AHL Morning Skate: May 2

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 2 – HAMILTON 4, Manitoba 2 (HAM leads series, 2-0)
Game 2 – Houston 2, MILWAUKEE 0 (Series tied, 1-1)

1. Rookie forward Gabriel Dumont netted his first two postseason goals as Hamilton doubled up Manitoba by a 4-2 count to take a 2-0 series lead in the North Division Finals.

2. Rookie goaltender Matt Hackett posted a 20-save shutout in Houston’s 2-0 triumph at Milwaukee, evening the West Division Finals at a game apiece.

3. Hamilton goaltender Drew MacIntyre stopped 24 of 26 shots in the winning effort.

Game 3 – W-B/Scranton at Charlotte, 7:00 (Series tied, 1-1)
Game 4 – Portland at Binghamton, 7:05 (BNG leads series, 2-1)


Playoff Bracket || Scoring Leaders || Goaltending Leaders

Atlantic Division Finals – Series “I” (best-of-7)
A1-Portland Pirates vs. E5-Binghamton Senators
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 27 – Binghamton 3, PORTLAND 2
Game 2 – Thu., Apr. 28 – Binghamton 5, PORTLAND 3
Game 3 – Sat., Apr. 30 – Portland 3, BINGHAMTON 2
Game 4 – Mon., May 2 – Portland at Binghamton, 7:05
Game 5 – Tue., May 3 – Portland at Binghamton, 7:05
*Game 6 – Fri., May 6 – Binghamton at Portland, 7:00
*Game 7 – Sat., May 7 – Binghamton at Portland, 7:00

East Division Finals – Series “J” (best-of-7)
E1-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. E3-Charlotte Checkers
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 28 – Charlotte 3, W-B/SCRANTON 2
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 30 – W-B/SCRANTON 3, Charlotte 0
Game 3 – Mon., May 2 – W-B/Scranton at Charlotte, 7:00
Game 4 – Wed., May 4 – W-B/Scranton at Charlotte, 7:00
Game 5 – Fri., May 6 – W-B/Scranton at Charlotte, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sat., May 7 – Charlotte at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 7 – Mon., May 9 – Charlotte at W-B/Scranton, 7:05

North Division Finals – Series “K” (best-of-7)
N1-Hamilton Bulldogs vs. N3-Manitoba Moose

Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 28 – HAMILTON 4, Manitoba 1
Game 2 – Sun., May 1 – HAMILTON 4, Manitoba 2
Game 3 – Tue., May 3 – Hamilton at Manitoba, 8:30
Game 4 – Wed., May 4 – Hamilton at Manitoba, 8:30
*Game 5 – Fri., May 6 – Hamilton at Manitoba, 8:30
*Game 6 – Sun., May 8 – Manitoba at Hamilton, 7:30
*Game 7 – Mon., May 9 – Manitoba at Hamilton, 7:30

West Division Finals – Series “L” (best-of-7)
W1-Milwaukee Admirals vs. W2-Houston Aeros
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 29 – MILWAUKEE 3, Houston 1
Game 2 – Sun., May 1 – Houston 2, MILWAUKEE 0
Game 3 – Tue., May 3 – Milwaukee at Houston, 8:05
Game 4 – Thu., May 5 – Milwaukee at Houston, 8:05
Game 5 – Fri., May 6 – Milwaukee at Houston, 8:35
*Game 6 – Sun., May 8 – Houston at Milwaukee, 6:00
*Game 7 – Tue., May 10 – Houston at Milwaukee, 8:00

*if necessary… All times Eastern

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 3 – W-B/Scranton at Charlotte, 7:00 (Series tied, 1-1)
The East Division Finals shift to North Carolina tonight as Charlotte hosts Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for Game 3 at Time Warner Cable Arena… The teams split the first two contests in Wilkes-Barre, with the Checkers taking a 3-2 win in the series opener and the Penguins bouncing back to claim a 3-0 decision in Game 2 on Saturday… AHL goaltender of the year Brad Thiessen made 34 saves in that one for his first professional playoff shutout after tying for second in the league with seven whitewashes during the regular season… The 34 saves tied Thiessen’s single-game high this postseason, previously attained in Game 4 of the division semifinals at Norfolk… Penguins captain Ryan Craig posted a goal and an assist in Game 2, while Brett Sterling and Chris Collins also found the back of the net… Sterling has tallied a goal in both games of this series and totaled seven shots after combining for zero goals and 11 shots during Wilkes-Barre’s opening-round series against the Admirals… Corey Potter chipped in an assist on Saturday for the Penguins, and the defenseman now has a point in three straight games (0-5-5) and four of his last five (1-6-7)… The Penguins and Checkers each struck for two power play goals in the series opener, but the teams went a combined 0-for-12 with the man advantage in Game 2… Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is 3-0 on the road thus far in the playoffs after taking all three games at Norfolk in the first round, and the Penguins were a perfect 4-0-0-0 at Time Warner Cable Arenas during the regular season, though this is their first visit since Jan. 4 and 5… The 3-0 loss marked Charlotte’s first shutout against since a 2-0 setback at Worcester on Mar. 5… Checkers forward Zach Boychuk had recorded a point in seven straight games to begin the playoffs (3-5-8) prior to Saturday, and rookie Zac Dalpe saw his four-game scoring run (1-3-4) come to an end… Dalpe still paces Charlotte in goals (4), points (9), and plus/minus (plus-4) to this point… Tonight marks the Checkers’ first home contest since Game 5 of the division semifinals vs. Hershey, when they rallied from a 3-0 deficit to take a 5-3 win and a 3-2 lead in the series, which they eventually won in Game 6.

