AHL Morning Skate: May 22

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 5 – HAMILTON 4, Houston 2 (HOU leads series, 3-2)

1. Forward Ryan White chipped in two assists and was plus-2 as Hamilton saved its season again with a 4-2 win over Houston.

2. Bulldogs goaltender Drew MacIntyre backstopped his club to the Game 5 victory with 31 saves on 33 shots.

3. Houston forward Jean-Michel Daoust netted his first goal of the postseason in the losing effort.

Game 6 – Hamilton at Houston, 5:05 (HOU leads series, 3-2)

Playoff Bracket
|| Scoring Leaders || Goaltending Leaders

Eastern Conference Finals – Series “M” (best-of-7)
E3-Charlotte Checkers vs. E5-Binghamton Senators

Game 1 – Thu., May 12 – Binghamton 7, CHARLOTTE 4
Game 2 – Fri., May 13 – Binghamton 3, CHARLOTTE 0
Game 3 – Tue., May 17 – BINGHAMTON 7, Charlotte 1
Game 4 – Wed., May 18 – BINGHAMTON 4, Charlotte 3 (OT)

Western Conference Finals – Series “N” (best-of-7)
W2-Houston Aeros vs. N1-Hamilton Bulldogs
Game 1 – Fri., May 13 – HOUSTON 2, Hamilton 1
Game 2 – Sun., May 15 – HOUSTON 3, Hamilton 2
Game 3 – Tue., May 17 – Houston 3, HAMILTON 2
Game 4 – Wed., May 18 – HAMILTON 8, Houston 1
Game 5 – Fri., May 20 – HAMILTON 4, Houston 2
Game 6 – Sun., May 22 – Hamilton at Houston, 5:05
*Game 7 – Tue., May 24 – Hamilton at Houston, 8:05

*if necessary… All times Eastern

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 6 – Hamilton at Houston, 5:05 (HOU leads series, 3-2)
Webcast: AHLLive.com
The Western Conference Finals shift back to Toyota Center in Houston this afternoon with the hometown Aeros trying once again to eliminate Hamilton and move on to the Calder Cup Finals for the first time since 2003… Houston won the first three games of the series – all by a one-goal margin – but the Bulldogs took Games 4 and 5 on home ice by a combined score of 12-3… Hamilton is 3-0 in potential elimination games this spring, and goaltender Drew MacIntyre (10-8, 1.79, .933) holds an impressive 9-2 lifetime mark when facing Calder Cup Playoff elimination… MacIntyre made 31 saves in the Bulldogs’ 4-2 victory in Game 5, and has now allowed two goals or fewer in 14 of his 18 playoff appearances this spring… It was MacIntyre’s 39th consecutive start since joining Hamilton on Feb. 28; he has a 1.84 GAA and a .936 save percentage in a Bulldogs sweater… Paul Zanette, Aaron Palushaj, Ryan Russell and Andrew Conboy scored for Hamilton in Game 5… Russell, who netted shorthanded goals in Game 4 and Game 5, has now collected 3-2-5 in his last four games after producing 4-0-4 in his first 14 postseason contests… Palushaj shows four points (2-2-4) in Hamilton’s back-to-back wins, and his 17 points overall (6-11-17) are second on the club behind Nigel Dawes (12-6-18), who was held off the scoresheet on Friday… Conboy’s marker, which went into an empty net late in the third period, was his first of the playoffs… Ryan White has posted four assists over the last two games for Hamilton, and defenseman Mathieu Carle is now riding a five-game points streak (1-4-5)… Hamilton’s top defensive pairing of Carle (2-7-9, +8) and Frederic St. Denis (1-7-8, +12) has been on the ice for only one Houston goal this series… The Aeros, who have lost two straight games for the first time all postseason, received goals from Jed Ortmeyer and Jean-Michel Daoust on Friday… Patrick O’Sullivan continues to lead the Aeros in playoff scoring with 12 points (4-8-12), but the former AHL rookie of the year has been limited to just two assists in this series… Rookie defenseman Jared Spurgeon saw his five-game assists streak (0-6-6) end on Friday… Colton Gillies (7-1-8) leads Houston with seven playoff goals despite taking just 17 shots (41.2 percent) in 16 games… The team which scores first has won each of the first five games… Houston is 4-for-11 on the power play in its three wins this series, but 1-for-11 with two shorthanded goals allowed in its two losses… The Aeros own a 1-6 record all-time in Game 6’s… 122 teams in AHL history have trailed 3-0 in a best-of-7 series, and Hamilton is just the 15th to force a Game 6… Before the Bulldogs, the last AHL club to force a Game 6 after losing the first three games of a series had been Houston, which won Games 4 and 5 vs. Manitoba in the 2009 Western Conference Finals… Only two teams have forced a Game 7 after dropping the first three of a series, and both of those – the 1960 Rochester Americans (vs. Cleveland) and the 1989 Adirondack Red Wings (vs. Hershey) – completed the comeback and won the series… Houston is now 11-9 in its AHL history with a chance to eliminate an opponent; the Bulldogs are 14-10 all-time when trying to avoid playoff elimination.


