SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The 2011-12 American Hockey League season continued with a busy second weekend, and only three teams managed to get through the first 10 days of the new campaign unscathed.
The Milwaukee Admirals are the only team in the Western Conference without a defeat to date, opening the year with three victories. The Admirals, who have registered at least 40 wins and 90 points in each of their last eight seasons, have a new head coach in Kirk Muller and the fourth-youngest roster in the league (as of opening night), including rookie defenseman and 2009 first-round draft choice (11th overall) Ryan Ellis. With wins in Peoria and Chicago to start the season, Milwaukee has extended its own AHL record by earning standings points in 18 consecutive regular-season road games (12-0-4-2).
In the Eastern Conference, the Syracuse Crunch had been idle until hitting the ice for their first game on Friday, and came out of the weekend with a 2-0-0-0 record. Second-year pro Kyle Palmieri led the Crunch with four goals and six points over the weekend, scoring the overtime goal in Friday’s 5-4 win at Binghamton and recording a hat trick in Saturday’s 6-2 decision over Adirondack. Patrick Maroon (2-3-5) notched five points and earned a recall by the parent Anaheim Ducks, and Nick Bonino added 1-4-5 as the Crunch got off to their best start since opening the 2008-09 season with three wins.
The Worcester Sharks have allowed just two goals in their first two games, resulting in a 2-0-0-0 mark for the first time since 2007-08. Tyson Sexsmith stopped 34 of 36 shots combined in a 4-1 win over Providence on Oct. 9 and a 6-1 victory over Albany on Oct. 15, and 16 different Sharks skaters recorded at least one point, led by Benn Ferriero (2-1-3), Mike Connolly (1-2-3), Matt Irwin (1-2-3), John McCarthy (0-3-3) and Nick Petrecki (0-3-3) with three each. The two wins give head coach Roy Sommer 480 victories for his AHL career, fourth all-time.
SCHENN-SATIONAL START … Adirondack Phantoms forward Brayden Schenn is the top scoring rookie in the AHL through two weeks, with four goals and four assists to his credit in four games. Schenn recorded the first hat trick of his professional career on Friday night, part of a four-point effort that helped the Phantoms to a 6-3 victory over Bridgeport.
Selected fifth overall by Los Angeles in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, the 20-year-old Schenn was acquired by the Philadelphia Flyers in the Mike Richards trade on June 23, 2011.
TURNING THE TABLES … On Oct. 9, Texas opened its season with a 7-0 rout of Oklahoma City at the Cedar Park Center, blitzing the Barons with four power-play goals and finishing with a 37-21 advantage in shots. Fortunately for Oklahoma City, a chance for payback was just six days away.
The Stars were the guests for the Barons’ home opener on Oct. 15, and OKC returned the favor to the tune of a 10-1 victory in which the Barons scored six times in the second period and held a 9-0 lead after 40 minutes. It was part of a three-win weekend that saw Oklahoma City defeat West Division foes San Antonio, Texas and Houston within a 48-hour span.
MORE A’s FOR AUCOIN … Hershey Bears forward Keith Aucoin reached another impressive plateau on Saturday night, becoming just the ninth player in AHL history with 500 career assists. The milestone helper was his third of four in a 6-5 overtime loss to Norfolk, the ninth game of his AHL career with at least four assists.
Aucoin’s career totals are up to 214 goals and 501 assists for 715 points in 634 career AHL games. The AHL’s MVP and scoring champion in 2009-10 and a two-time Calder Cup winner with the Bears, Aucoin has also appeared in five AHL All-Star Classics and has earned postseason AHL All-Star honors five times (First Team in 2008-09 and 2009-10; Second Team in 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2010-11).
ETC. … Reebok/AHL Player of the Week Kyle Palmieri’s quick start for Syracuse (4-2-6 in two games) comes after he tallied 15-5-20 in his final 14 games for the Crunch last season… Charlotte’s Jon Matsumoto (3-6-9) and Springfield’s Nick Drazenovic (2-7-9) sit atop the AHL’s scoring leaderboard entering the new week… Carl Klingberg had a hat trick in a 6-2 St. John’s win over Hamilton on Saturday, the first home victory in IceCaps history… Adirondack forward Denis Hamel’s goal at Syracuse on Saturday was the 317th of his AHL career, moving him past AHL Hall of Famer Bruce Boudreau on the all-time list; Hamel added two more goals at Bridgeport on Sunday, tying Fred Thurier for 14th place (319)… Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Bryan Lerg scored a 3-on-5 shorthanded goal in the Penguins’ 5-1 win over Rochester on Thursday; it was the first goal scored by an AHL team while down two men since Feb. 27, 2011 (Colton Gillies, Houston)… Rookie goaltender Keith Kinkaid got the call in net for Albany on Friday and Sunday; in between, he backed up Johan Hedberg in New Jersey’s game at Nashville on Saturday night… Lance Bouma (Friday) and Ben Walter (Sunday) were both awarded penalty shots for Abbotsford over the weekend, but Rockford goalie Alec Richards stopped them both… Philippe Cornet, who scored seven goals in 60 games as a rookie last season, scored three times in two weekend games for Oklahoma City, including both markers in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Houston… Connecticut forward Kris Newbury (4-4-8), recalled by the N.Y. Rangers after Saturday night’s game, had a hand in each of the Whale’s first eight goals this season… Binghamton (2-2-1-0) has trailed heading into the third period of all five games this season; the Senators won just one game all of last regular season when behind after 40 minutes (1-20-2-0)… Norfolk’s first four games of the season have seen a total of 41 goals scored; Abbotsford’s first four games have produced 16 goals… Friday night’s capacity crowd at Van Andel Arena (10,834) marked the 16th consecutive year that Grand Rapids has sold out its home opener… Eight different players shared the AHL scoring lead for the week of Oct. 10-16, recording six points apiece… Hamilton is 5-for-9 on the power play (55.6 percent) through three games… Chicago is winless through four games (0-2-0-2) for the first time in franchise history… At 1-2-0-0, Texas is under .500 for the first time since Oct. 2, 2009, when it began its inaugural season with a loss.