Morning Skate: Game 2 in the East tonight

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.

Game 1 – HAMILTON 3, Texas 2 (HAM leads series, 1-0)

1. David Desharnais tallied a goal and assisted on Hamilton’s other two markers as the Bulldogs earned a 3-2 overtime win over Texas in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

2. Texas rookie Jamie Benn notched his team-leading ninth and 10th goals of the playoffs, both on the power play.

3. Brock Trotter registered the game-winner on the power play just 14 seconds into overtime.

Game 2 – Manchester at Hershey, 7:00 (HER leads series, 1-0)

Complete Results II Scoring Leaders II Goaltending Leaders

Eastern Conference Finals – Series “M” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. A3-Manchester Monarchs

Game 1 – Wed., May 12 – HERSHEY 4, Manchester 2
Game 2 – Sat., May 15 – Manchester at Hershey, 7:00
Game 3 – Mon., May 17 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:00
Game 4 – Tue., May 18 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:00
*Game 5 – Thu., May 20 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sat., May 22 – Manchester at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 7 – Sun., May 23 – Manchester at Hershey, 5:00

Western Conference Finals – Series “N” (best-of-7)
N1-Hamilton Bulldogs vs. W2-Texas Stars
Game 1 – Fri., May 14 – HAMILTON 3, Texas 2
Game 2 – Sun., May 16 – Texas at Hamilton, 2:00
Game 3 – Wed., May 19 – Hamilton at Texas, 8:30
Game 4 – Fri., May 21 – Hamilton at Texas, 8:30
*Game 5 – Sat., May 22 – Hamilton at Texas, 8:00
*Game 6 – Mon., May 24 – Texas at Hamilton, 7:30
*Game 7 – Wed., May 26 – Texas at Hamilton, 7:30

*if necessary… All times Eastern

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 2 – Manchester at Hershey, 7:00 (HER leads series, 1-0)
Video Webcast: AHL Live
After a pair of days off, Hershey and Manchester resume the Eastern Conference Finals with Game 2 tonight at Giant Center… The Bears earned their sixth consecutive victory with a 4-2 triumph in Wednesday’s series-opener, improving Hershey to 9-1 overall this postseason… Hershey is a perfect 6-0 at home in the playoffs and has won 11 straight and a remarkable 35 of its last 36 games at Giant Center dating back to the regular season… The Bears’ only home loss in that span was a 4-3 setback to Adirondack on Mar. 21; prior to that, Hershey hadn’t lost on home ice since dropping a 5-4 shootout decision to the Phantoms back on Nov. 28… Forwards Andrew Gordon and Steve Pinizzotto joined defensemen Sean Collins and Karl Alzner in tallying Game 1 goals for the Bears… Collins’ marker, which was his first of the postseason, came just 16 seconds after the opening face-off… Gordon registered his 10th goal of the playoffs (10-5-15), tying him with linemate Alexandre Giroux (10-8-18) for the league lead… Giroux and Keith Aucoin assisted on Gordon’s Game 1 marker; Giroux is now on a six-game scoring streak (5-5-10), while Aucoin now has at least one helper in all 10 playoff games thus far (1-13-14)… Two-time Calder Cup champion Chris Bourque picked up an assist for Hershey to run his own scoring streak to six games (4-9-13), and Mathieu Perreault shows a point in three straight (2-3-5) after going scoreless in his previous four outings… Hershey goaltender Michal Neuvirth stopped 24 of 26 shots on Wednesday and improved to a perfect 7-0 (2.36, .895) this postseason… The Monarchs, who dropped Game 1 on the road for the second consecutive round, received markers from rookie Andrei Loktionov and Gabe Gauthier, the latter closing the game’s scoring after Hershey had built a 4-1 edge… Loktionov’s goal was his first ever in the Calder Cup Playoffs after totaling nine goals and 24 points in 29 AHL games during an injury-plagued regular season… Gauthier, meanwhile, has netted a goal in four of his last five games and shows a point in all five of those contests (4-1-5)… Manchester leading scorer Bud Holloway (6-5-11) went without a point on Wednesday for the first time in 11 postseason games… Monarchs goaltender Jonathan Bernier is now 0-3 in these playoffs when he allows three or more goals, but he’s a perfect 8-0 when he surrenders two or fewer goals… Manchester is now 0-5 lifetime in the conference finals, all against the Bears… In the AHL’s conference finals round, the Game 1 winner has gone on to win 13 of 14 series over the last seven postseasons; the one exception in that span occurred last spring, when Hershey eliminated Providence in five games after falling in the series opener.


1. Darren Haydar, 135
2. Willie Marshall, 119
3. Jason Krog, 118
4. Jody Gage, 110
5. Fred Glover, 104
6. Bob Solinger, 92
7(t).Alexandre Giroux, 91

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

Games Played
1. Bryan Helmer, 127
2. Ken Gernander, 123
3. Fred Glover, 120
4. Jody Gage, 115

14(t). Alexandre Giroux, 101
Boyd Kane, 101


Brock Trotter had no pressing matters to attend to but was in a hurry to get the overtime done with nevertheless. The Hamilton winger scored just 14 seconds into sudden-death overtime to lift the Bulldogs to a 3-2 win over the Texas Stars at Copps Coliseum last night in the opening game of the AHL Western Conference final. "It ended pretty quickly and I’m happy it did," said Trotter, adding it took him longer to take off his soaking wet equipment after the game than it did to score the winning goal.

