Weekend notebook: Holloway making up for lost time

Photo: Mark Nessia

📝 by Patrick Williams

Bakersfield Condors rookie forward Dylan Holloway will have plenty of elite talent around him this weekend as he continues to find his way in the American Hockey League

Fresh off Wednesday’s sparkling 5-1 road win against the Stockton Heat, the Condors will have a potent lineup in place when they visit the Ontario Reign in tonight’s AHLTV Free Game of the Week (10 ET/7 PT).

Currently fourth in the stacked Pacific Division, the Condors (25-16-4-5, .590) stopped a three-game slide with their win over division-leading Stockton. After tonight, they play their next six games ― and 12 of their final 17 ― at home, where they have played at a .659 clip (13-6-1-2) this season.

On Wednesday, Cooper Marody supplied a hat trick as Bakersfield scored five times against one of the AHL’s stingiest defensive teams. On Thursday, the Condors received a bounty from the parent Edmonton Oilers with captain Brad Malone and elite playmaking forward Tyler Benson joining the club.

For Benson, who has played parts of four seasons with the Condors, the assignment will be his first to Bakersfield this season. He was a Second Team AHL All-Star as a rookie in 2018-19, and in 2020-21 he supplied 36 points (10 goals, 26 assists) in 36 games for the Condors. Malone returns after making his first trip to the NHL since 2018-19, playing six games for the Oilers and picking up a goal and an assist. In 35 games for the Condors in 2021-22, his 31 points (11 goals, 20 assists) put him third in team scoring.

The 20-year-old Holloway is making up for lost time since undergoing two wrist surgeries for an injury sustained in March 2021 while he was still at the University of Wisconsin. The 14th overall pick in the 2020 National Hockey League Draft, Holloway finally made his pro debut on Jan. 22 (with a pair of assists), and has notched 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in 23 games for the Condors as he works toward a full-time job in Edmonton.

“About nine months there [without] shooting a puck,” Holloway said of the rehabilitation process. “Nine months off…is hard to come back from.

“It’s been good. The coaching staff and my teammates here have been helping me a lot, so it’s been a lot of fun, and I’ve been enjoying myself.”

Playing in the AHL has allowed Holloway to regain the timing and touch that enabled him to have a standout sophomore season at Wisconsin in 2020-21. His 35 points (11 goals, 24 assists) in 23 games made him a Hobey Baker Award finalist and a Big Ten First All-Star Team member as he helped the club win the regular-season conference championship. He also captured a silver medal for Canada at the IIHF World Junior Championship last season.

“The AHL is faster,” Holloway said of his adjustment. “Timing is always a big one, because the play’s so quick, and you’ve got to be making plays quick.”

That speed will be on display from both teams tonight. Ontario is 33-11-4-3 (.716) and ranks fourth overall in the AHL, but Bakersfield is positioned well to handle the Reign’s top-ranked offense. Goaltender Stuart Skinner stopped 54 of 57 shots this week in a pair of games against the league-leading Heat, and has gone 12-3-4 with a 2.17 goals-against average and .922 save percentage this season for the Condors.

But Holloway knows that the Condors will have to play an intelligent game against Ontario and avoid putting the AHL’s top power play to work.

“We’ve got to come in and play our game, play physical, get on the forecheck,” Holloway said. “I think if we play our game [like] we did [Wednesday] night in Stockton, I think we’ll have a good chance.”


The Hershey Bears can become the first AHL franchise ever to reach 3,000 wins this weekend.

Sitting at 2,998, Hershey visits the Belleville Senators tonight and the Laval Rocket on Saturday afternoon. The Bears began their Canadian road swing with a 3-0 loss in a St. Patrick’s Day matinee in Toronto.

Hershey’s first win came in its inaugural game, a 2-1 decision over the Providence Reds on Nov. 5, 1938, at what is now Hersheypark Arena. Now in their 84th AHL campaign, the Bears have won 20 division titles, eight regular-season league titles (including 2020-21), and 11 Calder Cup championships. Only four NHL clubs have reached the 3,000-win mark: the Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Detroit Red Wings.

After this weekend, the Bears return home to face Lehigh Valley on Wednesday night.


Is it time for the Syracuse Crunch and one of their patented second-half runs?

Last Sunday, the Crunch scored three times in the third period before Darren Raddysh’s overtime goal gave them a 4-3 win over Rochester. On Wednesday, they scored three times in the third again to take a 4-2 decision over Hartford.

The Crunch, 4-0-0-1 in their last five and on a 9-3-2-1 run over the last month, have climbed above the playoff line in the North Division going into play this weekend. Syracuse shoots down I-81 to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton tonight before going to Bridgeport for a Saturday meeting with the Islanders. Their busy week concludes Sunday evening when they host Belleville in a crucial division battle.


The Manitoba Moose are accustomed to long homestands ― and demanding road trips.

