AHL Morning Skate: May 25, 2007

Every morning, take 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 3 – Hershey 4, MANCHESTER 1 (HER leads, 3-0)
Game 3 – HAMILTON 2, Chicago 1 (HAM leads, 3-0)

1. Carey Price turns aside 35 of 36 shots in Hamilton’s 2-1 win over Chicago in Game 3.

2. A 34-save effort by Frederic Cassivi gives Hershey a 3-0 series lead in Manchester.

3. Tomas Fleischmann’s three-point night gives the Bears forward 11 points in his last four games.

Game 4 – Chicago at Hamilton, 7:30 (HAM leads, 3-0)

Eastern Conference Final – Series “M” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. A1-Manchester Monarchs || Series Preview
Game 1 – Sat., May 19 – HERSHEY 7, Manchester 2
Game 2 – Sun., May 20 – HERSHEY 4, Manchester 1
Game 3 – Wed., May 23 – Hershey 4, MANCHESTER 1
Game 4 – Sat., May 26 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:35
*Game 5 – Sun., May 27 – Hershey at Manchester, 6:05
*Game 6 – Wed., May 30 – Manchester at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 7 – Thu., May 31 – Manchester at Hershey, 7:00

Western Conference Final – Series “N” (best-of-7)
W2-Chicago Wolves vs. N3-Hamilton Bulldogs || Series Preview
Game 1 – Fri., May 18 – Hamilton 6, CHICAGO 5 (2OT)
Game 2 – Sun., May 20 – Hamilton 3, CHICAGO 2 (OT)
Game 3 – Wed., May 23 – HAMILTON 2, Chicago 1
Game 4 – Fri., May 25 – Chicago at Hamilton, 7:30
*Game 5 – Sat., May 26 – Chicago at Hamilton, 7:00
*Game 6 – Mon., May 28 – Hamilton at Chicago, 8:00
*Game 7 – Wed., May 30 – Hamilton at Chicago, 8:00

*if necessary… All times Eastern

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
chi-ham4_200.jpgGame 4 – Chicago at Hamilton, 7:30 (HAM leads, 3-0)
Official Media Notes (PDF – 358 KB)
Hamilton hits the ice tonight in search of its first-ever four-game series sweep and its third conference championship (1997, 2003)… The only other time the Bulldogs have held a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven series was 10 years ago (see On This Date below)… Chicago has only lost three series in its AHL history, but two of those were via four-game sweep (2003 vs. Grand Rapids, 2005 vs. Philadelphia)… All three games in this series have been decided by a single goal… Corey Locke, whose power-play goal in Game 3 stood up as the decisive marker, has 13 points (6g, 7a) in seven games at Copps Coliseum this postseason, and three points (2g, 1a) in eight road contests… Carey Price is 4-0 in his last five starts (2.14, .938), and has stopped 57 of 60 Wolves shots over the last two games… Defensemen Brian Fahey of Chicago and Andre Benoit of Hamilton share the AHL plus/minus lead (+9) in the playoffs; Bulldogs Kyle Chipchura, Jonathan Ferland and Ryan O’Byrne are all plus-8… Darren Haydar’s seven-game scoring streak ended in Chicago’s Game 3 loss… Rookie Jordan LaVallee has scored two of the Wolves’ three goals over the last two contests, giving him seven goals for the postseason.


Steve Milton,
Hamilton Spectator
If you’re a fifth overall draft choice, and you’re a goalie, you possess some natural skills. So, it’s not surprising that 19-year-old Carey Price is quietly becoming the story of the Calder Cup playoffs. The Hamilton Bulldogs’ netminder “only needs experience,” says Rolie Melanson, goaltender coach of the parent Montreal Canadiens. Melanson estimates that it takes about 100 AHL games for a goalie to be mentally prepared for NHL employment, but figures every Calder Cup playoff game is worth “about four regular games.” … Link

Scott J. Powers, Daily Herald

Of all the fights Chicago Wolves general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff got into during his playing career, one hockey story trumps them all. He was playing at the midget level as a teenager when a brawl broke out on the ice. Cheveldayoff was in the middle of it and ended up fighting three guys. As a result, he was ejected and had to sit with his family in the stands. “My hands were bleeding and my knuckles were scraped,” he said. “My mom said she couldn’t understand why I got kicked out. ‘Mom, I fought three guys.’” It wasn’t that Cheveldayoff loved to hit people or enjoyed the penalty box. He did it because that’s what he felt would give his team the best chance to succeed. As the Wolves’ GM and a candidate for the Phoenix Coyotes’ GM opening, Cheveldayoff still is a tough competitor. … Link

Steve Milton, Hamilton Spectator
This time, Mark Popovic let someone else distribute the tickets. “It’s all business now,” the genial Chicago Wolves defenceman says, and he has the healthy pelt of facial fur to prove it. On a normal visit to Hamilton during the regular season, the 24-year-old Stoney Creek native would gather at least 50 ducats for friends and family. But these are the deep playoffs, his team is precariously positioned and hockey requires his total attention. Still, he knows where he is and, despite the force of post-season gravity, can’t suppress his enjoyment. “It’s always exciting,” says the fifth-year pro, who is a good bet to make the parent Atlanta Thrashers next season. “I don’t think I’d ever cheer for a team to win a series, but when we were done with our series and (the Bulldogs) were in Manitoba, I was really hoping they’d win, so I’d get to come home for a few games here.” … Link

