AHL Morning Skate: Wolves host IceHogs in Game 7

AHL Quick Hits is now the Morning Skate… Every morning, take 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.


TORONTO 3, Syracuse 2 (TOR wins, 4-3)


1. Brent Aubin netted a pair of first-period goals to send Toronto on its way to a 3-2 win over Syracuse in Game 7 and a trip to the Western Conference finals.

2. John Mitchell’s goal in the third period held up as the game-winner for the Marlies.

3. Derek MacKenzie tallied a goal and an assist for Syracuse in the losing effort.


Game 7 – Rockford at Chicago, 8:00 (Series tied, 3-3)


Complete Results || Scoring Leaders || Goaltending Leaders

Eastern Conference Finals – Series “M” (best-of-7)
E1-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. A3-Portland Pirates
Game 1 – Wed., May 14 – Portland at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Game 2 – Thu., May 15 – Portland at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Game 3 – Sun., May 18 – W-B/Scranton at Portland, 4:05
Game 4 – Tue., May 20 – W-B/Scranton at Portland, 7:05
*Game 5 – Wed., May 21 – W-B/Scranton at Portland, 7:05
*Game 6 – Fri., May 23 – Portland at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 7 – Sat., May 24 – Portland at W-B/Scranton, 7:05


Western Conference Finals – Series “N” (best-of-7)
N1-Toronto Marlies vs. CHI/RFD winner


Atlantic Division Finals – Series “I” (best-of-7)

A1-Providence Bruins vs. A3-Portland Pirates || Preview

Game 1 – Sat., Apr. 26 – PROVIDENCE 4, Portland 0

Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 27 – PROVIDENCE 7, Portland 1

Game 3 – Fri., May 2 – PORTLAND 4, Providence 3 (OT)

Game 4 – Sun., May 4 – PORTLAND 3, Providence 2 (OT)

Game 5 – Tue., May 6 – PORTLAND 3, Providence 2

Game 6 – Fri., May 9 – Portland 5, PROVIDENCE 4


East Division Finals – Series “J” (best-of-7)

E1-W-B/Scranton Penguins vs. E2-Philadelphia Phantoms || Preview

Game 1 – Thu., May 1 – Philadelphia 5, W-B/SCRANTON 2

Game 2 – Sat., May 3 – W-B/SCRANTON 5, Philadelphia 4 (OT)

Game 3 – Mon., May 5 – W-B/Scranton 3, PHILADELPHIA 2 (WC)

Game 4 – Wed., May 7 – W-B/Scranton 8, PHILADELPHIA 4 (WC)

Game 5 – Fri., May 9 – W-B/SCRANTON 3, Philadelphia 1


North Division Finals – Series “K” (best-of-7)

N1-Toronto Marlies vs. N2-Syracuse Crunch || Preview

Game 1 – Fri., May 2 – Syracuse 5, TORONTO 1

Game 2 – Sun., May 4 – Syracuse 3, TORONTO 1

Game 3 – Tue., May 6 – Toronto 8, SYRACUSE 2

Game 4 – Wed., May 7 – SYRACUSE 5, Toronto 4 (OT)

Game 5 – Fri., May 9 – TORONTO 4, Syracuse 3 (OT)

Game 6 – Sat., May 10 – Toronto 3, SYRACUSE 2

Game 7 – Mon., May 12 – TORONTO 3, Syracuse 2


West Division Finals – Series “L” (best-of-7)

W1-Chicago Wolves vs. W2-Rockford IceHogs || Preview

Game 1 – Thu., May 1 – CHICAGO 4, Rockford 1

Game 2 – Sat., May 3 – CHICAGO 7, Rockford 3

Game 3 – Sun., May 4 – ROCKFORD 3, Chicago 1

Game 4 – Wed., May 7 – ROCKFORD 3, Chicago 2

Game 5 – Fri., May 9 – Rockford 5, CHICAGO 1

Game 6 – Sun., May 11 – Chicago 4, ROCKFORD 3

Game 7 – Tue., May 13 – Rockford at Chicago, 8:00


*if necessary… All times Eastern… (WC) – Wachovia Center

GAME NOTES (all times ET):

Game 7 – Rockford at Chicago, 8:00 (Series tied, 3-3)

