AHL Today: Barons snap two-game skid, beat Marlies

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.


To Watch:

  • BINGHAMTON at MANCHESTER: When the Senators head in to Manchester to play the Monarchs, they’re looking to pull themselves even closer to the top of the Eastern Conference. After a convincing 6-3 win over the Worcester Sharks their last time out, the Senators are hoping to continue their winning ways. The last time the two teams faced off this season, which came earlier this month, the Sens walked away with a 5-4 OT win, and Bingo’s Mike Hoffman lead all scorers with a goal and two assists.
  • TORONTO at SAN ANTONIO: In their past two games, the Rampage have knocked off the top two seeds in the West. Friday night, with a win over the visiting Toronto Marlies, the Rampage could complete the trifecta. The Marlies, leading the Western Conference’s North Division and sitting third in the conference, roll in to San Antonio following a travel day and ruminating on their 5-3 defeat to the Oklahoma City Barons. A late-November contest was the only match up between the two teams, and that game saw the Marlies double up the Rampage 4-2.

Last Night:

  • OKLAHOMA CITY 5, TORONTO 3: Brandon Kozun notched his first two points as a Marlie, both helpers, but they weren’t enough to bring the Marlies closer to the top seed in the West. After the Barons relinquished two two-goal leads — they lead 2-0, and 3-1 — Oklahoma City finally pulled away for good thanks to a Jack Combs tally with just over six minutes to go in the third. An Anton Lander empty-netter sealed the deal, as goaltender Richard Bachman and the Barons skated away with the ‘W’.


Abbotsford Heat
Blair Jones (F) From: Calgary Flames
Trevor Gillies (F) From: Orlando Solar Bears
Adirondack Phantoms
Chris VandeVelde (F) From: Philadelphia Flyers
Charlotte Checkers
Cam Ward (G) From: Carolina Hurricanes
Aaron Palushaj (F) From: Carolina Hurricanes
Hamilton Bulldogs
Christian Thomas (F) To: Montréal Canadiens
Portland Pirates
Jesse Mychan (F) To: Colorado Eagles
Texas Stars
Pat Nagle (G) To: Idaho Steelheads
Russ Sinkewich (D) To: Toledo Walleye
Dustin Jeffrey (F) To: Dallas Stars
Syracuse Crunch
Riku Helenius (G) From: Florida Everblades
Maxime Parent (F) From: Florida Everblades
Utica Comets
Frank Corrado (D) To: Vancouver Canucks

News & Notes:

  • A nice story by Wayne Fish on longtime AHL official Scott Adams, who is calling it a career after 20 years calling games in the ‘A’. Adams, on his passion for hockey: “When I’m skating, I feel like a little kid. When I saw the little kids skating on the rink next to the Winter Classic (in Michigan), I was almost crying.’’ [The Intelligencer]
  • Sean Shapiro on Jamie Oleksiak, who could one day be a superpower on the Dallas Stars’ blueline, but for now, he’s working out of a tough time with the help from a Stanley Cup champion. [The Statesman]
  • The Hershey Bears and Adirondack Phantoms are going to be busy this weekend, playing a weekend pair that starts with a 7 p.m. EST game tonight in Glens Falls and ends with a game starting at 1 p.m. in Philadelphia on Saturday.

AHL Today: Muse posts 31-save shutout; top spot in West on the line

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.


Weekend Watch:

  • GRAND RAPIDS at TEXAS: Tops in the Western Conference, the Grand Rapids Griffins head into Cedar Park tonight with their sights set on putting some distance between themselves and the Texas Stars. With the injuries to Detroit, the Griffins roster has been picked over, but the Stars have been moving along at a steady clip and could have their offence bolstered by Dustin Jeffery as soon as tonight.
    – In all likelihood, Tom McCollum will get the call between the pipes for the Griffins, going up against the Stars’ Josh Robinson, who made ten saves in a relief appearance for injured Christopher Nilstorp, who went down in the Stars 4-3 shootout victory over the Iowa Wild.
    – The Griffins are won both meetings with the Stars, outscoring Dallas’ farm team 10-5 in a weekend set.
    Notables: Robinson hasn’t suited up against the Griffins this season. Travis Morin has eight points over the last three games, and rookie Curtis McKenzie has points in three straight, including a four assist night on Jan. 17 when the Stars took on the Checkers. Jordin Tootoo comes into the game riding a three-game point streak, and scored the game winner in the Nov. 29 meeting between these two.

Full schedule, news, and notes after the jump. Continue reading

AHL Today: Lake Erie looks to snap skid, Texas loses Nilstorp in W

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.


