SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … News and notes from the week ending Oct. 28, 2012:
MEETING THEIR GOALS
Prior to the start of this season, there had not been an AHL game with at least 15 goals scored since Grand Rapids’ 10-8 win at Chicago on Nov. 27, 2010. But it recently happened twice in four days.
Rochester’s 8-7 win in Hershey on Oct. 20 was followed by a thrilling 8-7 overtime victory by St. John’s over visiting Portland on Oct. 24. The IceCaps never led in the game until Alex Burmistrov scored his first career AHL goal at 1:03 of OT.
Spencer Machacek and Eric O’Dell scored twice for the IceCaps, who trailed 2-0, 4-2, 5-3, 6-5 and 7-6. It was the highest-scoring AHL game played in St. John’s since the Maple Leafs defeated the Cape Breton Oilers by an 8-7 score on Feb. 23, 1993.
Rob Klinkhammer led Portland with three goals and two assists on the night. The Pirates hadn’t been involved in such a high-scoring affair since an 11-4 win over Quebec on Mar. 16, 2002.
Entering the new week, there have been 626 goals scored in 104 AHL games, an average of 6.02 goals per game – up from 5.67 goals per game over the 2011-12 season.
LEGGIO WON’T LET GO
A Rochester Americans game without David Leggio between the pipes is a rare sight these days. In fact, it hasn’t happened in more than eight months.
Leggio, a fifth-year pro and native of the Buffalo suburb of Williamsville, N.Y., has started 34 consecutive regular-season and playoff games for the Amerks, a stretch that began on Feb. 22. He has gotten the call in all eight games this season after drawing the start in each of Rochester’s final 23 regular-season contests last season as well as each game of the Amerks’ first-round playoff loss to Toronto last spring.
Leggio led the AHL in saves and shots faced while finishing second in minutes played and tied for third in wins (28) for Rochester in 2011-12.
RARITY IN ALBANY
The first meeting of the season between rivals Adirondack and Albany featured a bit of AHL history on Friday night. Two penalty shots were awarded in the game – to the Phantoms’ Zac Rinaldo 18:25 into the first period and to the Devils’ Adam Henrique at 8:17 of the second period – and both were converted. It marked the first time in nearly 16 years that two penalty-shot goals were scored in the same AHL contest.
Adirondack shooters are now 5-for-11 on penalty shots since the Phantoms moved to Glens Falls in 2009; the Devils are 5-for-8 since arriving in Albany in 2010, including a goal by Henrique against Adirondack’s Michael Leighton on Apr. 1, 2011. On the flip side, Phantoms goaltenders have now allowed goals on five of six penalty shots against, while Albany Devils goalies are 3-for-5.
San Antonio’s Jacob Markstrom and Chicago’s Eddie Lack were teammates and friends during their playing days in their native Sweden. Now both are continuing their path to the National Hockey League as Western Conference rivals in the AHL. Lack made 24 saves in the Wolves’ 6-5 win over the Rampage on Saturday night, his first victory in six head-to-head meetings with Markstrom over the last three seasons.
Selected by Florida in the second round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft (31st overall), Markstrom has seen NHL time in each of his first two seasons, making eight appearances with the Panthers. Last spring, he helped the Rampage to the franchise’s first playoff series victory ever, a first-round upset of Chicago.
Lack, the goaltender on the 2011 AHL All-Rookie Team, has a record of 53-43-7 with 10 shutouts in 105 AHL contests. He originally signed as a free agent with Vancouver in April 2010 before re-upping this past offseason.
FIVE TO WATCH
Match-ups to look forward to in the week ahead:
• Houston at Oklahoma City, Friday and Saturday (8 ET) – With 2010 first-overall selection Taylor Hall reportedly ready to return from injury and join the Barons, Oklahoma City could have as many as six former first-round draft picks in the lineup as Houston comes to town this weekend. The Aeros won the first meeting of the season between the teams, a 6-4 decision on Oct. 26.