TV: Comcast Cable Chicago

Intra-state rivals Rockford and Chicago square off one last time for Game 7 of the West Division finals tonight, with the winner advancing to the Western Conference finals and a date with Toronto… This is the 17th meeting of the season between the teams… After the home team won the first four games of this series, the clubs alternated road wins in Games 5 and 6… The Wolves forced tonight’s showdown by posting a 4-3 win at the MetroCentre on Sunday, just their second win in eight visits there this season… Chicago erupted for four power-play goals in a span of 7:37 during the second period, including a pair off the stick of AHL MVP Jason Krog, who also added an assist on the night… Krog now ranks second overall in postseason scoring with 16 points (3-13-16), and he has netted all three of his goals in the last two games after going scoreless in his first 10 playoff contests… Wolves defenseman Joel Kwiatkowski also had a three-point effort (1-2-3) in Game 6, while fellow blueliner Nathan Oystrick potted his first-ever Calder Cup Playoff goal… Chicago finished 4-for-7 on the power play after having gone 2-for-20 in its previous three games… Rockford was 2-for-8 with the man advantage in Game 6… Petri Kontiola had two goals and an assist for the IceHogs on Sunday, giving him a point in eight of his last nine games (5-5-10)… Kris Versteeg broke out of a two-game scoreless slump with a goal and a helper… Martin St. Pierre posted a pair of assists for his fourth straight multiple-point effort (1-8-9)… The IceHogs fell to 6-1 this postseason when scoring the game’s first goal; Chicago is 5-0 when scoring first… The Wolves are an impressive 9-4 all-time when facing Calder Cup Playoff elimination and are 4-0 in winner-take-all games in the AHL, including a Game 7 win at Syracuse in the 2002 conference semifinals.


39-31 – Home teams’ record all-time in AHL Game 7’s (.557), including 3-0 this spring and 9-1 since 2006.


14 – Calder Cup Playoff Game 7’s that have gone into overtime, the most recent being in the 2006 Eastern Conference Finals between Hershey and Portland.


5 – Game 7’s played during the 2006 Calder Cup Playoffs, the most ever in a single postseason… Tonight’s contest is the fourth Game 7 in the AHL so far this spring.


1 – Previous Game 7’s ever hosted by the Wolves at Allstate Arena: the finale of the 1998 International Hockey League championship series on June 15, 1998.




Mark Zwolinski, Toronto Star

On game day, Brent Aubin observes hockey’s pre-game tradition of the afternoon nap. Yesterday, though, the young Toronto Marlie had difficulty getting to sleep – and it wasn’t just the anticipation of last night’s tension-packed showdown with the Syracuse Crunch in Game 7 of the AHL North Division final. “We found out at (2 p.m.) my wife (Bianca) is carrying a little girl, I just couldn’t sleep after that,” said a clearly delighted Aubin. The 21-year-old native of Ste-Sophie, Que., then capped a memorable day by scoring two first-period goals in an exciting 3-2 win over Syracuse. For the Marlies, there’s a moment of welcome respite today after winning a second consecutive series in seven games. In ousting a very tough Syracuse team, Toronto became just the 14th team in American Hockey League history to come all the way back from a 3-1 deficit in games.




Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun

Goalie Scott Clemmensen says the Marlies are surviving on adrenaline right now. But they’d better not drain the tank on another seven-game series if they want the Calder Cup. They made it to the American Hockey League’s final four the hard way, winning four facing elimination, including rallying from 3-1 in the series against the Syracuse Crunch. “We must have blocked six shots in the last minute after playing seven in 11 nights,” Clemmensen said in the jubilant dressing room. “Down 3-1 in the series, that says a lot. The building was loud and the people left their empty seat costumes at home. Every little bit helps.” The Marlies are one seven-game round shy of tying the parent Maple Leafs’ memorable run 15 years ago, their longest Calder Cup pursuit since moving from St. John’s.




Lindsay Kramer, Syracuse Post-Standard

One way or another, the Syracuse Crunch’s no-brakes joyride the past two months promised to end with a crash into something hard and sturdy. For brief stretches, it looked like that might be the Calder Cup. Turns out it was the unforgiving playoff wall. Toronto’s Brent Aubin dinged Syracuse for two quick goals in the first and John Mitchell scored the game-winner in the third as the Marlies put the Crunch’s season to bed with a 3-2 win in Game 7 of their North Division finals series Monday at Ricoh Coliseum. All the steam built from the Crunch’s 15-game win streak and 23-game points run at the end of the regular season slowly hissed out after one last rush of late-game action couldn’t knock down Marlies goalie Scott Clemmensen. Just like that, possibly the most entertaining stretch of hockey in the 14-year history of the team lay in ruins well short of its goal.




