AHL Morning Skate: May 8

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 6 – MANCHESTER 2, Worcester 1 (OT) (MCH wins series, 4-2)
Game 5 – TEXAS 5, Chicago 3 (TEX leads series, 3-2)

1. Jamie Benn notched a hat trick as part of a five-point night to lead Texas to a 5-3 win over Chicago.

2. Viatcheslav Voynov’s goal 1:55 into overtime sent Manchester to the conference finals for the second time in four years.

3. Brent Krahn stopped 43 of 46 shots as the Stars took a 3-2 series edge.

Game 5 – Hamilton at Abbotsford, 10:00 (Series tied, 2-2)

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 1, WORCESTER 0
Game 6 – Fri., May 7 – MANCHESTER 2, Worcester 1 (OT)

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 – ABBOTSFORD 4, Hamilton 1
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 – TEXAS 5, Chicago 3
Game 6 – Sun., May 9 – Texas at Chicago, 4:00
*Game 7 – Tue., May 11 – Texas at Chicago, 8:00

Eastern Conference Finals – Series “M” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. A3-Manchester Monarchs

Game 1 – Wed., May 12 – Manchester at Hershey, 7:00
Game 2 – Sat., May 15 – Manchester at Hershey, 7:00
Game 3 – Mon., May 17 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:00
Game 4 – Tue., May 18 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:00
*Game 5 – Thu., May 20 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sat., May 22 – Manchester at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 7 – Sun., May 23 – Manchester at Hershey, 5:00

*if necessary… All times Eastern

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 5 – Hamilton at Abbotsford, 10:00 (Series tied, 2-2)
Hamilton and Abbotsford lace up the skates for Game 5 of the North Division Finals tonight at the Entertainment & Sports Centre, with both teams looking to move within a victory of a berth in the Western Conference Finals… The resilient Heat, who came back from 3-1 down to oust Rochester in the first round, were staring at a second consecutive 3-1 series deficit in Game 4 on Thursday but responded with a convincing 4-1 win over the Bulldogs… Three of Abbotsford’s four goals were scored by 20-year-old rookies who turned pro after spending the bulk of this season in the Western Hockey League… Mitch Wahl, a second-round draft pick (48th overall) by the parent Calgary Flames in 2008, tallied his first two AHL playoff goals and added an assist; and Lance Bouma, drafted by the Flames 30 spots later at 78th overall in 2008, notched his first goal as a professional… Abbotsford native David Van der Gulik also found the back of the net, and defenseman Matt Pelech chipped in two assists for his first points of the series… Abbotsford has scored the first goal in nine of its 11 playoff games (6-3) after doing so in only 34 of 80 regular-season contests (25-3-4-2)… Heat playoff scoring leader Brandon Sutter (4-7-11 in 11 games), who registered one helper on Thursday, has a point in eight of his last nine games after going scoreless in Abbotsford’s first two postseason contests… Heat goaltender David Shantz (6-4, 2.61, .897) made 26 saves in Game 4 and improved to 6-0 during these playoffs in games where he surrenders two goals or fewer… Thursday marked the first time in 10 postseason outings that the Bulldogs failed to score at least two goals… Ryan Russell struck for the Hamilton’s only goal in the contest, his first tally since scoring once apiece in Games 1 and 2 of the division semifinals vs. Manitoba… David Desharnais continues to lead the Bulldogs with 10 points this postseason (4-6-10) but saw his eight-game scoring streak come to an end on Thursday… This marks the seventh time in franchise history that Hamilton has been tied at two games apiece in a best-of-7 playoff series, and the Bulldogs hold a 2-4 mark in Game 5 of the previous six series.


So long Sharks, hello Bears. The Manchester Monarchs eliminated the Worcester Sharks with a 2-1 overtime win in game 6 of the Atlantic Division finals at Verizon Wireless Arena last night. Defenseman Slava Voynov scored the game-winner 1:55 into the extra session. I’m glad (the game) didn’t go much longer. I think both teams were really dragging," said Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. "It was a hard-fought affair and I was just glad it was over with because there wasn’t much more in the tank."

