AHL Morning Skate: May 24

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.

No games scheduled

Game 6 – HERSHEY 3, Manchester 2 (OT) (HER wins series, 4-2)
Game 5 – Hamilton 3, TEXAS 0 (HAM leads series, 3-2)

1. Boyd Kane’s overtime goal, his first of the playoffs after scoring 24 in the regular season, sent Hershey to the Calder Cup Finals with a 3-2 victory over Manchester.

2. Curtis Sanford made 23 saves for his second shutout of the postseason in Hamilton’s 3-0 win at Texas.

3. Hershey’s Patrick McNeill scored the game-tying goal in regulation, assisted on the overtime winner and took a game-high six shots on net.

Game 6 – Texas at Hamilton, 7:30 (HAM leads series, 3-2)

Complete Results II Scoring Leaders II Goaltending Leaders

Eastern Conference Finals – Series “M” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. A3-Manchester Monarchs

Game 1 – Wed., May 12 – HERSHEY 4, Manchester 2
Game 2 – Sat., May 15 – HERSHEY 3, Manchester 2 (OT)
Game 3 – Mon., May 17 – MANCHESTER 3, Hershey 2 (OT)
Game 4 – Tue., May 18 – MANCHESTER 1, Hershey 0
Game 5 – Thu., May 20 – Hershey 3, MANCHESTER 2 (OT)
Game 6 – Sat., May 22 – HERSHEY 3, Manchester 2 (OT)

Western Conference Finals – Series “N” (best-of-7)
N1-Hamilton Bulldogs vs. W2-Texas Stars
Game 1 – Fri., May 14 – HAMILTON 3, Texas 2
Game 2 – Sun., May 16 – HAMILTON 3, Texas 1
Game 3 – Wed., May 19 – TEXAS 5, Hamilton 4 (OT)
Game 4 – Fri., May 21 – TEXAS 2, Hamilton 1 (OT)
Game 5 – Sat., May 22 – Hamilton 3, TEXAS 0
Game 6 – Mon., May 24 – Texas at Hamilton, 7:30
*Game 7 – Wed., May 26 – Texas at Hamilton, 7:30

*if necessary… All times Eastern

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 6 – Texas at Hamilton, 7:30 (HAM leads series, 3-2)
    Video Webcast: AHL Live
    TV: Cable 14 Hamilton
Hamilton spends its Victoria Day in search of a coronation as Western Conference champions tonight in Game 6 of the conference finals vs. Texas… The Bulldogs put themselves in position to secure its fourth Calder Cup Finals appearance in 14 seasons with a 3-0 win over the Stars in Cedar Park on Saturday night, Hamilton’s third shutout of the playoffs and 15th dating back to the start of the regular season… To advance, the Bulldogs need to win one of two games at Copps Coliseum, where they are 7-1 this postseason… Curtis Sanford made 23 saves in the Game 5 win as Hamilton bounced back after seeing the Stars even the series with wins in Games 3 and 4… Sanford, who reached the Calder Cup Finals as Manitoba’s backup goaltender last year, is 5-2 with a 1.68 GAA and a .938 save percentage in these playoffs… Ryan Russell, Mike Glumac and David Desharnais scored for the Bulldogs on Saturday night, the third goal of the series for each… Desharnais, who also picked up an assist in Game 5 and leads all scorers with 3-5-8 in the series, now has points in seven straight games (5-6-11) and 15 of 17 overall (9-12-21) on the postseason… Hamilton has scored first in all five games in the series and in six straight contests overall; Texas has allowed the first goal in eight straight outings… Jamie Benn has scored five of the Stars’ 10 goals in the series, and his 13 playoff goals total are one shy of the AHL rookie record held by Rochester’s Sean McKenna (14 in 1983)… Texas is 8-1 when Benn (13-8-21) records a point this postseason, 2-5 when he doesn’t… Matt Climie (3-3, 2.91, .907) made 30 saves in the Game 5 loss, his sixth consecutive start since relieving an injured Brent Krahn (7-3, 2.32, .928) in Game 6 vs. Chicago… Hamilton has outshot Texas in four of the first five games of the series, and has scored at least one power-play goal in all five (7-for-26, 26.9 percent)… The Stars are 5-for-19 with the man advantage (26.3 percent), but all five of those goals came in Games 1 and 3… The Bulldogs are 18-12 all-time with a chance to close out a series, including 12-8 at Copps Coliseum and 2-1 in 2010… The Stars are facing elimination for the second time this postseason; they defeated Chicago in Game 7 of the West Division Finals… In the AHL’s 113 previous best-of-seven series tied at 2-2, the Game 5 victor has won the series 90 times (79.6 percent).

STARS FALL BEHIND IN SERIES, 3-2 – Austin American-Statesman

In a series that has been long on drama and short on dominance, one side finally blinked on Saturday night. The first four games of the Western Conference finals left fans breathless, but after a 3-0 waxing by the Hamilton Bulldogs in Game 5, the Texas Stars are just trying to keep breathing. Hamilton takes a 3-2 series lead home for Game 6 on Monday — and, if necessary, Game 7 Wednesday.