Bud Poliquin, Syracuse Post-Standard

He wound up from out on top, Gilbert Brule did, and let fly with the slapper that blurred past Scott Clemmensen with 8:06 showing on the third-period clock. And just that quickly did the Syracuse Crunch come back to life here on Monday night. It was trailing, sure, by a score of 3-2. But there was time, plenty of it, to dream, to hope, to pray. A lucky bounce… a deflection… a rebound. Something. Anything. And the season would have a chance to keep breathing. And then came the gift from the hockey gods: A tripping call on the Toronto Marlies, with 2:44 remaining in regulation that presented the desperate visitors with a 5-on-4 opportunity. And so, the Crunch had its one last gasp. But, no. Clemmensen, the Toronto goalie who must come from a long line of brick walls, knocked down every frantic Syracuse shot as the clock drained through the penalty and to the final horn.




Len Ziehm, Chicago Sun-Times

Wolves winger Joe Motzko isn’t one to worry about being moved close to the trade deadline. Last March, Motzko wanted out of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ organization while playing for the Syracuse Crunch, and the Blue Jackets obliged him by sending him to the Anaheim Ducks. He ended the season with a Stanley Cup ring. His hopes for another title, after another deadline deal, remain alive as the Wolves host the Rockford IceHogs tonight in Game 7 of the American Hockey League’s West Division championship series. The winner faces the Toronto Marlies in the Western Conference finals. Motzko came to the Wolves in February after the parent Atlanta Thrashers acquired him from the Washington Capitals’ organization. He has two goals and four assists in 12 postseason games and is happy still to be playing. “Obviously the NHL is where we all aspire to be, but playoff hockey anywhere is great,” he said. “It’s the same environment.”




Reed Schreck, Rockford Register Star

With the Rockford IceHogs and Chicago Wolves, the math is easy. “This series has just been a battle, and now we’re just best-of-one,” said Wolves center Jason Krog, who led the American Hockey League in scoring in the regular season. The winner will take all in today’s 7 p.m. (CT) start at Allstate Arena, and move on to face Toronto in the Western Conference finals. IceHogs leading scorer Martin St. Pierre likes his team’s chances. “It’s one game, 60 minutes. We have to take it a period at a time,” he said. “They’ll have their fans behind them. We’ll have to find our own motivation, and I think Game 7 in their building, if that’s not enough, then you don’t know what you’re playing for.”




Jonathan Bombulie, The Citizen’s Voice

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are cycling the puck in the left-wing corner of the offensive zone. The opponent’s right wing isn’t playing tight on his man. That’s when you’ll hear the sound. Whack. Whack. Whack. It’s defenseman Alex Goligoski, tapping his stick on the ice to call for the puck. Goligoski doesn’t just want the puck when he’s manning the left point, either. He wants it when the Penguins are deep in their own end or trying to come through the neutral zone with speed. In the first 10 games of the playoffs, when pressure has been at its highest, Goligoski has consistently wanted the puck on his stick as much as possible. That attitude, more than any stat or scouting report, reflects the kind of prime-time prospect Goligoski is becoming.




Paul Kenyon, Providence Journal

Scott Gordon did not have a pleasant day yesterday, at least not in terms of work he had to do. Gordon’s plan had been to be doing serious preparation for the AHL Eastern Conference finals against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Gordon had every reason to believe, as recently as a week ago, that his Providence Bruins would be hosting the first game of the series. In a surprising and disappointing turn of events for Gordon and his Providence team, the P-Bruins lost four games in a row, after winning the first two contests of their second-round series against Portland. Instead of working toward a possible Calder Cup championship, the Providence coach spent yesterday in meetings, filing reports and making evaluations on his players.



2006 AHL All-Star Jiri Hudler netted a goal off a feed from 2005 AHL All-Star Niklas Kronwall, and Detroit rolled to a 5-2 victory at Dallas last night to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the NHL’s Western Conference finals.