SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … News and notes from the week ending Nov. 25, 2012:
RECORDS ARE MADE TO BE BROKEN (OR TIED)
It was a busy week for the editors of the AHL Guide & Record Book.
Fifty-five years after Johnny Bower of the Cleveland Barons shut out opponents for 249 minutes and 51 seconds in the fall of 1957, his record for longest shutout streak finally fell to Barry Brust of the Abbotsford Heat on Saturday night in San Antonio.
Brust, whose own streak began on Oct. 20 and included shutouts of Toronto on Nov. 1 and Lake Erie on Nov. 13 and 14, surpassed the Hockey Hall of Famer Bower with 1:49 remaining the first period and kept the Rampage off the scoreboard until James Wright finally scored at 16:36 of the second. Brust’s record run ended at 268:17, the equivalent of more than 13 consecutive scoreless periods.
Brust, who finished Saturday’s 3-2 shootout win over the Rampage with 26 saves, is 5-0-0 for the Heat this season with a 0.59 goals-against average and a .978 save percentage, stopping 131 of 134 shots overall.
A day after Brust’s feat, Abbotsford was on the other end of a record performance in Houston, where rookie forward Jason Zucker tied an AHL mark for the fastest goal from the start of an overtime period. Zucker needed just five seconds of the extra frame to give the Aeros a 3-2 victory over the Heat, taking a feed from center Johan Larsson off the face-off and snapping a shot past Danny Taylor.
Zucker, a second-round draft pick by Minnesota in 2010, has nine goals and six assists for 15 points in 14 games with Houston this season. His quick goal tied the record set by Dave Saatzer of the Nova Scotia Voyageurs in 1980 and matched by Chris Corrinet of the Portland Pirates in 2002.
It was also the second quick finish for the Heat on the weekend. In Texas on Friday, Abbotsford defenseman Chris Breen scored eight seconds into overtime to give the Heat a 1-0 win over the Stars.
SCHULTZ STILL ROLLING
Oklahoma City’s Justin Schultz is already poised to make a serious run at the AHL record books himself. The 22-year-old rookie defenseman out of the University of Wisconsin has scored 10 goals and leads the entire AHL with 18 assists, 28 points and a plus-14 rating through his first 18 games as a professional.
Since rookie records began to be tracked in 1982, no defenseman has put up more than the 20 goals and 66 points recorded by John Slaney with the Baltimore Skipjacks in 1992-93. Slaney later scored 30 goals for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in 1999-2000 and Chris Snell totaled 74 assists and 96 points for the St. John’s Maple Leafs in 1993-94, establishing the overall standards for AHL defensemen.
Schultz is on pace for 42 goals and 118 points as the Barons approach the one-quarter mark of the season.
Entering the new week, eight AHL teams were led or co-led in scoring by rookies:
Oklahoma City – Justin Schultz (28 points)
Lake Erie – Mike Sgarbossa (17 points)
Abbotsford – Sven Baertschi (16 points)
San Antonio – Drew Shore (14 points, tied)
Milwaukee – Austin Watson (13 points, tied)
W-B/Scranton – Beau Bennett (13 points, tied)
Providence – Ryan Spooner (12 points)
Hamilton – Brendan Gallagher (10 points)
Eddie Pasquale didn’t confine his birthday celebration to the day he turned 22; it was a week-long event for the St. John’s netminder.
Pasquale, who had faced 40 shots in a game just once in 70 previous AHL appearances, was peppered three consecutive times last week and was more than up to the task. On his 22nd birthday last Tuesday, Pasquale made 45 saves as the IceCaps held off Hamilton, 3-1. He then stopped 38 of 40 shots in a 3-2 shootout loss to Providence on Saturday, but bounced back with a 40-save shutout of the Bruins on Sunday.
Binghamton’s Ben Bishop, who turned 26 on Wednesday, marked the occasion with a 46-save performance in the Senators’ 3-2 win over Toronto on Thursday night. Bishop’s teammate Mike Hoffman turned 23 on Saturday and celebrated with an assist vs. Bridgeport to snap seven-game scoring drought. Anton Rodin, who had two points in his previous 11 games, recorded three assists for Chicago against Milwaukee last Tuesday, a day before his 22nd birthday. And last Wednesday, Rockford’s Jimmy Hayes (two assists vs. Peoria) and Texas’s Antoine Roussel (shorthanded goal vs. Oklahoma City) both found the scoresheet on the day they turned 23.
