Peoria, Houston in Game 7 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.


Grand Rapids 4, HAMILTON 1 (GR wins series, 4-2)

1. Ville Leino had a hand in all four goals, scoring once and assisting on three others, as Grand Rapids eliminated Hamilton with a 4-1 triumph in Game 6.

2. Justin Abdelkader tallied the game-winning goal and added an assist for the Griffins.

3. Griffins captain Darren Haydar posted a goal and an assist in the series-clincher.

Game 7 – Houston at Peoria, 8:00 (Series tied, 3-3)

CC09ad_300x250.jpg2009 CALDER CUP PLAYOFFS:
Atlantic Division Semifinal – Series “A” (best-of-7)
A1-Hartford Wolf Pack vs. A4-Worcester Sharks
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 16 – HARTFORD 2, Worcester 0
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 18 – HARTFORD 5, Worcester 3
Game 3 – Mon., Apr. 20 – WORCESTER 3, Hartford 2 (2OT)
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 22 – WORCESTER 6, Hartford 0
Game 5 – Thu., Apr. 23 – Worcester 3, HARTFORD 1
Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 25 – WORCESTER 5, Hartford 3

Atlantic Division Semifinal – Series “B” (best-of-7)
A2-Providence Bruins vs. A3-Portland Pirates
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 15 – Portland 3, PROVIDENCE 0
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 17 – PROVIDENCE 2, Portland 1
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 19 – Providence 5, PORTLAND 1
Game 4 – Thu., Apr. 23 – Providence 2, PORTLAND 1
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 24 – PROVIDENCE 2, Portland 1

East Division Semifinal – Series “C” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. E4-Philadelphia Phantoms

Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 16 – Hershey 4, PHILADELPHIA 2
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 18 – Hershey 6, PHILADELPHIA 2
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 22 – HERSHEY 3, Philadelphia 2
Game 4 – Fri., Apr. 24 – HERSHEY 1, Philadelphia 0

East Division Semifinal – Series “D” (best-of-7)
E2-Bridgeport Sound Tigers vs.
E3-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 17 – W-B/Scranton 3, BRIDGEPORT 2 (U)
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 18 – W-B/Scranton 5, BRIDGEPORT 4 (OT) (U)
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 19 – Bridgeport 5, W-B/SCRANTON 4 (OT)
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 22 – W-B/Scranton 2, BRIDGEPORT 1
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 24 – W-B/SCRANTON 4, Bridgeport 2

North Division Semifinal – Series “E” (best-of-7)
N1-Manitoba Moose vs. N4-Toronto Marlies

Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 15 – Toronto 3, MANITOBA 2 (OT)
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 17 – MANITOBA 4, Toronto 2
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 19 – TORONTO 2, Manitoba 1
Game 4 – Tue., Apr. 21 – Manitoba 5, TORONTO 1
Game 5 – Thu., Apr. 23 – Manitoba 5, TORONTO 2
Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 25 – MANITOBA 4, Toronto 2

North Division Semifinal – Series “F” (best-of-7)
N2-Hamilton Bulldogs vs. N3-Grand Rapids Griffins

Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 17 – Grand Rapids 4, HAMILTON 3
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 18 – Grand Rapids 3, HAMILTON 1
Game 3 – Mon., Apr. 20 – Hamilton 5, GRAND RAPIDS 4
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 22 – Hamilton 4, GRAND RAPIDS 3 (OT)
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 24 – GRAND RAPIDS 4, Hamilton 1
Game 6 – Sun., Apr. 26 – Grand Rapids 4, HAMILTON 1

West Division Semifinal – Series “G” (best-of-7)
W1-Milwaukee Admirals vs. W4-Rockford IceHogs

Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 16 – MILWAUKEE 3, Rockford 1
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 18 – MILWAUKEE 3, Rockford 1
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 19 – Milwaukee 3, ROCKFORD 1
Game 4 – Tue., Apr. 21 – Milwaukee 4, ROCKFORD 1

West Division Semifinal – Series “H” (best-of-7)
W2-Peoria Rivermen vs. W3-Houston Aeros

Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 15 – PEORIA 6, Houston 4
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 17 – Houston 2, PEORIA 0
Game 3 – Sat., Apr. 18 – HOUSTON 2, Peoria 1
Game 4 – Mon., Apr. 20 – Peoria 4, HOUSTON 3
Game 5 – Wed., Apr. 22 – HOUSTON 3, Peoria 2 (OT)
Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 25 – PEORIA 2, Houston 1
Game 7 – Mon., Apr. 27 – Houston at Peoria, 8:00

