AHL Today: Amerks win streak to five, Hoffman pots four

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:

  • TORONTO at OKLAHOMA CITY: These two teams don’t play very often — they’ve only faced off six times in the last five years — so there’s not a long history here. However, of note, Will Acton will be facing off against his former team for the first time since leaving the Marlies to head to the Barons this past summer. Oklahoma is coming into the game having lost back-to-back games in regulation, and are hoping to avoid a slide that would put them ever further back in the West. Already near the basement, the Barons are on the verge of losing their season if they can’t right the shit. A loss to the Marlies would not help their cause.

Last Night:

  • ROCHESTER 4, CHICAGO 1: The Wolves struck just fifteen seconds into the game, but they wouldn’t pot another. After Adam Cracknell’s opening salvo, the Amerks held steadfast and came back in waves potting four unanswered. Goals for Rochester came from Kevin Porter, Brayden McNabb, Colton Gillies, Alex Hutchings. Johan Larsson contributed with a pair of helpers, and the Amerks have pushed their streak to five.
  • SAN ANTONIO 4, TEXAS 2: There are dominating, three-period shot-barrage type wins, and then there are what you could call goalie wins. For San Antonio, you could call the victory over Texas a goalie win, as Michael Houser stopped 44 of 46 shots sent his way. Jed Ortmeyer had two tallies for the Rampage, including the game-winner which came in the first frame. In the loss, Stars goaltender Josh Robinson allowed four goals on just 18 shots.
  • BINGHAMTON 6, WORCESTER 3: The Mike Hoffman show rolled into Worcester as the Binghamton forward potted his 19th, 20th, 21st, and 22nd goals of the year. A five point night for Hoffman — he added an assist, just for good measure — helped the Sens handily defeat Worcester. Forward Scott Fleming made his debut for the Sharks after getting the call to the ‘A’ from the ECHL’s Fort Wayne Komets.

(Moves, news, and notes after the jump.)

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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.

Varone makes most of call up, pots first career goal

Phil Varone was on pace to shatter his previous career high for points in season as a professional. Tough break for Varone, though, because his AHL point total could stay at 33 if he keeps playing well in Buffalo.

Varone, a native of Vaughan, Ont. and the assistant captain of the Rochester Americans, got the call exactly a week ago that he was on his way to Buffalo, and since he has made the most of his opportunities.

After scoring his first goal last night, Varone spoke with The Buffalo News’ Amy Mortiz and broke down his play so far in the bigs.

“I think more in the ‘A’ I try to control the puck around the perimeter and find my teammates,” said Varone of his style with the minors. “Here I need to be a little more simple and that’s why I’m just trying to get to the net more. I’m going to start hopefully feeling more comfortable and making plays with the puck but for right now I’m just going to go to the net and hopefully bang a few in.

“The more games you play the more you’re going to understand what you need to do to create space for yourself and to get open. That’s been my focus right now. Once I get more comfortable I’ll be able to make more plays with the puck.”

Varone First Goal small tagThe Sabres, definitely not atop the league, are giving shots to their young guns in a down season with hopes of building a team that can win in the future. Varone, if this chance in the NHL is any indication, is a part of those plans. Drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the fifth round of the 2009 entry draft, Varone went unsigned before inking a free agent deal with the Sabres.

Of his first goal, Varone told Moritz that it was good to get the pressure of his shoulders.

The Sabres will head into action again on Thursday when they head to Phoenix to take on the Coyotes, and it will be up to the Desert Dogs to try and stop the red hot Varone.

(Cover image courtesy BuffaloHockeyBeat.com)

AHL Today: Glens Falls close to finding out future, Utica win streak halted

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:

  • CHICAGO at ROCHESTER: Rochester puts its four-game winning streak on the line when they take on the Wolves. Over their last four games, the Amerks have outscored their opponents 16-8. The tandem of Nathan Lieuwen and Matt Hackett have been formidable for Rochester. The teams haven’t faced each other this season, but they’re meeting each other as they both start to roll. Chicago is on a two game streak of its own. Should be a great game. Of note, the Amerks will be without top point-getter Phil “Don’t Call Me Joe” Varone who is up with the Buffalo Sabres.
  • SAN ANTONIO at TEXAS: The Stars host the Rampage at home, where they’re 21-3-0-3 against San Antonio in the last five years. Texas has picked up a point in each of the seven contests between the two teams so far this season, and a single point will draw them into a tie for first place in the West. Texas will still be without goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp, so expect Josh Robinson to get the call. The last time the two teams met was Dec. 28, when the Stars walked away with a 5-2 victory.

