AHL Morning Skate: May 26, 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 4 – Chicago 1, HAMILTON 0 (HAM leads, 3-1)

1. Fred Brathwaite’s 37-save shutout extends Chicago’s season to a Game 5 tonight.

2. A strong game by Hamilton’s Jonathan Ferland isn’t enough to help the Bulldogs close out the series.

3. Niko Dimitrakos scores the only goal in the Wolves’ 1-0 win in Game 4.

Game 5 – Chicago at Hamilton, 7:00 (HAM leads, 3-1)
Game 4 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:35 (HER 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 1, HAMILTON 0
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):
BrathwaiteGame 5 – Chicago at Hamilton, 7:00 (HAM leads, 3-1)
Official Media Notes (PDF – 358 KB)
Chicago extended the Western Conference Final to a Game 5 with a 1-0 win at Copps Coliseum last night… Fred Brathwaite made 37 saves for his first win of this postseason… Brathwaite has stopped 96 of 101 shots in four playoff appearances (1-2, 1.49, .950)… Niko Dimitrakos scored his first goal in seven games on a Wolves power play in the second period, providing the only offense… Hamilton finished with a 37-14 edge in shots on goal… Carey Price and the Bulldogs have held the vaunted Chicago offense to four goals over the last three games… Darren Haydar has gone without a point in consecutive games for just the second time all season (Jan. 9 vs. Peoria, Jan. 12 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton)… Nine of Hamilton’s last 10 games, including all four in this series, have been decided by one goal; the 10th was a 3-1 win in Game 5 vs. Manitoba that included an empty-netter in the final second.

MCH-HERGame 4 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:35 (HER leads, 3-0)
Official Media Notes (PDF – 389 KB)
Hershey can tie an AHL record with its seventh consecutive playoff series win and advance to the 2007 Calder Cup Final with a victory over the Monarchs tonight… The Bears have outscored Manchester, 15-4, through the first three games of the series… Tomas Fleischmann (2g, 9a), Kyle Wilson (5g, 2a) and Scott Barney (4g, 4a) have combined for 26 points in Hershey’s last four contests… Bears defenseman Mike Green extended his points streak to five games (4g, 4a) in Wednesday’s Game 3 win… Rookie blueliner Peter Harrold scored the Monarchs’ only goal in Game 3, his third of the playoffs… Manchester is 2-for-26 on the power play in the series (7.7 percent), while Hershey is 7-for-20 (35.0 percent)… Including the regular season, the Bears are 11-1-3-2 vs. the Atlantic Division in 2006-07… The Monarchs are looking to avoid their first four-game losing streak since Mar. 7-12, 2003.


Dan Sernoffsky, Lebanon Daily News

Chris Bourque decided to drop in on his mom and dad Thursday night. And to bring some of his friends with him. His “friends” were his teammates on the Hershey Bears, which meant that when he walked in the door, he was bringing about 30 people with him. Bourque, the son of NHL Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque, grew up in Boston, just a short drive from Manchester, where the Bears are playing the Manchester Monarchs in the AHL’s Eastern Conference final. “Mr. and Mrs. Bourque really know how to put on a good spread,” said Hershey coach Bruce Boudreau. “I’m sure the young guys thought the same thing, going through his trophy room, the Norris Trophies, the miniature Stanley Cup, the Team Canada trophies. It’s pretty amazing.” … Link

Kevin Provencher, New Hampshire Union-Leader
Staring down elimination. Now what? “We’ve made these guys out to be the big bad wolf,” said Monarchs coach Mark Morris. Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals is tonight at 7:35 in Verizon Wireless Arena. It has been all Hershey Bears as they lead the series, 3-0, and lick their chops at the prospect of ending it on a four-game sweep with another victory over Manchester. For all its past playoff ills, Manchester is deeper than it has ever been in chasing the elusive Calder Cup. But for the sixth straight season the Monarchs will skate in a playoff game that can end their season on a frustrating note. … Link

Tim Leone, Harrisburg Patriot-News
Fueled by a 10-game winning streak at the start of the playoffs, the 2005-06 Hershey Bears advanced through three series to the Calder Cup final in a mere 15 games. Now the 2006-07 Bears are poised to do one better. If they defeat the Manchester Monarchs tonight in Game 4 at Verizon Wireless Arena, earning a sweep of the Eastern Conference final, they’ll reach the Calder Cup final in 14 games. “Last year, we were a little bit shy,” Bears winger Tomas Fleischmann said. “The conference finals was seven games. The first game in finals [against Milwaukee] we lost a game we should win. It’s a little bit different this year because we want to win every game. Everybody in the dressing room knows what it takes. Everybody is hungry to get a ring and win the Cup.” … Link