As they prepared to return to Houston on Saturday, the Aeros were happy they would be on home ice today at Toyota Center. But they knew they had a tough road ahead to claim a berth in the Calder Cup championship series. The Aeros are set on preventing the Bulldogs from becoming the third team in AHL history to win a series after trailing 3-0. “Our crowd is great, and certainly gives the guys an emotional boost,” coach Mike Yeo said about the home arena, where the team is 6-1 in the playoffs.

The Aeros are coming home empty-handed — for the time being — after another loss to the Hamilton Bulldogs in the AHL Western Conference finals Friday night. The Bulldogs closed the gap in the series to 3-2 with a 4-2 victory on the strength of a short-handed goal by Ryan Russell just over eight minutes into the third period. Russell converted a pass from Ryan White after the pair created a two-on one.

If you subscribe to that religious sect that believes the world is ending, the result of [Friday] night’s game is pretty much meaningless. But if the soothsayers are wrong and we’re still here, the Hamilton Bulldogs’ win in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final should give hope to local hockey fans for the future. With the victory, the Dogs are still a long way from pulling off the kind of miracle that’s only been done twice before in the American Hockey League’s 75-year history. But suddenly the idea doesn’t seem so loopy.

BULLDOGS BITE BACK – Hamilton Spectator
The Hamilton Bulldogs just will just not go quietly. After dropping the first three games of their AHL Western Conference final to the Houston Aeros, the Dogs have won two straight. Only two teams in the AHL’s 75 years history have come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven series; but if the Bulldogs can win Sunday they will get a chance to be the third when the two teams meet in Game 7 on Tuesday night.

After two days of celebrating their sweep of the Charlotte Checkers in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Binghamton Senators returned to the ice to start preparing for an unknown opponent in their first Calder Cup Finals appearance. Getting their legs back under them was the goal on Saturday as the B-Sens skated for about an hour at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. “It’s a long layoff,” coach Kurt Kleinendorst said. “If we don’t stay sharp, we’ll pay the price once they drop the puck in Game 1.”

The Senators are getting a major lift from their minor-league affiliate. The Binghamton Senators are in the Calder Cup final for the first time since they were formed in 2002. “A few years back, we weren’t very competitive in the minors,” said Ottawa GM Bryan Murray. “We were disappointed that we didn’t have the personnel to really be what we are now turning out to be. (Getting to the final) is really good for the organization. Hopefully, we’ll win the Calder Cup. That will be a terrific experience for all of these players as they move forward.”

In yesterday’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, 2008 AHL rookie of the year Teddy Purcell tallied a pair of goals just 1:03 apart in the second period as Tampa Bay rallied from three goals down to defeat Boston, 5-3, evening the NHL’s Eastern Conference Finals at two games apiece… Sean Bergenheim and 1998 Calder Cup finalist Martin St. Louis also scored for the Lightning, while 2005 AHL All-Star Patrice Bergeron paced the Bruins’ attack with two first-period markers.

7 – Consecutive series wins by Houston that have been clinched on the road… The Aeros have not wrapped up a series victory on home ice since eliminating Norfolk from the 2003 conference semifinals with a win at the old Compaq Center.

6 – Consecutive series wins by Hamilton that have been clinched at home… The Bulldogs have not celebrated a series triumph on the road since knocking out Manitoba in the 2007 division finals.

May 22, 2010Boyd Kane’s goal 7:06 into overtime gives Hershey a 3-2 win over Manchester and sends the Bears to the Calder Cup Finals for the fourth time in five years.

May 22, 2009 – After Manitoba scores twice in the final 21 seconds of regulation to tie the game, Houston gets a goal from Tony Hrkac at 4:19 of double overtime to stave off elimination with a 4-3 win in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals.

May 22, 2004Jed Ortmeyer’s third-period goal helps Hartford to a 3-2 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and a 2-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

May 22, 2003 – Jarret Stoll sets an AHL playoff record with a goal just four seconds into the third period, helping Hamilton to an 8-3 win over Binghamton and a berth in the Calder Cup Finals… Marc Cavosie scores twice as Houston wins the Western Conference title with a 2-1 win in Game 7 at Grand Rapids.

May 22, 2002 – Raffi Torres breaks a scoreless tie with 1:27 left in regulation and Rick DiPietro posts the fifth Game 7 shutout in AHL history as Bridgeport advances to the Calder Cup Finals with a 3-0 win over Hamilton.

May 22, 1998 – Mike Maneluk (3g, 1a) and Jim Montgomery (1g, 4a) lead the Philadelphia Phantoms to a 7-3 win over the Albany River Rats and a 3-1 lead in their conference final series.

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