After a month of home cooking, the Moose are back on the road, continuing a seven-game swing with a stop in Iowa this weekend. Manitoba had played its previous nine games at home, wrapping up the stretch with a 6-1 win last Saturday against Belleville.

Aside from a quick four-game, five-day trip out of town in early February, the Moose had been at home since Jan. 20, going 9-4-0-1 at Canada Life Centre.

Now 31-17-3-2 (.632), the Moose have clamped down hard on second place in the Central Division and sit well ahead of the third-place Milwaukee Admirals (.568).

But now those road games must be played. After picking up a win and an overtime point in a pair of games in Abbotsford this week, the Moose are in Des Moines this Saturday and Sunday before moving on to Rockford (twice) and Chicago next week.


🏒 Fans can track the latest races for a spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs daily with the handy AHL Playoff Primer.

🏒 Stockton is one point away from clinching a berth in the Calder Cup Playoffs. The league-leading Heat are in Colorado tonight and Saturday. At 35-10-4-1 (.750), the Heat have already set a single-season franchise record for wins. Stockton, which fell 5-1 to Bakersfield on Wednesday, has not lost back-to-back games in regulation all season (13-0-1-0 following a loss).

🏒 Hershey’s Zach Fucale became the first Bears goaltender ever to record three consecutive shutout wins when he blanked Lehigh Valley last Sunday. His shutout streak ended Thursday at 210 minutes and 13 seconds, behind only Nick Damore (221:02 in 1939-40) in franchise history.

🏒 Joseph Woll and Michael Hutchinson combined for a 41-save shutout in Toronto’s 3-0 win over the Bears on Thursday. Woll left the game after a collision midway through the second period; Marlies head coach Greg Moore told the team website that Woll’s shoulder was being evaluated, but he did not have a further prognosis.

🏒 Charlotte Checkers forward Owen Tippett is the latest AHL Player of the Week after racking up eight points (four goals, four assists) in four games. The Florida Panthers chose Tippett 10th overall in the 2017 NHL Draft; along with 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in 12 contests with the Checkers, he also has picked up 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 42 games for Florida this season.

🏒 Charlotte defeated Providence in a shootout, 2-1, on Thursday behind 38 saves from Joey Daccord. The Checkers’ 6-1-1-0 run has lifted them into third place in the Atlantic Division. Troy Grosenick made 22 stops for the Bruins in his first appearance since he sustained an undisclosed injury March 2 at Lehigh Valley; Grosenick (13-3-2) leads the AHL in both GAA (2.10) and save percentage (.925) this season.

🏒 Rockford IceHogs rookie Lukas Reichel hit the 40-point mark with an overtime goal in Cleveland on Tuesday. It was his team-best 18th goal in 40 games this season. The 19-year-old forward has also played five games with the Chicago Blackhawks, who took him 17th overall in the 2020 NHL Draft.

🏒 Two goals from defenseman Jesper Sellgren took Chicago to a 5-2 home win against Milwaukee on Wednesday. Chicago owns an 11-game point streak (8-0-1-2), to go with a 13-game streak they had earlier in the season. Pyotr Kochetkov made 27 stops and improved to 5-0-1 (1.99, .932) since joining the Wolves from the KHL.

🏒 San Diego has taken six of its past nine games to set up a late-season run in the Pacific Division race. In Wednesday’s 6-1 win over Henderson, Lukas Dostal made 34 saves to earn his 14th victory of the season; Olle Eriksson Ek made 22 stops in a 4-0 win over Ontario last Saturday, becoming the first goaltender this season to shut out the Reign. The Gulls and Silver Knights begin a weekend home-and-home in San Diego tonight.

🏒 San Jose scored a critical win Wednesday night, receiving 40 saves from Alex Stalock to shut down Tucson, 4-0. The game was Stalock’s first with the Barracuda since Jan. 6, 2016; he rejoined the Sharks organization in a trade with Edmonton on Mar. 2. The Barracuda are five points behind San Diego for the final Pacific Division playoff spot.

🏒 Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux played his 1,000th NHL game Thursday night. Giroux, a first-round pick by the Flyers in the 2006 NHL Draft, began his pro career with the AHL’s Philadelphia Phantoms.

🏒 Ontario’s T.J. Tynan continues to hold the AHL scoring lead with 74 points (11 goals, 63 assists) in just 45 games. His 10-game point streak ended last Saturday in a 4-0 loss at San Diego.

🏒 Chicago’s Stefan Noesen reclaimed the AHL lead with his 32nd goal, striking last Sunday against the Grand Rapids Griffins. Martin Frk of Ontario and Sheldon Dries of Abbotsford are right behind Noesen at 31 goals each.

🏒 Eastern Conference-leading Utica rebounded from a 2-0 hole at Belleville on Tuesday to win in overtime, 3-2. All three goals came from the Utica defense corps: Reilly Walsh and Robbie Russo started the comeback before Kevin Bahl finished off the win 1:02 into overtime.