Last Night:

  • LAKE ERIE 3, UTICA 2 (SO): Benn Ferriero continued his hot streak, picking up a goal and an assist, but it wasn’t enough as the Comets dropped the game to the Monsters in a shootout. Calvin Pickard picked up the win for the Monsters, making thirty saves and stopping every shot in skills competition. Joey Hishon’s shootout tally proved to be the winner.
  • CHARLOTTE at NORFOLK (ppd.): Due to weather, the Admirals and Checkers had their tilt postponed to March 4.
    (Moves, news, and notes after the jump.) Continue reading

AHL Today: A look at the PPL Center, Utica goes for five

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:

  • LAKE ERIE at UTICA: As Lake Erie heads into Utica, this isn’t just a battle of some basement dwellers, it’s a battle of teams heading in very different directions. Winless in their last eight games, Lake Erie has dropped seven games in regulation as the Comets have snapped their most recent skid, rattling off four straight wins. Joacim Erikkson, fresh off being named Player of the Week, will likely get the call for the Comets. Lake Erie will get goaltender Sami Aittokallio back from his recall with the Colorado Avalanche. Only nine points out of a playoff spot, it’s a bit too early to really write off the Comets, but they’re going to need to extend this win streak and have many more like it to get back in the race.
  • CHARLOTTE at NORFOLK: The Admirals have points in six straight heading into their game with the visiting Checkers. Charlotte has won the last three meetings between the two clubs, but needed overtime and shootout to do so. On a four game winning streak themselves, the Checkers are going to be without leading scorer Aaron Palsuhaj, who just earned himself a call to the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. The Ads’ best bet is to keep the Checkers off the powerplay, as the team is moving along at nearly a 25% clip.

Moves:

Sami Aittokallio (G) From: Colorado Avalanche To: Lake Erie Monsters
Aaron Palushaj (F)
 From: Charlotte Checkers To: Carolina Hurricanes
Petr Mrázek (G) From: Detroit Red Wings To: Grand Rapids Griffins
Cody Beach (F) From: Kalamazoo Wings To: Chicago Wolves
Colton Sissons (F) From: Milwaukee Admirals To: Nashville Predators
Danny Hobbs (F) From: Elmira Jackals To: Binghamton Senators
Thomas Heemskerk (G) From: Worcester Sharks To: Quad City Mallards
Jordan Szwarz (F) From: Phoenix Coyotes To: Portland Pirates
Connor Murphy (D) From: Portland Pirates To: Phoenix Coyotes
Olivier Roy (G) From: Alaska Aces To: Abbotsford Heat
Drew MacKenzie (D) From: Alaska Aces To: Abbotsford Heat
Zach McKelvie (D) From: Abbotsford Heat To: Alaska Aces
Jordan Kremyr (F) From: Abbotsford Heat To: Alaska Aces
Jordan Schroeder (F) From: Utica Comets To: Vancouver Canucks
Nicholas Rioux (D) From: Iowa Wild To: Quad City Mallards
Brandon Pirri (F) From: Rockford IceHogs To: Chicago Blackhawks
Anders Nilsson (G) From: New York Islanders To: Bridgeport Sound Tigers
Matt Donovan (D) From: New York Islanders To: Bridgeport Sound Tigers

News & Notes:

  • Really nice work by 100DegreeHockey’s Stephen Meserve on the Texas Stars league leading powerplay. [100DegreeHockey]
  • The AHL Power Rankings for Week 17 have gone live on Chirps From Center Ice. Jason has been doing a great job with these, so go take a look. [ChirpsFromCenterIce]
  • After nearly a month on the road, the Rochester Americans are back on home ice. [WHEC]
  • The Milwaukee Admirals are hosting a, get this, Jamaican Vortex Night. Three fans will get a trip to Jamaica, and there will be a Bob Marley tribute band. You think you’d see this in the NHL? C’mon. [Milwaukee Admirals]
  • The brand new PPL Center is on its way to completion. (s/t @breakground, @Ike_Richman)
    Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 11.44.26 AM
    (Click to enlarge)

Three straight wins get Eriksson Player of the Week nod

The Utica Comets haven’t looked basement dwellers this past week.

