AHL Today: St. John’s stopped at six, Abbotsford takes division lead

AHL Today is a roundup of the night that was, the day ahead, and anything you may have missed. Your quick look at what’s going on around the league.

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To Watch:

  • CHARLOTTE at ABBOTSFORD: One day after the Heat absolutely dismantled the Checkers 7-1, the two faceoff again with Charlotte needing to get a few stops on the penalty kill in the rematch. The Heat powerplay went 3-for-8 in last night’s contest, with Max Reinhart, Blair Jones, and Markus Granlund picking up the tallies. In his AHL debut, Olivier Roy made 25 stops in the win, while the Checkers tandem of John Muse and Mike Murphy got shelled by the Abbotsford offense. With the win, Abbotsford moved into first place in the West Division and second in the Western Conference.
  • SYRACUSE at ROCHESTER: In a game that is a story of two teams going in opposite directions, the Crunch travel into Rochester to take on the Americans. The Amerks, winners of their last seven, could push their streak further and move into sixth place in the West with a win over the slumping Crunch, and getting some help in the form of a Milwaukee loss. The Crunch, who have only a single point in their last seven games, will have goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis back for the contest. John Parks, we hardly knew ye.

Last Night:

  • PROVIDENCE 3, ST. JOHN’S 2: You win some, you lose some — and fortunately for the IceCaps they haven’t lost many lately. The IceCaps had their winning streak snapped at six games thanks to strong play by the Providence Bruins. In the third period, Bruins forward Craig Cunningham picked up a shorthanded tally to put the Bruins in front and, not long after, Anthony Camara potted one of his own to make put the Bruins in front 3-1. The ‘Caps Ben Chiarot would pull St. John’s within one just over a minute later, but it wouldn’t be enough. Malcolm Subban picked up the win, as Michael Hutchinson lost to his former team — the first loss he’s suffered in his last seven starts.
  • SPRINGFIELD 4, ALBANY 0: On a day when the Godfather of Springfield Falcons hockey decided to step back from his role with the franchise, Bruce Landon got to watch the Falcons go to work on the visiting Devils. It started early with an Alex Aleardi snipe just under five minutes into the first frame, and a three goal second period buried the Devils before they could get anything started. Mike McKenna was outstanding for the Falcons, stopping all 25 pucks that came his way. Helping Springfield to the win was their penalty kill, which went a perfect 4-for-4.

Moves:

Abbotsford Heat
Evan Trupp (F) To: Alaska Aces
Turner Elson (F) To: Alaska Aces
Milwaukee Admirals
Simon Moser (F) To: Nashville Predators
San Antonio Rampage
Anthony Luciani (F) From: Cincinnati Cyclones
Toronto Marlies
Mike Duco (F) From: Orlando Solar Bears
Utica Comets
Pascal Pelletier (F) To: Vancouver Canucks
Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins
Harry Zolnierczyk (F) To: Pittsburgh Penguins
Andrew Ebbett (F) From: Pittsburgh Penguins
Worcester Sharks
Eriah Hayes (F) From: San Jose Sharks
Chris Crane (F) To: Ontario Reign

News & Notes:

    • A bit of sad news, as Keith Allen has passed away. The longtime Philadelphia Flyers GM had a hand in the creation of the AHL’s Maine Mariners, the only team to ever win back-t0-back Calder Cups in its first two years of existence. [The Modesto Bee]
    • From the Lewiston Sun Journal, the press conference for the Pirates can be seen below.

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Trevor Gillies inks deal with Heat

It seems Brian Burke’s directive — you know the one? It goes something, something, truculence? — has trickled down to the AHL.

The Abbotsford Heat announced today they have signed pugilist Trevor Gillies to an AHL contract. Gillies, you may recall, was part of the infamous brawl between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Islanders. You may remember him as the guy shouting from off-ice at a downed Penguin. Yes, it’s that Trevor Gillies.

Depending on your definition of impressive, Gillies has some impressive numbers. In 676 games split between the NHL, AHL, and ECHL, Gillies has racked up 2,866 PIM. Before inking his deal with the Heat, Gillies spent three games with SM-Liigas HIFK (54 PIM), and five games with Orlando of the ECHL (21 PIM).

But I am sure Gillies is being brought in for his scoring prowess. In those 676 games, Gillies has contributed to the tune of 11 goals and 32 assists.

The one-time Anaheim Duck — Gillies was there during the Burke years — will be available to the Heat for the weekends games when they host the Hamilton Bulldogs.

 

Flames assign O’Brien, recall Breen

It hasn’t been the best season for Shane O’Brien, and now the seven-year NHL vet is heading back to the AHL where his professional career began.

O’Brien, drafted 250th overall in 2003 by the then Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, was dealt to the Flames in June by the Colorado Avalanche in a package with David Jones that brought Corey Sarich and Alex Tanguay back the other way.

At the beginning of his career, O’Brien spent three seasons with the Ducks’ affiliates — two with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks and one year in Portland with the Pirates.

To fill O’Brien’s spot, the Flames have recalled 24-year-old Chris Breen from Abbotsford. Breen, who has spent the last three seasons with the Heat, will get a chance to suit up for just his sixth NHL game in the recall.

Breen signed with the Flames at the culmination of his junior career, where he spent five seasons between the Peterborough Petes, Erie Otters, and Saginaw Spirit.

In 20 games with the Heat this season, Breen has tallied three assists.

Wolves deal Locke to Abbotsford, get Cundari on loan

After spending last season split between Finland’s SM-Liiga and Germany’s DEL, Corey Locke is moving on to his fourth team in two seasons after a deal sent him from the Chicago Wolves to the Abbotsford Heat. In exchange, the Wolves were loaned Mark Cundari from the Calgary Flames.

Locke, a veteran of over 600 games in the AHL, had previously spent time in Binghamton, Hartford, Houston, and Hamilton. One of the more prolific career AHLers, Locke has been at nearly a point-per-game clip in the minor leagues. With 178 goals and 368 assists, the Heat are getting a prolific playmaker who can improve their already stellar offence.

EliteProspects describes Locke as a skilled offensive threat and a nice addition to any team’s PP, but knocks his skating ability, adding he’s weak on the dot.

Cundari, a 23-year-old defenceman from Toronto, signed with the St. Louis Blues as a free agent after finishing his junior career with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires. With just over 200 games in the A, Cundari has established himself as a contributor on the PP, able to quarterback his team with the extra man. In 32 games this season, Cundari has tallied ten points (4-6).

The loan agreement allows Calgary to retain the rights to Cundari should they wish to bring him to the big club. However, it seems unlikely that Cundari will see the NHL this season and should spend the remainder of the year with the Wolves.