West Notes: Splits in Texas, Winnipeg

Abbotsford was the only one of the AHL’s 29 teams that did not play on opening weekend… The Heat open the brand-new Entertainment & Sports Centre this weekend with a two-game set against San Antonio on Friday and Saturday… British Columbia native Kyle Greentree was on Abbotsford’s opening-day roster but did not play for the Heat before he was dealt to the Chicago Blackhawks organization on Wednesday… Seven other members of the Heat’s opening roster hail from British Columbia, including Abbotsford native David Van der Gulik.
Chicago’s 3-2 loss to Milwaukee on Saturday made the Wolves winless in consecutive season openers after they had won each of their previous three lid-lifters… Goaltender Drew MacIntyre’s first game for the Wolves came against the Admirals, for whom he led the league in wins last season; MacIntyre made 37 saves in the losing effort… Tim Stapleton, who paced Toronto with 28 goals and 79 points last season, netted a goal in his Chicago debut… Rylan Kaip also scored in the opener after totaling just one goal in 42 games for the Wolves as a rookie last season… Chicago heads north for a pair of games at Manitoba this weekend.


At 19 years, nine months, goaltender Thomas McCollum became the youngest goaltender to ever play for the Griffins when he made 23 saves to backstop the club to a 3-1 season-opening win at Peoria on Saturday… McCollum was drafted in the first round (30th overall) by parent-club Detroit in 2008… Former second-round draft pick Dick Axelsson had a goal and an assist in his AHL debut, while Grand Rapids also got goals from Evan McGrath an ex-AHL defenseman of the year Andy Delmore… The Griffins have now earned points in seven straight season openers (5-0-2-0) and 11 consecutive road debuts (9-0-2-0)… Grand Rapids’ lone game of the week is a Saturday afternoon visit to Toronto.


In the Bulldogs’ 3-2 shootout loss at Toronto to open their season on Sunday, defenseman Andre Benoit played his first game for Hamilton and first in the AHL since skating off with the Calder Cup on June 7, 2007… Benoit posted an assist in Sunday’s defeat… Second-year pros Brock Trotter and J.T. Wyman each scored a goal for the Bulldogs… Hamilton’s only game this week is its home opener on Friday night against Rockford… The Bulldogs and IceHogs did not meet last season, but Hamilton went a perfect 2-0-0-0 in the 2007-08 season series.


Houston’s 2009-10 season began where its 2008-09 campaign ended, at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg to take on Manitoba… The Moose ousted the Aeros in Game 6 of last spring’s Western Conference Finals, and the two teams split a pair of contests up north last weekend… Anton Khudobin, who posted a 2.70 goals-against average in the playoffs for Houston last year, earned the win with 25 saves in the Aeros’ 4-2 triumph on Saturday… Andy Hilbert, a three-time AHL All-Star with Providence, posted three points (1-2-3) in his first two games with the Aeros… Houston hosts intra-state rival Texas for a two-game set this weekend.


Lake Erie’s 3-2 overtime win at Rochester on Saturday marked its second straight season-opening victory after the Monsters began their inaugural 2007-08 campaign with six consecutive defeats… Philippe Dupuis, led the Monsters with 46 points last season, registered two goals in the opening-night triumph; Dupuis had two multiple-goal showings all of last season, on Jan. 31 vs. Hamilton and Feb. 25 vs. Syracuse… Brian Willsie tallied a goal in Lake Erie’s first game for the second straight year… Saturday marked the first pro coaching win for David Quinn, who took over after former head coach Joe Sacco was promoted to the same job with parent-club Colorado.


Last weekend marked the third straight year in which Manitoba opened its schedule with a two-game home set; the Moose split this year vs. Houston, dropped a pair of games to Hamilton last season, and went 0-1-1-0 against Grand Rapids in 2007-08… With two goals (2-1-3) in two games on opening weekend, veteran captain Mike Keane is already a quarter of the way to the eight goals he registered for the Moose in each of the last three seasons… Newcomer Marty Murray tallied the game-winning goal in the club’s 4-3 win over Houston to kick off the season on Friday… The Moose host Chicago for a pair this weekend and Abbotsford on Tuesday and Wednesday to wrap up the homestand.


