AHL Morning Skate: Moose take lead in Game 5


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.


Complete Results || Scoring Leaders || Goaltending Leaders

2009 Calder Cup Finals – Series “O” (best-of-7)
N1-Manitoba Moose vs. E1-Hershey Bears || Preview
Game 1 – Sat., May 30 – Hershey 5, MANITOBA 4 (OT)
Game 2 – Tue., June 2 – MANITOBA 3, Hershey 1
Game 3 – Sat., June 6 – HERSHEY 3, Manitoba 0
Game 4 – Sun., June 7 – HERSHEY 2, Manitoba 1 (HER leads series, 3-1)
Game 5 – Tue., June 9 – Manitoba at Hershey, 7:00 ET
*Game 6 – Fri., June 12 – Hershey at Manitoba, 8:30 ET
*Game 7 – Sun., June 14 – Hershey at Manitoba, 8:30 ET
    *if necessary

1. Rookie goaltender Michal Neuvirth stopped 30 of 31 shots in Game 4 to earn his 15th victory of the postseason (15-5) for the Bears.

2. Keith Aucoin tallied the game-winning goal for Hershey at 7:17 of the third period.

3. Rookie forward Steve Pinizzotto registered three shots on goal as part of the Bears’ 3-1 victory.

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 5 – Manitoba at Hershey, 7:00 (HER leads series, 3-1)
Video Webcast: AHL Live
TV: Shaw Cable 9, MTS TV 50 (Manitoba)
Official Media Notes (PDF – 503 KB)
Holding a 3-1 series advantage, Hershey can claim its record 10th AHL championship with another home-ice victory over Manitoba in Game 5 of the 2009 Calder Cup Finals tonight at Giant Center… The Bears are 9-1 at home this postseason and a perfect 3-0 overall with a chance to eliminate an opponent… Hershey is looking to clinch a Calder Cup title on home ice for the first time since ousting New Brunswick at Hersheypark Arena in 1980; the Bears subsequently captured championships on the road in 1988, 1997, and 2006… This is also the first potential Cup-clinching game played in Hershey since the Bears stayed alive with a Game 5 win over Adirondack in 1986… Keith Aucoin’s 5-on-3 power-play goal in the third period on Sunday broke a 1-1 tie and sent Hershey to a 2-1 win over the Moose in Game 4… Aucoin has a point in five of his last six games (2-6-8) and ranks second on the Bears with 20 points (4-16-20) in 19 postseason games overall… Alexandre Giroux picked up an assist on the game-winner to extend his scoring streak to 11 contests (10-7-17); Giroux continues to lead all AHL playoff scorers with 14 goals and 26 points in 20 games… Kyle Wilson also scored for the Bears on Sunday, snapping a 14-game drought with his first goal since Game 1 of the division finals vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on May 2… Defenseman Staffan Kronwall shows five assists in his last five games after totaling six points (3-3-6) in his first 14 playoff contests this spring… Bears rookie goaltender Michal Neuvirth (15-5, 1.96, .931) has surrendered just 11 goals on 280 shots in 10 home starts this postseason (9-1, 1.10, .961, 4 shutouts), and is trying to become the fourth netminder in AHL history to win 16 games in a single postseason… Moose rookie Raymond Sawada tallied Manitoba’s lone goal in Game 4 after going scoreless in his previous seven outings… Jason Jaffray earned an assist and has factored into each of Manitoba’s last four goals in the series (3-1-4)… Michael Grabner racked up four points (2-2-4) in the first two games of the Finals but has been held scoreless in the last two contests… The Moose, which went 9-0 when scoring the game’s first goal in the first three rounds, are 0-2 after scoring first in this series… Manitoba tallied four of its seven goals in Games 1 and 2 on the power play (4-for-14) but went a combined 0-for-10 with the man advantage since the series shifted to Chocolatetown… The Moose, facing postseason elimination for the first time this year, show an 8-6 mark all-time when a loss would eliminate them from the Calder Cup Playoffs… Hershey is 9-11 all-time with a chance to clinch a Calder Cup championship, but 3-0 in its last three opportunities… A Manitoba win would send the series back to Winnipeg for a Game 6 on Friday.