On the schedule tonight:

Rochester heads into Lake Erie as both teams move in different directions. Lake Erie has dropped its last five, while Rochester has picked up a win in its last two outings. Lake Erie, only five points back of second spot in the division, needs a win to bring themselves two points closer to third place Rochester.


  • Lake Erie: Mark Olver (9-19-28), Bryan Lerg (12-15-27), and Andrew Agozzino (9-17-26) are all clustered within two points of each other.
  • No goaltender has been confirmed for tonight, but Calvin Pickard and Sami Aittokallio have split time all season, and with Pickard between the pipes for Lake Erie’s last contest, look for Aittokallio to get the call.
  • Rochester: Top point getter Phil Varone (8-25-33) got the call to Buffalo yesterday, so he won’t be in the lineup tonight. Luke Adam (15-10-25), who is scoring at a more torrid pace with over a point per game, will have all eyes on him as Lake Erie looks to stop their slide.
  • Nathan Lieuwen has had the net for three of the last four, so expect Hackett to get the call tonight.

Oklahoma City and Charlotte meet up tonight in Carolina, both with two game win streaks on the line. Oklahoma stands to slide up the standings in pursuit of the final playoff spot. The win would put them two points out of the final spot in the Western Conference.


Evening round-up:

     – Colton Sceviour had his bobble head night last night in Cedar Park. The resemblance? Suffice to say Sceviour wasn’t thrilled.

     – Threw together a Storify of the action on Twitter during the hubbub over the possibility of the St. John’s IceCaps and Winnipeg Jets affiliation agreement possibly ending with a new AHL team landing in Thunder Bay. Click the image below.

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 9.01.30 AM

On The Bus: Devils host birthday bashes, Barons paint ice, and other news and notes

With the AHL season right around the corner, and rookie camp already underway, it’s time to get ready for another year of following the future stars of the National Hockey League in our favourite small towns. Below is a collection of links of some stories from around the AHL. If you have any tips, news, or notes you’d like to see, reach us at americanhockeyblog@gmail.com.

  • The Albany Devils have selected a couple season ticket holders to celebrate their birthdays with the team:
  • …and the Oklahoma City Barons are bringing a few fans along to help in the painting of the rink. [OKC Barons]
  • The Pittsburgh Penguins, and, in turn, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, are getting a look at some fresh blood between the pipes. [masslive.com]
  • Finally, the Adirondack Phantoms have given the following silhouette to try to pique your interest about the coming special logo unveiling on Monday:
    Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 5.56.45 PM


Trio of AHLers head overseas

Alex Plante, Steven Zalewski, and Mike Connolly — all AHL regulars in 2012-13 — have all inked deals in Europe.

Plante, who was an alternate captain for the Oklahoma City Barons last season, is heading to Austria’s Dornbirner EC on a one-year deal after he and the Edmonton Oilers organization parted ways. Drafted in the first round, fifteenth overall, in 2007 by the Oil, Plante was never able to convert his potential to a job in the NHL.

A defensive defenceman, Plante’s got NHL size but could never quite piece together the other parts of his game. Through his AHL career, which spanned 233 games, Plante registered six goals and 38 assists.

Zalewski, who suited up in 73 games with the Devils affiliate in Albany last season, has signed a one-year deal with Lukko of SM-Liiga. Zalewski, 26, split his AHL career between the Worcester Sharks and Albany, but never got anything more than a brief look in the NHL.

A versatile forward that can play both centre and the wing, Zalewski is an AHL veteran of 406 games, tallying 83 goals and racking up 157 assists. In his 10 NHL games, Zalewski failed to register a point. He was a fourth round draft pick of the San Jose Sharks in 2004.

Connolly, a 24-year-old centre who suited up in 65 games with Lake Erie last season, has inked a one-year contract with Augsburger Panther of the DEL. In 65 games with the Monsters last season, Connolly scored nine goals and added 14 assists.

A member of the 2010-11 WCHA First All-Star Team, Connolly was also an alternate captain with the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs that season, helping to lead the team to the Frozen Four Championship. In 118 AHL games — after coming to the league as an undrafted free agent — Connolly registered 22 goals and 38 assists.

All three will be eligible to come back to the AHL next season.

Report: Fyten signs deal in OKC

According to Stephen Meserve of 100 Degree Hockey, former Texas Stars forward Austin Fyten has signed a one-year, AHL only deal with the Oklahoma City Barons.

Fyten, 22, spent 11 games with the Texas Stars last season, where he tallied two assists.