Milwaukee’s 3-2 triumph at Chicago on Saturday was its second straight opening-night victory after three consecutive losses, and it marked the third straight year the Ads kicked off their season on the road… The Admirals received goals from Triston Grant, Mark Santorelli, and Ian McKenzie, a trio which combined for just seven goals in 134 games for Milwaukee in 2008-09… Mark Dekanich, who ranked second in the AHL with a 2.07 goals-against average in 30 games as a rookie last season, made 28 saves to pick up the win in his 2009-10 debut… Milwaukee has just one game this week, a visit to Peoria on Friday.


Defenseman Jonas Junland scored two goals and an assist over opening weekend – including an overtime game-winner on Sunday vs. Rockford – as the Rivermen split a pair of games… Six of Junland’s 15 career AHL goals have come against the IceHogs… The Rivermen tallied a pair of power play goals in Sunday’s victory; Peoria tallied multiple power play markers on 15 occasions last season… Eight of Peoria’s 19 all-time meetings with Rockford have extended to overtime or a shootout, with the Rivermen winning five of those contests.


Rochester dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to Lake Erie in its season opener on Saturday… Kenndal McArdle scored for the Americans, and new defenseman Clay Wilson registered his first goal in a Rochester uniform… Jamie Johnson, Mike York, and two-time Calder Cup champion Graham Mink all posted an assist in their Amerks debuts… Rochester grabbed a 2-0 lead before Lake Erie scored three unanswered goals to take the win… The Amerks host the Monsters in a rematch on Friday before traveling to Albany on Saturday and hosting Syracuse on Monday evening.


Rockford’s 3-2 overtime loss at Peoria on Sunday dropped the IceHogs to 1-1-1-0 in season openers as members of the AHL… It also marked Rockford’s first overtime defeat since Feb. 7, 2008, vs. Manitoba; the ‘Hogs were one of three teams to go the entire 2008-09 campaign without losing in the extra session… Goaltender Joe Fallon made his first career AHL start on Sunday, and Maxime Tanguay and Simon Danis-Pepin both made professional debuts… Danny Bois, who registered five multiple-point games for Binghamton last season, chipped in a goal and an assist in the IceHogs’ opener.


San Antonio split a pair of one-goal games with the new Texas Stars on opening weekend, winning by a 3-2 count at home on Friday and dropping a 3-2 overtime decision on the road Saturday… The Rampage will be involved in their third consecutive home opener on Friday when they help open the new Entertainment & Sports Centre in Abbotsford in the first of a two-game set with the Heat… Joel Perrault (1-1-2), defenseman Sean Sullivan (0-2-2), and 2008 first-round draft pick Viktor Tikhonov (0-2-2) all have two points through two contests.


Greg Rallo scored with 15 seconds left in overtime on Saturday to give the Stars their first win in team history, a 3-2 home-ice triumph over San Antonio… Defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy netted a goal in both games on opening weekend, while 11 other skaters chipped in with one point apiece… Goaltender Matt Climie stopped 34 of 36 shots (.944) in the win over the Rampage on Saturday… Texas’s penalty-killing unit went a perfect 10-for-10 on the weekend, and the power play was 3-for-14 (21.4%)… The Stars, who won’t play a game outside of Texas until Nov. 11, visit Houston for a pair of tilts this weekend.
Toronto began its campaign with a 3-2 win over Hamilton on Sunday in the only AHL game on opening weekend that reached a shootout… Nine different players made their Marlies debut in the contest, and Alex Berry registered two assists for his first career AHL points… Ben Ondrus began his third season as Toronto’s captain, while Alex Foster and newcomer Brennan Evans were named assistant captains… Ondrus tallied the game-tying goal midway through the third period on Sunday… The Marlies host Grand Rapids in a Saturday afternoon matinee before welcoming Rockford to Ricoh Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.