AHL Western Division week 2 rundown

Chicago Wolves (ATL)

It appeared that the Wolves were enjoying playing Deja vu this weekend against their opponent the Milwaukee Admirals. The two faced off on Friday and Saturday night in what proved to be some tense hockey. In both games, Chicago was down by 2 goals, yet managed to climb back,tie up the game and go on to win in overtime.

Friday had the Wolves playing on Milwaukee home ice for the first game of the year of the Amtrak Rivalry. Down 2-0 going into the third period, Andre Deveaux, just 52 seconds into the period, snuck one in on a power-play. Skating with new life, Patrick Rissmiller then tied it up for the Wolves at 9:36. After nearly a full period of overtime hockey, the game winner came at 51 seconds left with a one timer by forward Jamie Sifers.

Saturday had the Wolves on their own home ice in Rosemont for their home opener. An energetic crowd of 10,924 was witness to a repeat nail biter of a game. Once again Chicago was down by 2 goals and managed to yet again, tie it and send it into OT. In the second period, Jared Ross drew first blood with his first goal of the year. On another power-play, Mike Siklenka scored the tying goal at 10:06 in the third. Overtime saw no goals therefore the shootout was implemented. Chicago won the shootout 3-1 with Darren Haydar bringing in the decisive shot. Tender Edward Pasquale stopped 26 shots in Friday’s game and 28 on Saturday night, bringing the Wolves their 3 consecutive win.

Next game is Wednesday at home vs Abbotsford (CGY) 2-2-0

Rockford Icehogs (CHI)

The Icehogs traveled to Abbotsford on Friday to spoil their home opener before 5,341 Heat fans. The IceHogs had a league worst 5.00 goals against average and a penalty kill rate of 33.3- % coming into Friday nights matchup. With a tie shots on goal count of 27-27, the Icehogs managed to get five different players on the team a goal friday night in the 5-0 defeat of the Heat. Rookie goalie Alec Richards earned his 1st career AHL shutout- the night also marked the first time a Rockford goaltender had a shutout since this past Nov. vs Chicago. Evan Brophey gave Rockford the 1-0 lead at 6:24 in the first for his second goal of the year. Goals following in the second period came from Rob Klinkhammer, rookie Jeremy Morin and Jeff Taffe. Brandon Pirri got his first career goal 4:08 in the third making the final 5-0 in favor of the Icehogs.

Saturday night saw the two teams battle on in a scoreless first period. Jeremy Morin-who has all his goals under a PP- capitalized on a 5-on-3 at 4:17.in the second to take the 1-0 lead. Abbotsford responded at 12:14 with a goal from John Armstrong to tie it up. Two more quick goals by the Heat made the mad feat of three goals in less than a minute. Trailing in the third, Hogs Ryan Potulny tied the game with a third power-play goal of the night at 7:02. Once into overtime, the Heat thought they won the game as Mitch Wahl got one by Richards. It was found Heat’s Matt Pelech interfered with Richards on the play, therefor negating the goal. The Heat did kill off the ensuing penalty and the game headed to the shootout. Rockford won the shootout and took the game 4-3 over the Heat. Richards stopped 29 shots.

The Icehogs and the Heat will see each other once again next Friday night the 22nd at Rockford. The Hogs will face Chicago on Saturday night the 23rd.

Milwaukee Admirals (NSH)

The Admirals just had a bad stretch of luck this weekend facing the Chicago Wolves. In the set of games Friday and Saturday, the Ad’s were leading the Wolves 2-0 and managed to blow the lead,then go on to lose in overtime. Friday night the Admirals hosted pink jersey and puck night for breast cancer awareness. Pink player jersey’s were auctioned off after the game. This was also the opening game for the Amtrak Rivalry contest, not in it’s second year. Over a 10 game streak of facing each other, the winner of the rivalry gets a traveling trophy and bragging rights. Chicago took home the first year.

Linus Klasen was the only Admiral to find the net, putting the puck in twice in the second period to gain the 2-0 lead. Chicago managed to tie it up in the third period, taking the game into overtime.Goalie Chet Pickard ended up letting Chicago get the game winning goal with just 51 seconds left in OT. He had stopped 22 of 25 shots on goal for the night.

Saturday saw the same setup for the Admirals, taking a 2-0 lead once again over Chicago. With just 61 seconds remaining in the first period, Mark Santorelli put Milwaukee on the board. Next point in was by Mark Van Guilder in the second period at 14:12. Chicago made their comeback starting in the second period. Tying the game, headed into OT with no goals scored, we went to a shootout. Chicago again took the win away from Milwaukee. Chet Pickard stopped 31 of 33 shots by the Wolves.

Next up for the Ad’s are a trip to Grand Rapids on Friday then back home to take on Abbotsford (CGY)

Texas Stars (DAL)

Defending Western Conference Champions Texas Stars held their home opener Saturday against the San Antonio Rampage (PHX). The night kicked off a 5 game home stand in front of 6,302 Stars fans, waiting to watch the championship banner be raised. Texas lost to the Hershey Bears for the Calder Cup, but being it was the inaugural year for the Stars,it was quite a success.

