AHL Weekly Release

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … News and notes from the week ending Nov. 4, 2012:

The American Hockey League record book was rewritten on Thursday night in Abbotsford when the hometown Heat scored the fastest two goals by one team in AHL history.

Only three seconds elapsed between the third-period shorthanded goals by Steve McCarthy and Ben Street as the Heat broke a scoreless tie en route to a 3-0 win over the Toronto Marlies. After McCarthy broke in and scored, Street won the ensuing faceoff, swatting the puck from center ice all the way down and past Marlies goaltender Ben Scrivens.

The previous record for fastest two goals by one team was five seconds, last accomplished on Mar. 30, 2003, when Jeff Panzer and Aris Brimanis scored to help the Worcester IceCats erase a 6-1 third-period deficit in what would be a 7-6 overtime victory over Manchester.

Officially, the fastest two goals ever scored in the AHL came on Mar. 7, 2004, when Peter Ferraro’s goal for the Springfield Falcons with 3.0 seconds remaining in the third period was countered by Christian Laflamme’s empty-net buzzer-beater for the IceCats.

Abbotsford wasn’t the only team making the best of shorthanded situations on Thursday night. In Peoria, the Rivermen scored twice on the same disadvantage early in the third period of what would be a 4-3 shootout loss to Lake Erie. Adam Cracknell and Andrew Murray scored the Rivermen’s first two shorthanded goals of the season 1:12 apart.

By the end of the week, 42 shorthanded goals had been scored in the AHL this season. Twenty-four teams had scored at least one, the Binghamton Senators leading the way having scored four times while down a man. Oklahoma City’s Justin Schultz and Texas’s Cody Eakin are tied for the league lead among individual skaters with two shorthanded goals each.

Sparked by a pair of players facing their former mates for the first time, the Springfield Falcons became the first AHL team in more than a year to put double digits up on the scoreboard in a 10-2 win at Connecticut on Sunday.

The Falcons’ Tim Erixon, who skated in 52 games for the Whale last season and tied for the team scoring lead among defensemen, notched a goal, three assists and a plus-6 rating in his return to Hartford. A first-round draft choice by Calgary in 2009, Erixon was acquired by Columbus as part of the deal that sent Rick Nash to the N.Y. Rangers on July 23. Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, who signed as a free agent with Columbus during the offseason, had a goal and two assists for the Falcons; Audy-Marchessault owned a share of the Whale’s scoring lead with 64 points as a rookie in 2011-12.
Ryan Johansen, the fourth overall pick in the 2010 NHL draft, scored twice for Springfield, as did Nick Drazenovic. Those were the Falcons’ first two-goal efforts of the season.

The Falcons’ 10 goals, the second-highest output in team history, were the most scored by any AHL team since Oct. 15, 2011, when Oklahoma City defeated Texas, 10-1, and the most by a road team since Grand Rapids’ 10-8 win at Chicago on Nov. 27, 2010. The 10 goals allowed and eight-goal margin of defeat were both Whale franchise records.

A pair of third-period comebacks highlighted the AHL schedule on Saturday night.

In Hamilton, the Bulldogs trailed Rochester by two goals with a little over 10 minutes remaining before they scored four times in 5:19 on their way to a 4-3 victory over the visiting Americans. Blake Geoffrion had two goals in the outburst, Brendan Gallagher had a goal and an assist, Mike Blunden scored the go-ahead goal and 2011 first-round draft choice Nathan Beaulieu recorded an assist for his first professional point.

Meanwhile in Oklahoma City, the Barons let a 3-0 lead slip away when Houston’s David McIntyre, Chay Genoway and Joel Broda scored in a span of 2:44 midway through the third period; Zack Phillips and Justin Fontaine would later convert in the shootout to give the Aeros a 4-3 victory.

Saturday was actually the second consecutive night in which Houston erased a 3-0 third-period deficit to Oklahoma City. On Friday, Jordan Eberle’s second goal of the game with 6:16 left in regulation allowed the Barons to escape with a 4-3 win after Mikael Granlund, Johan Larsson and Charlie Coyle had tied it up for the Aeros.

