AHL Morning Skate: May 3, 2008

AHL Quick Hits is now the Morning Skate… 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.


PORTLAND 4, Providence 3 (OT) (PRO leads, 2-1)

Syracuse 5, TORONTO 1 (SYR leads, 1-0)


1. Brendan Mikkelson’s goal at 5:20 of overtime lifted Portland to a 4-3 win over Providence, cutting their deficit in the Atlantic Division finals to 2-1.

2. 2008 AHL All-Rookie forward Bobby Ryan scored twice and added an assist in the winning effort for Portland.

3. Clay Wilson tallied the eventual game-winning goal and chipped in a pair of assists as Syracuse opened the North Division finals with a 5-1 victory at Toronto.


Game 2 – Philadelphia at W-B/Scranton, 7:05 (PHI leads, 1-0)

Game 2 – Rockford at Chicago, 8:00 (CHI leads, 1-0)


Atlantic Division Finals – Series “I” (best-of-7)
A1-Providence Bruins vs. A3-Portland Pirates || Preview

Game 1 – Sat., Apr. 26 – PROVIDENCE 4, Portland 0
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 27 – PROVIDENCE 7, Portland 1
Game 3 – Fri., May 2 – PORTLAND 4, Providence 3 (OT)

Game 4 – Sun., May 4 – Providence at Portland, 4:05
Game 5 – Tue., May 6 – Providence at Portland, 7:05
*Game 6 – Fri., May 9 – Portland at Providence, 7:05
*Game 7 – Sat., May 10 – Portland at Providence, 7:05


East Division Finals – Series “J” (best-of-7)
E1-W-B/Scranton Penguins vs. E2-Philadelphia Phantoms || Preview
Game 1 – Thu., May 1 – Philadelphia 5, W-B/SCRANTON 2
Game 2 – Sat., May 3 – Philadelphia at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Game 3 – Mon., May 5 – W-B/Scranton at Philadelphia, 7:05 (WC)
Game 4 – Wed., May 7 – W-B/Scranton at Philadelphia, 7:05 (WC)
*Game 5 – Fri., May 9 – Philadelphia at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 6 – Sat., May 10 – W-B/Scranton at Philadelphia, 7:05 (WC)
*Game 7 – Tue., May 13 – Philadelphia at W-B/Scranton, 7:05


North Division Finals – Series “K” (best-of-7)
N1-Toronto Marlies vs. N2-Syracuse Crunch || Preview
Game 1 – Fri., May 2 – Syracuse 5, TORONTO 1

Game 2 – Sun., May 4 – Syracuse at Toronto, 4:00
Game 3 – Tue., May 6 – Toronto at Syracuse, 7:00
Game 4 – Wed., May 7 – Toronto at Syracuse, 7:00
*Game 5 – Fri., May 9 – Syracuse at Toronto, 7:30
*Game 6 – Sat., May 10 – Toronto at Syracuse, 7:30
*Game 7 – Mon., May 12 – Syracuse at Toronto, 7:30

West Division Finals – Series “L” (best-of-7)
W1-Chicago Wolves vs. W2-Rockford IceHogs || Preview

Game 1 – Thu., May 1 – CHICAGO 4, Rockford 1
Game 2 – Sat., May 3 – Rockford at Chicago, 8:00
Game 3 – Sun., May 4 – Chicago at Rockford, 5:05
Game 4 – Wed., May 7 – Chicago at Rockford, 8:05
*Game 5 – Fri., May 9 – Rockford at Chicago, 8:30
*Game 6 – Sun., May 11 – Chicago at Rockford, 5:05
*Game 7 – Tue., May 13 – Rockford at Chicago, 8:00


*if necessary… All times Eastern… (WC) – Wachovia Center

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 2 –
Philadelphia at W-B/Scranton, 7:05 (PHI leads, 1-0)

