Central Division repeats as Challenge champions

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ALLENTOWN, Pa. … Grand Rapids Griffins forward Matt Lorito scored in the fourth shootout round to give the Central Division a 1-0 win in the championship game of the 2017 AHL All-Star Challenge at a sold-out PPL Center on Monday night.


The AHL All-Star Challenge is a round-robin tournament among the league’s four divisions, played at 3-on-3. The first six games are 10 minutes in length, followed by the six-minute championship final. The victory was the second in as many years for the Central Division, which prevailed over the Atlantic Division in this year’s final contest.

Lorito, Cleveland Monsters forward Oliver Bjorkstrand and Iowa Wild forward Alex Tuch all had two goals and an assist for the Central Division on the night, and Michael Leighton of the Charlotte Checkers and Anton Forsberg of the Cleveland Monsters split the goaltending duties for the victors.

Taylor Leier of the hometown Lehigh Valley Phantoms was named the most valuable player of the All-Star Challenge, leading the Atlantic Division with three goals on the evening. Chris Bourque of the Hershey Bears led all scorers with five points (one goal, four assists), and Providence Bruins goaltender Zane McIntyre had an event-best .923 save percentage (12 saves on 13 shots) for the Atlantic.

Justin Bailey of the Rochester Americans paced the North Division with two goals and two assists, and San Jose Barracuda rookie Daniel O’Regan tallied three goals for the Pacific Division.

The road to the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs continues when the American Hockey League’s 81st season resumes on Thursday.

2017 AHL All-Star Challenge Results
Game 1 – Atlantic Division 2, Central Division 1
Game 2 – North Division 6, Pacific Division 3
Game 3 – Central Division 2, North Division 1 (SO)
Game 4 – Atlantic Division 6, Pacific Division 1
Game 5 – Central Division 5, Pacific Division 3
Game 6 – Atlantic Division 2, North Division 0
Championship – Central Division 1, Atlantic Division 0 (SO)