronto, 4:00
*if necessary... All times Eastern

Toronto and Rochester tangle in Game 2 of the North Division finals this afternoon at Coca-Cola Coliseum with the host Marlies looking to bounce back from a 4-3 loss in the series opener on Thursday... Rochester’s special teams led the way in Game 1 as the Amerks’ power play converted twice and their penalty killers were 4-for-4 while scoring a shorthanded goal... Jiri Kulich (4-1-5) scored what proved to be the game-winning goal early in the third period; he has a goal in each of his first four playoff games after missing the first two contests of the division semifinals against Syracuse... Brett Murray (2-4-6) notched a goal and an assist for Rochester in Game 1, and Mason Jobst (2-4-6) added two assists... Malcolm Subban (4-2, 2.75, .915) made 20 saves in the win... Joseph Blandisi (2-5-7) registered a goal and an assist for the Marlies on Thursday, while Logan Shaw (4-4-8) assisted on all three Toronto goals for his second three-point game this postseason... The loss ended a streak of eight consecutive Game 1 victories by the Marlies going back to 2018.

C1-Texas Stars vs. C2-Milwaukee Admirals
Game 2 – Tonight, 7:00 ET,
(Milwaukee leads series, 1-0)

Game 1 – Fri., May 12 – MILWAUKEE 2, Texas 1 | Recap
Game 2 - Sat., May 13 - Texas at Milwaukee, 7:00
Game 3 - Wed., May 17 - Milwaukee at Texas, 8:00
*Game 4 - Fri., May 19 - Milwaukee at Texas, 8:00
*Game 5 - Sun., May 21 - Milwaukee at Texas, 8:00
*if necessary... All times Eastern

Milwaukee got the jump on Texas in the Central Division finals with a 2-1 win in the series opener last night, giving the Admirals a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five they host Game 2 this evening... Joakim Kemell (2-1-3) scored a 5-on-3 power-play goal with 4:35 gone by in the third period to snap a tie and send Milwaukee to its third straight victory... The 19-year-old Kemell, a first-round pick by Nashville in the 2022 NHL Draft, has totaled 16 points in 18 games since joining the Admirals in March... Luke Evangelista (3-4-7) also scored on the power play for Milwaukee, which was 2-for-4 with the man advantage in Game 1 to improve to 7-for-20 (35.0 percent) through six games this postseason... Yaroslav Askarov (4-2, 2.13, .923) made 26 saves, allowing only a Rhett Gardner (3-3-6) goal 6:30 into the contest... Matt Murray (3-1, 2.01, .932) made 31 saves in Game 1 but suffered his first loss of the postseason... Texas was 0-for-3 in the power play in Game 1 and is now 1-for-25 (4.0 percent) in nine games against the Admirals this season.

P1-Calgary Wranglers vs. P2-Coachella Valley Firebirds
Game 3 – Monday, 10:00 ET,
(Series tied, 1-1)

Game 1 – Thu., May 11 – Coachella Valley 6, CALGARY 3 | Recap
Game 2 – Fri., May 12 – CALGARY 3, Coachella Valley 2 | Recap
Game 3 – Mon., May 15 – Calgary at Coachella Valley, 10:00
Game 4 – Wed., May 17 – Calgary at Coachella Valley, 10:00
*Game 5 – Fri., May 19 – Calgary at Coachella Valley, 10:00
*if necessary... All times Eastern

The Calgary Wranglers could allow themselves a bit of a sigh of relief after tying their series against Coachella Valley last night, some 24 hours after a 6-3 loss in Game 1.

Connor Zary’s power-play goal late in the first period got the Wranglers on the board first and was a reward for a much stronger effort by the regular-season champions.

“I thought we were more structured,” Zary told reporters after Calgary’s 3-2 victory. “Game 1 definitely wasn’t our game. It was more their game, and we were just playing along with it. We were all over the place.

“We just competed a lot harder and that’s what it takes this time of year, a little bit more sacrifice.”

