AHL Morning Skate: May 26, 2024

Photo: Mark Newman

A1-Hershey Bears vs. A5-Hartford Wolf Pack
(Hershey wins series, 3-0)

Game 1 – Thu., May 16 – HERSHEY 6, Hartford 1 | Recap
Game 2 – Sat., May 18 – HERSHEY 4, Hartford 2 | Recap
Game 3 – Wed., May 22 – Hershey 4, HARTFORD 1 | Recap

N1-Cleveland Monsters vs. N3-Syracuse Crunch
(Cleveland wins series, 3-0)

Game 1 – Thu., May 16 – CLEVELAND 1, Syracuse 0 | Recap
Game 2 – Sat., May 18 – CLEVELAND 4, Syracuse 1 | Recap
Game 3 – Wed., May 22 – Cleveland 6, SYRACUSE 4 | Recap

A1-Hershey Bears vs. N1-Cleveland Monsters
Game 1 – Thursday, 7:00 ET,

Game 1 – Thu., May 30 – Cleveland at Hershey, 7:00
Game 2 – Sat., June 1 – Cleveland at Hershey, 7:00
Game 3 – Tue., June 4 – Hershey at Cleveland, 7:00
Game 4 – Thu., June 6 – Hershey at Cleveland, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., June 8 – Hershey at Cleveland, 7:00
*Game 6 – Mon., June 10 – Cleveland at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 7 – Wed., June 12 – Cleveland at Hershey, 7:00
*if necessary... All times Eastern

C1-Milwaukee Admirals vs. C2-Grand Rapids Griffins
Game 5 – Tonight, 6:00 ET,
(Series tied, 2-2)

Game 1 – Wed., May 15 – Grand Rapids 4, MILWAUKEE 2 | Recap
Game 2 – Mon., May 20 – MILWAUKEE 5, Grand Rapids 2 | Recap
Game 3 – Wed., May 22 – Milwaukee 3, GRAND RAPIDS 2 (OT) | Recap
Game 4 – Fri., May 24 – GRAND RAPIDS 4, Milwaukee 2 | Recap
Game 5 – Sun., May 26 – Grand Rapids at Milwaukee, 6:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

The division final round of the 2024 Calder Cup Playoffs concludes this evening as Milwaukee hosts Grand Rapids in a decisive Game 5 for the right to advance to the Western Conference Finals... The Admirals already have one winner-take-all victory this postseason, a 5-3 decision over Texas in the division semis two weeks ago... The Griffins staved off elimination on Friday night with a 4-2 win, scoring four times in a span of 3:30 midway through the third period... Down 2-0 with less than 12 minutes remaining, Marco Kasper (4-3-7) and Joel L’Esperance (2-2-4) scored on both halves of a four-minute power play to tie the game... Grand Rapids had been 2-for-14 on the power play in the series previously... Jonatan Berggren (5-5-10) then scored twice in 87 seconds to send the Griffins to the series-tying victory... Berggren has recorded the game-winning goal in four of Grand Rapids’ five postseason wins... Sebastian Cossa (5-3, 2.80, .893) finished with 31 saves in Game 4... Egor Afanasyev (5-3-8) and Joakim Kemell (1-7-8) each tallied a goal and an assist for the Admirals on Friday night... Afanasyev (5g, 1a) and Kemell (1g, 5a) have both totaled six points in the last three games... Yaroslav Askarov (2-3, 3.25, .882) stopped 26 of 30 shots for Milwaukee before Troy Grosenick (3-1, 2.50, .902) entered the game with 4:28 remaining... The Griffins are outscoring the Admirals 9-2 in the third period during the series... Milwaukee forward Cal O’Reilly (2-2-4) played in his 99th career Calder Cup Playoff game on Friday; he is set to become the 22nd player in AHL history to reach 100 postseason contests... The Admirals are 6-5 all-time in winner-take-all games during the Calder Cup Playoffs; the Griffins are 4-5... This evening’s winner moves on to face Coachella Valley in the conference finals, with Game 1 set for Wednesday in Palm Desert, Calif.