Atlantic Division Finals – Series “I” (best-of-7)
A2-Providence Bruins vs. A4-Worcester Sharks
Game 1 – Tue., Apr. 28 – Worcester at Providence, 7:05
Game 2 – Wed., May 6 – Providence at Worcester, 7:05
Game 3 – Fri., May 8 – Worcester at Providence, 7:05
Game 4 – Sat., May 9 – Providence at Worcester, 7:05
*Game 5 – Mon., May 11 – Worcester at Providence, 7:05
*Game 6 – Wed., May 13 – Providence at Worcester, 7:05
*Game 7 – Thu., May 14 – Worcester at Providence, 7:05

East Division Finals – Series “J” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. E3-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

Game 1 – Sat., May 2 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 7:00
Game 2 – Sun., May 3 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 5:00
Game 3 – Wed., May 6 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Game 4 – Fri., May 8 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 5 – Sat., May 9 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 6 – Sun., May 10 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 5:00
*Game 7 – Tue., May 12 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 7:00

North Division Finals – Series “K” (best-of-7)
N1-Manitoba Moose vs. N3-Grand Rapids Griffins
Game 1 – Fri., May 1 – Grand Rapids at Manitoba, 8:30
Game 2 – Sat., May 2 – Grand Rapids at Manitoba, 8:30
Game 3 – Mon., May 4 – Manitoba at Grand Rapids, 7:00
Game 4 – Wed., May 6 – Manitoba at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 5 – Fri., May 8 – Manitoba at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sun., May 10 – Grand Rapids at Manitoba, 8:30
*Game 7 – Tue., May 12 – Grand Rapids at Manitoba, 8:30

West Division Finals – Series
“L” (best-of-7)
W1-Milwaukee Admirals vs. PEO-HOU winner

*if necessary… All times Eastern
(U) at Uniondale, N.Y.

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 7 – Houston at Peoria, 8:00 (Series tied, 3-3)
The curtain comes down on the first round of the 2009 Calder Cup Playoffs tonight when Houston and Peoria battle it out in Game 7 at Carver Arena, with the winner advancing to take on Milwaukee in the West Division Finals beginning Thursday… The Rivermen earned the right to host Game 7 courtesy of finishing five points better than the Aeros during the regular season… Peoria forced the decisive tilt by rallying for a 2-1 victory in Game 6 on Saturday… Jonathan Filewich broke a 1-1 deadlock with his first goal of the playoffs at 4:43 of the third period in that contest, after Trent Whitfield had knotted the game with 1:23 to play in the second frame… Cam Paddock earned an assist on Filewich’s goal and now has a point in three straight games (1-2-3)… Rivermen goaltender Manny Legace, who stopped 28 of 29 shots in Game 6, has never played a Game 7 as a pro… Rookie Matt Beaudoin notched the Aeros’ lone goal in Game 6 and has a point in five of the first six contests in the series (2-5-7)… Beaudoin and Corey Locke (3-4-7) are tied for the Houston team scoring lead… Houston head coach Kevin Constantine has won three Game 7’s as an NHL head coach, all three on the road… The Aeros are appearing in their first Game 7 since capturing the 2003 Calder Cup championship over Hamilton; Houston is 3-0 all-time in AHL winner-take-all contests, including an opening-round Game 5 triumph in 2002… The Rivermen are appearing in their first Game 7 as members of the AHL… Home teams are 41-31 (.569) in Game 7’s throughout Calder Cup Playoff history, including 5-0 last spring and 11-1 since 2006.


Dave Eminian, Peoria Journal Star
Game 7 is not a time for looking back, as many might think. If anything, it’s a time for looking inward. The Peoria Rivermen can’t do anything about that two-goal lead they didn’t protect in the final minutes of Game 5 in Texas. The Houston Aeros can’t undo a third period in Game 6 at Peoria where they took eight penalties. All either team can do is play the next one. And in this case, Monday, it will be the last one between these teams in the best-of-7 West Division semifinals. “The strength of your game has to be the strength of your game,” Rivermen head coach Davis Payne said Sunday. “You’re not going to invent something this time of year.”

