Weekend notebook: Dorofeyev, Silver Knights ready for more

Photo: Zak Krill

📝 by Patrick Williams


Henderson Silver Knights forward Pavel Dorofeyev had a taste of postseason play last May.

Now the 21-year-old, having a career year, is ready for much more.

Henderson clinched a trip to the Calder Cup Playoffs last Sunday and has six more regular-season games to prepare for its first run at an AHL championship. In last spring’s Pacific Division postseason tournament, the Silver Knights reached the finals to cap their inaugural season as the affiliate of the Vegas Golden Knights.

Tonight, Henderson faces the league-leading Stockton Heat in the AHLTV Free Game of the Week (10 ET/7 PT), the teams’ second of three straight meetings this week at the brand-new Dollar Loan Center. The Silver Knights are sixth in the Pacific (29-28-4-1, .508), with points in five of their last seven outings (4-2-1-0).

For Dorofeyev, selected by Vegas in the third round of the 2019 National Hockey League Draft, his second American Hockey League season has been a memorable one. There are the 25 goals and 45 points, both tops on the team. There are his first two NHL games.

And soon there will be an opportunity to play for the Calder Cup.

“This is going to be fun,” Dorofeyev said through teammate and translator Daniil Miromanov. “We’re going to be in a good atmosphere, and we’re going to elevate our game. We’re going to pay more attention to details. [I am] looking forward to it.”

Heading back to work this week, Henderson netminder Jiri Patera provided 41 saves in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Heat on Wednesday. Dorofeyev played the right side of the Silver Knights’ top line with Gage Quinney and Brendan Brisson, the 2020 first-round draft pick who joined the team this week after churning out 42 points (21 goals, 21 assists) as a sophomore at the University of Michigan. Brisson also represented the United States at the 2022 Winter Olympics, notching a pair of goals in four games.

On April 2 the Silver Knights debuted their new $84-million arena, where they are closing out their regular season with a seven-game homestand.

“[I am] just excited to work with these guys, and especially in a new arena as well, so it’s really fun,” Dorofeyev said.


THE BORDELEAU SHOW

In what has been a trying season for the San Jose Barracuda, the team saw a glimmer of a bright future with this week’s addition of top forward prospect Thomas Bordeleau.

Fresh off two seasons with a star-studded University of Michigan team, Bordeleau joined the Barracuda this week and picked up three assists in his pro debut Wednesday against the Bakersfield Condors. Bordeleau, who was taken by the parent San Jose Sharks in the second round of the 2020 NHL Draft, notched 37 points in 37 games for the Wolverines this season after capturing the Tim Taylor Award as the top Division I first-year player as a freshman in 2020-21.

“We are very proud of all that Thomas accomplished during his two years at Michigan and are excited to have him join the Barracuda and play some professional games,” Sharks assistant general manager Tim Burke said in a written statement.

The 20-year-old Bordeleau is a third-generation AHL’er. He is the son of Sebastien Bordeleau, who played in the AHL in Fredericton, Worcester, Houston, and Springfield in addition to 251 games in the NHL. And his grandfather Paulin Bordeleau worked parts of eight seasons as an AHL head coach with the Halifax Citadels and Fredericton Canadiens.


PLAYOFF HOCKEY IS BACK IN SPRINGFIELD

Calder Cup Playoff hockey is returning to the AHL’s capital city for the first time since 2014.

In their first season in an affiliation with the St. Louis Blues, the Springfield Thunderbirds clinched a playoff berth on Monday night, the franchise’s first since joining the league for the 2016-17 season. The Springfield Falcons were the city’s last playoff representative after back-to-back first-place finishes in 2012-13 and 2013-14.

The Thunderbirds welcome the Atlantic Division-leading Charlotte Checkers to the MassMutual Center this weekend. The Thunderbirds (37-23-6-2, .603) are in a battle with Charlotte (.625) and Providence (.603) for the division title.


AROUND THE AHL

🏒 Fans can track the latest races for a spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs daily with the handy AHL Playoff Primer. Tonight, the Providence Bruins and San Diego Gulls can both secure postseason berths.

🏒 Ontario playmaker T.J. Tynan reached the 90-point mark for the season with three assists in a 5-1 win at San Diego on Wednesday night. He is the first 90-point scorer in the AHL since Chris Bourque recorded 93 points for Hershey in 2011-12. Right behind Tynan at 88 points is Chicago forward Andrew Poturalski, with 25 goals and 63 assists through 63 games.

🏒 Chicago’s Stefan Noesen scored Wednesday night against the Texas Stars and has 41 goals, the most in a season since the AHL went to a 76-game format in 2011-12. A Texas native, Noesen has 10 goals and 18 points in 10 games against the Stars this season.