Craig Custance, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Coaches don’t like to pick favorites. Ask about a favorite team, and they say each one is special. Ask about a favorite player, and they can’t name just one. But not Walt Kyle. The Northern Michigan University head hockey coach made one thing clear when asked about Thrashers prospect Nathan Oystrick, one of his former players. “First of all, I love him,” Kyle said of the defenseman. “He’s arguably my favorite player who has passed through here.” Oystrick is about to embark on the biggest summer in his life. Right now he is helping his Chicago Wolves battle Hamilton in the Western Conference finals of the AHL’s Calder Cup playoffs. But there won’t be a summer vacation once the playoffs are over because he could be on the verge of making the Thrashers. … Link

James Murphy, NHL.com

Montreal Canadiens fans longing to see playoff hockey live, may want to hop on the Hamilton Bulldogs website right away and order tickets. The Canadiens’ AHL affiliate is on a magical playoff run right now. While fans will get to enjoy a playoff hockey atmosphere they were deprived of in Montreal, they will also get a glimpse of the organization’s future, which if this spring is any indication, could be arriving in the fall. Forwards Maxim Lapierre and Andrei Kostitsyn, as well as goaltender Jaroslav Halak came up from Hamilton this past season and made an impact, but Bulldogs coach Don Lever is convinced that the future is even brighter. … Link

Lindsay Kramer, NHL.com

Forward Scott Barney needed a change. The Hershey Bears really didn’t. The two sides met at the end of this season to create a spark that neither could have imagined. Barney has escaped what could have been the end of his career in Grand Rapids to pump some fresh passion into the Bears. The Bears, in turn, are in hot pursuit of their second straight Calder Cup, a chase fueled by the hunger of players like Barney who weren’t part of last year’s ring race. “On every team, you need some new blood,” said Barney, 28. “I got traded here, I wanted to contribute any way possible, either playing on the fourth line or filling the water bottles.” Or, how about just leading your team in playoff scoring, which Barney is at 15 points in 12 games. … Link

Kirk Penton, Winnipeg Sun

John Paddock, the pride of Oak River, Man., has some significant Winnipeg Jets connections to the Anaheim Ducks. The only problem is Paddock is an assistant coach with the Ottawa Senators, so any friendly reunions will be put on hold when the teams go to battle in the Stanley Cup final, starting Monday. Paddock’s only other Stanley Cup appearance came as a player in 1980, when his Philadelphia Flyers fell to the New York Islanders in six games. He was Anaheim GM Brian Burke’s teammate with the 1977-78 Maine Mariners, which won the Calder Cup that season, and he was Hershey’s coach when Ducks assistant Dave Farrish played for the Bears in 1985-86. … Link

Ottawa Senators assistant coach John Paddock is the owner of five Calder Cup championships… He won two as a player with the Maine Mariners, as part of their back-to-back wins in 1978 and 1979… Paddock went on to capture three more Cups as a head coach with Maine in 1984, Hershey in 1988 and Hartford in 2000… He is the only coach in AHL history to lead three different teams to Calder Cup titles.

5 – Consecutive seasons in which the Western Conference representative in the Calder Cup Final has come from the West Division… That streak is in jeopardy with Chicago facing an 0-3 series deficit to Hamilton.

May 25, 2005
Joe Corvo tallies a goal and an assist as Chicago earns a spot in the Calder Cup Final with a 4-1 win over Manitoba, completing a four-game sweep.

May 25, 2002Rick DiPietro stops 15 of 16 shots as Bridgeport evens up the 2002 Calder Cup Final with a 2-1 win over Chicago in Game 2.

May 25, 2001Marty Murray records a goal and two assists to lead Saint John to a 4-3 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and a 3-2 lead in the Calder Cup Final.

May 25, 1998Neil Little makes 29 saves as Philadelphia earns the Western Conference championship and a spot in the Calder Cup Final with a 3-0 win at Albany in Game 6, the Phantoms’ seventh straight road win.

May 25, 1997 – Up 3-0 in the conference finals, Hamilton drops a 5-3 decision to Albany in Game 4 at Copps Coliseum… Patrik Elias (1g, 2a) and Sergei Brylin (1g, 1a) pace the River Rats’ offense.

May 25, 1996Rochester advances to the Calder Cup Final with a 6-5 overtime win over Syracuse in Game 5 of their conference final.

May 25, 1994Olaf Kolzig turns aside 49 of 50 shots as Portland takes a 3-1 series lead in the Calder Cup Final with a 2-1 win over Moncton in double overtime.

May 25, 1992Martin Lapointe nets the game-winning goal in Adirondack’s 3-1 victory at St. John’s, giving the Red Wings a 3-2 series lead in the Calder Cup Final.

B2 Networks brings AHL action to your computer, web-enabled cell phone or PDA throughout the Calder Cup Playoffs with live video webcasts of every AHL game… Visit caldercup.com for details.