As I'm sure we all know, the Aeros and Rivermen aren't the only teams playing in the AHL Calder Cup Playoffs. So I thought I would just give everybody a bit of an update over what is happening around the league.
But first, some information for Aeros/Rivermen Game Six.
The good news is that the Aeros are 7-3 when an opponent faces elimination, and they are 5-2 in such an instance when in the opponents building. The Aeros are also 5-1 in their playoff history when leading a series three games to two. (This needs to be clarified. The Aeros's aren't 5-1 in Game Six situations. They are 5-1 in series in which they have held the 3-2 lead. I'm sorry if I confused anybody.)
The come-from-behind win was the third time this season that Houston's done this against Peoria. And the victory was the first time in this playoff series in which the team that scored first didn't win the game. Coming into that game, and going back to the 2006 playoff matchup between these two teams, the team that had scored first had won eight straight games. So it looks like that streak is over. And despite the team's overtime record during this past regular season, the Aeros have now won six straight playoff games to go into overtime.
The Aeros have outscored Peoria 14-13 in the series, and as proof of how they've dominated the third period this series, they've outscored Peoria 8-5. Peoria, continues to outscore Houston in the first two periods. But to show how important scoring first is, the Aeros are 47-14 all-time in playoff action (26-6 in Calder Cup) when getting the first goal.
The Aeros leading scorers are Corey Locke (3-3=6) and Matt Beaudoin (1-5=6). All six of their points have come on the power play. Tony Hrkac, the old man, is tied for second in scoring with Krys Kolanos. Both are 1-4=5.
And in case you didn't read the link from Heather's post early yesterday, then you missed that the Rivermen will have a new backup to Manny Legace. The St. Louis Blues, who were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs earlier this week, returned Ben Bishop to Peoria. Chris Holt will remain with the team, but he will be joining his fellow scratched teammates up in the stands.
The Milwaukee Admirals will be the team facing the winner of the Aeros/Rivermen contest. The Admirals swept the Rockford IceHogs, winning 3-1, 3-1, 3-1, and 4-1. Milwaukee goalie Drew MacIntyre stopped 105 of 109 shots to move to 10-3 for his playoff career. He's got a career playoff average of 1.53 goals allowed and .947 save percentage. And for the season he was 34-15-4 with a 2.30 goals allowed average and .921 save percentage.
The Manitoba Moose will be playing the Toronto Marlies in Game Six of their series. Manitoba leads the series three games to two. Manitoba goalie Cory Schneider stopped 58 of 61 Toronto shots in games four and five to help put Manitoba in the lead. Game Six is tonight is in Winnipeg, and the Moose have already sold 8100 tickets for the game and are opening the upper deck to the MTS Centre.
And if you missed the news, Manitoba coach Scott Arniel was named as the AHL's coach of the year.
The winner of the Manitoba/Toronto series will face the winner of the Grand Rapids/Hamilton series. The Griffins lead this series 3-2 with Game Six set for Grand Rapids on Sunday.
Over in the other conference, Hershey destroyed Philadelphia, sweeping them in four games, and the Bears will now go up against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a battle of Pennsylvania. Wilkes-Barre won it's series against Bridgeport in five games.
In the Hershey series, the Bears penalty kill held the Phantoms to 0-for-20 on the power play. The Phantoms had finished the season with the AHL's eighth-best power play, whereas Hershey finished with the league's worst penalty kill. So Hershey really turned it on in the playoffs. In the Wilkes-Barre series, the Penguins won all three of Bridgeport's home games, including two games that were played in Long Island due to a scheduling conflict with Bridgeport's arena.
And in the Atlantic Division, the Providence Bruins, who dispatched the Portland Pirates in five games, are awaiting the victor of the Hartford/Worcester series which Worcester leads three games to two. Worcester, which like it's parent club San Jose Sharks, lost the first two games of the series, but Worcester has won the last three games in Hartford, fueled by the return of Brad Staubitz who was suspended for the first two games of the series. The Bruins series win was clinched by Peter Schaefer, the brother of Aeros goalie Nolan Schaefer, whose only goal of the series turned out to be the game-winning goal of Game Five against Portland.