Morning Skate: Bears, Stars ready for Game 4

Every game day from now until the end of the Calder Cup Playoffs, the AHL Morning Skate takes a spin around the AHL ice with recaps and previews, news and notes, facts and figures, and the top headlines from around the American Hockey League.

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2010 Calder Cup Finals – Series “O” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. W2-Texas Stars
Game 1 – Thu., June 3 – Texas 2, HERSHEY 1
Game 2 – Sat., June 5 – Texas 4, HERSHEY 3
Game 3 – Mon., June 7 – Hershey 6, TEXAS 3
Game 4 – Wed., June 9 – Hershey at Texas, 8:30
Game 5 – Fri., June 11 – Hershey at Texas, 8:30
*Game 6 – Mon., June 14 – Texas at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 7 – Wed., June 16 – Texas at Hershey, 7:00

*if necessary… All times Eastern

1. Hershey forward Andrew Gordon notched two goals and a game-high six shots as the Bears rallied for a critical 6-3 win at Texas in Game 3 of the Calder Cup Finals.

2. Mathieu Perreault scored twice to help Hershey cut its series deficit to 2-1.

3. Kyle Wilson registered his first two goals of the series for the Bears.

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 3 – Hershey at Texas, 8:30 (TEX leads series, 2-1)
Video Webcast: AHL Live (
TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic (DirecTV 642, Dish 424), ABC-27 Harrisburg
After getting in the win column with a come-from-behind victory on Monday, Hershey tries to even up the Calder Cup Finals tonight when the Bears take on Texas in Game 4… Hershey, which had totaled four goals in the first two games of the series, fell behind 3-1 after the first period of Game 3 but erupted for five unanswered goals over the final 40 minutes to come away with a 6-3 decision… A trio of Bears forwards – Andrew Gordon, Mathieu Perreault, and Kyle Wilson – each tallied two goals in the winning effort… Gordon now shows three goals in his last two games and 13 markers in just 14 playoff games overall (13-5-18), which ranks second in the AHL behind Stars rookie Jamie Benn’s 14 (14-12-26)… Perreault snapped a five-game goal-scoring drought with his pair but now has at least a point in four of his last five outings (2-3-5), and Wilson recorded his first multiple-goal performance since scoring twice at Binghamton on Mar. 17… Wilson’s second goal of the night came on the power play and snapped an 0-for-16 slide by Hershey with the man-advantage, a skid which dated back to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals vs. Manchester… Keith Aucoin recorded two more assists for the Bears, extending the AHL MVP’s league-leading total to 21 helpers overall (1-21-22), including at least one in 16 of 18 playoff games thus far… Hershey defenseman Karl Alzner, drafted fifth overall by the parent Washington Capitals in 2007, also registered two assists to snap a seven-game points drought… Francois Bouchard, who earned an assist on Monday, has a point in all three games of the Finals thus far (2-1-3)… Bears goaltender Michal Neuvirth allowed three goals on 11 shots in the first period but stopped all 19 he faced the rest of the way to pick up his league-leading 11th win of the postseason (11-4, 2.30, .911)… Prior to Monday night, each of the Bears’ last seven games had been decided by a one-goal margin since they took a 4-2 win over Manchester to open the conference finals… Texas scored first for the second straight game on Monday after allowing the first goal in its previous 11 outings… Andrew Hutchinson, Francis Wathier, and Raymond Sawada all netted first-period goals for the Stars, with Hutchinson’s coming on the power play and Wathier’s shorthanded… It marked Texas’ first shorthanded goal of the playoffs and the third given up by Hershey… Stars rookie Scott McCulloch is riding a three-game scoring streak (1-2-3) to begin the Finals, while fellow rookie Benn has an assist in two straight after being held without a point in the series opener… Monday marked the first time since a 6-3 loss to Peoria on Feb. 5 that Texas allowed as many as six goals in a game… Texas goaltender Matt Climie (7-4), who surrendered all six goals, saw his postseason goals-against average rise from 2.51 to 2.79, and his save percentage fall from .923 to .914… Hershey and Texas are both 7-2 when scoring the game’s first goal during the 2010 playoffs… The Stars are 0-2 in their last two home games and have not won in regulation at Cedar Park Center since May 7, a 5-3 win over Chicago in Game 5 of the West Division Finals; in between, Texas beat Hamilton twice in overtime in the conference finals.


1. Darren Haydar, 135
2. Willie Marshall, 119
3. Jason Krog, 118
4. Jody Gage, 110
5. Fred Glover, 104
6. Alexandre Giroux, 95

18(t). Keith Aucoin, 71

1. Darren Haydar, 59
2. Jody Gage, 51
3(t). Willie Marshall, 48
3(t). Fred Glover, 48
3(t). Alexandre Giroux, 48
6. Brad Smyth, 46
7(t). Jason Krog, 42

1(t). Darren Haydar, 76
1(t). Jason Krog, 76
3. Willie Marshall, 71
4. Mike Nykoluk, 62
5. Domenic Pittis, 61
6. Keith Aucoin, 60

14(t). Alexandre Giroux, 47

Games Played
1. Bryan Helmer, 135
2. Ken Gernander, 123
3. Fred Glover, 120
4. Jody Gage, 115

8(t). Alexandre Giroux, 109
Boyd Kane, 109


The Texas Stars picked a bad time to set multiple franchise records in Hershey’s 6-3 win in Game 3 of the Calder Cup finals. "We would like to keep the (score) low," Texas coach Glen Gulutzan said. "The first game, 2-1, is certainly what we’re looking for. We want to keep them under three goals, but it’s a tough thing. It’s a tough thing to do. They’re an excellent team."