1. Darren Haydar 135
2. Willie Marshall 119
3. Jody Gage 110
4. Jason Krog 105
5. Fred Glover 104
T17. Alexandre Giroux 71

1. Darren Haydar 59
2. Jody Gage 51
T3. Willie Marshall 48
T3. Fred Glover 48
5. Brad Smyth 46
12. Jason Krog 36
T13. Alexandre Giroux 35

1. Darren Haydar 76
2. Willie Marshall 71
3. Jason Krog 69
4. Mike Nykoluk 62
5. Domenic Pittis 61

Games Played
1. Ken Gernander 123
2. Fred Glover 120
T3. Bryan Helmer 115
T3. Jody Gage 115
T5. Willie Marshall 112
T5. Les Duff 112
T5. Mike Nykoluk 112


Tim Leone, Harrisburg Patriot-News
Just four current Hershey Bears players were alive when the club last clinched a Calder Cup on home ice on May 17, 1980. Elder statesman Bryan Helmer was 6. Keith Aucoin was 1. Little Graham Mink was four days away from celebrating his first birthday, while Quintin Laing would have to wait until June for his first birthday party. Thus, tonight’s Game 5 of the Calder Cup finals at Giant Center has an epochal feel. Hershey, leading the Manitoba Moose 3-1, has the opportunity to stage a home-ice title celebration for the first time since it beat Bruce Boudreau and the New Brunswick Hawks 7-4 in Game 6 at Hersheypark Arena.

Dan Sernoffsky, Lebanon Daily News
That’s the mantra of the Hershey Bears. After withstanding a late flurry by the Manitoba Moose on Sunday night to pull out a 2-1 victory, the Bears found themselves on the brink of a Calder Cup championship. Sunday’s win gave the Bears a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven Calder Cup championship series. It also put them in a position to win the Cup on home ice for the first time since 1980 – and for the first time ever at Giant Center when they host the Moose in Game 5. But as the Bears head into tonight’s soldout game, they also know they will be facing a major challenge. The Moose would like nothing better than to upend the Bears and send the series back to Winnipeg’s MTS Centre.

Kevin Freeman, Lancaster Intelligencer Journal
The Hershey Bears had yet to unlace their skates after winning Game 4 of the Calder Cup finals Sunday night when their head coach, Bob Woods, told the players something they probably already knew. With sweat still dripping from their faces from the exertion expended to win Game 4, the talk turned to tonight’s Game 5, where a win would clinch for the Bears a Calder Cup. “I told the guys that ‘This will be the toughest game you’ve played in your career,’” Woods said. Everyone who has ever tried to win the fourth game in a best-of-seven series will tell you that. Finishing off an opponent isn’t easy and the Manitoba Moose are no exception.

Tim Leone, Harrisburg Patriot-News
Bob Woods won professional championship rings as a player and assistant coach. The head coach of the Hershey Bears wants the same for his players who haven’t done it. “Once you’ve won before,” Woods said Monday, “your motivation is to watch and have the guys that you’re with experience the same feelings that you had. It’s a special thing. I don’t think any hockey player should have to go without experiencing it, because it’s just something that you remember for the rest of your life.”

Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Sun
While the end result wasn’t ideal, Alexandre Bolduc certainly made his presence felt in his return to the Manitoba Moose lineup. After missing six games with a lower-body injury, Bolduc played his first game of the Calder Cup final on Sunday night. “It felt fine, it felt good,” said Bolduc, who has five goals and nine points in 11 post-season games this spring. “It was fun to get back in the game. It’s nice to start playing again.” Prior to the lower-body injury he sustained in Game 3 against the Houston Aeros in the Western Conference final, Bolduc had arguably been Manitoba’s best player.

Tim Campbell, Winnipeg Free Press
The avenues to better news for the Manitoba Moose are pretty easy, given how they arrived at tonight’s Game 101 of their season. When you get that high a number, it’s never an ordinary game and for the first time in these playoffs, the Moose are on the brink of elimination, down 3-1 to the Hershey Bears in the best-of-seven Calder Cup championship series. Goaltending, the staple of their existence since October, will again be large for Game 5 at Giant Center, which is another sell-out. Other than one Game 1 goal, Cory Schneider has been no slouch in this series no matter how overlooked or dissed he’s been here. And of course, his counterpart, rookie Michal Neuvirth, has been a virtual rock at home, which complicates the Moose challenge.

Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Sun
When you can’t afford to lose another game or the season is over, it’s like driving on a treacherous mountain road filled with potholes. The pressure mounts and one bounce can be the beginning of the end. So, when a team like the Manitoba Moose is staring at a 3-1 hole against a team as strong as the Hershey Bears in the AHL Calder Cup final, the easiest thing to say is the series is over. With one more misstep, a dream season will be blown to smithereens, but the Moose remain optimistic and for good reason.

Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Sun
The crowds for the Calder Cup final have been anything but minor league. Heading into tonight’s fifth game between the Manitoba Moose and Hershey Bears, the attendance and atmosphere in both the MTS Centre and Giant Center has been fantastic. With a sold-out crowd of nearly 11,000 expected for tonight’s fifth game, the series will be approaching nearly 63,000 fans, with the potential of up to 30,000 more should the Moose find a way to extend the series and push it to a seventh and deciding game.

