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AHL Update

Grand Rapids takes 2-0 lead at Calder Cup Final

Sunday, 06.09.2013 / 10:08 PM / AHL Update

The Grand Rapids Griffins are halfway towards winning the Calder Cup. They'll have a chance win the American Hockey League crown on home ice.

Landon Ferraro had a goal and two assists and was one of six players to score Sunday as the Detroit Red Wings' top minor-league affiliate earned a 6-4 victory against the Syracuse Crunch in Game 2 of the Calder Cup Final at War Memorial at Oncenter in Syracuse, N.Y.

The series now shifts to Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich., for the next three games. Game 3 is slated for Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET.

Grand Rapids wins Game 1 of Calder Cup Final

Saturday, 06.08.2013 / 10:09 PM / AHL Update

Petr Mrazek stopped 27 shots as the Grand Rapids Griffins opened the Calder Cup Final by defeating the Syracuse Crunch 3-1 Saturday night.

"When I'm busy, I like that, so I felt great today," Mrazek told "Guys helped me stop a lot of chances and so that is important for us tonight."

Mitch Callahan's goal 6:45 into the game gave the visiting Griffins, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, a 1-0 lead. Riley Sheahan, Detroit's first-round pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, doubled the lead when he beat Cedrick Desjardins for an unassisted goal at the 12-minute mark of the third period.

"We wanted to set the tone first and not really wait to see what they do," Callahan said. "We wanted to control the game and we wanted to dictate the outcome and not wait back and see what they would do first."

Lightning prospects playing for another Calder Cup

Friday, 06.07.2013 / 4:02 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to

Tyler Johnson is all in.

To borrow another poker phrase, Johnson and many of his Syracuse Crunch teammates are looking to make it two of a kind -- as in Calder Cup championship rings.

After winning the American Hockey League championship with the record-setting Norfolk Admirals last year, Johnson and the rest of the Tampa Bay Lightning's top prospects moved 500 miles north to Syracuse, N.Y., in an affiliation change. Now, with a different crest on their jerseys, they’re heading into the Calder Cup Finals again.

"Last year we had an unbelievable year," Johnson said. "It was a dream come true to win the Calder Cup and have so much success. And going into this year, we wanted to repeat as champions. Having that success last year gave us that confidence.

"We've been through it all, so it's helped to keep us on track and motivated through this entire year."

Grand Rapids advances to Calder Cup Final

Wednesday, 06.05.2013 / 10:08 PM / AHL Update

Tomas Jurco's unassisted goal with 6:12 remaining in regulation gave the Grand Rapids Griffins a 5-4 victory against the Oklahoma City Barons in Game 7 of the AHL Western Conference Final on Wednesday night, marking the first time since 1992 that a Detroit Red Wings affiliate has advanced to the Calder Cup Final.

Oklahoma City, the top farm team of the Edmonton Oilers, broke a 3-3 tie when Taylor Fedun scored 1:21 into the third period. But Jan Mursak tied it at 6:32 with his second of the game and eighth of the playoffs before Jurco beat goaltender Yann Danis for the winner.

Petr Mrazek stopped 33 shots for Grand Rapids, the North Division champion. Danis made 28 saves for the Barons, who lost the West final for the second year in a row.

AHL call-ups Krug and Bartkowski have aided Bruins

Friday, 05.31.2013 / 1:44 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to

Torey Krug is no fluke.

Though much of the hockey world is just now buzzing about the 22-year-old's breakout playoff performance with the Boston Bruins, nobody who has had an eye on the American Hockey League this season should be surprised.

Krug racked up 13 goals and 32 assists in 63 games for Boston's top affiliate, the Providence Bruins, good for fourth among all AHL defensemen.

Then in the Calder Cup Playoffs, Krug contributed three assists in seven games – helping Providence defeat the Hershey Bears in the first round and take a 2-0 series lead over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the second round – before being called up to Boston.

Kings well-stocked with talent from Monarchs

Friday, 05.24.2013 / 2:40 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to

Kings aren't born, they're made.

And in the case of the Los Angeles Kings, they're made in the Queen City: Manchester, New Hampshire.

No matter that they're 3,000 miles apart, the Kings and their primary affiliate, the American Hockey League's Manchester Monarchs, have discovered a winning formula for player development.

Bolstered by last year's Stanley Cup victory, this year's Kings roster is packed with AHL talent. Nearly every regular on the roster developed in the AHL, more than half coming through the Monarchs.

"We take a lot of pride in the success that our players are having at the NHL level," said Mark Morris, who has been Monarchs head coach since 2006. His players through the years have included 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick, and five current L.A. players who were in Manchester this season: Tyler Toffoli, Slava Voynov, Dwight King, Jordan Nolan, and Jake Muzzin.

AHL Penguins, down 3-0 in series, force Game 7

Monday, 05.20.2013 / 10:36 PM / AHL Update

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins moved within one victory of becoming the third team in American Hockey League history to win a playoff series after losing the first three games by beating the Providence Bruins 2-1 in overtime on Monday night. Trevor Smith's goal 3:26 into overtime gave the Penguins a third consecutive victory in their Eastern Conference Semifinal series and forced a Game 7 at Providence on Wednesday.

The Bruins outshot the Penguins 47-18, including 20-2 in the third period, but Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goaltender Brad Thiessen stopped 46 shots.

Craig Cunningham gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead at 1:07 of the second period, but a 5-on-3 power-play goal by Penguins' defenseman Brian Dumoulin at 6:03 got the Penguins even.

Arcobello brings tremendous hockey IQ to Barons

Friday, 05.17.2013 / 2:06 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to

You don't need an Ivy League education to realize that Mark Arcobello has been a huge reason for the Oklahoma City Barons' return to the American Hockey League's Western Conference Finals this spring.

The Yale University alum with the degree in political science has moved on to an entirely different post-graduate curriculum: Intro to Professional Hockey. The Edmonton Oilers prospect's professors include the Barons coaching staff, led by head coach Todd Nelson.

"His hockey IQ is a huge strength," Nelson said of the third-year pro from Milford, Conn., who has had a breakout campaign in 2012-13. "He's a smart player and he's got skill. He's not a very big guy, but he's very competitive. He's not intimidated by any means.

"He finishes all his checks and plays a hard game. His skill level and hockey IQ -- his vision, his hockey sense, his creativity -- is above others in this league."

Oleksiak living large in AHL as top D-man for Texas

Friday, 05.10.2013 / 3:35 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to

When Jamie Oleksiak is on the ice, there's no missing him.

At 6-foot-7 and 254 pounds, the young man they call "Big Rig" is a beacon on the Texas Stars' roster and among the biggest players in the American Hockey League.

"In the AHL, I've played with big guys and they're used to the competition and know how to handle dealing with guys that are bigger than them," Oleksiak said of his size. "They're good at using their strength to their advantage."

The rookie defenseman's prospects for NHL success are just as big.

Grand Rapids' Ferraro following in father's footsteps

Friday, 05.03.2013 / 1:42 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to

For Landon Ferraro, it's all in the family.

The son of Ray Ferraro, an 18-year NHL veteran and current TSN hockey analyst, Landon has spent the past two years with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League, forging his own identity as a player and a force to be reckoned with.

"It's always a steady flow of advice," Landon said of his father, who honed his skills in the AHL with the Binghamton Whalers before playing more than 1,200 games in the NHL. "He'll ask if I need anything or give some pointers here and there.

"He said now that we're in the playoffs to elevate it a little bit and take it a step up. Just go do what you've done all year and make sure you're ready when it starts."

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