🏒 Abbotsford rookie forward Tristen Nielsen’s first pro hat trick helped the Canucks past visiting Manitoba on Wednesday, 5-4 in overtime. The 22-year-old out of the Western Hockey League has four goals in his last three games and nine points (seven goals, two assists) overall in 34 games this season. The Canucks added Jack Rathbone back to the lineup last weekend after he had missed nearly a month with an upper-body injury. Rathbone has contributed a pair of goals and two assists in his first four games back.

🏒 Bridgeport forward Chris Terry secured the eighth 20-goal season of his AHL career last weekend and is up to a team-leading 45 points (21 goals, 24 assists) in 47 games. Terry is three points away from becoming the 48th player in league history to reach 600 career points.

🏒 Turner Elson’s goal six seconds into overtime on Wednesday was the fastest strike (for or against) to begin a period in Grand Rapids Griffins history. Elson also won this past Sunday’s game 20 seconds into overtime at Chicago.

🏒 The Milwaukee Admirals will welcome their 10 millionth fan on Saturday night when they host the Texas Stars. In operation since 1970, the Admirals became a pro team in 1977 as members of the International Hockey League, and joined the AHL in 2001.

🏒 The new home for the AHL in San Jose will be known as Tech CU Arena after the Barracuda signed a 10-year naming rights agreement with the Silicon Valley-based Technology Credit Union. The new 4,200-seat arena will become the full-time home for Barracuda next season.


🏒 122 AHL players have made their NHL debuts this season, including Wilkes-Barre/Scranton forward Valtteri Puustinen and Henderson Silver Knights captain Brayden Pachal in the past week.

Puustinen debuted with the Pittsburgh Penguins last Friday against Vegas and earned an assist. Puustinen’s 34 points (17 goals, 17 assists) in 54 games lead the AHL Penguins this season.

Pachal played his first NHL game on Tuesday night for the Golden Knights against Winnipeg. The 22-year-old defenseman has dressed in 47 games for Henderson, posting eight points (one goal, seven assists).

🏒 Still on recall from the Marlies, Erik Källgren recorded a shutout in his first career NHL start on Tuesday, as his 35 saves led the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 4-0 win against the visiting Dallas Stars. He then made 34 stops in a 3-2 victory over conference-leading Carolina on Thursday.

🏒 Hartford has standout forward Morgan Barron back from the New York Rangers. Barron, 23, has contributed 14 points (nine goals, five assists) in 23 games with the Wolf Pack this season.

🏒 Henderson blueliner Derrick Pouliot has signed an NHL contract with Vegas for the remainder of the 2021-22 season. Pouliot, who had been with the Silver Knights on an AHL deal, has put up 19 points (two goals, 17 assists) in 42 games for Henderson.

🏒 Back with Bridgeport for the first time in three months after an NHL detour to the New York Islanders and Seattle Kraken, Austin Czarnik has picked up four points (two goals, two assists) in his first four games. Czarnik collected seven points in 17 games in the NHL before returning to the Islanders organization off waivers Mar. 6.

🏒 Boston College star forward Marc McLaughlin has joined Providence after signing a two-year entry-level deal with the Boston Bruins earlier this week. McLaughlin hit career-highs in goals (21), assists (11), and points (32) as a senior at BC this season, and also skated for Team USA at the Olympics in Beijing last month. Providence College senior tri-captain Mike Callahan made his pro debut with the P-Bruins on Thursday.

🏒 Princeton standout Corey Andonovski has signed with Pittsburgh and is with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on an amateur tryout deal. The undrafted forward had 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in 31 games this season as a junior.


Hartford visits Laval tonight and Belleville on Saturday… Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will welcome Utica on Saturday… Cleveland has a two-game stand at Rochester tonight and Saturday… Providence completes a three-game set in Charlotte with contests Saturday and Sunday… Lehigh Valley visits the Springfield Thunderbirds tonight and Saturday as the Phantoms start their season-high six-game road trip… Chicago visits Toronto on Saturday and Sunday; Sunday’s game will air live on NHL Network… Texas is in Grand Rapids tonight before looping around Lake Michigan for a stop in Milwaukee on Saturday… The Griffins will be in Rockford on Saturday… San Jose and Tucson conclude their three-game series in the desert with games tonight at Saturday… After visiting Bakersfield on Saturday, Abbotsford heads to Ontario on Sunday.


“He’s a rock back there. Even if he’s not playing, he’s good for us in practice, he’s a good leadership role guy, and he helps talk to the young goalies, too. Part of their success has to do with him, and the way he mentors them. You see it with Shally, who’s up top now, Joe Woll’s playing amazing, and Hutchy’s able to save their bacon whenever they need him. It’s just a great trio that we have of goaltenders, and we’re excited to use them all down the stretch.”

― Marlies forward Joseph Blandisi to the team website on Michael Hutchinson after Thursday’s win.