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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Portland Pirates, Cumber County Civic Center reach agreement

After being jettisoned to Lewiston, ME. and playing half a season away from their home building, the Portland Pirates have reached a lease agreement with the Cumberland County Civic Center that will see the team head back home.

Maine Hockey Journal’s Chris Roy broke the story, and the Pirates are set to make an announcement at 2 p.m.

The lease agreement, which was previously approved by the CCCC’s Board of Trustees by a 6-2 margin, was submitted to the Pirates with the explicit direction to have a response by Monday. Majority owner Ron Cain and his team have come to a decision that will see the team back in Portland at the beginning of next season.

The agreement will keep the Pirates in the CCCC for the next five years, beginning with the 2014-15 season with this current lease expiring in 2019-20.

Playing in Lewiston has severely hurt attendance for the Pirates, who went from drawing an average of 4,444 fans per game last season to roughly 2,400 a night in Lewiston.

From Roy:

The lease will take effect beginning for the 2014-’15 season and potentially keep the team at the Civic Center where the team has played since it relocated from Baltimore in 1993. The hockey team has played this season at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston since the dispute broke out in August.

The Pirates were originally scheduled to play 13 games in Lewiston, while the Civic Center underwent a $37 million renovation that is mostly complete. The Civic Center will begin hosting events next weekend with the Maine Home Show, scheduled for Feb. 15.

The Pirates, however, will not return to the Civic Center until next season due to its current lease with Firland Management, owners of the Colisee, and the logistics of moving the team to Portland with less than three months left in the season.

Cumberland County Civic Center make offer to Pirates

When the Portland Pirates and the Cumberland County Civic Center couldn’t reach an agreement on a lease to begin the season, the Pirates picked up and moved operations to nearby Lewiston, ME. A new lease agreement put forth by the CCCC could bring the Pirates back home.

The lease agreement, first reported by Maine Hockey Journal’s Chris Roy, was approved by trustees of the CCCC by a 6-2 vote. However, Roy reports that the agreement must be accepted by Feb. 3 or the deal expires.

In April of last year, the two sides had agreed to an outline of a lease agreement, but talks later broke down over parts of the deal. One issue was the division of money received from the sale of liquor on the premises.

In December, Ron Cain, a minority owner at the time the initial talks broke down, acquired a majority stake in the team.

Roy tweeted out he wishes he could be “more optimistic about today, but the reality is this is it. If both sides can’t agree this time. Its over.”

The Portland Pirates front office was unavailable for comment at the time of this writing. This story will continue to develop.

AHL Today: Evans, Grant, Desbiens suspended, Griffins back on top

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:

  • ST. JOHN’S (23-16-1-2) at PROVIDENCE (22-15-1-5): In a rematch of a Friday matchup, the Bruins host the IceCaps. Friday night, the two teams combined for nine goals as the IceCaps skated away with a one-goal victory. Jerome Samson had the winner on the powerplay with 10 minutes remaining in the final frame. Michael Hutchinson, who has had the call in three straight, made 32 saves in the win. IceCaps goaltender Eddie Pasquale hasn’t seen the net since giving up six goals on 34 shots to the Manchester Monarchs.

Last Night: 

  • GRAND RAPIDS 4, TEXAS 1: In the rematch between the top two teams in the West, Grand Rapids exacted revenge for their 6-4 Friday night loss. A four goal second period, including two from Landon Ferraro, helped the Griffins to the victory. With the win, Grand Rapids move back atop the Western Conference.
  • MANCHESTER 3, PORTLAND 2 (OT): The Monarchs wore the throwback threads, and Linden Vey made sure the team skated away in style. With two second left in overtime, Vey, who was just recently reassigned to Manchester, took the puck off the half wall, moved to the middle of the ice, and fired a wrister through Pirates goaltender Louis Domingue.
    01:25:2013 Vey OT Goal MANvPRT

Moves:
Pat Nagle (G) From: Texas Stars To: Idaho Steelheads
Mikael Samuelsson (F) From: Detroit Red Wings To: Grand Rapids Griffins
Cody Bass (F) From: Columbus Blue Jackets To: Springfield Falcons
Dustin Jeffrey (F) From: Dallas Stars To: Texas Stars

News & Notes:

  • The AHL has announced suspensions for the Griffins D Brennan Evans, and LW Triston Grant have both been suspended resulting from incidents on Friday. Evans will sit three games for an elbow, Grant for a slew-foot.
  • Guillaume Desbiens has also been suspended one game for instigating a fight in the final five minutes of Lake Erie’s game last night vs. Hamilton.
  • Bob Howard posted some great photos of Denis Hamel’s induction ceremony in Binghamton last night. Go to his Twitter account to see them all.

(Cover image via Manchester Monarchs Official Instagram account)

Pirates’ Petrovek: “Very real possibility” Coyotes affiliation could be terminated

And the saga continues.

After it came out earlier this week that the Portland Pirates and CCCC were heading to court and that court documents were already being filed, it appears the stakes have gotten even higher for Brian Petrovek and his Portland Pirates.

The Portland Press Herald has seen an affidavit, signed by Petrovek, that states the “there is a very real possibility that the Coyotes could terminate our relationship with them.”

While the plan was for the Pirates to head back to the Cumberland County Civic Center in January when the $34 million renovation was complete, if this fight drags on, the Pirates may be finding permanent residency for the 2013-14 season in the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.

The comments by Petrovek — which one could have assumed were coming — lend more to the possibility that the Pirates could be on the move after this season. Without an affiliation agreement, and with the distraction of this arena battle, would anyone be willing to run with their farm in Portland?

With Glens Falls making it abundantly clear they’re looking for a team to fill the place of the Adirondack Phantoms when they move to Allentown, it could be a possible landing place for the Pirates should they move.

One thing remains a certainty, however; the fans in Portland want to see their team play, and they hope this gets sorted out sooner rather than later.