AHL Weekly Release


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SPRINGFIELD, Mass.News and notes from around the American Hockey League, where Clear Day has come and gone and rosters are set for the stretch run:

RAMPAGE WRAP RODEO RUN … With a 2-1 win in Chicago on Feb. 29, San Antonio concluded its annual “rodeo trip” with a 7-3-0-1 record, the most successful of these treks in their 10-year history.

With the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo taking over the AT&T Center every winter, the team hits the road for an extended trip – this year playing 11 games and covering 7,310 miles over 23 days. When the Rampage took the ice to begin the trip in Hamilton on Feb. 7, they sat ninth in the Western Conference; they returned home tied for fourth with their sights set on a berth in the Calder Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2008.

San Antonio’s top scorer on the rodeo trip was Bill Thomas, who tallied two points in each of the first three games and finished with 5-7-12. Greg Rallo notched 5-5-10, including two separate four-game scoring streaks, and two of Michal Repik’s five goals were game-winners.

Dov Grumet-Morris (5-2-1, 2.36, .924) and Jacob Markstrom (2-1-0, 1.68, .953) shared the goaltending chores, and combined to allow six goals over the final five games of the trip.

San Antonio returned to the AT&T Center on Mar. 3 and won a 2-1 decision over Houston their league-leading 21st one-goal victory of the season – in front of 11,382 fans welcoming them home. After a two-game set against Texas in Cedar Park this weekend, the Rampage will play 11 of their final 16 games on home ice.

MORE MOVEMENT BEFORE AHL DEADLINE … The looming Clear Day deadline on Mar. 5 set the stage for some noteworthy moves around the AHL, most notably a swap of former rookies of the year.

The Phoenix Coyotes and St. Louis Blues pulled off a mutual reassignment, with Patrick O’Sullivan heading to Peoria and Brett Sterling going to Portland. O’Sullivan, who recorded 10-20-30 in 26 games with the Pirates this season, won the Dudley “Red” Garrett Award in 2006 and helped Houston to the Calder Cup Finals in 2011; he had an assist in his debut with the Rivermen on Mar. 3. Sterling, the AHL’s top rookie in 2007 and a Calder Cup champion with Chicago in 2008, had 22-26-48 in 54 games for Peoria this season and scored once in regulation and once in the shootout in his Pirates debut on Mar. 4.

Peoria also deepened its goaltending ranks by adding 2010 AHL All-Rookie netminder Alex Stalock from the San Jose organization. St. John’s, the top team in the Atlantic Division, acquired the services of Brock Trotter and Raymond Sawada in deals that sent Peter Mannino and Kenndal McArdle to Portland and Michael Forney and Shawn Weller to Texas. The Stars also added Drew Schiestel from Buffalo; Chicago picked up Jordan Henry from the Calgary organization in exchange for loaning J.P. Testwuide to Abbotsford; and Jared Staal was reassigned by Carolina to Providence.

THE EXPERIENCE IS CLEAR … The Clear Day lists submitted this week feature 51 players who have won a Calder Cup championship in their careers, including 11 members of last year’s Binghamton Senators title team:

Guillaume Desbiens, ABB (2008)
Quintin Laing, ABB (2009)
Jason Bacashihua, ADK (2010)
Dan Jancevski, ADK (2007)
Matt Anderson, ALB (2008)
Mark Borowiecki, BNG (2011)
David Dziurzynski, BNG (2011)
Derek Grant, BNG (2011)
Eric Gryba, BNG (2011)
Mike Hoffman, BNG (2011)
Robin Lehner, BNG (2011)
Francis Lessard, BNG (2002)
Corey Locke, BNG (’07, ’11)
Craig Schira, BNG (2011)
Patrick Wiercioch, BNG (2011)
Kevin Doell, CHI (2008)
Andrew Gordon, CHI (’09, ’10)
Darren Haydar, CHI (’04, ’08)
Andre Deveaux, CT (2008)
Garnet Exelby, GR (2002)
Keith Aucoin, HER (’09, ’10)
Chris Bourque, HER (’06, ’09, ’10)
Sean Collins, HER (’09, ’10)
Cody Eakin, HER (2010)
Braden Holtby, HER (2010)
Boyd Kane, HER (’05, ’06, ’10)
Patrick McNeill, HER (’09, ’10)
Graham Mink, HER (’06, ’09)
Ryan Potulny, HER (2011)
Patrick Wellar, HER (2010)
Tyler Sloan, MIL (’06, ’09)
Kyle Wilson, MIL (’09, ’10)
Jean-Philippe Cote, NOR (2007)
Brandon Segal, NOR (2004)
Yann Danis, OKC (2007)
Bryan Helmer, OKC (’95, ’09, ’10)
Ryan Keller, OKC (2011)
Dylan Yeo, OKC (2010)
Stefan Della Rovere, PEO (2010)
Dean Arsene, POR (’06, ’09)
Nathan Oystrick, POR (2008)
Brett Sterling, POR (2008)
Colin Stuart, RCH (2008)
Brian Fahey, RFD (2008)
Mark Cullen, SA (2003)
Greg Amadio, SPR (’09, ’10)
Cody Bass, SPR (2011)
Alexandre Giroux, SPR (’09, ’10)
Andrew Joudrey, SPR (’09, ’10)
Arturs Kulda, STJ (2008)
Alexandre Picard, WBS (2005)