The Stars finally managed to pullout the win over San Antonio with a 5-4 score in OT. Texas netminder Brent Krahn stopped 26 shots in the win. The Stars Scott McCulloch notched two goals in the game, including the game-winning goal at 3:50 into overtime. Aaron Gagnon, Francis Wathier and Ondrej Roman each racked up a goal in the third for Texas.

Texas would not be as lucky Sunday when they faced the red hot Peoria Rivermen (STL). The Stars were handed their first loss of season, 5-2, in front of 3,400 fans at home. The Rivermen are undoubtedly the hottest team in the division right now. Texas started out ahead 2-0 in the first and then collapsed in the second period allowed 4 goals by Peoria.The Stars allowed 5 unanswered goals in the game, pulling goalie Brent Krahn after the fourth Rivermen goal, bringing in Richard Bachman (no relation to Stephen King). Krahn finished with 14 out of 18 saves; Bachman making 12 out of 13 shots.

At 2:58 in the first, Travis Morin grabbed his third goal of the year. Scott McCulloch scored his fourth goal of the season at 7:48 in the first a well.

Next up for the Stars is Lake Erie (COL) on Friday

San Antonio Rampage (PHX)

Before Fridays matchup with Peoria, the Rampage and Phoenix Coyotes announced a new affiliations with the Arizona Sundogs of the CHL. The Sundogs are the second, secondary affiliation, following the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL.

San Antonio managed to outshoot Peoria 44-20, but it could not stop the Rivermen. Peoria took the 6-2 win in convincing style. Rampage RW Brett MacLean earned his first goal of the season at 4:58 in the second period. Mathieu Beaudoin was able to get the point at 4:36 in the third after having a goal called no good early in the first.

Saturday had the Rampage taking on the Texas Stars and losing 5-4 in their first away game of the year. San Antonio had the1-0 lead on a power-play goal by Alex Picard at 3:13 of the first period. The Rampage then opened the second period with a goal by former Star Mathieu Beaudoin at the 1:05 mark. The Stars were able to come back and tie the game up at 4-4. The Rampage then took a bad holding penalty at 33 seconds into overtime that Texas’s Scott McCulloch was able to capitalize on and get the game winner. Matt Climie stopped 27 of the 32 Stars shots.

The Rampage finally got their weekend win Sunday over the Lake Erie Monsters in a shootout ending their three game losing streak. Lake Erie’s Matthew Ford got the scoring started in the second period by scoring the Monster’s first power-play goal of the season at 5:41. Alex Picard got the Rampage on the board in the third at 8:49, tying it up 1-1. Mathieu Beaudoin was able to score on a power play that re-tied the game at 2-2, leading into overtime. Neither team could find the net in OT bringing in the shootout which the Rampage were able to bring in the win.

San Antonio takes on Lake Erie once again on Wednesday the 20th for the rematch, with Oklahoma city and Houston following for the weekend.

Peoria Rivermen (STL)

The Rivermen are definitely the hottest team in the Western Division right now, if not the league. Currently riding a five game winning streak made in very strong fashion, right-winger Graham Mink takes home the AHL’s player of the week honors. Mink, a two time Calder Cup Champion, has two goals and seven assists for nine points to go along with a plus-5 rating in four games. Mink lead the league with eight assists and 12 points in six games for the Rivermen.

Friday had the Rivermen once again on a six goal tear. They took on the San Antonio Ramapage, defeating 6-2 in their second game in a row scoring 6 goals. This was Peoria’s first road game so far this year. As of Friday night, Goaltender Ben Bishop (U. of Maine)was carrying a 0.927 save percentage and was allowing 2.51 goals per game. Bishop made 16 saves in the first period alone all together turning away 49 Rampage shots on goal. Graham Mink notched 1 goal and 3 assists while Nick Drazenovic slipped in 2 goals for the night.

Saturday the Rivermen cruised into Houston to face the Aero’s. After a close battles game, Peoria pulled out the win by a score of 3-2. Graham Mink once again was putting on a show with the game winning goal at 13:50 in the third period. Mink was also once again credited with an assist on the first of T.J. Hensick two goals, Hensick’s first of the season. Goaltender Jake Allen was working on a shutout into the third period until Houston started their comeback. He still finished with 32 saves in his first professional start.

After defeating San Antonio and Houston, Peoria decided to finish out the state of Texas with a trip north on Sunday to take on the Texas Stars. A 5-2 game winner was put in the books for the Rivermen. Peoria scored four goals in the second period alone, Dave Scatchard and Nick Drazenovic with two goals each. Netminder Ben Bishop repeated another great performance with 40 saves to pick up his fourth straight win. He has faced 40 shots in his last two starts. Phil McRae scored at 15:43 in the second period putting Peoria up 5-2. T.J. Hensick, who got an assist on Drazenovic’s first goal, so far is the only Rivermen player to register a point in each game this season.

The Riverman have now scored 26 goals in 6 games, allowing 14. This puts the Rivermen at the top of the league with 10 points and 26 goals.

