February 12, 2013 - American Hockey League (AHL)
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. ... News and notes from the week ending Feb. 10:
NO LONGER BE-DEVILED
After eight unsuccessful trips to a shootout this season and with points at a premium in the Eastern Conference playoff race, the Albany Devils hope they have finally turned their fortunes around.
Going back to last season, the Devils had lost 12 consecutive shootouts since a victory over Hershey on Nov. 19, 2011. The streak finally ended on Feb. 5 when Chad Wiseman and Matt Anderson scored in the shootout and Keith Kinkaid stopped all four Connecticut attempts to give Albany a 4-3 victory, salvaging the second point in a game that the Devils had led 3-0 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation.
Albany then put their own rally caps on and stormed to a pair of weekend wins against conference powers Syracuse and Binghamton. On Saturday night, the Devils scored four times in the third period to defeat the Crunch, 4-3. And on Sunday, Albany trailed 2-0 in the third period before rallying for a 3-2 shootout victory over the Senators, with Jeff Frazee ending his personal 0-9 skid by earning his first shootout win since Nov. 19, 2010.
The Devils' 10 shootout appearances this season are tied with Lake Erie and Worcester for the most in the AHL.
SNOW WREAKS HAVOC ON SCHEDULE
A winter storm that dumped record amounts of snow in some areas caused the rescheduling of five AHL games in New England over the weekend.
Before the first flakes of snow had fallen, the Providence Bruins and Springfield Falcons rescheduled their respective home games slated for Friday night. The Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Manchester Monarchs did the same on Saturday morning for their games that evening, and Sunday's game in Bridgeport was postponed with the city still digging out from three feet of snow.
Feb. 8, Portland at Providence -- rescheduled for Mon., Feb. 11
Feb. 8, Albany at Springfield -- rescheduled for Tue., Apr. 2
Feb. 9, Portland at Bridgeport -- rescheduled for Tue., Apr. 16
Feb. 9, Providence at Manchester -- rescheduled for Tue., Feb. 12
Feb. 10, Worcester at Bridgeport -- rescheduled for Tue., Apr. 9
RETURNING THE FAVOR
After seeing three-goal leads vanish on home ice in each of their first two meetings this season against Texas, the Rockford IceHogs returned the favor when they traveled to the Cedar Park Center on Feb. 5.
Down 2-0 just 3:15 into the game and trailing 4-1 at the first intermission, the IceHogs got goals from Jimmy Hayes, Jeremy Morin and Joe Lavin to pull even, then saw goaltender Henrik Karlsson stop 10 of 11 attempts in a marathon shootout to pull out a 5-4 victory.
In Rockford on Nov. 27, Texas spotted the IceHogs a 3-0 first-period lead before rallying to win, 5-4. And on Jan. 21, the Stars erased another 3-0 deficit and stormed to a 6-3 win over the 'Hogs.
Texas and Rockford meet once more in 2012-13, in both teams' regular-season finale on Apr. 20.
SCORING PROWESS UNLOCKED
After the NHL and NHLPA reached an agreement to end the lockout on Jan. 12, more than 170 players were summoned from the American Hockey League to participate in abbreviated NHL training camps, and 126 players who began the 2012-13 season in the AHL appeared on the NHL's 30 opening-night rosters.
While Jordan Eberle (25-26-51) continues to lead the AHL scoring race and Justin Schultz (18-30-48) is still tops among rookies and defensemen, here are the AHL's leaders in games since Jan. 13:
Carter Camper, PRO 12gp, 3-12-15
Nick Drazenovic, SPR 10gp, 5-9-14
Ryan Craig, SPR 10gp, 3-11-14
Kris Newbury, CT 13gp, 7-7-14
Kevin Porter, RCH 8gp, 4-9-13
Darren Haydar, CHI 10gp, 7-6-13
Matt Fraser, TEX 11gp, 6-7-13
Alex Chiasson, TEX 11gp, 5-8-13
Mike Vernace, CT 13gp, 4-9-13
Jamie Tardif, PRO 7
Jimmy Hayes, RFD 7
Riley Holzapfel, WBS 7
Darren Haydar, CHI 7
Joe Whitney, ALB 7
Kris Newbury, CT 7
Daniil Tarasov, WOR 6
Matt Fraser, TEX 6
Justin Dowling, TEX 6
Kelsey Tessier, CT 6
FACE OFF FOR ACE
The American Hockey League is proud to be an event sponsor of this year's Face Off for Ace benefit for the Ace Bailey Children's Foundation. This year's reception, including silent and live auctions, takes place on Feb. 13 in Cambridge, Mass.
The Ace Bailey Children's Foundation was established to honor the memory of Garnet "Ace" Bailey, who was killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The foundation works with the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center in Boston to build and renovate hospital environments that are comforting and soothing to patients and their families.
Bailey won a Calder Cup with the Hershey Bears in 1969 and was a member of seven Stanley Cup championship teams - two as a player with the Boston Bruins and five as a scout with the Edmonton Oilers. He was the director of pro scouting for the Los Angeles Kings when he died, along with Kings scout Mark Bavis, aboard United Airlines Flight 175.
For more information about Face Off for Ace and the Ace Bailey Children's Foundation, please visit acebailey.org.
