AHL Morning Skate: May 18, 2024

Photo: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A1-Hershey Bears vs. A5-Hartford Wolf Pack
Game 2 – Tonight, 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

Hershey hosts Hartford in Game 2 of the Atlantic Division Finals tonight after a convincing 6-1 victory in the series opener on Thursday... The Wolf Pack lost starting goaltender Dylan Garand to recall by the New York Rangers shortly before the game, and the Bears pounced with Chase Priskie beating Olof Lindbom on just their second shot of the game... Ethen Frank (4-2-6) scored a power-play goal early in the second period, and Hershey broke it open on goals 1:07 apart by Alex Limoges (2-0-2) and Garrett Roe (1-0-1)... Frank’s goal was his third game-winning tally of the playoffs; he tied for second in the AHL with nine game-winners during the regular season... Lucas Johansen (0-2-2), Hendrix Lapierre (2-4-6), Joe Snively (0-5-5) and Henrik Rybinski (2-2-4) added two assists apiece for the Bears... Hershey was 2-for-4 on the power play in Game 1 and also got a shorthanded goal from Jimmy Huntington (1-0-1)... Hartford’s only goal came off the stick of Jake Leschyshyn (4-1-5), his third tally in the last two contests... Lindbom, the Rangers’ second-round selection in the 2018 NHL Draft, finished with 23 saves on 28 shots in his Calder Cup Playoff debut; Talyn Boyko finished up in the first AHL appearance of his career... Hunter Shepard (4-1, 1.62, .938) needed just 13 saves as the Bears finished Game 1 with a 30-14 advantage in shots on goal... Shepard has won 10 consecutive starts against Hartford (10-0-0, 1.08, .956)... Todd Nelson earned his 60th career playoff win as an AHL head coach on Thursday, tying him with Bears legend Frank Mathers for fourth place on the league’s all-time list... Teams winning Game 1 of a Calder Cup Playoff series by a margin of five goals or more have gone on to win the series 44 of 50 times (88.0 percent).

N1-Cleveland Monsters vs. N3-Syracuse Crunch
Game 2 – Today, 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

Cleveland took a 1-0 series lead with a 1-0 victory over Syracuse in the opener of the North Division Finals on Thursday night... Justin Pearson (2-2-4) scored a shorthanded goal 4:46 into the third period, a great individual effort to provide the only offense of Game 1... Pearson has scored five goals in his last seven games, including a hat trick at Toronto back on Apr. 20... Jet Greaves (4-1, 1.47, .952) made 28 saves for his fourth consecutive win and his first playoff shutout... Brandon Halverson (3-3, 2.06, .920) stopped 23 of 24 shots in the defeat, the first 1-0 loss in Crunch playoff history... Syracuse was 0-for-4 on the power play in Game 1, falling to 1-for-19 (5.3 percent) in six postseason games... Cleveland was 0-for-2, and is now 2-for-15 (13.3 percent) in the playoffs... Going back to their meeting in the 2019 postseason, the Monsters have shut out the Crunch over the last 139:29 of playoff action at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.



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 3 – Sunday, 10:00 ET,
(Coachella Valley leads series, 2-0)

Game 1 – Wed., May 15 – COACHELLA VALLEY 3, Ontario 2 | Recap
Game 2 – Fri., May 17 – COACHELLA VALLEY 5, Ontario 3 | Recap
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

After sweeping through their first two playoff series, Marco Sturm’s Ontario Reign have their backs against the wall in the division finals.

Coachella Valley’s 5-3 win last night gave the Firebirds a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series.

“We didn’t play the game we can play for 60 minutes,” Sturm said after Game 2. “We didn’t play detailed enough and that’s why we were falling behind. It felt like we were chasing all night.”

The Reign head home for the next two games of the series, beginning Sunday evening.

“This is what playoffs is all about,” Sturm continued. “Why not us? We’re going to look forward to playing at home again, see what we can do better and go from there.”

Shut down one, two, or even three lines on the Hershey Bears, and they still can hurt an opponent with their fourth.

The Wolf Pack struggled to stop Hershey’s energetic fourth line of Matt Strome, Henrik Rybinski and Bogdan Trineyev in Game 1 on Thursday night. Rybinski had two assists while Strome added a helper, but it was their constant energy and ability to disrupt the Wolf Pack that was most apparent.

Bears head coach Todd Nelson isn’t particularly fond of attaching the fourth-line moniker to the trio, particularly after a performance like Game 1.

“Every line has their own identity,” Nelson said. “I hate calling them the fourth line because if they’re the best line on the ice, they’re really your first line.”

All three players were with the Bears for their 2023 Calder Cup championship run but did not break into the lineup. This season, however, they have been a key part of Hershey’s excellent forward depth. They combined for 43 points this season (12 goals, 31 assists) and provided a reliable presence for Nelson and the Hershey coaching staff.

Forward Matthew Phillips was out of the lineup for a second consecutive game with what Nelson termed a “lower-body injury that is not totally healed.” With Phillips out, Garrett Roe has slotted in on a line with Ivan Miroshnichenko and Mike Vecchione.

When Phillips is healthy, there will be more lineup decisions to make. But if the Bears are to win another Calder Cup, Nelson is sure of one fact.

“We’re going to need everybody,” he said.

― with files from Patrick Williams

In Friday’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, Jake Oettinger made 29 saves as Dallas eliminated Colorado with a 2-1 double-overtime win in Game 6 at Ball Arena in Denver... Jamie Benn, a Calder Cup finalist with the Texas Stars in 2010, scored the tying goal in the third period... Gustav Forsling scored with 1:33 left in regulation to send Florida to a series-clinching 2-1 win at Boston in Game 6.

Watch the Calder Cup Playoffs on AHLTV
Don’t miss a second on the road to the 2024 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 to watch every game for the entire postseason, or just $8.99 for a day pass. Visit AHLTV.com for details.