🏒 Second behind Noesen, Ontario’s Martin Frk scored his 35th, 36th, and 37th goals of the season on Wednesday. It was Frk’s second hat trick and fifth four-point performance in 2021-22.

🏒 Rochester Americans forward JJ Peterka holds the rookie scoring lead with 62 points (24 goals, 38 assists) in 63 games, including two goals and two assists last Saturday in a 6-2 win at Belleville.

🏒 Troy Grosenick of the Providence Bruins continues to lead AHL goaltenders in both goals-against average (2.02) and save percentage (.931). Stockton rookie Dustin Wolf is first in wins (32), and Milwaukee Admirals workhorse Connor Ingram leads in games (51) and shutouts (five).

🏒 Colorado Eagles blueliner Jordan Gross ranks first in the AHL at that position with 59 points (10 goals, 49 assists) in 56 games, along with a league-leading 171 shots among defensemen. Just back from the Columbus Blue Jackets, Jake Christiansen’s 12 goals from the blue line for the Cleveland Monsters put him first overall.

🏒 Iowa is 5-1-0-1 in April, moving into the fifth and final playoff position in the Central Division. Zane McIntyre , the reigning AHL Player of the Week, has started all seven of those games and has turned aside 205 of 216 shots (1.54, .949).

🏒 A 5-0-1-0 run has Laval up to second in the North Division, just eight points behind Utica for the division lead with seven games remaining. Leading scorer Rafaël Harvey-Pinard has 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in his past six games to give him 51 points (19 goals, 32 assists) in 62 games as a second-year pro.

🏒 In a battle to overtake Iowa for a Central Division playoff spot, Texas faces the toughest remaining schedule of any team in the league. The Stars’ remaining opponents have a .612 points percentage, beginning with two games against Chicago (.721) this weekend.

🏒 Stockton has a league-best plus-64 goal differential.

🏒 Charlotte Checkers goaltender Joey Daccord made 27 stops to defeat Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Wednesday, 4-1. It was the ninth time in his past 11 starts that Daccord has surrendered two or fewer goals. The Checkers, who are on a seven-game point streak (6-0-1-0), also received goals from Connor Bunnaman and German Rubtsov, their first with the team since the Florida Panthers acquired them from the Philadelphia Flyers as part of the Claude Giroux trade March 19.

🏒 Carolina Hurricanes 2020 second-round pick Vasily Ponomarev has opened his AHL career with three assists in his first four games with Chicago. The 20-year-old joined the Wolves from Spartak Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League.

🏒 Belleville goaltender Filip Gustavsson scored a key win Wednesday, shutting out the Wolf Pack with 25 saves in a 1-0 decision.

🏒 Texas goaltender Matt Murray made his pro debut on Wednesday and made 20 saves to earn the win in a 3-2 defeat of Chicago. Murray played five seasons at UMass-Amherst and helped them to a national championship in 2021.

🏒 Stockton forward Jakob Pelletier set a new team rookie scoring record on Wednesday, grabbing an assist for his 57th point. Pelletier, taken 26th overall in the 2019 NHL Draft by the parent Calgary Flames, also has a league-best 26 goals among rookies. Teammate Matthew Phillips also has a team-record 29 goals.

🏒 Ontario forward Taylor Ward has seven points in his first 10 games since turning pro after completing his senior season at the University of Nebraska-Omaha last month. He is the son of Dixon Ward, a veteran of 537 NHL games and the MVP of the 1996 Calder Cup Playoffs with Rochester.

🏒 Charlotte captain Zac Dalpe has picked up six goals in his past seven appearances, giving him 29 for the year. His career high is 33, with Cleveland in 2018-19.

🏒 Syracuse goaltender Max Lagace shut out visiting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last Saturday with 48 saves; he has stopped all 73 shots he has faced in two starts against the Penguins this season. Riley Nash, acquired by the Tampa Bay Lightning from the Arizona Coyotes on March 21, is up to 12 points (six goals, six assists) in 10 games since joining the Crunch; they are 7-2-1-0 with Nash in the lineup.

🏒 Bridgeport forward Chris Terry is pursuing the fourth 30-goal season of his AHL career; he has 28 goals (and 27 assists) with four games remaining for the Islanders. Bridgeport, in a virtual tie with Hartford for the last playoff position in the Atlantic Division, has rallied behind Cory Schneider, who is 5-0-2 with a 1.83 GAA and .951 save percentage in his last seven starts.

🏒 Amerks center Sean Malone has a career-best 11-game point streak (nine goals, five assists) after scoring in Wednesday’s win over Laval. It is the longest scoring streak by a Rochester skater since Milan Bartovic had an 11-game run during the 2003-04 season.

🏒 Grand Rapids Griffins sniper Riley Barber took his career-high point streak to 11 games in helping the Griffins to defeat visiting Cleveland, 4-2, on Wednesday night. Barber has 14 points (nine goals, five assists) during the streak, including a hat trick last Saturday at Toronto.