Next games are against the same three, just different order. Friday is facing off against Houston,Texas, then San Antonio on Sunday.

Houston Aero’s (MIN)

The Aeros reassigned goaltender Josh Tordjman to Bakersfield of the ECHL on Tuesday.

Friday the Aerro’s traveled to Oklahoma city once again to try for a repeat performance of the previous weekends win. They did beat the Barons 2-1 on a Casey Wellman goal with just 17 seconds left in overtime. Wellman was assigned to the Aeros earlier this week by the Minnesota Wild. Jean-Michel Daoust got his first goal of the season at 13:22 in the first period. Going into Friday nights game, Houston was 10-for-10 on the penalty kill in two games.

Saturday’s game had the Aero’s up against point-hot Peoria, thus falling 3-2 to the Rivermen. Left-winger Robbie Earl finally put Houston on the board at 1:41 of the third period. The Aero’s couldn’t keep themselves out of the penalty box in the second period, sitting in there five times in the period. Houston was able to kill off the four Rivermen power plays. Jean-Michel Daoust got his second goal of the season in the third at 16:32. It just wasn’t quiet enough to get past the Rivermen.

Sunday proved to be night of the revenge of the Barons. Houston shut down Oklahoma city in their home opener on Oct. 9th with a score of 6-1. Sunday the Barons came looking to settle a score, after losing yet again to the Aero’s on Friday at home. Oklahoma city walloped the Aero’s with a score of 8-2 on Aero’s home ice in front of 3,278 Houston fans. The Aeros had five power play chances in the second period alone, including 1:21 of 5-on-3 that they could not capitalize on. Houston went 0 for 9 on the power-play. Houston’s first goal was scored by Petr Kalus, got the puck in the net at 16:07 in the second for this third goal of the season. Robbie Earl made it 3-2 for Houston at 1:55 of the third but there the scoring stopped. The Barons scored five straight goals (two on the power play and one shorthanded) after that last Aero’s goal. Netminder Matt Hackett stopped 21 Baron’s shots in the loss.

Houston will next take on Peoria on Friday, San Antonio then Lake Erie closing out the weekend on Sunday.

Oklahoma City Barons (EDM)

Oilers forward J.F. Jacques might be the first Edmonton Oilers players to see time with the Barons. Jacques is coming off herniated disk surgery and will need to recover for at least a couple games before moving back into the Oiler uniform.

The Barons faced their already nemesis Houston on Friday night with a paltry 3,349 fans in attendance in Oklahoma city. The Aero’s once again got the better of the Barons, winning in the remaining seconds of overtime. Colin Mcdonald tied up the game at 2:19 into the second and get the Barons into Overtime. Mcdonald is the first Baron besides Teemu Hartikainen to score a goal so far in the season. Oklahoma City outshot the Aeros 41-31, 20 of those shots coming in the third period.

Saturday night was starting out to be more of the same for the Barons, giving up two shorthanded goals, on the same power play chance, in just the first period to the Lake Erie Monsters. Having the worst attendance in the league at 3,259 for the night, little did those who came out know that they would witness the first Barons win and hat trick in franchise history. The Barons were 0 for 21 on the power play coming into Saturday nights game. Lake Erie had the 3-0 lead going into the second period when OKC came to life. The Barons went on to score four unanswered goals, 2 in the second, 2 in the third, and grab their first win in franchise history. Center Brad Moran was on fire, bringing in the first hat-trick in Barons’ history. OKC was able to kill off at late penalty in the third and brought home their win.

OKC went on to Houston for their first road game to once again take on the Aero’s. The Barons hoped to repay the Aero’s the humiliating loss the dished out to the Barons on their home opener. The Barons started netminder Bryan Pitton who made 29 saves, not to mention an assist to Liam Reddox’s goal, in his debut game. Oklahoma City put it to the Aero’s 8-2, finally able to score on the power-play, even netting a shorthanded goal. Alex Giroux got the scoring started for the Barons with his first of the season at 3:20 of the first period. He got his second goal of the night at 3:55 of the second giving the Baron’s the 2-0 lead on 5-on-3 power play, the first allowed by the Aeros this season. Giroux got 1st star of the night, an honor sure to be repeated by the Calder Cup veteren. After Houston tried the comeback scoring two goals, the Barons went on to score five unanswered in the third period alone, bringing in a great road win for the new AHL team. Chris VandeVelde, Teemu Hartikainen, Jeff Petry, Colin McDonald, Linus Omark and Liam Reddox(shorthanded) each had a goal in the game. Only one player for the Barons did not score one stat in the game, Phillipe Cornet. Oklahoma City finally stopped the power-play bleeding and held the Aero’s to 0-9, bringing their stats to 18-18 on the kill in four games.

The Barons will be ready for the rematch versus Lake Erie on Tuesday at home,hoping to keep their winning streak alive. Friday the take on San Antonio at home then hit the road again facing Toronto on Saturday. On Sunday, the Barons game versus Hamilton will be televised on the NHL Network at noon.

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