Familiar faces in Springfield today

The Manitoba Moose became the final AHL team to open their 2007-08 schedule on Thursday, dropping a 4-2 decision to Grand Rapids at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg… Carl Corazzini and Johan Ryno each posted a goal and an assist for the Griffins, while the Moose received goals from Jimmy Sharrow and Shaun Heshka.

Wed 10/10
No games scheduled

Thu 10/11

Grand Rapids 4, MANITOBA 2

It promises to be a celebratory atmosphere in Hamilton on Friday night, when the Bulldogs hold their home opener against Rochester and raise their 2006-07 Calder Cup championship banner to the rafters of Copps Coliseum, where they clinched the title on June 7… Hamilton returns 13 players from the championship team for 2007-08, including leading postseason scorer Corey Locke (10-12-22 in 22 games), a 2006 AHL All-Star who is now in his fourth season with the team… The Bulldogs kicked off their title defense, and the season series against Rochester, with a 3-2 overtime win last Sunday at Blue Cross Arena, with third-year pro Maxim Lapierre scoring a pair of goals, including the game-winner just 39 seconds into the extra session… The Amerks enter town with a 1-1-1-0 record and are led by winger Anthony Stewart (2-1-3), a first-round pick by Florida in 2003.

Manchester and Hartford kick off their eight-game season series on Friday evening at the Verizon Wireless Arena… The teams finished first and second, respectively, in the Atlantic Division a season ago, but both are looking for their first win of the new campaign… The Monarchs, who play 18 of their first 19 games against divisional foes, are 0-1-1-0 on the young season… Second-year pro Gabe Gauthier leads the Manchester offense thus far with a goal and an assist (1-1-2)… Hartford lost its season opener at home to Bridgeport, 3-2, on Oct. 6… Rookie Jordan Owens scored a goal in the losing effort, as did Wolf Pack returnee Corey Potter… The Wolf Pack begin a season-high four-game road stretch tonight that also sends them to Syracuse, Hamilton, and Toronto – all teams that Hartford did not play in 2006-07.

Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton play a home-and-home Saturday and Sunday, which will make it three meetings between the intra-state rivals in the season’s first two weeks… The Phantoms downed the Penguins, 4-1, in the first match-up last Sunday at Wachovia Spectrum on the back of three points (1-2-3) from third-year pro Stefan Ruzicka, who recorded 13 points in 40 games for the parent Flyers last season… Philadelphia enters the weekend tied for the AHL’s top power play at 33.3 percent through two games, including a 3-for-8 showing against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton… The Penguins boast reigning Rbk/AHL Player of the Week Tyler Kennedy, a second-year pro who had five points (3-2-5) in three games last week, including a pair of game-winning goals.

(all times Eastern)
Fri 10/12
Syracuse @ Binghamton, 7:05… Hartford @ Manchester, 7:05… Albany @ Philadelphia, 7:05… Portland @ Springfield, 7:30… Norfolk @ Bridgeport, 7:30… Lake Erie @ Toronto, 7:30… Rochester @ Hamilton, 7:30… Quad City @ Milwaukee, 8:00… Peoria @ San Antonio, 8:00… Houston @ Iowa, 8:07

Sat 10/13
Norfolk @ Albany, 7:00… Hershey @ Binghamton, 7:05… Philadelphia @ W-B/Scranton, 7:05… Portland @ Worcester, 7:05… Springfield @ Manchester, 7:05… Bridgeport @ Lowell, 7:05… Hamilton @ Lake Erie, 7:30… Hartford @ Syracuse, 7:30… Providence @ Rochester, 7:35… Milwaukee @ Chicago, 8:00… Rockford @ Iowa, 8:07… Grand Rapids @ Manitoba, 8:30… Peoria @ Houston, 8:35

Sun 10/14
Norfolk @ Springfield, 4:00… Portland @ Lowell, 4:05… Toronto @ Lake Erie, 5:00… W-B/Scranton @ Philadelphia, 6:05

Mon 10/15
No games scheduled

Tue 10/16
Iowa @ Lake Erie, 7:00… Rockford @ San Antonio, 8:00… Rochester @ Manitoba, 8:30

In his NHL debut on Wednesday, 2007 Calder Cup Playoffs MVP Carey Price made 26 saves in Montreal’s 3-2 win at Pittsburgh… Fellow netminder Brian Elliott also made his first NHL start on Wednesday, stopping 28 shots for Ottawa in a 3-1 victory over Atlanta… Simon Gamache, a 2005 AHL-All-Star who began this season with the Toronto Marlies, celebrated a recall to the Maple Leafs with a goal and an assist in the Leafs’ 8-1 victory over the N.Y. Islanders on Thursday.

472 — Regular-season games played by the Providence Bruins since their last visit to the Blue Cross Arena, a 3-1 win on Nov. 2, 2001… The B’s are back in Rochester to face off with the Americans this Saturday night.