🏒 Rockford captain Garrett Mitchell will remain with the team on a new AHL contract extension through next season. Mitchell has posted 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 58 games for the IceHogs, his third with the team.

🏒 Hockey Canada named 2022 AHL Hall of Fame electee Nolan Baumgartner its head coach at the upcoming IIHF U-18 World Championship. Baumgartner played 16 pro seasons including 878 AHL games, and also served as an assistant coach with Chicago and Utica.

🏒 Cleveland signed 6-year-old Harper Christner to a one-day contract through A Special Wish Foundation. Harper was diagnosed with McCune Albright syndrome/polyostotic fibrous dysplasia following an initial diagnosis of neonatal Cushing syndrome.


ON THE MOVE

🏒 Manitoba forward Mikey Eyssimont became the 131st AHL player to make his NHL debut this season when he skated for the Winnipeg Jets in a 4-2 win over Montreal on Monday night. Eyssimont is second on the Moose in scoring with 35 points (15 goals, 20 assists) in 53 games this season.

🏒 Morgan Barron picked up a goal and an assist for Winnipeg on Monday, his first two points since joining the Jets. Barron has 17 points in 30 AHL games between Manitoba and Hartford this season.

🏒 John Beecher, Boston’s first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, has left the University of Michigan and joined Providence on a tryout. As a 14-year-old in 2016, Beecher competed as a Dunkin’ Donuts Youth Star during the AHL All-Star Skills Competition in Syracuse.

🏒 Jesper Froden scored his first career NHL goal in Boston’s 3-2 loss to Ottawa on Thursday. Froden has 16 goals and 18 assists in 49 games with Providence this season.

🏒 The Hershey Bears dipped into the college market this week and added two top forwards on AHL contracts for next season. The Bears signed Western Michigan forward Ethen Frank, who was the nation’s leading goal scorer this season with 26 goals in 38 games, as well as Minnesota State forward Julian Napravnik, who tied for third overall in NCAA scoring with 49 points (18 goals, 31 assists) in 38 games. Both players will complete this season on amateur tryout agreements for the Bears.

🏒 The Abbotsford Canucks remain without leading scorer Sheldon Dries, who remains on recall to the Vancouver Canucks. Along with a league-leading 18 power-play goals, Dries has 62 points (35 goals, 27 assists) in 54 games to tie for eighth in AHL scoring. Dries scored his first NHL goal of the season in Vancouver’s 7-1 win over Arizona on Thursday night.

🏒 Milwaukee leading scorer Cody Glass was recalled by the Nashville Predators and was in the lineup for Thursday’s game against Edmonton. The 23-year-old forward has 60 points (14 goals, 46 assists) in 63 games for the Admirals, ranking ninth in AHL scoring.

🏒 University of Wisconsin defenseman Tyler Inamoto has joined Ontario on a tryout. The 22-year-old was a fifth-round pick by Florida in the 2017 NHL Draft.

🏒 Minnesota-Duluth forward Koby Bender has joined Bridgeport on an amateur tryout. The 24-year-old had 26 points (seven goals, 19 assists) in 42 games and was a two-time NCAA champion.

🏒 University of Minnesota forward Blake McLaughlin has joined San Diego on an amateur tryout agreement after signing a two-year entry-level contract with the Anaheim Ducks that activates next season. McLaughlin was selected by Anaheim in the third round of the 2018 NHL Draft.

🏒 Stockton added another defenseman in Minnesota State’s Jack McNeely on an amateur tryout deal. McNeely had 17 points (two goals, 15 assists) in 44 games for the Frozen Four finalist and was named to its All-Tournament team.


THIS WEEKEND

🏒 Lehigh Valley, owners of a six-game home winning streak, host Bridgeport tonight and Providence on Saturday… Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is home for Hershey tonight and Bridgeport on Saturday… Hartford concludes a seven-game road stretch in Toronto and Rochester… Utica has home dates with Syracuse and Belleville this weekend… Chicago wraps up its three-game visit to Cedar Park with games against the Stars tonight and Saturday… Delayed by a day due to a winter storm in Winnipeg, Manitoba hosts Rockford on Saturday and Sunday… Iowa visits Grand Rapids tonight before continuing on to Milwaukee on Saturday… Ontario and San Diego open a home-and-home weekend set at Toyota Arena tonight… Abbotsford stops in San Jose tonight before heading to Bakersfield on Saturday… Tucson entertains Colorado tonight and Saturday.


QUOTEBOOK

“There’s a fine line between a rut and a groove. We were in a groove, had a solid road trip, beat Utica back-to-back, then some issues against Rochester, and followed that up [Monday against Laval with a loss].”

― Belleville head coach Troy Mann to the team website following a 5-1 home loss to Laval that opened the week.