The Hershey Bears finally uncaged their offense Monday. Now, the question is this: Can the Texas Stars find a way to pen it back up? After winning on the road in the first two games of the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup Championship finals, Texas let a two-goal lead evaporate into a 6-3 loss, in front of a Cedar Park Center record crowd of 7,014 fans. The Bears finally dialed in the same aggression that helped them lead the league in scoring this year.

Somewhere in the middle of the second period of Game 3 Monday, somewhere between urgency and desperation, Hershey coach Mark French made the ultimate team-first decision. And Bears 50-goal scorer Alexandre Giroux endured the ultimate team-first experience. With Hershey down two goals and Texas closing in on a 3-0 series lead in the Calder Cup finals, French bumped Giroux off Hershey’s top line that also features Keith Aucoin and Andrew Gordon, replacing him with Chris Bourque. It is hard to argue with the move.

The Hershey Bears were, by a fairly significant margin, the AHL’s best team in the regular season. It took two games and one period, but that team finally arrived at the Calder Cup finals. The Bears overcame a mistake-filled first period to score a 6-3 win over the Texas Stars and pull to within 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 will be Wednesday at Cedar Park Center. Hershey was the first team in AHL history to win 60 games in the regular season but had been put under wraps in the first two games of the series.

Faced with a must-win situation, the Hershey Bears got the job done on Monday night. Midway through Game 3 of the Calder Cup final series with the Texas Stars, he Bears’ offense roared to life. Five unanswered Hershey goals sparked a comeback, erased a 3-1 deficit and pushed the Bears to a 6-3 lead over the Stars. With the win, Hershey halved the Stars’ series lead to 2-1.

NHL teams are utilizing the American Hockey League for developing talent behind the bench as well as on the ice. Columbus’ hiring of Scott Arniel as its new coach on Tuesday continued the recent trend of NHL teams digging into the AHL for coaches as well as players, and Hamilton’s Guy Boucher reportedly is in line to follow Arniel to the NHL later this week.

Scott Arniel expected bad news when his cell phone rang around 2 p.m. Monday in Winnipeg. It was Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson calling. "I thought it was going to be ‘Thanks, but we have a coach.’ Instead, it was ‘We’d like to offer you the job,’” Arniel said. “On my end, there was silence for a few minutes." Arniel, who was introduced yesterday as the seventh coach in Blue Jackets franchise history, did not need those few minutes to deliberate, but to compose himself. "My jaw hit the floor," he said.

It was a phone call he’d been working towards for 10 years, and when it came Scott Arniel jumped in his truck and went straight to his wife’s business to share the news. “I gotta get a new suit for tomorrow,” Arniel told his better half, Lia, who was there with their son, Brendan. And with that, yet another Manitoba Moose head coach has made the jump to the big leagues. If you’re scoring at home, that’s three in a row: Randy Carlyle with the Ducks, Alain Vigneault to the Canucks, now Arniel to the Blue Jackets.

IF THE JACKETS FIT, WEAR IT – Winnipeg Free Press
Scott Arniel finally determined he was ready and the Columbus Blue Jackets agreed. Arniel, named head coach of the Jackets by GM Scott Howson in Columbus on Tuesday, has been aiming towards this day for 11 years. A former player with both the Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba Moose as well as an assistant coach and then head coach with the Moose, Arniel always spoke about taking an NHL position when it felt right.

The Columbus Blue Jackets announced on Wednesday that they have hired former Manitoba Moose coach Scott Arniel as their new head coach… Arniel accumulated a 181-122-17 record in four seasons as the Moose’s bench boss, and he won the Louis A.R. Pieri Award as AHL Coach of the Year in 2008-09 as Manitoba earned the AHL’s regular-season title and a berth in the 2009 Calder Cup Finals.

12-17 – Hershey’s total goals-for and goals-against in the first period of its 18 playoff games thus far

33-17 – Hershey’s total goals-for and goals-against in the third period and overtime of its 18 playoff games thus far

7,014 – Attendance at Game 3 on Monday night, the highest for a game at the Cedar Park Center this season.

June 9, 2009 – Giant Center is bursting at the seams in anticipation of seeing the Bears win the Calder Cup, but Cory Schneider makes 31 saves and Manitoba forces a Game 6 with a 3-2 win over Hershey.

June 9, 2003Tomas Plekanec and Jason Ward score first-period goals and Ty Conklin finishes with 36 saves as Hamilton pushes the Calder Cup Finals to the limit with a 2-1 win over Houston in Game 6 at Copps Coliseum.

June 9, 1999 – Steven King scores 55 seconds into the third overtime as Providence takes a 3-0 lead in the Calder Cup Finals with a 3-2 win in Rochester.

June 9, 1997Ralph Intranuovo and Jeff Daw score 1:51 apart in the third period as Hamilton downs Hershey, 2-1, in Game 3 of the Calder Cup Finals.

June 9, 1996Scott Nichol’s overtime goal gives Rochester a 5-4 win over Portland and a 3-2 series lead in the Calder Cup Finals.

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