It was a very active week in AHL hockey, with action every day this past week. Here is a recap of the action:
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Mark McNeill of the Rockford IceHogs was named the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the week ending November 9th. McNeill tallied 6 goals and a +4 rating in just three games last week. The 18th overall pick in 2011 by the Chicago Blackhawks is now tied for the league lead with 9 goals after his first professional hat trick Saturday night.The IceHogs are in the midst of an 8 game winning streak.
MONDAY NIGHT HOCKEY: Just two games were scheduled for a rare Monday night showdown, with Charlotte scoring a goal in each period to beat Texas 3-1. Drew MacIntyre stopped 28 of 29 shots he faced in the victory. In another divisional showdown, Adirondack used three first period goals (and added a fourth just 13 seconds into the 2nd) to propel them to a 4-3 victory over Rochester. Bill Arnold scored his first and second goals of his professional career.
VETERANS DAY SPECIAL: As hockey took a moment to recognize Veterans in the United States, Canada, and the world, six teams dedicated hockey games in their honor. San Antonio and Oklahoma City kicked off the day with a 10:35 AM start, but it could’ve been any time of day for Steven Kampfer, who scored his 5th goal of the year just 30 seconds into the game for the Rampage. The game ended up tied until a shootout, where Rocco Grimaldi played hero, giving the Rampage a 3-2 victory. Worcester and Springfield played a 3:00 PM game, but it wasn’t until about 5:00 when the Sharks showed up, scoring four third period goals. Former Falcon Bryan Lerg scored his first goal as a Shark, and it was the game winner as Worchester edged Springfield 4-2. Meanwhile, in Portland, four different Monarchs’ scored and Jean-Francois Berube was perfect in net, stopping all 18 shots he faced, in route to a 4-0 Manchester rout over the Pirates.
KELINENDORST LET GO: Also on Tuesday, former Calder Cup winning head coach Kurt Keliendorst was relieved of his duties by the Iowa Wild. At 3-10-0-0 Iowa was dead last in the West and in the AHL. He was replaced by long time NHL bench boss John Torchetti.
WILD PASS WEDNESDAY TEST: Torchetti passed his first test, leading the Wild to a 3-2 victory over Milwaukee Wednesday. Zack Phillips scored the game winner and Johan Gustafsson stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced in the win. The Admirals’ Michael Liambass scored the lone two goals for his club. Also in the West, Chicago shut out Utica 3-0 and Lake Erie fell to Grand Rapids 5-3. On the East, it took a shootout, but this edition of the Thruway Showdown went to the Syracuse Crunch as they defeated the homestanding Albany Devils 3-2.
THURSDAY NIGHT HOCKEY: OK, so this isn’t quite the ESPN edition from back in the day but Thursday night took us to the Canadian Maritimes, where the St. John’s Ice Caps broke a streak of 120 consecutive sellouts. (NOTE: all proponents of more weekday AHL games, it doesn’t even work in St. John’s!) What the lacked in attendance, they made up for on the ice, beating the Hamilton Bulldogs 3-2. Keaton Ellerby got one past Joey MacDonald 9:01 into the third period for his first goal with the Ice Caps, first AHL goal since Feb. 27, 2011, first goal in the Winnipeg organization, and the game winning goal.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Friday night features all 30 teams in action, beginning with round two of Hamilton at St. John’s at 7:30 PM NT/6:00 PM ET. In the 7:00 PM ET group of games, look for rivalries renewed as Hartford hosts Bridgeport, Hershey travels to Syracuse, and at 7:05 Providence hosts Springfield, Toronto is at Rochester, and Lehigh Valley makes the short trip up the Northeast Extension to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. At 7:30, Adirondack will make history with their first trip to Lake Erie, and the Sharks-Kings rivalry takes to the AHL ice as Worcester hosts Manchester. Meanwhile, Iowa looks to make it two in a row as they host Oklahoma City at 7:00 PM CT/8:00 PM ET.
SATURDAY NIGHT’S ALRIGHT! 26 teams are in action, with the home-and-home of Hartford and Bridgeport heading to the Webster Bank Arena at 7:00 PM ET. Also on tap is Providence at Manchester and Springfield at Worcester. Finally, “O, Canada” will get belted for the first time at the PPL Center as Lehigh Valley hosts Toronto at 7:05 PM.
HOCKEY SUNDAY: The weekend concludes with 6 games on tap. Most notably, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton making the trip down I-81 to take on long time rival Hershey at 5:00.
InsideHockey.com has you covered in the AHL. Look for articles from around the league and updates twice a week here on Inside Hockey.