Western Conference notebook

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Chicago, which raced out to a 13-0-1-0 start last season, has started the 2008-09 campaign at 0-1-1-0… It marks the first time since the 2004-05 season that the Wolves failed to capture a victory in either of their first two contests… Chicago’s lone goal in a 2-1 overtime loss at Houston in their opener came on the power play; the Wolves led the AHL with 107 power play goals last season… Returnee Colin Stuart leads the Wolves with two points (1-1-2) through the first two games… Despite getting out to an 0-2-0 start, second-year goaltender Ondrej Pavelec sports a 1.97 GAA and has stopped 57 of 61 shots sent his way (.934).
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With their 4-3 overtime loss at Lake Erie on Saturday, the Griffins have now earned at least one point in six straight season openers (4-0-2-0)… Grand Rapids also opens its home schedule against the Monsters this coming Saturday, marking the first time since they joined the AHL in 2001 that they will open the season with two games against the same opponent… Ryan Oulahen scored 53 seconds into the opening game, recording the second-fastest season-opening goal in franchise history (fastest: 33 seconds, Dave Van Drunen, 2002)… Muskegon native Justin Abdelkader, a second-round draft pick of Detroit in 2005, scored his first pro goal in the third period on Saturday.
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Hamilton has started a season 2-0-0-0 for the first time since 2002-03, when the Bulldogs opened with three straight wins en route to an appearance in the Calder Cup Finals… Rookie David Desharnais leads the Bulldogs with three points (1-2-3) through the first two contests, and he now shows six points (2-4-6) in six career AHL contests… Desharnais appeared in four games for Hamilton last season and seven for Bridgeport in 2006-07… Veteran goaltender Marc Denis, a former Calder Cup champion, shows a 2.00 GAA and .941 save percentage through his first two games in a Bulldogs uniform.
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Like Hamilton, the Aeros are 2-0-0-0 for the first time since 2002-03… The two teams squared off in the Calder Cup Finals that season, with Houston prevailing in seven games… Goaltender Nolan Schaefer turned in a 27-save shutout in Monday’s 3-0 victory over Milwaukee, the first shutout in the AHL this season… Schaefer had six of Houston’s league-leading 11 whitewashes last season, though the Aeros didn’t pick up their first of the 2007-08 campaign until their 21st game… Krys Kolanos, coming off a career-best 30-goal season for Quad City last year, already has three goals in his first two games as a member of the Aeros.
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The Chops began their inaugural season at 2-1-0-0, including back-to-back come-from-behind victories over Peoria on both Friday and Saturday… AHL All-Rookie forward Bobby Ryan led the Chops with four points (2-2-4) on the weekend, posting a goal and an assist in each of the two games against the Rivermen… Joakim Lindstrom, who led Syracuse with 60 points last season, registered three points (1-2-3) in the two games for Iowa, including the game-winner in overtime on Saturday… The Chops welcome division rivals Rockford and Quad City to the Wells Fargo Arena this weekend.
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A year after dropping their first six games to begin the season, Lake Erie has started its second AHL campaign at 2-0-0-0… The Monsters collected 4-3 wins over Grand Rapids and Toronto at home last weekend, including an overtime decision over the Griffins in their opener… Brian Willsie (2-1-3), T.J. Hensick (1-2-3), and Chris Durno (0-3-3) are all tied for the team scoring lead with three points apiece… Lake Erie goaltenders Jason Bacashihua and Tyler Weiman have combined to stop 73 of 79 shots (.924) thus far, including a 40-save performance by Weiman in Sunday’s win over Toronto.
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Manitoba opened the season with a pair of home-ice losses to division-rival Hamilton last weekend… Former AHL All-Star Michel Ouellet began his Moose career with a share of the team scoring lead after posting three points (1-2-3) on the weekend… Ouellet spent the last two-plus seasons in the NHL, appearing in 187 games for Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay… Jason Krog, last season’s AHL regular-season and playoff MVP, also has three points (1-2-3) thus far for the Moose… Manitoba’s season-opening roster featured six players age 21 and under.