Hartford Wolf Pack head coach Kris Knoblauch did not come away satisfied with Game 1 despite a strong second-half effort. After being outshot 17-3 in the first period by Hershey, the Wolf Pack settled into the game and carried play for much of the final 40 minutes of regulation.

“Overall I didn’t like our game,” Knoblauch said. “There are a lot of things I didn’t see. I didn’t think we managed the puck very well. We didn’t execute passes.”

Rookie goaltender Dylan Garand did continue to impress, however. He fended off several prime scoring chances from the Bears in the opening period and preserved a one-goal lead until Hershey finally tied it with 2:09 left in regulation. However, Knoblauch said that the standard that the Wolf Pack had shown in series wins against Springfield and Providence was lacking in Game 1.

“Previously we showed so much more confidence moving the puck, making passes. We just didn’t execute like we had been. We’re going to have to put it behind us and get back to Game 2.”

Karl Taylor allowed himself an hour to relish last night’s win against Texas.

Game 2 comes up tonight, a quick turnaround after Milwaukee’s 2-1 Game 1 victory.

“It’s two good teams going after each other,” the Admirals head coach told reporters after the game. “That’s the challenge here. We’re going to enjoy this for about an hour here and then get ready for the challenge of getting a desperate Texas team in here trying to get the split that they wanted at the start of the series.”

The Calder Cup Playoffs have already put the Admirals through a succession of tests and pressure through only six games. They had to grind out a series against Manitoba after falling behind two games to one in that Central Division semifinal clash. Three of those five games against the Moose ended up as one-goal affairs (Game 4 was a one-goal game until a Milwaukee empty-net goal in the final minute). More pressure came last night with another contest that came down to the final minute before Milwaukee could put away the win.

“That’s what it is this time of the year,” Taylor said, “and that’s why there is good growth, and why management and NHL teams want their teams playing at this time. It’s challenging moments.

“How do you handle this situation…when you’re being called to perform?”

The Game 1 loss last night was Texas’s first setback on the road in nearly two months, since a 5-4 overtime defeat in San Jose. But head coach Neil Graham sounded a steady note last night.

“You lose Game 1, and you have to dust yourself off and regroup awfully quick for Game 2,” Graham said after the game via the team. “It’s a quick turnaround. It’s our first test of adversity here in terms of losing a game. It’s important for us to push through.

“We’ll respond. I have a lot of faith in our group, I have a lot of faith in our leadership, and [today] is a new day.”

― Patrick Williams

In action around the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs last night, 2016 AHL All-Star Nick Cousins scored 15:32 into overtime to send Florida to a series-clinching 3-2 victory at Toronto... 2012 Calder Cup champion Radko Gudas assisted on the winning goal for the Panthers, and 2018-19 AHL scoring champion Carter Verhaeghe added a goal and an assist... 2016 AHL All-Star William Nylander scored for the Maple Leafs, and 2023 AHL All-Star Joseph Woll made 40 saves... Three-time AHL All-Star Jonathan Marchessault recorded three assists and 2019 Calder Cup finalist Nic Hague scored the winning goal as Vegas defeated Edmonton, 4-3... Adin Hill made 32 saves for the Golden Knights.

On the opening day of the 2023 IIHF World Championship, Drew O’Connor recorded a goal and an assist and Alex Tuch scored twice as the United States defeated Finland, 4-1... 2016 Calder Cup champion Lukas Sedlak scored twice for Czechia in a 3-2 win over Slovakia... 2019 AHL All-Star Sam Montembeault made 23 saves as Canada shut out Latvia, 6-0.

Watch the Calder Cup Playoffs on AHLTV
Don’t miss a second on the road to the 2023 Calder Cup championship. AHLTV features live streaming of every AHL game in high definition on desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile devices, as well as OTT platforms such as Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV. A subscription is just $29.99 for the entire postseason, or just $8.99 for a day pass. Visit AHLTV.com for details.