AHL Morning Skate: May 5

Take a game-day spin around the AHL ice with latest news and notes from
the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs in today’s Morning Skate.

Complete Schedule || Playoff Brackets || Today’s Scoreboard || League Leaders

Game 1 – 7:00 ET, AHL Live

The Central Division Finals get underway tonight at Quicken Loans Arena with Lake Erie hosting Grand Rapids in Game 1… The Monsters were 21st in the 30-team AHL in offense during the regular season, but scored 15 goals in their three-game sweep of Rockford to advance to the second round for the first time in franchise history… Lake Erie was the first team since Hershey in 2010 (vs. Albany) to score at least five goals in three consecutive games in the same playoff series… Grand Rapids, meanwhile, swept first-place Milwaukee while allowing just three goals — and just one at even strength — in the entire three-game series… Josh Anderson (4-1-5) leads the Monsters in playoff scoring, with Oliver Bjorkstrand (2-2-4) and Alex Broadhurst (1-3-4) adding four points each… Joonas Korpisalo (3-0, 2.00, .924) allowed six goals on 79 shots in the first round for Lake Erie… Anthony Mantha (3-1-4) notched four points for the Griffins in the first round vs. Milwaukee, matching his total (2-2-4) from 16 games last postseason… Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi (3-0-3) accounted for six of Grand Rapids’ nine goals in the series… Tom McCollum (3-0, 1.00, .968) stopped 91 of 94 shots to earn all three wins for the Griffins… Grand Rapids won seven of 12 meetings with Lake Erie during the regular season… The Monsters, who were 5-for-40 on the power play against the Griffins in 2015-16, were 5-for-11 on the power play in the first round vs. Rockford… Tonight marks the latest calendar date for an AHL contest in Cleveland since the Barons hosted Rochester in Game 6 of the Calder Cup Finals on May 13, 1966 (see below).

Central Division Finals – Series “K” (best-of-7) 
C2-Lake Erie Monsters vs. C4-Grand Rapids Griffins 

Game 1 – Thu., May 5 – Grand Rapids at Lake Erie, 7:00
Game 2 – Sat., May 7 – Grand Rapids at Lake Erie, 12:00
Game 3 – Sun., May 8 – Lake Erie at Grand Rapids, 4:00
Game 4 – Tue., May 10 – Lake Erie at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 14 – Grand Rapids at Lake Erie, 7:00
*Game 6 – Mon., May 16 – Lake Erie at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 7 – Tue., May 17 – Grand Rapids at Lake Erie, 7:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Game 1 – 10:00 ET, AHL Live

The budding rivalry between Ontario and San Diego ramps up as the teams meet in the Pacific Division Finals beginning tonight at Citizens Business Bank Arena… The SoCal neighbors — and top development teams of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks — met 12 times during the regular season, with the Gulls (8-4-0-0) being the only team to post a winning record against the Reign in 2015-16… Ontario and San Diego took similar paths to the second round; both won Game 1 and lost Game 2 on the road before returning home and closing out their respective series in four… The Reign got past a pesky San Jose club in the division semis, escaping with three narrow wins despite outshooting the Barracuda by a 151-80 total… Nic Dowd (2-2-4) led Ontario in scoring, and Jonny Brodzinski (2-1-3), Adrian Kempe (2-0-2) and Kurtis MacDermid (2-0-2) added two goals apiece in the series… Peter Budaj (3-1, 1.51, .925) has now started 64 of Ontario’s 72 games this season… Chris Mueller (2-3-5) and Mike Sgarbossa (1-4-5) led San Diego’s offense in the first round vs. Texas, and 10 different Gulls skaters scored a goal in the series… In 2014, Anaheim’s AHL affiliate (then Norfolk) upset Los Angeles’s AHL affiliate (then Manchester), three games to one, in a first-round meeting between the 8-seed and the 1-seed in the Eastern Conference.

Pacific Division Finals – Series “L” (best-of-7)
P1-Ontario Reign vs. P2-San Diego Gulls
Game 1 – Thu., May 5 – San Diego at Ontario, 10:00
Game 2 – Sat., May 7 – Ontario at San Diego, 10:05
Game 3 – Sun., May 8 – San Diego at Ontario, 10:00
Game 4 – Fri., May 13 – Ontario at San Diego, 10:05
*Game 5 – Sat., May 14 – San Diego at Ontario, 10:00
*Game 6 – Mon., May 16 – Ontario at San Diego, 10:05
*Game 7 – Wed., May 18 – San Diego at Ontario, 10:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

About Last Night
#HERvsWBS: Daniel Sprong scored twice and Casey DeSmith made 33 saves for his first professional shutout as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defeated Hershey, 4-0, in Game 1 of the Atlantic Division Finals

#TORvsALB: Scott Wedgewood stopped 32 shots for Albany in a 2-1 win at Toronto in Game 1 of the North Division Finals

Working Overtime
There have been 5 overtime games played in the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs so far:

Apr. 28 – Portland 2, HERSHEY 1 (Rob Flick, 43:10)
Apr. 26 – UTICA 2, Albany 1 (Alexandre Grenier, 9:13)
Apr. 23 – W-B/Scranton 5, PROVIDENCE 4 (Jake Guentzel, 33:52)
Apr. 21 – W-B/SCRANTON 4, Providence 3 (Daniel Sprong, 5:13)
Apr. 20 – W-B/SCRANTON 3, Providence 2 (Carter Rowney, 1:09)

Cleveland in Springtime
Despite its 50-season history in the AHL (1936-72, 2001-06, 2007- ), tonight is just the fifth time the city of Cleveland has ever hosted an AHL games during the month of May:

May 5, 2016 – Grand Rapids Griffins at Lake Erie Monsters
May 2, 2004 – Hamilton Bulldogs at Cleveland Barons (L, 1-3)
May 13, 1966 – Rochester Americans at Cleveland Barons (L, 2-3)
May 7, 1966 – Rochester Americans at Cleveland Barons (W, 5-1)
May 4, 1966 – Rochester Americans at Cleveland Barons (W, 2-1)

Alumni Watch
In Stanley Cup Playoff action last night, Matt Murray continued his standout play with 34 saves to backstop Pittsburgh to a 3-2 overtime win over Washington in Game 4 of their series… Murray, who has won 15 of his 18 decisions in his brief NHL career, was a Second Team AHL All-Star with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2015-16 after being named the AHL’s outstanding rookie and outstanding goaltender in 2014-15.

AHL Live
Don’t miss a second on the road to the 2016 Calder Cup championship. AHL Live brings AHL action to your desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet all season long with live video webcasts and free highlights of every AHL game… Visit ahllive.com for details.