• Hershey at Springfield, Friday (7 ET) – Two historic AHL cities do battle on Friday night as Hershey visits Springfield. The Falcons, atop the Eastern Conference at 5-1-0-1, have allowed more than two goals in a game (excluding shootouts) just once, with Curtis McElhinney (5-1-0, 1.51, .949) carrying the load in net.
• Toronto at Abbotsford, Thursday and Friday (10 ET) – The Marlies and Heat meet this weekend for the first time since last year’s Western Conference semifinals, won by Toronto four games to one. Abbotsford enters the weekend with just one regulation loss (4-1-0-2) on the young season; the Marlies are 3-2-0-1 to start defense of their conference championship.
• Lake Erie at Rockford, Saturday (8 ET) – Rockford, which enters the weekend on a four-game winning streak, entertains Lake Erie on Saturday night. It will be the third game in three nights in three cities for the Monsters, who open a seven-game road swing with visits to Peoria on Thursday and Milwaukee on Friday.
• Chicago at Charlotte, Sunday (3 ET) – After opening with nine straight road games, Charlotte makes its Time Warner Cable Arena season debut on Sunday afternoon against Chicago. The Wolves won five of eight meetings with the Checkers in 2011-12.
ON THE AIR
Here is this week’s broadcast schedule for national and regional TV and radio. All games are also streamed at AHL Live (ahllive.com).
Saturday – Rochester at Hamilton, 7 ET
Friday – Hamilton at Rochester, 7 ET
Saturday – Rochester at Hamilton, 7 ET
Time Warner Cable SportsChannel (Western NY)
Friday – Hamilton at Rochester, 7 ET
Friday – Chicago at Rockford, check listings
Sunday – Chicago at Charlotte, 20:00 GMT
SiriusXM NHL Network Radio (Sirius 207, XM 92)
Wednesday – Charlotte at Milwaukee, 8 ET
Thursday – Lake Erie at Peoria, 8 ET
Thursday – Toronto at Abbotsford, joined in progress
Friday – W-B/Scranton at Manchester, 7 ET
Friday – Toronto at Abbotsford, 10 ET
Saturday – Houston at Oklahoma City, 8 ET
Sunday – W-B/Scranton at Bridgeport, 3 ET
Sunday – Springfield at Connecticut, 7 ET
Oklahoma City defenseman Justin Schultz (6-6-12), Syracuse forward Cory Conacher (5-6-11), Connecticut forward Kyle Jean (4-5-9) and Abbotsford forward Roman Horak (7-1-8) have all picked up a point in each of their teams’ first seven games this season… Drayson Bowman (7-1-8) has scored a goal in six consecutive games, a Charlotte club record… Portland teammates Alexandre Bolduc and Rob Klinkhammer led all AHL skaters in scoring with seven points apiece in four games last week… The Pirates, who remain first in the league in goals scored (4.43 per game) but last in goals allowed (4.14 per game), have also allowed an AHL-high six shorthanded goals; Portland surrendered a league-most 15 shorthanded goals in 2011-12… Martin Jones (5-1-0, 1.84, .926) has played all six games for Manchester this season, stopping 137 of 148 shots… Rochester’s Frederick Roy, son of 1985 Calder Cup winning goalie Patrick Roy, notched his first professional point with an assist at Adirondack on Saturday… Adirondack (3-4-0-0) and Milwaukee (2-4-0-0) have both allowed the first goal in every game this season… Lake Erie, which begins a stretch of seven consecutive road games on Thursday, is 7-for-12 (58.3 percent) on the power play away from home this season… Rockford is 19-4-0-4 all-time vs. Grand Rapids after a 6-5 overtime victory on Saturday… A 3-2 loss in St. John’s on Saturday night was Norfolk’s first regular-season setback since Feb. 5, following 32 straight wins… Chicago has outscored its opponents 12-5 through the first two periods of games this season, but is being outscored 16-6 in the third… The Worcester Sharks welcomed their 1 millionth fan to the DCU Center on Sunday afternoon… The Sharks’ Roy Sommer will tie and then pass John Paddock (1,125) for third place on the AHL’s all-time games coached list this week; Sommer will coach game number 1,126 on Sunday vs. Manchester.