Overtime wasn’t friendly to the Texas Stars Friday night. The club fought back from a slow start to force an extra period before losing 3-2 to the Hamilton Bulldogs in the Stars’ first-ever conference final playoff game in the American Hockey League playoffs. The sudden-death blow came quickly as the Bulldogs scored 14 seconds into the extra period. The hometown Bulldogs had a man advantage and two Star defenders fell down in their own end, allowing Brock Trotter to bang a puck past a beleaguered goaltender Matt Climie.

While Hamilton lost their stud defenseman P.K. Subban in the middle of the playoffs, other AHL teams have been gaining players from their NHL parent teams as they have been eliminated. "We’re the only team in the AHL that’s still alive that has a parent club playing in the playoffs in the NHL," said Bulldogs head coach Guy Boucher. Hamilton led the AHL in player call-ups this year with 17. The next highest teams were the Albany River Rats (Carolina’s affiliate) and the Hershey Bears (Washington) who each had 15 players suit up in both leagues.

The hope in Monarchs Country is that opening night jitters are past. The Manchester Monarchs will play at Hershey tonight in Game 2 of the AHL Eastern Conference Finals at 7 p.m. Hershey leads the series 1-0 after a 4-2 win on Wednesday night. Manchester fell behind just 16 seconds into the game in front of nearly 8,000 rabid Bears fans. Coach Mark Morris hinted that the Monarchs, many of whom are rookies playing in their first professional playoff run, might have been a little overwhelmed playing in Hershey, where 10 championship banners hang from the rafters.

Shoulder injuries aren’t known to be a contagious problem, but Hershey Bears roommates Greg Amadio and Patrick McNeill suffered them on consecutive Saturdays in April. McNeill was hurt on April 17 in Game 3 of the Bridgeport series. Fellow defenseman Amadio went down on April 24 in Game 1 of the Albany series. “He’s had some tough luck, too,” Amadio said Friday. “It’s kind of weird that both of us got hurt.”

Before Game 1 of the Sharks-Red Wings series last month inside a rowdy HP Pavilion, San Jose assistant coach Trent Yawney found his mind racing back to 1990. In his mind’s eye, Yawney was wearing a red Indian head sweater instead of a suit and tie. You can take the Blackhawk out of Chicago. But… "Honest to God, that night I had visions of the old Chicago Stadium when Edmonton came in for the conference finals," said Yawney, who had two tours of duty playing for the Blackhawks and later coached the team in 2005-06 and part of the next season. "That was the last time I heard a place that loud, with the glass shaking and rabid fans screaming. The way you want it for playoff hockey."

THRASHERS TO INTERVIEW ARNIEL – Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Thrashers general manager Rick Dudley will interview Scott Arniel of the AHL Manitoba Moose this weekend for the team’s vacant head coaching position. Dudley asked for permission from the Vancouver Canucks to speak to Arniel, who has coached the team’s AHL affiliate the past three seasons. He was named the AHL’s coach of the year in 2009, leading the Moose to a franchise-record 50 wins.

In Friday’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, 1998 AHL All-Star Daniel Briere registered a goal and an assist and Ville Leino posted two helpers as Philadelphia completed its historic series comeback by rallying for a 4-3 win at Boston in Game 7 of the teams’ Eastern Conference semifinal…

Peter Regin, who began his North American pro career in the AHL with Binghamton in 2008-09, tallied a goal and two assists to lead Denmark over Slovakia by a 6-0 count on Friday at the IIHF World Championships in Germany… Jordan Eberle (1-3-4) and Rich Peverley (1-2-3) registered four- and three-point efforts, respectively, as Canada rolled to a 12-1 win over Norway… Two-time AHL All-Star Pekka Rinne posted an 18-save shutout in Finland’s 2-0 win over Belarus.

12 – Most consecutive wins by a team in a single AHL postseason, a mark set by the 1988 Hershey Bears… The 2010 edition of the Bears brings a six-game winning streak into tonight’s Game 2 vs. Manchester.

May 15, 2008Bobby Ryan scores twice and Andrew Ebbett once to lead Portland to a 3-2 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.

May 15, 2003 – Raffi Torres and Jason Ward score as Hamilton beats Binghamton, 2-1, in Game 2 of their conference final series at Copps Coliseum.

May 15, 1992Mike Sillinger tallies a goal and two assists as Adirondack advances to the Calder Cup Finals with a 5-3 win in Rochester.

May 15, 1978 – The first-year Maine Mariners win the Calder Cup with a 5-4 victory over the New Haven Nighthawks at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

May 15, 1973 – Before 15,019 fans at Buffalo’s Memorial Auditorium, the Cincinnati Swords win the Calder Cup with a 5-1 win over Nova Scotia.

May 15, 1972 – Nova Scotia concludes a dominating postseason with a 4-1 win over Baltimore, claiming its first Calder Cup championship… The Voyageurs outscored their opponents, 64-19, in their 15 playoff games (12-3).

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