AHL Morning Skate: May 4

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.

Game 2 – HAMILTON 3, Abbotsford 1 (Series tied, 1-1)
Game 2 – CHICAGO 4, Texas 3 (2OT) (Series tied, 1-1)

1. Chicago forward Anthony Stewart scored twice, including the game-winner in double-overtime, as Chicago evened the West Division Finals with a 4-3 victory over Texas.

2. Ryan White netted a first-period unassisted goal to help Hamilton past Abbotsford, 3-1, which tied the North Division Finals at a game apiece.

3. Brett Sterling assisted on three of the Wolves’ four goals in their Game 2 victory.

Game 3 – Chicago at Texas, 8:30 (Series tied, 1-1)
Game 3 – Hamilton at Abbotsford, 10:00 (Series tied, 1-1)


Complete Results II Scoring Leaders II Goaltending Leaders

Atlantic Division Finals – Series “I” (best-of-7)
A1-Worcester Sharks vs. A3-Manchester Monarchs

Game 1 – Sun., Apr. 25 – WORCESTER 4, Manchester 3
Game 2 – Wed., Apr. 28 – Manchester 3, WORCESTER 2 (OT)
Game 3 – Fri., Apr. 30 – MANCHESTER 5, Worcester 0
Game 4 – Sat., May 1 – Worcester 3, MANCHESTER 2
Game 5 – Wed., May 5 – Manchester at Worcester, 7:05
Game 6 – Fri., May 7 – Worcester at Manchester, 7:30
*Game 7 – Sat., May 8 – Manchester at Worcester, 7:05

East Division Finals – Series “J” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. E2-Albany River Rats
Game 1 – Sat., Apr. 24 – HERSHEY 4, Albany 3 (OT)
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 25 – HERSHEY 6, Albany 3
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 27 – Hershey 6, ALBANY 5 (OT)
Game 4 – Thu., Apr. 29 – Hershey 5, ALBANY 4 (OT)

North Division Finals – Series “K” (best-of-7)
N1-Hamilton Bulldogs vs. vs. N3-Abbotsford Heat

Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 29 – Abbotsford 3, HAMILTON 2
Game 2 – Sun., May 2 – HAMILTON 3, Abbotsford 1
Game 3 – Tue., May 4 – Hamilton at Abbotsford, 10:00
Game 4 – Thu., May 6 – Hamilton at Abbotsford, 10:00
Game 5 – Sat., May 8 – Hamilton at Abbotsford, 10:00
*Game 6 – Mon., May 10 – Abbotsford at Hamilton, 7:30
*Game 7 – Tue., May 11 – Abbotsford at Hamilton, 7:30

West Division Finals – Series “L” (best-of-7)
W1-Chicago Wolves vs. W2-Texas Stars
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 30 – Texas 4, CHICAGO 3 (OT)
Game 2 – Sun., May 2 – CHICAGO 4, Texas 3 (2OT)
Game 3 – Tue., May 4 – Chicago at Texas, 8:30
Game 4 – Wed., May 5 – Chicago at Texas, 8:30
Game 5 – Fri., May 7 – Chicago at Texas, 8:30
*Game 6 – Sun., May 9 – Texas at Chicago, 4:00
*Game 7 – Tue., May 11 – Texas at Chicago, 8:00