P1-Coachella Valley Firebirds vs. P3-Ontario Reign
(Coachella Valley wins series, 3-0)

Game 1 – Wed., May 15 – COACHELLA VALLEY 3, Ontario 2 | Recap
Game 2 – Fri., May 17 – COACHELLA VALLEY 5, Ontario 3 | Recap
Game 3 – Sun., May 19 – Coachella Valley 3, ONTARIO 2 | Recap

P1-Coachella Valley Firebirds vs. MIL-GR winner
Game 1 – Wednesday, 10:00 ET,

Game 1 – Wed., May 29 – MIL-GR winner at Coachella Valley, 10:00
Game 2 – Fri., May 31 – MIL-GR winner at Coachella Valley, 10:00
Game 3 – TBD – Coachella Valley at MIL-GR winner
Game 4 – TBD – Coachella Valley at MIL-GR winner
*Game 5 – TBD – Coachella Valley at MIL-GR winner
*Game 6 – Mon., June 10 – MIL-GR winner at Coachella Valley, 10:00
*Game 7 – Wed., June 12 – MIL-GR winner at Coachella Valley, 10:00
*if necessary... All times Eastern

Pressure situations are nothing new for the Milwaukee Admirals, who will be playing their fourth winner-take-all game in the last three postseasons today.

Head coach Karl Taylor knew his team was in for a fight, so it’s no surprise the Central Division Finals are coming down to a Game 5.

“It’s hard to win this time of year,” Taylor told reporters after Milwaukee’s 4-2 loss in Game 4 on Friday night. “It’s disappointing but the good news is we’ve got another game to play.”

The Admirals built a 2-0 lead in the second period of Game 4 but couldn’t extend it further, failing to score during three minutes and 11 seconds of 5-on-3 power play time. Grand Rapids pulled out the win by scoring four times in quick succession during the third period.

“They’re a good team. They pushed back,” Taylor said. “We played a really smart, mature game. And unfortunately we didn’t get it done.

“There are five teams left out of 32. We’re excited to play [tonight].”

Joel L’Esperance was in the middle of the Griffins’ Game 4 comeback, scoring the tying goal on a power play with 10:27 remaining.

“We found some emotion, and we got some big goals at a big time,” the Michigan native told reporters after the game.

“We have a relentless group here. We can be down two, three goals and we know we have a chance.”

During the second intermission on Friday, head coach Dan Watson reminded his team to stay focused.

“Now it’s our time to not get too high,” he said, looking ahead today’s deciding game. “Make sure that we stay level. What we talked about after the game is remembering the feeling, remembering the emotion, remembering the intensity. Remembering how hard it was.”

L’Esperance echoed his coach’s message. “You don’t want to ride that high too long, but you want to hold onto that feeling that we had.”

“You want to talk about a hard Game 4?” Watson said. “Just wait until Game 5 in their building.”

― with files from Patrick Williams

In Saturday’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, Mason Marchment, a Calder Cup champion with Toronto in 2018, scored the winning goal early in the third period as Dallas defeated Edmonton, 3-1, in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final... Jamie Benn, who helped Texas to the Calder Cup Finals in 2010, added a goal and an assist for the Stars... On Friday night, 2016 AHL All-Star Barclay Goodrow scored at 14:01 of overtime to give the New York Rangers a 2-1 win over Florida in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final... 2018-19 AHL scoring champion Carter Verhaeghe scored his team-best eighth goal of the playoffs for the Panthers.

Watch the Calder Cup Playoffs on AHLTV
Don’t miss a second on the road to the 2024 Calder Cup championship. AHLTV features live streaming of every AHL game in high definition on desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile devices, as well as OTT platforms such as Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV. A subscription is just $29.99 to watch every game for the entire postseason, or just $8.99 for a day pass. Visit AHLTV.com for details.