Vancouver’s top affiliate put together four straight wins, getting back some of the ground they lost after dropping six straight before the current win streak.

In the streak, goaltender Joacim Erikkson had had a shutout and overtime victory, and things are looking up for the Comets.

Eriksson is in his first season in North America after signing with the Canucks in the summer. In 24 games for the Comets this year, Eriksson has posted an 11-11-1 record with three shutouts, a .911 SV%, and 2.63 GAA.

The 23-year-old Eriksson, a Gavle, Sweden native, got the call in one NHL game this season when he suited up on Jan. 15 against the Anaheim Ducks. In 36 minutes of work, Eriksson stopped 25 shots and allowed six goals.

Eriksson should get the call again on Tuesday as the Comets look to extend their win streak to five when they host the Lake Erie Monsters.

Blackhawks fans rejoice: Pirri gets recalled by Chicago

If you follow any Blackhawks fans on Twitter, I’m sure by now you’ve seen the calls for Brandon Pirri to make his way back up to the big club. Those prayers — of which there have been plenty — have finally been answered.

Pirri, a second round pick by the ‘Hawks in 2009, spent 24 games with Chicago this season, but after an eight-game point drought was sent back to the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs. Now, after racking up four goals and six assists through 13 games in with Rockford, Pirri has earned his call back up to the bigs.

When Pirri was sent back to the IceHogs in December, he told the media that the situation wasn’t ideal, but he had to “play well and do his best and work hard wherever.”

The interview with Hogs TV, which you can see below, is an exercise in Hockey Interview 101.

AHL Today: IceCaps, Bears extend streaks, Barberio making mark in Tampa

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:

  • Empty schedule tonight. Falcons fans can watch Tim Erixon, who has been recalled from the Springfield Falcons, and will suit up tonight for the Columbus Blue Jackets as they take on the Carolina Hurricanes.

Last Night:

  • ST. JOHN’S 3, PROVIDENCE 1: For the fourth game in a row, Michael Hutchinson got the call between the pipes. His third start in three nights, the 23-year-old Barrie, Ont. native stopped 34 shots, the only chink in his armour being a Matt Lindblad goal halfway through the first period. With the win, Hutchinson and the IceCaps extended their winning streak to four games, and will put the streak on the line on Friday when they take visit Lewiston to take on the Portland Pirates.
  • HERSHEY 2, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 0: The Bears, without head coach Mike Haviland, pushed their win streak to five. Before the game, Scott Stuccio tweeted that Haviland would be unavailable due to a medical issue, but we’ve yet to discover what exactly kept Haviland away from the team. Here’s hoping it’s nothing serious. As for the game, let’s turn it over to Chirps From Center Ice:
    The Penguins lose 2-0 to the Hershey Bears in a game which, if a power play goal here or there go in, then maybe the result is a little different. The Pens were 0-for-7 on the power play tonight, 0-for-15 for the weekend.”

Moves:

Alex Petrovic (D) From: Florida Panthers To: San Antonio Rampage
Tim Erixon (D) From: Springfield Falcons To: Columbus Blue Jackets

News & Notes:

  • A positive story from Haviland being unavailable: Bears defenceman Patrick Wellar, who was sidelined after taking a shot from Syracuse’s Eric Neilson during a fight on Saturday, was patrolling the bench as an assistant. [PennLive.com]
  • Former Crunch defenceman Mark Barberio is making his mark with the big club, and it’s turning some heads, including Jon Cooper, Tampa’s head coach, who wants the young defenceman in the lineup. [Syracuse.com]
  • Heat fans shouldn’t expect to see Michael Ferland back in the lineup. [FAN960]

 

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’ Meyers to be inducted to Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame

In 1994, just two years after the Chicago Blackhawks had made a run to the Stanley Cup Final, Chicago was hockey mad. That’s when Buddy Meyers, Don Levin, and former Blackhawk forward Grant Mulvey were given the rights to an International Hockey League franchise.

Now, 20 years after the Wolves took the ice for the first time, co-founder and vice chairman Meyers will be inducted into the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame.

Meyers will take his place in the Builders category.

In his 20 years with the Wolves, the franchise has won two Turner Cups as IHL champions, three IHL conference championships, three AHL conference championships, and won the Calder Cup 2001-02 and 2007-08.