*if necessary… All times Eastern

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 3 – Chicago at Texas, 8:30 (Series tied, 1-1)
The West Division Finals shift to suburban Austin tonight as Texas hosts Chicago for Game 3 at the Cedar Park Center… Each of the first two games of this series has required overtime to decide, with both teams winning once… Texas collected a 4-3 victory in Game 1 last Thursday, but the Wolves captured a double-overtime decision by the same score on Sunday to even it up… Wolves forward Anthony Stewart scored twice in that contest, including the game-winning tally at 12:21 of the second overtime… Stewart is now riding a three-game goal-scoring streak (4-0-4) and shows a team-leading six markers (6-0-6) in nine postseason outings overall… Spencer Machacek and Jason Krog also netted goals for Chicago in Game 2, Brett Sterling chipped with three assists, and ex-Stars defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy earned a pair of helpers… Krog has scored in three of his last four games (3-1-4) after totaling just one goal in his first five playoff contests… Sterling now boasts five assists in four postseason outings, including four helpers through the first two games of this series… Peter Mannino took the victory in Game 2 with 35 saves on 38 shots… Texas had started the playoffs with a perfect 5-0 record prior to the loss on Sunday… Defenseman Andrew Hutchinson, who registered a goal and an assist in Game 2, has point in four straight (3-3-6) since going scoreless in his first two playoff tilts… Aaron Gagnon and Warren Peters also scored for the Stars on Sunday, and Landon Wilson picked up an assist to run his scoring streak to four games (1-3-4)… Tonight’s contest will mark the Stars’ first home game since Apr. 17, when they earned a 3-1 win over Rockford in Game 2 of the division semifinals en route to a sweep of the IceHogs… Chicago went 3-1-0-0 at the Cedar Park Center during the regular season, capturing three straight wins after dropping a 4-1 decision back on Oct. 31 in the teams’ season-series opener… The last Calder Cup Playoff series to open with back-to-back overtime games was the 2008 North Division semifinal between Syracuse and Manitoba, which saw five of six games total go to OT.

Game 3 – Hamilton at Abbotsford, 10:00 (Series tied, 1-1)
After making the cross-country trip west, Abbotsford hosts Hamilton tonight for a pivotal Game 3 of the North Division Finals… The Heat managed to get a split of the first two games on the road and will now play three straight at the Entertainment & Sports Centre… Hamilton, which dropped a 3-1 decision in Game 1 last Thursday, avoided a daunting 2-0 series hole on Sunday by collecting a 3-1 victory… Ryan White, Mike Glumac and David Desharnais netted goals for the Bulldogs, while Grant Stevenson and Mike Vernace each posted two assists… Cedrick Desjardins made 22 saves for the win… Desharnais now boasts a seven-game scoring streak (4-5-9), and his nine points have tied the recalled P.K. Subban (3-6-9) for the team postseason lead… White (2-1-3) and Glumac (1-2-3) both have a point in three straight games, while Vernace’s two points marked his first appearance on the scoresheet since posting an assist in Game 2 of the division semifinals vs. Manitoba on Apr. 17… Desjardins and the Bulldogs have alternated wins and losses in the last six games since staking themselves to a 2-0 series lead over the Moose… The Heat lost two of three games on home ice in the first round vs. Rochester, falling by scores of 8-4 and 6-1 before launching their comeback from a 3-1 series deficit with a 3-1 victory in Game 5 of the series… Jason Jaffray notched Abbotsford’s lone goal in Sunday’s loss at Hamilton, his second tally in five postseason outings… Brett Sutter’s six-game scoring streak (3-6-9) ended on Sunday, but his nine points still rank first on the Heat, one more than the eight points put up by rookie Mikael Backlund (1-7-8)… Abbotsford has the lowest-ranked power play conversion rate (6-for-47; 12.8 percent) of the AHL’s seven remaining playoff teams; the Heat are 1-for-10 on the power play through the first two games of this series… Abbotsford is the only remaining team which has not played an overtime game this postseason.


John Spoltore wasn’t just an exquisite playmaker and overlooked pro, although that’s how some folks around here remember him. Those who knew him well also remember a fun-loving friend. Spoltore, 38, died Friday in Toronto following a brief battle with brain cancer. Spoltore registered 12 points in 11 games with the Providence Bruins en route to their Calder Cup championship run in 1999.

Wolves right wing Anthony Stewart, who has five goals in his last five games, couldn’t have gotten hot at a better time. The Wolves go into Austin, Texas, tonight for Game 3 of their best-of-seven West Division final against the Texas Stars. Stewart has been contributing since he was benched for Game 4 of the first-round series against the Milwaukee Admirals.