Game 4 – Portland at Binghamton, 7:05 (BNG leads series, 2-1)
Two nights after erasing a 2-1 deficit late in the third period to secure a dramatic 3-2 victory , Portland looks to even up the Atlantic Division Finals tonight when it takes on Binghamton for Game 4 at the Broome County Arena… Game 3 was deadlocked at 2-2 late in the third period before Tim Conboy – perhaps the most unlikely hero on the ice – scored with 12.5 seconds left in regulation for his first goal in more than two years… Conboy ended a goal-scoring drought of 171 combined regular-season and playoff games in the AHL and NHL with his first tally since Jan. 17, 2009… Travis Turnbull and Derek Whitmore picked up assists on what was also Conboy’s first-ever postseason marker as a professional… Defenseman Brian O’Hanley initially gave Portland a 1-0 first-period lead on Saturday, but Binghamton scored twice in the second frame to take a 2-1 advantage until Whitmore tied it up at 14:51 of the third… Whitmore has now netted a goal in back-to-back contests after going his previous five games without scoring…First Team AHL All-Star forward Mark Mancari earned an assist in Game 3 and shows a point in four of his last five outings (4-4-8)… Mancari leads the entire AHL with 36 shots on goal this postseason despite playing only six of Portland’s nine games to date… The next five players on the shots on goal list all belong to Binghamton – Andre Benoit (33), Colin Greening (33), Ryan Keller (31), Zack Smith (31), and Bobby Butler (30)… After giving way to Jhonas Enroth for Game 2, Pirates goaltender David Leggio returned to the crease on Saturday and stopped 32 of 34 shots in the winning effort, improving to 5-3 (2.83, .908) in eight playoff appearances… Portland has now won back-to-back road contests since ending a six-game road losing skid in the Calder Cup Playoffs… Binghamton is just 1-3 on home ice during these playoffs, compared with a 5-1 mark away from the Broome County Arena… Keller and Kaspars Daugavins each scored for the Senators in Game 3, and the latter boasts three goals in his last two games after totaling two goals in his first eight postseason contests… AHL points leader Ryan Potulny (8-9-17) is riding a four-game scoring streak (1-7-8) for Binghamton, and Smith has a point in three straight tilts (2-3-5)… Butler’s five-game goal-scoring run came to an end on Saturday, but the rookie is still tied for second in the league – behind Potulny – with six playoff markers overall (6-1-7).


BULLDOGS DOWN MOOSE 4-2 – Canadian Press
Ryan White and the Hamilton Bulldogs cruised to a 4-2 victory over the Manitoba Moose Sunday afternoon, to take a 2-0 series lead to Winnipeg for Game 3. Gabriel Dumont struck twice for the Bulldogs, while Mathieu Carle and Ryan Russell also scored. Drew MacIntyre was sharp, turning away 24 of 26 in the win. Kevin Clark and Chris Tanev replied for Manitoba, while Eddie Lack stopped 27 of 30 shots.

Claude Noel wasn’t trying to hide the disappointment. Nor was he anywhere close to waving the white flag. But after watching the Manitoba Moose drop a 4-2 decision to the Hamilton Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon at Copps Coliseum, the subject of being down 2-0 in the best-of-7 North Division final wasn’t giving the head coach any joy.

It’s one thing to have your backs against the wall. And quite another to be looking at a firing squad. The Manitoba Moose should be feeling a little bit of both now, having fallen behind 2-0 in their best-of-seven North Division final to a Hamilton Bulldogs squad that has now beaten the Moose eight straight times dating back to Oct. 22 – the latest a 4-2 loss in Game 2 Sunday at Copps Coliseum. Now the Moose need to summon the moxie to defeat those same Bulldogs four times in the next five games.