FIVE TO WATCH
Match-ups to look forward to in the week ahead:
Rockford at Chicago, Wednesday (8 ET) – In-state rivals Rockford and Chicago hit the ice at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., for their fourth get-together of the season on Wednesday. The teams begin the week tied for second place in the Midwest Division, but the Wolves have had the better of the season series, winning each of their first three meetings.
Oklahoma City at Houston, Thursday and Friday (8:05 ET) – Houston, which won just two of 12 regular-season and playoff meetings with Oklahoma City last season, has already defeated the Barons twice in three tries on the road in 2012-13 as OKC makes its first visit of the year to the Toyota Center. The Aeros enter the two-game set with four wins in their last five; the Barons have won five in a row.
Toronto vs. Rochester, Friday (7:05 ET at Rochester) and Saturday (7 ET at Toronto) – North Division foes Toronto and Rochester meet four times in 16 days beginning with their home-and-home weekend set. The Marlies are 16-3-0-2 at the Blue Cross Arena since the start of the 2007-08 season, while the Americans are 11-4-1-1 in their last 17 visits to Ricoh Coliseum.
Syracuse at W-B/Scranton, Friday (7:05 ET) – Winners of nine straight away from home, Syracuse heads out for a three-game weekend road swing beginning Friday night in Wilkes-Barre. The Penguins, who have won 11 of their last 14 overall, were responsible for one of the Crunch’s three regulation losses all season, a 4-1 decision on Oct. 27.
Springfield vs. Manchester, Friday (7 ET at Manchester) and Saturday (7 ET at Springfield) – Division leaders Springfield and Manchester collide for a home-and-home series this weekend. The Monarchs have won 23 of the Falcons’ last 26 visits to the Verizon Wireless Arena and are 39-5-3-0 all-time at home against the Birds. Despite being winless in its last three games, Springfield is tied for the fewest regulation losses in the Eastern Conference (10-3-1-3).
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 Toronto, 7 ET
Wednesday – Rockford at Chicago, 01:00 GMT (Thu.)
Friday – Chicago at Milwaukee, 01:00 GMT (Sat.)
Sunday – Lake Erie at Toronto, 20:00 GMT
SiriusXM NHL Network Radio (Sirius 207, XM 92)
Tuesday – Texas at Rockford, 8 ET
Wednesday – Hershey at Norfolk, 7:15 ET
Thursday – Oklahoma City at Houston, 8 ET
Friday – St. John’s at Albany, 7 ET
Friday – Hamilton at Abbotsford, 10 ET
Saturday – Texas at Grand Rapids, 7 ET
Saturday – Hamilton at Abbotsford, 10 ET
Sunday – Portland at Manchester, 3 ET
Sunday – Syracuse at Binghamton, 5 ET
There have been 12 hat tricks and 43 shutouts recorded in the American Hockey League through Nov. 25:
Oklahoma City’s Taylor Hall (1-8-9), Jordan Eberle (5-2-7) and Justin Schultz (2-5-7) combined for eight goals and 23 points in three games last week… Rochester’s T.J. Brennan, whose nine goals and 17 points are second only to Schultz among AHL defensemen this season, scored two shorthanded goals in the Amerks’ 5-2 win over Albany on Nov. 23… Rookie J.T. Brown had one goal in his first 12 games for Syracuse this season before netting a hat trick in Sunday’s 6-1 win at Worcester… Hershey’s Jon DiSalvatore recorded his 500th career AHL point in Sunday’s 4-2 win over Toronto, becoming the 82nd player in AHL history to reach that plateau… Four of the last nine players to record their 500th AHL point have done so in a Bears uniform (DiSalvatore, Bryan Helmer, Alexandre Giroux, Keith Aucoin)… David Rundblad scored his first goal of the season for Portland on Saturday night at Worcester, then notched an assist and tallied the game-winning overtime goal at Manchester on Sunday… Since starting the season with four straight losses, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is 11-3-0-0 with all three losses coming to Hershey… Binghamton has allowed a league-low eight first-period goals in 16 games… Hamilton has given up the game’s first goal in 14 consecutive outings… Adirondack is the only team yet to participate in a shootout in 2012-13… In 37 times down a man on home ice this season, Abbotsford has allowed one power-play goal and scored two shorthanded markers.