BENN’S ROOKIE ROLE: HE’S A STAR – AND A STAR – Austin American-Statesman
Edmonton International, Nashville International, Detroit Metro and O’Hare. At every gate the Dallas Stars taxied into this season, the same swoopy-haired kid was out there slogging their bags off the plane. One by one, he’d slide off suitcases tagged with names like Modano and Turco. He’d shuttle off sacks stuffed with sticks and pucks, sometimes refusing to leave his post until every piece of luggage had been culled. It wasn’t a rookie being hazed into luggage duty. Jamie Benn didn’t have to do it. But never once did he stick his hand out for a tip.

The Abbotsford Heat are sort of like the Black Knight in the iconic Monty Python scene. No matter how many players they miss from their lineup, they just seem to come back for more. The AHL farm club of the Calgary Flames has lost north of 450 man-games to injury this season but it hasn’t stopped them from heading getting into the second round of the playoffs, which continue tonight at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre against the Hamilton Bulldogs.

The Abbotsford Heat did what not a lot of people expected them to do this past weekend, and that was earn a split in the first two games of the North Division final against the heavily favored Hamilton Bulldogs. But don’t tell them that as they returned home Sunday for what will be Games 3, 4 and 5, beginning tonight against the Montreal Canadiens farm club.

CEDRICK LOOKS SOLID – Hamilton Spectator
He knew he had to be better, and better he was. When the Hamilton Bulldogs lost 3-2 to the Abbotsford Heat in the opener of the American Hockey League’s North Division final, head coach Guy Boucher said the players, especially most of the team’s better players, had to be better in Game 2. And, while Boucher didn’t specifically mention goaltender Cedrick Desjardins, there was no doubt he meant him, too.

When the governors of the American Hockey League assemble today near Chicago’s O’Hare airport, they’ll all have an answer for president and CEO Dave Andrews. It’s a commitment to ice a team for the 2010-11 AHL season. It’s a commitment Moose governor Mark Chipman will make. He and 29 other franchises are expected to sign up for October, bringing the developmental AHL, at long last, to a perfect 30-for-30 alignment with the NHL.

In the eyes of many, John MacLean remains the leading candidate to become the Devils’ next head coach. However, MacLean wouldn’t reveal whether he has spoken to general manager Lou Lamoriello about the open position or whether he feels he is ready to become an NHL head coach after one season in the AHL. "I think it was a great experience and I think it was very helpful," MacLean said, when I asked if he felt he was ready to move up after one season behind the bench at Lowell.

In Monday’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, 2005 Calder Cup champion Patrick Sharp tied the game and Kris Versteeg notched the game-winner as Chicago rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the third period to claim a 4-2 win over Vancouver and even their Western Conference semifinal at a game apiece… 2009 Eddie Shore Award winner Johnny Boychuk tallied a goal, and Miroslav Satan also scored before assisting on the game-winning marker to help Boston edge Philadelphia, 3-2, and take a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference series.

24 – Goals scored through nine playoff games by Hershey’s quartet of Alexandre Giroux (10), Andrew Gordon (9), Chris Bourque (4) and Keith Aucoin (1), the top four point-getters in the AHL this postseason.

23 – Goals scored through nine playoff games by the Abbotsford Heat.

6 – Overtime games, of 12 played this postseason, that have been decided within the first five minutes.

May 4, 2008Kris Versteeg records a goal and an assist to lead Rockford to a 3-1 win over Chicago in Game 3 of their West Division final.

May 4, 1989 – Randy McKay scores 3:05 into the second overtime period to give Adirondack a 7-6 win over New Haven in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals.

May 4, 1973 – The Cincinnati Swords defeat Nova Scotia, 7-3, in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals, snapping the Voyageurs’ 12-game postseason winning streak.

May 4, 1968 – The Rochester Americans win the Calder Cup for the third time in four years, finishing off the Quebec Aces with a 4-2 win in Game 6.

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