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.
WEDNESDAY’S THREE STARS:
1. Baz Bastien Award winner Jonathan Bernier turned aside 30 shots for his second shutout of the series, leading Manchester to a 1-0 win at Worcester and a 3-2 lead in the Atlantic Division Finals.
2. Texas defenseman Dan Jancevski tallied the game-winning goal – his first marker of the playoffs – and added an assist to help the Stars edge Chicago, 3-2.
3. Travis Morin scored his first two career AHL playoff goals to help the Stars even up the West Division Finals at two games apiece.
TONIGHT’S SCHEDULE (all times ET):
Game 4 – Hamilton at Abbotsford, 10:00 ET (HAM leads series, 2-1)
2010 CALDER CUP PLAYOFFS:
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 1, WORCESTER 0
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 3, ABBOTSFORD 2
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 5, TEXAS 3
Game 4 – Wed., May 5 – TEXAS 3, Chicago 2
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 4 – Hamilton at Abbotsford, 10:00 (HAM leads series, 2-1)
On the heels of two consecutive victories, Hamilton looks to take a commanding 3-1 series lead in the North Division Finals tonight as it visits Abbotsford for Game 4… This marks the second consecutive round – following the division semifinals vs. Rochester – in which Abbotsford won the series opener on the road, dropped Game 2, and then lost Game 3 on home ice… The Heat are out tonight to avoid a repeat of the first round, where they also fell in Game 4 at home before reeling off three straight wins to take the series… Overall, Abbotsford is 1-3 at the Entertainment & Sports Centre this postseason… Hamilton battled back from first-period deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 to take a 3-2 win in Game 3 on Tuesday… Rookies Gabriel Dumont and Olivier Fortier each scored his first professional goal for the Bulldogs, tallying the game-tying and game-winning markers, respectively… Hamilton defenseman Andre Benoit recorded his first point of the series by netting the Bulldogs’ other goal… David Desharnais picked up an assist for Hamilton and is now on an eight-game scoring streak (4-6-10) since going scoreless in the club’s playoff opener vs. Manitoba… Desharnais’ 10 points are tops on the Bulldogs, and his four goals are tied with Brock Trotter (4-5-9) for second on the team behind Mike Glumac’s five (5-2-7)… ’Dogs defenseman Mike Vernace shows three assists in his last two games after totaling one helper in his first seven postseason outings… Abbotsford rookie Jon Rheault potted his team-leading sixth playoff goal (6-2-8) – but first of this round – in the Game 3 loss, while Heat postseason points leader Brett Sutter (4-6-10) also found the back of the net… Cam Cunning finished second on Abbotsford with 19 goals (19-19-38) during the regular season but is 0-1-1 through 10 playoff contests… Hamilton’s penalty-killing unit, which allowed goals on both of its shorthanded situations in Game 3, has killed off just nine of 17 opponent power plays (52.9 percent) on the road this postseason… Including the regular season, the Bulldogs have allowed 17 goals in nine contests vs. Abbotsford.
MONARCHS NIP SHARKS, LEAD SERIES 3-2 – New Hampshire Union News
It’s uncanny, but true. As goes Bud Holloway, so goes the Monarchs. “It’s crazy the way it’s been going,” said Holloway. Even crazier is the way that Holloway has produced big goals in these Calder Cup playoffs. How big? His tally at 13:11 of the first period was his sixth goal of the post-season. And every one of them has been a game-winner for the Monarchs.
SHARKS EDGED BY MANCHESTER, 1-0 – Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Desperation is one of those emotions you just can’t fake or invent. Either you have it, or you don’t, and the Sharks didn’t have it last night, or at least not until the final six minutes of the game. And if they don’t have it now, they’re in big trouble, because after losing to Manchester at the DCU Center, 1-0, they are one loss away from their season being over.
WORCESTER’S GROULX PLAYS BETTER WITH MORE WORK – NHL.com
The pain and exhaustion of the postseason play right to the comfort zone of Worcester veteran defenseman Danny Groulx. Groulx is in his seventh AHL season. His team has qualified for the playoffs every year, and in 2006-07 he helped Hamilton to the Calder Cup. “For some reason, it seems like I guess I play a lot in the playoffs. I don’t think you can take it for granted,” he said. “Every night is just so intense. You have to do a little extra. Sometimes it hurts a little more. But it’s all worth it when you’re able to win that Cup.”
STARS BEAT CHICAGO TO TIE SERIES – Austin American-Statesman
Like an unwelcome shadow, Brett Sterling haunted every move Travis Morin made in the fourth game of the AHL West Division finals. Silent through three games of the series against the Chicago Wolves, Morin gave Texas the lead in the opening period and broke a tie in the third period only to find Sterling countering with an equalizer both times. So Dan Jancevski stepped in to break the back-and-forth cycle, scoring the go-ahead goal late in the final period to give the Stars a 3-2 win.