Tim Leone, Harrisburg Patriot-News
Having shattered their team single-season attendance record for the regular season and playoffs combined, the Hershey Bears are poised to pass the 450,000 mark tonight at Giant Center. Game 5 of the Calder Cup finals against the Manitoba Moose, in which the Bears could clinch the 2008-09 American Hockey League championship, sold out Monday. A crowd of 10,500-plus will be added to the current club-record total of 439,568. Amid the recession, the Bears are living in a golden-age groove that began with their affiliation with the National Hockey League’s Washington Capitals in 2005.

Corey Masisak, Washington Times
Eventually, Michal Neuvirth is going to face adversity. When he does, he will remember when he made three saves in the final 15 seconds of Game 4 of the Calder Cup Finals – with his team up a goal and down two skaters – to preserve a 2-1 victory. The Hershey Bears are one win from capturing the Calder Cup for the second time in four seasons, and they will try to clinch the American Hockey League championship Tuesday night at Giant Center. For the Washington Capitals, the success of their top minor league affiliate has helped foster success at the NHL level and is a key part of how they want to develop their players.

Tarik El-Bashir, Washington Post
A manic, towel-waving, capacity crowd of more than 10,000 packed Giant Center on Saturday night to cheer the Hershey Bears in Game 3 of the Calder Cup finals, the American Hockey League’s championship series. Not everyone came to be entertained, though. Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee, Coach Bruce Boudreau and three of the organization’s pro scouts were there on business. They sat high above the ice, diligently dissecting the players in the maroon and white uniforms, discussing who among them is ready to make the jump to the big leagues.

Associated Press
Roy Boe, former owner of the AHL’s Worcester IceCats and Bridgeport Sound Tigers who also owned both the Julius Erving-led New York Nets of the ABA and the fledgling New York Islanders of the NHL in the 1970s, has died. He was 79. “The American Hockey League is truly saddened by the news of Roy Boe’s passing,” said David Andrews, AHL President and CEO. “He was a well respected member of our Board for many years and helped lay the foundation to bring AHL hockey to fans in both Worcester and Bridgeport.”

Detroit Red Wings Justin Abdelkader, Jonathan Ericsson, Darren Helm and Ville Leino are attempting to become the first quartet of rookies in NHL history to play at least half of the regular season in the American Hockey League before playing in the Stanley Cup Finals and having their names engraved on the Cup; the Wings can clinch their second straight title with a victory in Game 6 tonight at Pittsburgh… A handful of Stanley Cup champs have had as many as three rookies who fit all three criteria, most recently Anaheim in 2007 and New Jersey in 2000… Nearly 75 percent of the players, coaches, and managers involved in the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals between Detroit and Pittsburgh are AHL graduates.

60 – Years since a team won the Calder Cup after trailing 3-1 in the Finals… The 1949 Providence Reds (vs. Hershey), the 1947 Hershey Bears (vs. Pittsburgh) and the 1946 Buffalo Bisons (vs. Cleveland) are the only teams to accomplish that feat.

46-12 – All-time record of teams with a chance to win the Calder Cup at home… The last team to lose on home ice with a chance to close out the Finals was Hamilton in Game 7 of the 2003 championship vs. Houston.

63,092 – Total attendance for the seven-game 2003 Calder Cup Finals between Hamilton and Houston, the largest single-series turnout in AHL history… The first four games of this year’s Finals have drawn 51,175 fans.

12,205 – Average attendance for the four-game 2005 Calder Cup Finals between Philadelphia and Chicago, the largest single-series average in AHL history… This year’s Finals will surpass that mark by series’ end.

June 9, 2003Tomas Plekanec and Jason Ward score first-period goals and Ty Conklin finishes with 36 saves as Hamilton pushes the Calder Cup Finals to the limit with a 2-1 win over Houston in Game 6 at Copps Coliseum.

June 9, 1999 – Steven King scores 55 seconds into the third overtime as Providence takes a 3-0 lead in the Calder Cup Finals with a 3-2 win in Rochester.

June 9, 1997Ralph Intranuovo and Jeff Daw score 1:51 apart in the third period as Hamilton downs Hershey, 2-1, in Game 3 of the Calder Cup Finals.

June 9, 1996Scott Nichol’s overtime goal gives Rochester a 5-4 win over Portland and a 3-2 series lead in the Calder Cup Finals.

June 9, 1954 – John Paddock is born… The Manitoba native (Oak River) has gone on to win five Calder Cups as a player and head coach, including one behind the bench of the 1988 Hershey Bears.

Don’t miss a step on the road to the 2009 Calder Cup championship. AHL Live continues to bring AHL action to your computer all postseason 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.