1. New boss in San Antonio
The first coaching change of the 2013-14 AHL season took place last Friday when Peter Horachek was promoted from San Antonio to become interim head coach of the NHL’s Florida Panthers. Horachek took over from former AHL coach of the year Kevin Dineen, who was relieved of his duties by the Panthers.
The Rampage’s coaching reins were handed to Tom Rowe, who returns to the AHL following three seasons as an NHL assistant with Carolina and a season-plus as head coach of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the KHL.
Rowe was assistant coach of the Lowell Lock Monsters from 2001-04, then served as head coach of the Lock Monsters (2004-06) and Albany River Rats (2006-08), compiling a record of 156-144-20 and qualifying for the playoffs three times in four years.
Rowe’s stint with the Rampage began with back-to-back shootout wins at the AT&T Center as San Antonio defeated Oklahoma City on Saturday and Milwaukee on Sunday.
Horachek, whose new assistants in Florida are 1985 Calder Cup Playoffs MVP Brian Skrudland and 1999 AHL All-Star John Madden, is the 20th AHL head coach to be promoted directly to an NHL head coaching position in the last six years.
2. Milestone in reach for Morris
Mark Morris of the Manchester Monarchs is closing in on a milestone after earning his 299th career victory on Saturday night in St. John’s.
Only 16 coaches in AHL history have won 300 games, and only six (Hershey’s Frank Mathers, Cleveland’s Bun Cook, Rochester’s John Van Boxmeer and Randy Cunneyworth, Chicago’s John Anderson and Montreal/Nova Scotia’s Al MacNeil) have won 300 with one team. Morris has spent his entire AHL coaching career with the Monarchs since his debut in 2006.
Morris, who spent 15 years at Clarkson University from 1988-2002, is poised to become the first coach in history with 300 wins at both the professional and U.S. collegiate levels.
Fraser (4g, 1a) and Cunningham (3g) became the first AHL teammates in nearly four years to record hat tricks in the same game. Jon Matsumoto and Rob Sirianni accomplished the feat with the Philadelphia Phantoms on Mar. 28, 2009.
It was the first career hat trick for Fraser, whose 81 goals since the start of the 2011-12 season are the most in the AHL. Fraser was acquired by the Boston Bruins organization from Dallas as part of the Tyler Seguin trade on July 4.
Providence, now 7-4-0-2 on the season, is 11-for-32 (34.4 percent) on the power play in its last six games after starting the season 3-for-25 (12.0 percent).
4. Phantoms roll up the wins
The night that Matsumoto and Sirianni each recorded hat trick for the Phantoms was the first of six consecutive victories by Philadelphia — a streak not duplicated by the franchise until last weekend, when Adirondack extended its winning streak to six before a 3-2 loss in Bridgeport on Sunday.
The Phantoms began their weekend with back-to-back shutout victories, blanking Springfield 3-0 on Friday and Albany 2-0 on Saturday.
Holding the Sound Tigers scoreless until the 11:39 mark of the second period on Sunday, Adirondack also saw its team shutout streak reach 168 minutes and 44 seconds.
5. Arsene gets the "C" again
Abbotsford, B.C., native Dean Arsene was named captain of his hometown Heat on Saturday night, then helped his team extend its winning streak to seven games with back-to-back wins over the Toronto Marlies.
The Heat are the fifth team for which Arsene has assumed the captaincy, following Hershey (2006-08), Springfield (2009-10), Peoria (2010-11) and Portland (2011-12).
A two-time Calder Cup champion with Hershey (2006, 2009), Arsene has skated in 592 American Hockey League games over 12 seasons since 2002.
Abbotsford’s seven-game winning streak, which matches a franchise best, has sent the Heat (11-4-0-1) to the top of the AHL standings with 23 points.
6. Comets grab their first W’s
It took a month longer than they had hoped, but the Utica Comets finally earned the franchise’s first victory on Friday night with a 3-2 win over Lake Erie in Cleveland.
