AHL Morning Skate: May 17, 2024

Photo: Mike Zitek

A1-Hershey Bears vs. A5-Hartford Wolf Pack
Game 2 – Saturday, 7:00 ET,
(Hershey leads series, 1-0)

Game 1 – Thu., May 16 – HERSHEY 6, Hartford 1 | Recap
Game 2 – Sat., May 18 – Hartford at Hershey, 7:00
Game 3 – Wed., May 22 – Hershey at Hartford, 7:00
*Game 4 – Fri., May 24 – Hershey at Hartford, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sun., May 26 – Hartford at Hershey, 5:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

N1-Cleveland Monsters vs. N3-Syracuse Crunch
Game 2 – Saturday, 1:00 ET,
(Cleveland leads series, 1-0)

Game 1 – Thu., May 16 – CLEVELAND 1, Syracuse 0 | Recap
Game 2 – Sat., May 18 – Syracuse at Cleveland, 1:00
Game 3 – Wed., May 22 – Cleveland at Syracuse, 7:00
*Game 4 – Fri., May 24 – Cleveland at Syracuse, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sun., May 26 – Syracuse at Cleveland, 3:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

C1-Milwaukee Admirals vs. C2-Grand Rapids Griffins
Game 2 – Monday, 8:00 ET,
(Grand Rapids leads series, 1-0)

Game 1 – Wed., May 15 – Grand Rapids 4, MILWAUKEE 2 | Recap
Game 2 – Mon., May 20 – Grand Rapids at Milwaukee, 8:00
Game 3 – Wed., May 22 – Milwaukee at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 4 – Fri., May 24 – Milwaukee at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sun., May 26 – Grand Rapids at Milwaukee, 6:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

P1-Coachella Valley Firebirds vs. P3-Ontario Reign
Game 2 – Friday, 10:00 ET,
(Coachella Valley leads series, 1-0)

Game 1 – Wed., May 15 – COACHELLA VALLEY 3, Ontario 2 | Recap
Game 2 – Fri., May 17 – Ontario at Coachella Valley, 10:00
Game 3 – Sun., May 19 – Coachella Valley at Ontario, 10:00
*Game 4 – Fri., May 24 – Coachella Valley at Ontario, 10:00
*Game 5 – Sun., May 26 – Ontario at Coachella Valley, 6:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

GAME NOTES
Coachella Valley brings a 1-0 series lead over Ontario into Game 2 of the Pacific Division Finals tonight, looking to build on Wednesday’s 3-2 victory in the opener... Max McCormick (4-1-5) and Devin Shore (4-1-5), the Firebirds’ leading scorers this postseason, scored 62 seconds apart late in the first period of Game 1 to turn an early 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead... Shore has scored a goal in four consecutive games... Jimmy Schuldt (1-1-2) scored his first goal of the postseason at 7:59 of the second period, and Chris Driedger (4-1, 2.35, .923) made 13 of his 29 saves in the final frame to preserve the Firebirds’ fourth win in a row... Andre Lee (4-0-4) and Samuel Fagemo (2-3-5) scored for the Reign, who suffered their first loss of the postseason despite outshooting Coachella Valley 31-15 in the contest... The Firebirds’ 15 shots on goal were a franchise low (regular season and playoffs)... Fagemo’s goal came on a third-period man advantage for Ontario; he led the AHL with 19 power-play goals during the regular season... Erik Portillo (5-1, 1.51, .940) finished with 12 saves... Coachella Valley is now 6-1 all-time in Game 1’s... Ontario is 0-4 all-time in series after losing the opening game.

 

The official word came down shortly before the Hartford Wolf Pack took the ice for warm-ups.

They would not have Dylan Garand in net for Game 1 of the best-of-five Atlantic Division Finals against the Hershey Bears.

The New York Rangers recalled Garand, who was off to join them for Game 6 of their Stanley Cup Playoff series in Raleigh, N.C.

With Louis Domingue and now Garand both on recall to the Rangers, Olof Lindbom was up next for the Wolf Pack. Lindbom, a 2018 second-round pick by the Rangers, had only played seven career AHL games, none since Mar. 30 when he made 24 saves in a 2-1 shootout loss to Hershey. Lindbom had not seen game action at any level since Apr. 9 when he was with Cincinnati of the ECHL.

“What we try to do is just control the controllables,” Wolf Pack interim head coach Steve Smith said of the late change of goaltending plans. “We had confidence in him going into the game. I thought he was fine. He certainly wasn’t the reason that we lost the game.”

Lindbom departed after allowing Hershey’s fifth goal midway through the third period, going down awkwardly in a bid to stop Ivan Miroshnichenko. Talyn Boyko, a 6-foot-8 rookie, came on for his first career AHL appearance and finished the 6-1 loss in net.

Whether Garand might be available for Game 2 at Hershey on Saturday is not yet known. Smith also said that he did not have an update on Lindbom’s status, but he came away satisfied with the work in net that he saw in Game 1.

But for his team collectively, Smith saw plenty of room for improvement. He continues to preach a consistent plan; that means chip-and-chase hockey, making opposing defensemen retrieve pucks, and causing net-front disturbances.

“I think we have to continue to look at the simplicity of our game and how we need to play,” Smith said. “We just weren’t as physical as they were. They outhit us. They won more battles than us. We’re going to need to win more battles. We’re going to have to get back to a simple style of game.

“We have to be better.”

The Wolf Pack are putting Game 1 behind them, but so is Hershey.

“It’s going to be a tough battle against these guys,” Bears head coach Todd Nelson said. “They battle hard.”

All Nelson has to do to sell that message is point back to the last round against Lehigh Valley, when the Bears grabbed a 5-1 win to take a 2-0 series lead only to get shut out in Game 3.

“We already talked about it in the room,” Nelson said. “We were junk the next game. We’ve got to make sure we stay humble and keep our heads straight and understand that it’s not going to be like that every time. It’s going to be a battle next game.”

The Ontario Reign have a very slim margin of error in their best-of-five Pacific Division Final series against Coachella Valley.

“Just two or three mistakes,” Reign head coach Marco Sturm said to reporters after Ontario’s 3-2 loss to the Firebirds in Game 1 on Wednesday. “Overall, I thought we played a solid game, but playoff time guys have got to realize that every shift is important.”

That’s all it takes against the Firebirds, who led the AHL with 3.50 goals per game during the regular season. But Sturm and the Reign did come away encouraged that they held Coachella Valley to only 15 shots.

“It’s a little frustrating because we played good enough, let’s put it that way,” Sturm said.

― with files from Patrick Williams


In Thursday’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, Chris Kreider’s third-period hat trick rallied the New York Rangers to a series-clinching 5-3 win over Carolina in Game 6 in Raleigh... 2017 AHL All-Star Jack Roslovic recorded two assists for the Rangers... 2013 AHL All-Star J.T. Miller scored with 31.9 seconds remaining in regulation to give Vancouver a 3-2 win over Edmonton in Game 5 of their series... Carson Soucy and Phil Di Giuseppe (the first Stanley Cup Playoff goal of his career) also scored for the Canucks.

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