OWN A PIECE OF HISTORY
Game-worn and game-used items from the 2013 Dunkin' Donuts AHL All-Star Classic are up for auction now through AHL Authentic. Items will continue to be added over the next several weeks, including jerseys, helmets, gloves, game pucks and name plates.
For more information or to place a bid, visit stores.ebay.com/ahlauthentic.
FIVE TO WATCH
Match-ups to look forward to in the week ahead:
Toronto at Hamilton, Tuesday (7:30 ET) - The 2012-13 edition of the Battle of Ontario concludes when Toronto and Hamilton wrap up their 12-game season series on Tuesday night. The Marlies (7-4-0-0) have a 14-10 edge in points over the Bulldogs (4-5-1-1), but Hamilton is 3-0-1-1 at home against Toronto. With Keith Aucoin (5-8-13) and Nazem Kadri (1-9-10) in the NHL, Bulldogs forward Gabriel Dumont leads active scorers with 4-5-9 in the head-to-head series.
Syracuse at Albany, Wednesday (7 ET) and Monday (2 ET) - Syracuse plays four road games in six days this week, beginning in Albany on Wednesday night and ending with a holiday matinee back at the Times Union Center on Monday. The Crunch, who had seven regulation losses in their first 36 games (24-7-2-3), have seven in their last 10 (2-7-0-1) but remain just four points out of the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Devils enter the week having won three in a row, including a 4-3 decision over the Crunch on Feb. 9.
Rockford at Peoria, Wednesday (8 ET) - Rockford and Peoria begin the week tied for 11th place in the Western Conference as they meet for the sixth of 12 times this season. The IceHogs have lost 11 of their last 16 games, but two of the five wins have come against the Rivermen, including a 4-2 victory on Feb. 8. This contest kicks off a six-game homestand for Peoria, which has lost four of its last five (1-2-2-0) but has points in five of seven (3-2-2-0).
Worcester at Springfield, Friday (7 ET) - Springfield begins the week 10-2-1-0 in its last 13 games, but two of the three losses in that span have come at the hands of Friday's opponent, the Worcester Sharks. The Falcons have opened up a 12-point lead atop the Northeast Division as they eye their first playoff berth since 2003. The Sharks, tied for eighth in the Eastern Conference entering the week, are on a 3-1-0-2 run and will have been off since their two-game sweep in St. John's on Feb. 5-6.
Oklahoma City at Texas, Friday (8:30 ET) and Saturday (8 ET) - Atop the league standings with 63 points entering the week, Texas hosts Oklahoma City for a two-game set with their South Division foes. The Stars are 25-7-4-2 since Nov. 11, but the Barons have been responsible four of the seven regulation losses and have won 16 of the last 20 meetings with Texas overall. Oklahoma City has scored 18 goals during its current three-game winning streak, with Jonathan Cheechoo (5-5-10), Philippe Cornet (4-4-8) and Mark Arcobello (2-6-8) combining for 26 points.
There have been 30 hat tricks and 106 shutouts recorded in the American Hockey League through Feb. 10:
Last week's hat tricks (1)
Darren Haydar, CHI Feb. 5 vs. Peoria
Last week's shutouts (9)
Robin Lehner, BNG Feb. 6 at Adirondack
Tom McCollum, GR Feb. 6 vs. Houston
Harri Sateri, WOR Feb. 6 at St. John's
Matt Climie, CHI Feb. 8 at Hamilton
Darcy Kuemper, HOU Feb. 9 at Rockford
Magnus Hellberg, MIL Feb. 10 vs. Peoria
Curtis McElhinney, SPR Feb. 10 vs. Portland
Barry Brust, ABB Feb. 10 vs. Lake Erie
Kent Patterson, LE Feb. 10 at Abbotsford
Oklahoma City rookie defenseman Brandon Davidson returned to the Barons lineup on Friday night vs. Grand Rapids, just three months after undergoing successful treatment for testicular cancer... The Barons swept their two-game set with the Griffins, 4-3 and 7-5, despite trailing by two goals in both games... Matt Anderson, who was named the CCM/AHL Player of the Week last week, had a hand in seven of Albany's nine non-shootout goals in three games... On Feb. 7, Petr Mrazek won his NHL debut with a 26-save effort in Detroit's 5-1 victory over St. Louis, while fellow 2013 AHL All-Star J.T. Miller scored his first two NHL goals for the N.Y. Rangers and 2012 AHL All-Star Zach Redmond notched his first NHL goal for Winnipeg... Prior to being recalled by Minnesota earlier today, Darcy Kuemper had a 1.46 goals-against average, a .952 save percentage and three shutouts in his last 11 starts for Houston... San Antonio's two-game visit to Charlotte last weekend marked the first time in their careers that Rampage defenseman Brendon Nash and his brother, Checkers forward Riley Nash, faced each other... Eric Gryba was a minus-1 in Binghamton's 3-2 shootout loss to Albany on Feb. 10, ending his streak of 22 consecutive games with a plus or even rating (+21)... Providence rookie defenseman Torey Krug extended his scoring streak to seven games with an assist vs. Portland on Feb. 11, totaling 4-8-12 in those seven games after registering 3-5-8 in his first 30 outings... Chicago forward Michael Davies has played more games this season (27) than any other AHL player without being assessed a penalty, and is one of seven Wolves players with at least 27 games played and a single-digit PIM total.