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Stanley Cup Final
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AHL Update

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."


Fearless Brown bursts onto AHL scene for Portland

Friday, 04.26.2013 / 12:10 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to

Portland Pirates rookie Chris Brown summarized his team's attitude toward the postseason in succinct fashion:

"You can call us underdogs, you can call us anything you want, but we're ready for the challenge," said the 22-year-old draft pick of the Phoenix Coyotes.

As the American Hockey League's 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs begin this weekend, Brown and his Pirates will face the Syracuse Crunch -- a squad made up of several players who won the Calder Cup last year in Norfolk, before an offseason affiliation change moved Tampa Bay's prospects to New York state.

"We're looking forward to it," Brown said. "We might as well play the best team in the league first and get it out of the way."


Audy-Marchessault helps end drought in Springfield

Friday, 04.19.2013 / 12:48 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to

In a city with a rich hockey history dating back to Eddie Shore, Jonathan Audy-Marchessault is helping to revive local interest in the sport with his Springfield Falcons squad.

With two games remaining the 2012-13 regular season, the Falcons -- the primary affiliate for the Columbus Blue Jackets -- have clinched a playoff berth for the first time in a decade and are division champions for the first time since Danny Briere and Shane Doan helped the club to a first-place finish in 1998.

"There are a lot of people in the organization who have been there a while, and they were thrilled to win the Northeast Division," Audy-Marchessault said. "It's really fun for the city of Springfield, too. They've been waiting for a good hockey team to get behind.

"We might be the team to go far in the playoffs, and we might be the team to win it."


Wild prospect Zucker finding success as AHL rookie

Friday, 04.12.2013 / 12:50 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to

The old adage in sports is big players make big plays in big games.

Jason Zucker is proving to be one of those players. The American Hockey League co-leader in game-winning goals with eight, Zucker knows how to get the job done.

And now he’s set his sights on another target -- the Calder Cup.

The first major honor for the Houston Aeros forward was his selection to play in the AHL All-Star Classic in Providence in January.

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Quote of the Day

This team has been a real treat to say you've been the head coach of them. I'm extremely proud of this group ... after the disappointment of (the Game 6 loss) is digested, it's always a lot easier as a coach when your team has emptied its tank, and that team emptied its tank for me for three months.

— Senators coach Dave Cameron after getting eliminated in the first round by the Canadiens