SHARKS SEASON ENDS IN OVERTIME – Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Pro hockey, it seems, came to Worcester with an expiration date, like a quart of milk or pint of cottage cheese. No matter how good the regular season is, no matter if the team is named the IceCats or the Sharks, the season is pulled from the shelf after the second round of the playoffs. Sometimes, the season ends in more painful ways than in others, and this one hurt especially badly.

GROULX’S STREAK FINISHED – Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Danny Groulx deserved a day off, but didn’t want it to happen this way. The Sharks leading point scorer during the regular season and the AHL’s reigning ironman did not play last night, ending a streak that had reached 208 consecutive games including postseason action. Groulx was forced to sit out due to a concussion that he actually suffered in Game 3 up here when he collided with a teammate.

Jamie Benn was sent to the Texas Stars to provide a playoff spark and give a new offensive weapon. He’s been all that and more, and Friday night he didn’t so much spark the Stars as he torched the Chicago Wolves. Benn became the first Star to record a hat trick at the Cedar Park Center in a 5-3 win in game five of the best-of-seven series. Texas will take a 3-2 series lead to Chicago for Game 6 Sunday. Game 7, if necessary, will be Tuesday.

WOLVES FALL 5-3, STARS TAKE 3-2 SERIES LEAD – Chicago Daily Herald
The Chicago Wolves fired a postseason-high 46 shots at Texas Stars goaltender Brent Krahn, but he wouldn’t budge. So, with the help of a hat trick from left wing Jamie Benn, the Stars came away with a 5-3 victory in Game 5 of the West Division finals Friday night at Cedar Park Center. Texas leads series 3-2, with Game 6 on Sunday at 3 p.m. at Allstate Arena.

If the Hamilton Bulldogs are going to get by the Abbotsford Heat, their top scorers are going to have to start putting the puck in the net. If you look at just the even-strength goals and assists in the four games the two teams have played in this series, here are some stats that jump off the page: David Desharnais, one assist; Mike Glumac, one assist; Brock Trotter, one goal; Grant Stevenson, one assist.

The Hershey Bears’ hotel in Albany, N.Y., featured low-hung showerheads. Thus, an obstacle loomed for 6-3, 210-pound Patrick Wellar. “I got a bit of a shock when I first stepped in,” Wellar joked Friday. The defenseman, who has evolved from depth player to key cog during the 2009-10 season, avoided fixture trauma and continues to stand tall for the Bears. In the last quarter of the regular season and into the playoffs, the sixth-year pro has been Hershey’s unsung hero.

History tells us what Dan Bylsma and the Penguins are trying to do, deliver a second straight Stanley Cup to the city of bridges, is nigh on impossible. You see, everything changes when you win a Cup. The expectations of the fans and media change. The expectations of the players in the dressing room change. Everyone wants more, everyone expects more. But here’s the thing about Bylsma: he may be the one constant in that complicated equation.

In Friday’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, Claude Giroux and 1998 AHL All-Star Daniel Briere each posted a goal and an assist, and Ville Leino also scored as Philadelphia staved off elimination with a 5-4 overtime win over Boston in Game 4 of the teams’ Eastern Conference semifinal… 2005 Calder Cup champion Patrick Sharp racked up a goal and three assists to help Chicago roll past Vancouver by a 7-4 count, giving the Blackhawks a commanding 3-1 series lead in their Western Conference semifinal.

6-0 – Abbotsford’s record this postseason when taking a lead into the third period.

0-5 – Abbotsford’s record this postseason when behind entering the third period,

May 8, 2004Kari Lehtonen stops 54 of 55 shots in Chicago’s 3-1 win over Milwaukee in Game 3 of their West Division final series.

May 8, 1999 – John Spoltore’s second overtime goal of the series gives Providence a 5-4 win over Hartford and a 3-0 lead in their New England Division final.

May 8, 1981 – The Maine Mariners advance to the Finals for the third time in four years as Bruce Crowder scores in overtime of Game 7 for a 4-3 win over New Brunswick.

May 8, 1974 – The Hershey Bears win the Calder Cup with a 4-3 win over the Providence Reds in Game 5 at Hersheypark Arena.

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