CALDER CUP UPDATE:
A huge night of Calder Cup Playoff action is on tap, with four teams trying to advance to the second round and one pivotal Game 5 of an emotional series in Winnipeg… Manitoba hosts Syracuse tonight (7:30 CT) having evened up their North Division semifinal with back-to-back wins, including Wednesday’s 6-2 victory that featured 306 minutes in penalties… The Moose scored five power-play goals in the win, their eighth in 10 all-time postseason games at the MTS Centre… Josh Green has five points in Manitoba’s two victories… Wade Flaherty needed just 15 saves in the Game 4 win, upping his playoff record to 26-11 over the last three springs… Syracuse has not lost three straight non-shootout games since early November.
Bridgeport can put away East Division champion Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with a win on home ice in Game 6 tonight (7:35 ET), but the Penguins have had success here before, with a 6-4 record all-time when facing elimination… The Sound Tigers have never won a Game 6 (0-3)… The road team has won every game of this series, each by a single goal… Bridgeport’s Masi Marjamaki has two game-winning goals in the series, including the overtime marker in Game 5… Maxime Talbot and Jonathan Filewich share the Pens’ scoring lead with four points each… The teams are a combined 5-for-57 on the power play (8.8%).
Only 10 teams in AHL history had ever forced a Game 6 after trailing a series three games to none, and only two teams had ever won back-to-back overtime games when facing playoff elimination… Providence joined both elite groups with its 5-4 OT win last night, closing the gap to 3-2 in its Atlantic Division semifinal with Portland… Game 6 is tonight back in Rhode Island (7:05 ET), with the Pirates reeling from consecutive losses for the first time since Feb. 4-8… Eric Healey was the OT hero for the Bruins in Game 5, as Providence improved to 14-6 all-time in playoff overtime games… Forward Zenon Konopka (4g, 5a) and defenseman Shane O’Brien (3g, 6a) both have points in all five games in the series for Portland.
Iowa kept its inaugural season alive with a 5-1 win over Milwaukee last night; the Admirals return home to try to close it out in Game 6 tonight (7:00 CT)… David Oliver scored two of the Stars’ four third-period goals last night and Mike Smith finished with 36 saves as Milwaukee lost for the fourth straight time when trying to finish up a series… Janos Vas and Kyle Brodziak each recorded two assists in the Game 5 win… Playing in his second career AHL game, Dan Hacker scored what proved to be the game-winning goal… Simon Gamache scored the only goal of the night for the Admirals, his league-leading fifth of the series.
Darryl Bootland’s redirection of a Jiri Hudler shot with 1:19 left in regulation gave Grand Rapids a 3-2 win and a 3-1 series lead at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto last night… Game 5 is this evening back at Ricoh Coliseum (7:30 ET), with the top-seeded Griffins looking to win its first playoff series in three years… Kent McDonell and Donald MacLean also scored for Grand Rapids, and Drew MacIntyre made 33 saves in his playoff debut after Jimmy Howard earned an NHL recall to Detroit… Jay Harrison and Brad Leeb scored for the Marlies, and John Pohl recorded two assists.
In last night’s other AHL action, Chris Holt made 29 saves in his postseason debut as Hartford staved off elimination with a 3-1 win in Manchester… Game 7 is tomorrow at the Hartford Civic Center.
In Thursday’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, 1993 Calder Cup finalist Sean O’Donnell scored the winner in Anaheim’s 3-2 OT victory over Calgary… Two-time AHL All-Star Ray Emery made 30 saves as Ottawa beat Tampa Bay, 5-2… Mathieu Schneider had three assists in Detroit’s 4-2 win at Edmonton… 2006 AHL All-Star Patrick Rissmiller scored his first NHL playoff goal to help San Jose beat Nashville, 5-4.
AHL ON B2 NETWORKS:
B2 Networks brings all the action of the 2006 Calder Cup Playoffs to your computer with live video webcasts of every game… Click here for details.