Division-champion Wilkes-Barre/Scranton looks to even its series when it hosts Philadelphia tonight in Game 2 of the East Division finals… The Phantoms jumped out to a 3-0 lead in Game 1 on Thursday and cruised to a 5-2 triumph… Stefan Ruzicka netted a pair of goals and added an assist for Philadelphia, giving him a team-high seven points (3-4-7) in the playoffs… Jonathan Matsumoto, Jared Ross and Andreas Nodl added goals in the victory… Scott Munroe picked up the win with 31 saves, and he now ranks second among all AHL goaltenders in the playoffs in both GAA (1.36) and save percentage (.950)… Munroe’s numbers are tops among goaltenders still alive in postseason play… Wilkes-Barre is in the division finals for the fifth year in a row, but has now lost four straight Game 1’s in the second round… The Penguins had been 3-0 at home in the playoffs prior to Thursday’s defeat… Tim Brent, who netted a goal in Game 1, leads all AHL playoff scorers with six goals and 12 points in six games, including at least one point in each contest… Alex Goligoski has a five-game scoring streak (2-7-9) since being held scoreless in the Penguins’ postseason opener, and his nine points are good for first among league rookies and defensemen… Kurtis McLean had two assists in Game 1, giving him seven points (0-7-7) in six playoff games.

Game 2 – Rockford at Chicago, 8:00 (CHI leads, 1-0)

The West Division finals resume tonight as Rockford looks for a split on the road against Chicago in Game 2 at Allstate Arena… After killing off all 20 shorthanded situations in the first round vs. Houston, the IceHogs gave up three power-play goals in the Wolves’ 4-1 win on Thursday… Chicago is now 25-for-78 (32.1 percent) on the power play in 11 games vs. Rockford this season… Joel Kwiatkowski, Darren Haydar and Brett Sterling scored with the man advantage in Game 1, and league MVP Jason Krog picked up an assist on all three goals… Krog leads the Wolves with nine points – all assists – through the club’s first seven playoff games… Kwiatkowski added a late empty-net goal to finish a two-goal night, his first two postseason goals since 2002 with Grand Rapids… Haydar’s goal was the 47th of his Calder Cup Playoff career, moving him into sole possession of fourth place all-time… Ondrej Pavelec made 29 saves on 30 shots for Chicago, lowering his playoff GAA to 1.64… Rookie Jack Skille, the seventh overall pick in the 2005 draft, tallied the IceHogs’ lone goal with 4:05 left in regulation… Rockford was 0-for-6 with the man advantage in Game 1, dropping to 0-for-25 through its first six postseason games… Since joining the AHL in 2001-02, Chicago is 8-0 in series after winning Game 1.




Lindsay Kramer, Syracuse Post-Standard

No drama, no problem. The Syracuse Crunch needed a postseason laugher, and it earned a hearty one on Friday night. The Crunch landed an opening haymaker on Toronto, getting goals from five different players to stagger the Marlies 5-1 in the opening game of their North Division final Friday night. Syracuse picked up tallies from Derek MacKenzie, Clay Wilson, Nate DiCasmirro, Mark Rycroft and Derick Brassard to exhale for the first time this postseason. It won its opening-round series against Manitoba by taking four overtime contests, and never had a two-goal lead in that entire series. “It’s great. Everybody came out to play a full 60 minutes,” said Wilson, who also added two assists. “Of the 20 guys, everybody pitched in a little. It’s nice to not go to overtime. You want to get it done in regulation.”




Terry Koshan, Toronto Sun

On the 41st anniversary of the Maple Leafs’ most recent Stanley Cup win, the Marlies resembled the present-day Leafs more than they did the champions of 1967. The Marlies didn’t have much heart and made a bunch of errors last night, falling rather meekly by a score of 5-1 to the Syracuse Crunch in Game 1 of the American Hockey League North Division final. “Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise when they kick in your teeth and you have to wake up,” Marlies coach Greg Gilbert said. “We always talk about how we have to have everybody on board. We had too many holes in our lineup. We have to get better in a lot of areas.”




Paul Betit, Portland Press-Herald

The Providence Bruins finally have a postseason loss. Rookie defenseman Brendan Mikkelson scored off a rush at 5:20 of overtime Friday night to lift the Portland Pirates to a 4-3 victory against the Bruins in an AHL playoff game before 3,051 fans at the Cumberland County Civic Center. “I was just trying to add another dimension to the attack,” Mikkelson said. “(The puck) just went under a defenseman’s stick and I got lucky.” The Pirates pulled within 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. “It was a great character win,” Portland coach Kevin Dineen said. “We always felt the series doesn’t start until we get home in front of our fans. I was pleased with our effort tonight.”