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Milwaukee went 1-1-0-0 in the season’s opening week, including a 3-1 victory at San Antonio on Saturday… Mike Santorelli posted a goal and an assist in the win, and new goaltender Drew MacIntyre, an AHL All-Star for Manitoba a season ago, stopped 39 shots to pick up his first victory for the Admirals… The Ads then dropped a 3-0 decision in Houston on Monday night… Head coach Lane Lambert is back for his second season with Milwaukee this year; Lambert led the Admirals to their sixth consecutive 90-point campaign in 2007-08… The Ads start with three straight road games for the first time in their history prior to opening at the Bradley Center on Saturday against Rockford.
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Peoria dropped its opening two games last weekend for the first time since joining the AHL, but the Rivermen collected a 3-2 overtime win at Quad City on Sunday… Newcomer Steve Regier tallied the game-winner in that one and now shows two goals in three games to begin the year… Julian Talbot, who finished fifth in AHL rookie scoring last season, leads the Rivermen with three goals and four points through the first three games this year… Rookie Ben Bishop has started his pro career at 1-1-0 with a 2.84 GAA in two appearances… Peoria hosts Milwaukee on Friday before traveling to Chicago on Saturday night.
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Quad City opened the season 1-1-1-0 after playing three divisional games last weekend… The Flames split a home-and-home with Rockford before falling in overtime to Peoria on Sunday… Matt Keetley set a franchise record for saves in a game with 39 in Sunday’s loss to the Rivermen… Kris Chucko (2-1-3) is the only member of the Flames to have scored more than one goal thus far… He’s tied with rookie Adam Cracknell (1-2-3) for the team lead… On Saturday, Quad City tied a franchise record for shots in a period with 19 in the third against Rockford… Rookie Hugo Carpentier netted his first professional goal in that contest.
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Rochester opened the season by losing three straight home games at the Blue Cross Arena last week and now heads west for a two-game set in Manitoba this weekend… The Amerks were outscored 13-5 in the three defeats, two of which came at the hands of Syracuse and one to Binghamton… Rochester went 1-6-1-0 against the Moose last season… Rookie defenseman Jason Garrison and center Janis Sprukts recorded two-point nights in the Amerks’ season-opening loss to the Crunch on Friday… Rookie winger Michal Repik tallied a goal in his pro debut that night… Karl Stewart and Tanner Glass scored for Rochester on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
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Rockford went 2-1-0-0 on opening weekend this year, scoring all seven of its goals on the power play and receiving them from six different players… Petri Kontiola is the only multiple-goal scorer for the IceHogs thus far, as he tallied Rockford’s first two goals of the season in Friday’s 4-2 win over Quad City… Tim Brent, who led Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with 61 points last season, leads the IceHogs overall with four points, all assists… Corey Crawford and Antti Niemi had a combined save percentage of .946 during the season’s opening week… The IceHogs’ penalty-killing unit denied 25 of 27 opponent power play tries (.926).
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The Rampage lost a season opener for just the third time in seven years when they fell to Milwaukee by a 3-1 count on Saturday… This marks the third season out of the last four in which San Antonio has opened the campaign at home… New Rampage forward Alex Bourret scored both of the team’s goals in a 2-1 win over Chicago in game number two on Wednesday… A former first-round draft pick (16th overall by Atlanta in 2005), Bourret’s performance came against the team for whom he made his pro debut two seasons ago… Goaltender Josh Tordjman earned the win in his first start of the campaign, making 25 saves on 26 shots.
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The Crunch’s 6-1 win over Rochester on Saturday was the team’s 17th in a row in the regular season, dating back to their 15-game winning streak to close last season… That ties the league’s all-time record for longest regular-season winning streak, originally set by the Philadelphia Phantoms early in the 2004-05 season… Syracuse is 2-0-0-0 to start this season after finishing last season on a 24-1-0-5 run overall… Rookie first-round draft pick Nikita Filatov scored in each of Syracuse’s first two games and was recalled by parent-club Columbus earlier this week… The Crunch play road games in Binghamton and Hershey this Friday and Saturday, respectively.
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Toronto went winless on opening week (0-1-0-1), falling in a shootout to Binghamton on Friday and dropping a 4-3 squeaker in regulation at Lake Erie on Sunday… The Marlies did not suffer their first regulation loss last season until their 14th game of the campaign, which oddly also came in Cleveland, a 5-3 defeat to the Monsters on Nov. 17, 2007… Despite his 0-1-1 record, Marlies goaltender Justin Pogge sports a 2.40 GAA and .919 save percentage on the young season… Toronto opened the season on Friday by unveiling their North Division championship banner from last year.