An AHL deal for the 22-year-old is a nice vote of confidence in his game, as the forward spent the lion’s share of the 2012-13 campaign in the ECHL with the Idaho Steelheads. While with the Steelheads, Fyten was nearly a point per game player. In 46 games last season, the winger had 41 points (14-27) in 46 regular season games, adding another 11 points (5-6) in 17 playoff contests.

After spending the majority of his junior career with the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes, Fyten went undrafted and found himself a deal with the Steelheads before he opened eyes during his stint with the Stars. During his WHL tenure, Fyten had 59 goals and 73 assists over 220 games.

Via Meserve:


Nesbitt, Ford added to Barons roster

The Barons have been loading up this off-season, and it is continuing with the signings of Derek Nesbitt and Matt Ford.

Nesbitt, a 31-year-old winger who spent last season with the Peoria Rivermen, has been an everyday AHLer for the past two and a half seasons. Aside from suiting for one game with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Nesbitt has spent the last few years in Peoria, where he was able to put together back to back 20-goal seasons, including a career high 26 in 2012-13.

A native of Egmondville, Ont., Nesbitt has a good sized frame — he stands 6’0″ and weighs 185 lbs. — and can contribute on a fairly consistent basis. Brought in primarily for the Penguins playoff run last season, Nesbitt had six assists in 14 playoff games, but failed to find the back of the net himself.

Ford, 28, is also a winger, and brings a bit more size. An inch taller and twenty pounds heavier, Ford has been in the AHL since 2009-10, but has failed to recapture the production he had in his third AHL campaign. In 2011-12, as a member of the Hershey Bears, Ford had 29 goals and 30 assists in 74 games that season, besting his career highs in both scoring categories. Last season, Ford struggled, only tallying nine goals and adding 15 assists. His 28 points were the least of his career as a full-time AHLer, but his production was slowed by an injury that saw him sidelined for nearly a third of the season.

The Barons announced that both deals were one-year AHL contracts.

KHL club adds another from AHL with Cheechoo

2005-06 Maurice Richard Trophy winner and  AHL journeyman Jonathan Cheechoo has signed on to join Medvescak Zagreb in a move that makes the team continue to look more and more like the Island of ex-AHLers.

Cheechoo, who will join goaltender Barry Brust, forward Boyd Kane, and former Hershey coach Mark French, spent last season with the Oklahoma City Barons. In 35 games with the Barons, the one-time NHL goal scoring champion had 13 goals and 19 assists. Since his massive season in the bigs, Cheechoo has failed to recapture that form, but has made a fine career in the AHL as a top line player and key contributor. He spent his past three seasons in the AHL, with seasons in Worcester, Peoria, and, most recently, OKC.

In 342 career AHL contests, Cheechoo has tallied 123 goals and 157 assists. A second round pick of the San Jose Sharks in 1998, Cheechoo has not suited up for an NHL contest since 2009-10, when he played 61 games with the Ottawa Senators.

Oilers add another to AHL ranks in Hunt

The Edmonton Oilers announced today that they’ve signed AHL defenceman Brad Hunt to a two-year, two-way deal.

Hunt, who spent last season with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, was signed to an AHL deal by the Wolves after completing his career with the NCAA’s Bemidji State University. In his NCAA career, the blueliner showed the ability to provide some points from the back end. In 150 NCAA games, Hunt had 112 points (24-88).

Hunt got his first taste of AHL action in 2011-12 when Bemidji’s season came to a close, and in 14 games that season, Hunt posted a goal and four assists. It was last season that Hunt had his coming out party, putting up 33 points (4-29) in 65 games for the Wolves.

His new deal will give Hunt the opportunity to make his way into the NHL if the opportunity so arises, but Hunt will likely spend the entire season in Oklahoma City with the Barons.


Bachman lands with the Oilers

Richard Bachman, who saw action in 31 games with the Dallas Stars over the last two seasons, has been signed give the Oklahoma City Barons  some help in goal.

Bachman, who was drafted by the Stars in the fourth round of the 2006 draft, has spent his entire pro career in the Stars organization.

In Texas, Bachman has the starting role with the AHL’s Stars during the 2010-11 season, backstopping the team in 55 games and posting a 2.20 GAA and .927 SV%. The following year, Bachman got the call to backup Kari Lehtonen and make spot starts in relief of the oft injured Stars starting goaltender.

Though his NHL numbers leave something to be desired — he had a dismal 3.25 GAA and .885 SV% last season in 13 games — Bachman’s been able to show signs that he could be something more than just an AHL starter. In Texas, over four seasons, Bachman has had a steady GAA that often floats around 2.50 and a save percentage around .910. At only 25, Bachman still has room to develop, and will get that change in OKC.