STARS HAVE CARVED THEIR OWN NICHE – Austin American-Statesman
OK, so maybe they haven’t officially renamed this community Hockeytown, USA. We’ll cut ‘em some slack. But it’s a start. A real, bona fide, high-sticking start. The Texas Stars aren’t changing the culture in Central Texas so much as they’re enhancing it. There’s nothing to say the sports stage isn’t big enough good, old-fashioned hockey. Emphasis on the good.
GRINDERS CAP DOGS’ RALLY – Hamilton Spectator
The Hamilton Bulldogs expect to have Ryan White back in the lineup tonight when they meet the Abbotsford Heat in Game 4 of the North Division final. White was injured Sunday afternoon at Copps Coliseum when he was struck with a puck. He returned in the third period after receiving more than 20 stitches to the gash in his face. And he played part of the first period in Tuesday night’s 3-2 win over the Heat in Abbotsford, B.C. Extreme dehydration forced him out of the contest, however, and the Dogs had to win without one of their key leaders.
HEAT PLAYER’S HAIR A GROWING CONCERN – Calgary Herald
Jon Rheault is quickly becoming a celebrity in Abbotsford, B.C. Or, at least, his hair is. While he’s been memorable on the Abbotsford Heat scoresheet during their second-round American Hockey League playoff series against the Hamilton Bulldogs, Rheault’s flowing locks are the town’s real conversation-starter.
REST BOTH GOOD, BAD FOR BEARS – Lebanon Daily News
Many teams don’t go through preseason camp in the postseason, but that’s pretty much what the Hershey Bears have been forced to do. The Bears last played in a game on April 29, when they beat Albany, 5-4, in overtime to sweep their East Division finals series and are anxiously awaiting their opponent for the Eastern Conference finals. “It’s not ideal, but it is what it is,” Bears head coach Mark French said.
PENGUINS’ LETESTU FILLS ROLE AS FILL-IN – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Mark Letestu never heard of Dave Michayluk. Has no idea who Jock Callander is. Would not recognize Mike Needham if the guy was wearing a name tag. Which is probably as it should be. After all, Letestu – who made his NHL playoff debut Tuesday – was 7 years old in the spring of 1992, when those three moved from minor-league obscurity to significant roles in the Stanley Cup playoffs. And ended up with their names on the Cup to show for it.
FROM CALDER TO STANLEY:
In Wednesday’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, 2007 AHL All-Star Dustin Byfuglien tallied a hat trick for his first three goals of the playoffs as Chicago took a 2-1 series lead in their Western Conference semifinal with a 5-2 win at Vancouver… Kris Versteeg also scored for the Blackhawks… Miroslav Satan and 2005 AHL All-Star Patrice Bergeron tallied goals and 2008 AHL All-Star Tuukka Rask stopped 34 of 35 shots to lead Boston to a 4-1 win at Philadelphia, giving the Bruins a 3-0 series lead in the teams’ Eastern Conference semifinal.
BY THE NUMBERS:
6 – Game-winning goals scored by Darren Haydar in 21 games for Milwaukee during the 2006 postseason to set an AHL record… Manchester’s Bud Holloway matched the record last night in just nine games.
40.6 – Percentage of Holloway’s career AHL goals – regular season and playoffs combined – which have been game-winners (13 of 32), including all six of his tallies so far in the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs.
ON THIS DATE:
May 6, 2009 – Johnny Boychuk scores a goal and Tuukka Rask makes 22 saves as Providence runs its winning streak to six games with a 4-2 win over Worcester in Game 2 of the Atlantic Division Finals.
May 6, 2006 – Jordin Tootoo nets a natural hat trick in Milwaukee’s 7-0 win over Houston in Game 2 of their West Division final.
May 6, 2004 – Derek Roy records two goals and an assist, Jason Pominville dishes out three assists and Ryan Miller makes 33 saves as Rochester downs Hamilton, 4-1, to take a 2-0 series lead in their North Division final.
May 6, 1980 – Darryl Sutter scores 6:01 into overtime, giving New Brunswick a 3-2 win over Maine in Game 6 and sending the Hawks into the Calder Cup Finals.
AHL CHAT ROOM:
Texas Stars defenseman Andrew Hutchinson steps into the AHL Chat Room to answer fans’ questions this afternoon… Visit theahl.com to submit questions for Andrew, and check back later today to see his responses.
Don’t miss a step on the road to the 2010 Calder Cup championship. AHL Live brings AHL action to your computer all season long with live video webcasts and highlights of every AHL game, as well as behind-the-scenes features and interviews in the Video On Demand section… Visit theahl.com or ahllive.com for details.