The Comets had started their inaugural season at 0-8-1-1 before breaking into the win column when Colin Stuart scored the tiebreaking goal with 2:18 left in regulation on Friday. It was also the first pro coaching win for Comets bench boss Travis Green, and it came against his former AHL and NHL teammate Dean Chynoweth of the Monsters.
Utica followed up Friday’s triumph with a second straight win, 3-1 over Hamilton on Sunday afternoon.
The Comets, still in search of their first win in front of their home fans, return to the Aud to host Rochester and Texas this weekend.
Since being held scoreless in the Crunch’s opening-night loss at Binghamton, Namestnikov has tallied a point in each of his last 12 games, totaling seven goals and 12 assists to rank third in the AHL in scoring (19 points).
A first-round draft choice (27th overall) by Tampa Bay in 2011, Namestnikov has already matched his goal total (7) and is just two shy of the points total (21) racked up in 44 games as a rookie in 2012-13.
Abbott has played 11 games for the Marlies this season and has recorded at least one assist in all but one: an Oct. 26 loss to Rochester in which he scored his only goal of the season. His 11-game points streak is the longest in franchise history, surpassing David Ling‘s 10-game stretch in 2007-08.
Abbott leads the AHL with 16 assists and is tied for fourth with 17 points.
8. Da Costa’s big week
Binghamton’s Stephane Da Costa tied a franchise record for points in a game when he potted two goals and three assists in the Senators’ 7-3 win over Rochester on Saturday night.
Da Costa’s five-point night was the first by a Senators skater since Denis Hamel had four goals and an assist vs. Norfolk on Mar. 8, 2006.
Da Costa, who had two assists in Rochester on Friday and a shootout goal at Hershey on Sunday, was named the CCM/AHL Player of the Week.
9. AHL alums join hockey’s elite
Congratulations to American Hockey League alumni Fred Shero and Chris Chelios on their induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday night.
Shero, who passed away in 1990, was the first man in history to win both the Calder Cup and the Stanley Cup as a head coach, a feat accomplished only five times since then (Al MacNeil, Mike Keenan, Bob Hartley, John Tortorella, Peter Laviolette). Shero is also one of five men ever named Coach of the Year in both the AHL (Buffalo, 1970) and the NHL (Philadelphia, 1974).
Shero played in the AHL with the New Haven Ramblers, Cincinnati Mohawks and Cleveland Barons, winning back-to-back titles with the Barons in 1953 and 1954. He later spent three seasons as head coach of the Buffalo Bisons (1967-70), capturing the Calder Cup in 1970.
Shero coached the Philadelphia Flyers to the Stanley Cup in 1974 and 1975, and reached the Finals with the Flyers in 1976 and with the New York Rangers in 1979.
Chelios played 1,651 games in the National Hockey League, more than any other defenseman in league history. He won the Stanley Cup three times and was a three-time recipient of the Norris Trophy, and represented the United States in the Olympics four times.
Chelios skated in two games with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins in 2008-09, then spent most of the 2009-10 season with the Chicago Wolves, notching five goals, 17 assists and a plus-34 rating (tied for sixth in the AHL) in 46 regular-season games. Chelios appeared in 14 Calder Cup Playoff contests that spring, including his final pro game on May 11, 2010 (vs. Texas) at the age of 48.
Since its first members were honored in 1945, a total of 115 players, coaches, officials and managers with ties to the American Hockey League have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
10. Alumni watch
Congratulations also to AHL call-ups Chad Billins (a 2013 AHL All-Star and Calder Cup champion), Taylor Fedun, Linden Vey and Marek Mazanec, who all made their NHL debuts in the last week. The 2013-14 total now stands at 46.
Fedun made his NHL debut with Edmonton on Nov. 5, and he and one-time Oklahoma City Barons teammate Mark Arcobello both scored their first NHL goals just 33 seconds apart. Arcobello’s second goal of the night gave the Oilers a 4-3 overtime win over Florida.