Milwaukee coach Lane Lambert said he was left scratching his head at the lack of "oomph" his team displayed in a 2-0 loss to visiting Houston on Sunday in Game 2 of the best-of-seven West Division Finals. The Admirals, who won Game 1 on Friday, were shut out for just the fourth time this season and managed only 11 shots on goal in the final two periods. "We’re not going to use any excuses," Lambert said. "It wasn’t good enough."

AEROS’ WIN A BIG UPGRADE – Houston Chronicle
Whatever pressure the Houston Aeros felt entering Sunday’s Game Two of their playoff matchup with the Milwaukee Admirals never showed. In fact, the pressure was on the host Admirals throughout most of the game at the Bradley Center, where the Aeros won 2-0 and earned a split in the opening games of this best-of-seven series. “I think we found what we were looking for, which was another level in our game,” Aeros coach Mike Yeo said.

A little more than 12 hours after pulling off a last-minute 3-2 win against the Binghamton Senators, a few of the Portland Pirates were back on the ice Sunday morning at the venerable Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. "The option is there to go out and get your legs moving, or to use it as a maintenance day to come back and be ready to go (Monday)," Portland coach Kevin Dineen said. "It’s been an intense couple of weeks here, and decompression days are just as important as what we can accomplish in practice."

Bouncing back from an emotional loss is never easy, but the Binghamton Senators know they couldn’t have reached the Atlantic Division Finals if they weren’t capable of putting disappointing moments behind them. Tim Conboy‘s goal with 12.5 seconds left Saturday night sent the B-Sens to a heartbreaking 3-2 defeat in Game 3 against the Portland Pirates. They get their chance to bounce back as they host Game 4 with a 2-1 lead in the series.

RECIPE FOR SUCCESS – Citizens’ Voice
When it comes right down to it, both teams in the AHL’s East Division finals were probably fairly happy with how the first two games of the series went. The Charlotte Checkers have to be pleased they gained a split with a 3-2 victory in Game 1 Thursday night. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, meanwhile, must enjoy the fact that they’re in better shape in the second round than they were in the first.

In three seasons as a head coach in the American Hockey League, the Charlotte Checkers’ Jeff Daniels has been in a harrowing bus crash, developed players for the Carolina Hurricanes and twice guided teams into the playoffs. Daniels also is perhaps positioning himself for a head-coaching job in the NHL one day, possibly with the Hurricanes. For now, all Daniels is concerned about is finding a way to beat Wilke-Barre/Scranton today in Game 3 of the East Division finals at Time Warner Cable Arena.

Pucks will fly and tempers might flare at 7 tonight when Charlotte and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton clash in Game 3 of their American Hockey League playoff series at Time Warner Cable Arena. The Checkers will deploy their fast-skating game to try to offset Saturday’s 3-0 road loss, which tied at 1-1 the best-of-7 East Division finals. Heavy hitting and post-whistle scrums marked the game.

In last night’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, 2008 AHL rookie of the year Teddy Purcell picked up a pair of assists – including one on the game-winning goal in overtime – as Tampa Bay claimed a 3-2 win at Washington for a 2-0 series lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal… 2010 AHL All-Rookie forward Logan Couture earned an assist on the game-winner as San Jose grabbed a 2-0 series lead with a 2-1 victory over Detroit.

1-4 – Record of the home team thus far in the Eastern Conference’s two division finals series.

3-1 – Record of the home team thus far in the Western Conference’s two division finals series.

15 – Different players who have scored at least one goal for Portland this postseason, most among the eight clubs remaining in the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs.

May 2, 2010 – Chicago gets a goal from Anthony Stewart at 12:21 of the second overtime to defeat Texas, 4-3, in Game 2 of their West Division final.

May 2, 2008Bobby Ryan ties the game with 57 seconds left in regulation and Brendan Mikkelson scores 5:20 into overtime as Portland stuns Providence, 4-3, to cut its series deficit in the Atlantic Division Finals to 2-1.

May 2, 2003Trent Hunter scores with 21.4 seconds left in regulation to give Bridgeport a 3-2 win over Binghamton and even their conference semifinal series at 2-2.

May 2, 2000 – Roberto Luongo makes 38 saves in a losing effort as Providence completes a four-game sweep of Lowell with a 6-3 victory.

May 2, 1999 – Evgeni Nabokov’s 19-save shutout propels Kentucky into the second round with a 2-0 victory in a decisive Game 5 vs. Hershey.

May 2, 1995Donald Brashear records a hat trick to lead Fredericton to a 7-2 win over the Prince Edward Island Senators.

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