Tom Venesky, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader

Sometimes it’s good to get a night off from work. But when that night is Game 1 of the East Division Finals, not being able to skate with your teammates can be torture. That’s why Nathan Smith is looking forward to tonight when the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins host the Philadelphia Phantoms in Game 2 of their American Hockey League playoff series at 7:05 p.m. Not only is the Penguins captain itching to get back on the ice after serving a one-game suspension on Thursday, the fact that his team lost only heightens his motivation. “I’m very excited to be back with the team. I just want to get out there and help the team win,” Smith said after Friday’s practice at the Ice Box. Coach Todd Richards said there’s plenty of ways Smith can help the team to victory. “When he’s out of the lineup, there’s a huge void,” Richards said.




Jonathan Bombulie, The Citizen’s Voice

Do the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have what it takes to win a Calder Cup championship? The way goalie John Curry sees it, the answer to that question could become clear by tonight. The Penguins host the Philadelphia Phantoms in Game 2 of the East Division finals at the Wachovia Arena after suffering a sound 5-2 loss in Game 1 on Thursday. The Penguins were already up three games to none by the time they lost in the first round against Hershey, so they are now facing their first true adversity of the postseason. How they handle it will be a true test of their mettle, Curry said. “After you have one bad game, I think the way the whole team comes back will say a lot about our character and whether we have a chance of winning this thing,” Curry said after practice Friday at The Ice Box. “It’s a huge game.”




Reed Schreck, Rockford Register-Star

Warning: The following numbers could cause you extreme anguish if you’re a Rockford IceHogs fan. When the Chicago Wolves win a playoff opener, which they did in beating the Rockford IceHogs 4-1 on Thursday, they’ve won 16 out of 17 series. Just having home-ice at Allstate Arena, the Wolves have gone 18-2 in playoff series. IceHogs coach Mike Haviland, for one, doesn’t care. “I don’t look at those stats at all,” he said. “It doesn’t faze me. We’re worried about Game 2. That’s all we can worry about. We know we can be better and we will be better. We’ve got to move forward.” The IceHogs don’t feel they have to come up with a Plan B after dropping the opener. They just need to do better with their original Plan A in the AHL West Division best-of-seven finals.




Don Scott, Lebanon Daily News

Less than 24 hours after scoring his first Stanley Cup goal for the Washington Capitals, Eric Fehr was in a Hershey Bears uniform hoping he could help them rally from a 0-3 deficit in the opening round of the Calder Cup postseason tournament against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. His two assists did help the Bears to a win in Game 4, but despite his third-period goal that tied the score in Game 5, the Bears lost, and his season officially ended. On the brighter side, “Fehrsy” was just happy to have returned to the ice after a lingering injury that cut his season short. “They think it was a herniated disc that got really bad and stiffened my spine so it wasn’t able to move on its own,” he said about the mysterious problem that started a year ago.


Milan Michalek and two-time Calder Cup finalist Brian Campbell scored in the third period and Joe Pavelski got the winner in overtime as San Jose rallied for a 3-2 win over Dallas in Game 5 of their conference semifinal series last night.

2005 AHL All-Star Zach Parise and 2006 AHL rookie of the year Patrick O’Sullivan netted a goal apiece and Tim Thomas made 24 saves as the United States took a 4-0 win over Latvia to open the IIHF World Championships last night in Halifax… In other IIHF action Friday, 1999 AHL All-Star Martin St. Louis netted a goal as part of Canada’s 5-1 victory over Slovakia.

– Losses all season by Providence when scoring the game’s first goal – fewest in the AHL – prior to last night’s Game 3 defeat to Portland… Including the regular season, the Bruins have now won 41 of 47 games when they strike first.


May 3, 2003Ray Emery makes 26 saves as Binghamton shuts out Bridgeport, 3-0, to take a 3-2 lead in their conference semifinal series.

May 3, 2002 – Jamie McLennan stops 32 shots as Houston posts a series-clinching 7-1 win over Hershey in the final game ever at Hersheypark Arena.

May 3, 1997 – In a game that features 11 goals, five goaltenders and a league-record 350 penalty minutes, Philadelphia defeats Hershey, 7-4, in Game 2 of the Mid-Atlantic Division final.

B2 Networks
brings AHL action to your computer all season long with live video webcasts of every AHL game… Visit theahl.com for details.