Match-ups to look forward to in the week ahead:

St. John’s at Manchester, Wednesday (7 ET) – Allowing a league-low 1.88 goals per game, Manchester entertains St. John’s in an Atlantic Division tilt on Wednesday night. The Monarchs, who spent much of last season chasing the IceCaps for the division title, won the last three meetings between the clubs in 2011-12 after losing the first five.

Toronto at Houston, Thursday (8 ET) – The last two Western Conference champions meet at Toyota Center as the Marlies continue a seven-game road stretch by kicking off a four-game, four-city trip through Texas and Oklahoma.

Connecticut at Springfield, Friday (7 ET) – Connecticut travels the 26 miles up Interstate 91 to the MassMutual Center to face off against Springfield, just five days after the Falcons’ 10-2 win over the Whale back in Hartford. This will be the 156th regular-season meeting between the clubs all-time.

Rockford at Grand Rapids, Friday (7 ET) – Winners of five of their last six games, the IceHogs visit the Griffins on Friday night. Rockford won its first trip to Van Andel Arena back on Oct. 27, prevailing in a back-and-forth affair for a 6-5 overtime decision.

Oklahoma City at Abbotsford, Friday and Saturday (10 ET) – The Battle of Alberta comes to the AHL as the top development teams of the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames meet for a pair of games. While the Barons’ roster has been garnering most of the headlines, the Heat (6-1-0-2) enter the week tied for the best record in the AHL and are 5-0-0-1 on home ice.

Here is this week’s broadcast schedule for national and regional TV and radio. All games are also streamed at AHL Live (ahllive.com).

Sportsnet (all regions)
Saturday – Oklahoma City at Abbotsford, 10 ET

TVA Sports
Wednesday – Syracuse at Hamilton, 7:30 ET
Friday – Syracuse vs. Hamilton, 7:30 ET (at Montreal)

ESPN America
Tuesday – Chicago at Charlotte, 00:00 GMT

SiriusXM NHL Network Radio (Sirius 207, XM 92)
Tuesday – Chicago at Charlotte, 7 ET
Wednesday – Syracuse at Hamilton, 7:30 ET
Thursday – Toronto at Houston, 8 ET
Friday – Connecticut at Springfield, 7 ET
Friday – Oklahoma City at Abbotsford, 10 ET
Saturday – Norfolk at Binghamton, 7 ET
Saturday – Oklahoma City at Abbotsford, 10 ET
Sunday – Worcester at Providence, 3 ET
Sunday – Texas at Houston, 6 ET

Taylor Hall, the first overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, scored 38 seconds into his AHL debut for Oklahoma City on Friday night vs. Houston… Petr Mrazek made his AHL debut with Grand Rapids last weekend and stopped 59 of 61 shots in road wins over Texas and Houston… David Leggio’s string of 35 consecutive regular-season and playoff starts in goal for Rochester ended when rookie Connor Knapp got the call at Hamilton on Saturday… Wilkes-Barre/Scranton forward Paul Thompson notched a natural hat trick on Sunday afternoon, scoring three consecutive goals in the second period of the Penguins’ 5-3 win at Bridgeport… Roman Horak’s natural hat trick for Abbotsford on Friday night vs. Toronto gave the second-year pro 10 goals in his first nine games of the season… After allowing 18 goals in his first three starts of the season, Portland’s Chad Johnson has stopped 96 of 98 shots during his current three-game winning streak; Johnson avenged an 8-7 overtime loss at St. John’s on Oct. 23 by shutting out the IceCaps on Oct. 24 and again on Nov. 2… Hershey captain Boyd Kane appeared in his 300th regular-season game for the Bears on Saturday night at Bridgeport, becoming the 41st player to reach that milestone for the franchise… Springfield, which has allowed a total of eight even-strength goals in nine games, does not have a single skater with a plus/minus rating worse than even this season… Adirondack did not take a lead into an intermission in any of its first eight games; the Phantoms then scored once in the first, once in the second and twice more in the third period of a 4-0 win over Albany on Saturday… The Devils set a franchise record by limiting Connecticut to 16 shots in Friday’s 2-1 shootout loss… Worcester’s Roy Sommer coached his 1,126th regular-season game on Sunday, passing John Paddock for third place all-time behind only Frank Mathers (1,256) and Fred “Bun” Cook (1,171)… The Hamilton Bulldogs host the Syracuse Crunch on Friday night at the Bell Centre on Montreal.