BULLDOGS SHUT OUT TEXAS – Hamilton Spectator
The Hamilton Bulldogs turned in a defensive gem on Saturday and as a result are just one win away from another trip to the Calder Cup finals. The Bulldogs blanked the Texas Stars 3-0 at the Cedar Park Center to take a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven Western Conference Final.

BEARS FOUR WINS FROM 11TH CALDER CUP – Harrisburg Patriot-News
Five seasons with the Hershey Bears. Four trips to the Calder Cup finals for Chris Bourque. The left winger, a rookie in 2005-06 and a strong candidate for playoff MVP in 2009-10, has been a touchstone during an epic run of excellence. Aside from a brief stint with the Pittsburgh Penguins this season, Bourque is the lone Hershey player who’s been through it all the past five years.

Was there really any other way for the Hershey Bears to get back to the Calder Cup finals? After setting record after record during the regular season, the Bears added another one to their list on Saturday night in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals against Manchester. For the seventh time this postseason, the Bears won in overtime, this time a 3-2 victory over the Monarchs to put Hershey in the finals for the fourth time in five years. The seven overtime wins sets a new AHL record for one playoff year.

Like 28 other teams, the Manchester Monarchs’ season will not end with a victory lap in possession of the Calder Cup trophy. But it would be hard to argue that the Monarchs’ 2009-2010 season was anything but successful. “We’re not disappointed whatsoever. Would we want to have beaten Hershey? Absolutely,” said Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. “I don’t think too many people in the hockey world would have expected us to be within a couple goals of the Calder Cup finals. We were that close.”

Patrick Sharp is about to become the most quoted man in the NHL at some point this week, if the Philadelphia Flyers can finalize their date with the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup final. Sharp is one of those versatile pros that every team needs to win – and during the 2004-05 lockout, he helped the Flyers’ AHL affiliate do just that. The Phantoms won the Calder Cup, and it was notable became it came the same year that Philly’s young linchpins, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, broke in professionally.

Professional hockey is hardly new to Charlotte; the roots of the Checkers reach back to the 1950s with the now-defunct Southern Hockey League, which lasted until the mid-70s. With the team enjoying the venue of the spacious and sparkling Time Warner Cable Arena downtown, the attendance numbers continued to grow steadily each season, crowds of 9,000 becoming the standard for a Saturday night, with over 12,000 fans packing the arena on occasion.

Dustin Byfuglien and Dave Bolland, two former IceHog standouts and now Blackhawk mainstays, continued to find ways to be key Shark killers Sunday, scoring a goal apiece and getting under the skin of San Jose’s stars to provide the finishing touches in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals. The Hawks’ playoff roster now includes 15 players who spent significant time on Rockford’s AHL team, and many of them are contributing in big ways.

Former Norfolk Admirals Brent Seabrook, Dave Bolland, Dustin Byfuglien and Kris Versteeg scored as Chicago advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 18 years, finishing off a four-game sweep of San Jose with a 4-2 victory on Sunday afternoon.

2006 Calder Cup champion Jakub Klepis scored a goal and 1997 AHL All-Star Tomas Vokoun made 35 saves to help the Czech Republic capture the gold medal at the 2010 World Championships with a 2-1 win over Russia on Sunday.

3 – Different Hershey Bears players whose only goal of the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs has been an overtime game-winner (Jay Beagle, Andrew Joudrey and Boyd Kane).

0-8 – Manchester’s all-time record when facing elimination after its Game 6 loss to Hershey on Saturday night.

5 – Series that have ended on an overtime goal this postseason.

May 24, 2008Tim Brent’s goal with 30.7 seconds remaining in the third period of Game 7 snaps a tie and sends Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to the Calder Cup Finals with a 3-2 win over Portland.

May 24, 2006Bobby Ryan scores his first professional goal as Portland wins Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, 5-3 over Hershey.

May 24, 2002Bob Nardella scores with 2.7 seconds left in regulation and Andreas Karlsson follows up 13:58 into overtime as Chicago beats Bridgeport, 5-4, in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals.

May 24, 1998Martin St. Louis picks up a goal and an assist as the Saint John Flames win the Eastern Conference championship with a 7-3 decision over Hartford.

May 24, 1996Dwayne Roloson stops 31 shots to lead Saint John to a 4-1 win at Portland, evening up their conference final series at two games apiece.

May 24, 1991Michel Picard’s goal six minutes into the third period stands up as the game-winner as Springfield defeats Rochester, 5-3, to capture its second straight Calder Cup championship.

May 24, 1985 – The Sherbrooke Canadiens, led by 19-year-old goaltender Patrick Roy, win the Calder Cup with a 3-1 win over the Baltimore Skipjacks.

Don’t miss a step on the road to the 2010 Calder Cup championship. AHL Live brings AHL action to your computer all season long with live video webcasts and highlights of every AHL game, as well as behind-the-scenes features and interviews in the Video On Demand section… Visit theahl.com or ahllive.com for details.