Additionally, seven AHL head coaches – Binghamton’s Kurt Kleinendorst, Connecticut’s Ken Gernander, Hershey’s Mark French, Milwaukee’s Ian Herbers, Oklahoma City’s Todd Nelson, Toronto’s Dallas Eakins and Worcester’s Roy Sommer – have won Calder Cups as players, head coaches and/or assistant coaches.

There are also seven AHL players on Clear Day lists who have won Stanley Cups in their careers: Toronto’s Mike Zigomanis (2009), Derek Meech of St. John’s (2008), Texas’s Eric Godard (2009) and Brad Lukowich (2004), Springfield’s Manny Legace (2002), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Jason Williams (2002) and Chicago’s Steve Reinprecht (2001).

ANCHOR’S DOZEN … The Norfolk Admirals extended their winning streak to 12 games last week, vaulting to the top of the AHL’s overall standings with six weeks remaining in the regular season. The Admirals (39-18-1-2, 81 points) have put together the longest winning streak in franchise history, and the longest in the AHL since Hershey won 12 in a row in 2009-10.

Norfolk, which hits the road for games at Adirondack, Connecticut and Bridgeport this weekend, is six points ahead of St. John’s for the top seed in the Eastern Conference, although the IceCaps enter the week with four games in hand.

Cory Conacher, whose 31 goals lead all AHL rookies and are one off the overall league lead, was rewarded for his outstanding season with a two-year NHL contract from the Tampa Bay Lightning on Mar. 1.

QUICK HITS … Rockford’s Carter Hutton, who earned his second Reebok/AHL Player of the Week honor of the season last week, is 5-0-1 in last seven appearances, allowing seven goals on 184 shots (1.12 GAA, .962 save percentage)… After stopping 307 of 326 shots (1.44, .950) during his current 10-0-1 streak in net for Bridgeport, Anders Nilsson was recalled by the New York Islanders last week and earned his first NHL win with a 24-save shutout against New Jersey on Mar. 4… After accounting for three goals total in his previous 40 games, Dan Sexton recorded a hat trick in Syracuse’s 6-4 win over St. John’s on Mar. 3… Mark Mancari, who notched his seventh career AHL hat trick in Chicago’s 4-1 victory over Oklahoma City on Mar. 4, has more multi-goal games (8) than one-goal games (7) this season… Albany rookie Eric Gelinas and Rochester’s T.J. Brennan are tied for the AHL lead among defensemen with 13 goals each… Americans rookie Phil Varone has 8-27-35 and a plus-17 rating in 36 games since Dec. 9, good for fifth in the AHL in scoring during that span… Jon DiSalvatore’s goal at San Antonio on Mar. 3 gave the Houston captain his ninth straight 20-goal AHL campaign to begin his career… DiSalvatore also became the AHL’s reigning ironman last week when Alex Henry missed Hamilton’s game vs. Toronto on Feb. 29, ending a streak of 203 consecutive games played; DiSalvatore played his 166th straight regular-season AHL game on Mar. 6 in Abbotsford… Beginning with the back end of a home-and-home in Toronto on Mar. 10, Hamilton will play 12 games in a row on the road, with additional stops in St. John’s, Grand Rapids, Rockford, Milwaukee, Chicago, Peoria, San Antonio, Texas, Houston and Oklahoma City.