Carol Phillips, Chicago Sun-Times
It only takes one shot to win a hockey game, and that’s a good thing if you’re the Wolves. Staring down elimination, they took only 14 shots on net Friday night against the Hamilton Bulldogs in Game 4 of the AHL Western Conference finals at Copps Coliseum and survived to play another game. “We had one good one,” coach John Anderson said after the Wolves beat the Bulldogs 1-0 in front of 6,259 fans. The winner came midway through the second period, just 26 seconds into the Wolves’ first power play of the game, when Nathan Oystrick found Niko Dimitrakos, who one-timed it from in close. The Bulldogs still lead the series 3-1 as the Wolves try to become only the third AHL team to recover from an 0-3 deficit. … Link

Steve Milton, Hamilton Spectator

Old habits die hard. Especially the bad ones. The Hamilton Bulldogs are forced to play another playoff game tonight, primarily because they have not been able to shake their season-long albatross. Since the first puck dropped this season the Dogs’ power play has been ineffective, gusting up to downright flatulent. They could have wrapped up this series against a game – and now revived – Chicago Wolves club, had they only created a smidgen of success with the extra man last night. But they wore a collar that grew tighter and tighter as the game went on. … Link

Scott Radley, Hamilton Spectator
For a goalie, the only thing worse than not stopping pucks is not having a chance to stop them. That’s just part of being a professional athlete who has pride and a bit of ego. Being stapled to the bench as a backup makes it hard to feel like part of the team. A fourth-line grinder at least gets a shift or two each game and can have at least some impact on the outcome. The most spare goalies do is occasionally open the gate and model the newest line of team baseball caps. Then there’s Philippe Sauve. As the third-string goalie on a team that’s riding rookie Carey Price as far as he’ll take them and buried behind backup Yann Danis on the depth chart, Sauve doesn’t even get that. His games are spent sitting with the healthy scratches in the stands. In a suit and tie. … Link

Paul White, The Virginian-Pilot
Steve Stirling knows what he’s getting into. Norfolk hockey teams have advanced to the playoffs every year since the Hampton Roads Admirals debuted in 1989, and Stirling realizes Admirals fans expect that streak to continue. “They win here. It’s a tradition,” said Stirling, introduced as Admirals head coach Friday at Scope. “It’s important for me to convey that to the players. We want to build on that winning tradition.” Stirling, 57, was officially named Admirals coach in March by the Tampa Bay Lightning, which will begin a five-year affiliation agreement with Norfolk next season. The Lightning’s previous affiliate, Springfield, was one of the weakest teams in the AHL over the past three years. Stirling guided the Falcons during the last of those seasons. “I know the history here, and I want to win, too,” Stirling said. “And I know Tampa wants to win. So there’s some pressure, but it’s a good pressure.” … Link

Craig DeVrieze, Quad City Times
The Quad Cities were on the mark in numerous categories when the Calgary Flames went looking for a new home for their American Hockey League affiliate. One advantage was The Mark of the Quad Cities. Flames CEO and president Ken King said the 14-year-old arena that will house the new Quad City Flames over the length of a five-year agreement was a key attraction in the decision to move Calgary’s AHL operation out of Omaha, Neb. “The challenge in Omaha was we were playing in a 50-year-old venue not far from a brand new building,” he said. “People want to see all the technology and tools you have here. This building has more technology to offer than a lot of other AHL buildings do.” … Link

Anaheim Ducks goaltender J.S. Giguere reached the Calder Cup Final with the Saint John Flames as a 20-year-old rookie in 1997-98… Giguere helped backstop a team that also featured Martin St. Louis, Denis Gauthier, Jeff Cowan and current Manchester Monarchs forward Marty Murray… The Flames lost the championship series in six games to the Philadelphia Phantoms.

May 26, 2004
Vern Fiddler and Greg Classen each scores twice and Wade Flaherty makes 44 saves as Milwaukee wins the Western Conference championship with a 4-1 win over Rochester in Game 5.

May 26, 2000J.P. Dumont scores twice in Rochester’s 4-1 win at Hartford in Game 2 of the Calder Cup Final.

May 26, 1999Martin Biron stops 29 shots as Rochester shuts out Philadelphia, 3-0, in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final.

May 26, 1995Jose Theodore makes 26 saves in his professional debut, but Mike Dunham pitches a 29-save shutout and Albany wins the Calder Cup with a 3-0 win at Fredericton.

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.