Michael Zuidema, Grand Rapids Press
Next up, the Manitoba Moose. The Grand Rapids Griffins clinched their first postseason series since 2006 with a 4-1 victory against the Hamilton Bulldogs in Game 6 on Sunday night at Copps Coliseum. They advance to face the Moose, with the North Division finals starting Friday night at Manitoba. The Moose, who finished with the most regular-season points in the American Hockey League with 107, beat the Toronto Marlies in six games in the first round of the playoffs. It will be the third time in the past four years that the Griffins and Moose have faced off in the playoffs. Grand Rapids went 2-2 against Manitoba this season.

Garry McKay, Hamilton Spectator
The Hamilton Bulldogs are left to contemplate what could have been. The Dogs dropped a 4-1 decision to the Grand Rapids Griffins last night at Copps Coliseum and were eliminated 4-2 in the best-of-seven AHL North Division semifinal. The defeat came just two weeks and a day after they had concluded one of the best regular seasons in their history, a season in which they closed with five straight wins, including three over Grand Rapids and overtook the Griffins for second place. That streak had earned them home-ice advantage in their first round series with Grand Rapids. It did them little good, however, as the Griffins won all three games played in the Steel City.

Tom Venesky, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
From his seat in the Wachovia Arena, Pittsburgh Penguins interim head coach Dan Bylsma recollected on the place where his whirlwind season began a mere eight months ago. In the course of a single season, Bylsma went from his first head coaching job in Wilkes-Barre to taking over the reins in Pittsburgh and turning around the NHL franchise with a season-ending 18-3-4 mark. Bylsma credits much of his success in Pittsburgh to the 54 games he coached in Wilkes-Barre – a stint where the WBS Penguins lost 10 of its first 20 games and presented the first-year head coach with his first major challenge.

Dan Hickling, New England Hockey Journal
Once in a while all the scouts are wrong, and a player who slips clean through the cracks emerges to have a notable NHL career. They were wrong about an undersized Montreal kid from the University of Vermont who went undrafted, and then went on to win a Hart Trophy and a Stanley Cup. But now everybody knows about Martin St. Louis. While they were missing out on St. Louis, the scouts also thumbed their noses at Vermont’s goalie, a guy with a sit-com sounding name and a cartoonish netminding style. Now one wonders where the Boston Bruins would be these days without Tim Thomas plugging up the cage. Cut from the same bolt of green and gold cloth is Jaime Sifers, who, like both St. Louis and Thomas, wound up his Vermont career unwanted but undeterred.

Gary Lawless, Winnipeg Free Press
A little hiccup, maybe, but it wasn’t one-and-done for the Manitoba Moose – and that’s a big load off their backs. The Moose, who stumbled into the post-season, having dropped four of their last five regular-season games, had all the classic markings of a one-and-done candidate. Losing two of the first three games of their opening-round series had skeptics stepping out of their closets bearing big grins and talking lots of trash. “The nice thing is we battled through and got stronger as the series went on. We’ve got a good game plan going for us now. I think it’s one of the hardest rounds,” said Moose centre Jason Krog, who finished up the first round with two goals and six assists.

2006 Calder Cup champion Mike Green netted a goal and goaltender Simeon Varlamov made 29 saves as Washington forced Game 7 in its opening-round series with a 5-3 victory over the N.Y. Rangers on Sunday… 2005 AHL All-Star Eric Staal registered three points (2-1-3) and 2004-05 AHL All-Rookie goaltender Cam Ward posted a 28-save shutout as Carolina took a 4-0 win over New Jersey to extend its series to a decisive seventh game.

14 – Calder Cup Playoff Game 7’s that have extended to overtime, most recently the 2006 Eastern Conference Finals between Hershey and Portland.

April 27, 2008Josh Tordjman’s 38-save shutout backs San Antonio’s 3-0 victory in Toronto to force a Game 7 in their division semifinal series.

April 27, 1997Manny Legace makes 35 saves and Kevin Brown scores 10:20 into overtime as Springfield defeats Portland, 1-0, in a winner-take-all Game 5, capping a comeback from an 0-2 series deficit.

April 27, 1974 – Hershey opens the Calder Cup Finals with a 4-3 win over the Providence Reds behind Jim Pearson’s goal 1:43 into overtime.

Don’t miss a step on the road to the 2009 Calder Cup championship. AHL Live continues to bring AHL action to your computer all postseason long with live video webcasts and highlights of every AHL game, as well as behind-the-scenes features and interviews in the Video On Demand section… Visit or for details.