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Ads, Bears and Checkers Represent Southeast Affiliates in AHL Playoffs: A Look Back at Week One

Playoff action at the AHL level kicked off last week as well and the top affiliates for the Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals are all underway in their chase for the Calder Cup.

Charlotte (Carolina) and Hershey (Washington) are battling each other in the East Quarterfinals while Norfolk (Tampa Bay) takes on regular season stalwart, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (Pittsburgh).

As we did throughout the regular season, let’s take a look at the games that have been played thus far, from a bottom-line, statistical point of view. Since this is the playoffs, however, we’ll toss in a little overview for each as well.

GAME RESULTS
Click for individual box scores

Thursday, 4/14/11: Charlotte Checkers 5, Hershey Bears 4

Drayson Bowman’s goal just past the midway point of the third period proved to be the deciding factor, putting Charlotte ahead to stay in a back-and-forth affair with Hershey in game one. After Steve Pinizzotto opened the scoring just 1:10 into the game for the Bears, Zac Dalpe and Chris Terry each scored for the Checkers to give Charlotte a 2-1 lead. Keith Aucoin knotted things up for Hershey on the power play, late in the opening frame and the teams traded goals in the second period to head to the third tied at 3-3.

Brian Willsie gave Hershey the early advantage in the final stanza, tallying less than two minutes in to make it 4-3 before Zach Boychuk managed the equalizer 1:58 before Bowman’s eventual game-winner.

Justin Pogge stopped 27 of 31 Hershey shots in net for Charlotte to earn the win, while Braden Holtby allowed five goals on 28 shots in a losing effort for the Bears.

Dalpe added a pair of assists to his first period goal and defenseman Michal Jordan was an impressive +4 in the game for Charlotte.

Charlotte goal-scorers: Zac Dalpe (1), Chris Terry (1), Brett Bellemore (1), Zach Boychuk (1), Drayson Bowman (1)
Hershey goal-scorers: Steve Pinizzotto (1), Keith Aucoin (1), Boyd Kane (1), Brian Willsie (1)
Charlotte goaltenders (saves/shots): Justin Pogge (27/31)
Hershey goaltenders (saves/shots): Braden Holtby (23/28)
Three stars of the game: 1 – Drayson Bowman, CHA; 2 – Keith Aucoin, HER; 3 – Zac Dalpe, CHA

Friday, 4/15/11: Norfolk Admirals 2, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 1

Goaltender Dustin Tokarski was nearly perfect in his professional playoff debut, stopping 32 of 33 Penguin shots and Norfolk got goals from Mattias Ritola and Marc-Antoine Pouliot to push them to a 2-1 game one victory and a 1-0 lead in the series.

Ritola and Pouliot each tallied in the second period for Norfolk, after a scoreless first for each side. Keven Veilleux spoiled Tokarski’s shutout bid with just under three minutes left in the third but the Admirals were able to fend off a late Wilkes-Barre comeback attempt to hold on for the victory.

Ritola also assisted on Pouliot’s goal, giving him a two-point night and continuing where he left off in the regular season for Norfolk, where he scored seven goals and 16 points in eight games down there stretch after being reassigned from Tampa Bay.

Goalie Brad Thiessen stopped 20 of 22 shots in a losing effort for the Baby Pens.

Norfolk goal-scorers: Mattias Ritola (1), Marc-Antoine Pouliot (1)
Norfolk goaltenders (saves/shots): Dustin Tokarski (32/33)
Three stars of the game: 1 – Dustin Tokarski, NOR; 2 – Mattias Ritola, NOR; 3 – Marc-Antoine Pouliot, NOR

Saturday, 4/16/11: Norfolk Admirals 2, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 0

One night after a near-shutout, Dustin Tokarski finished the job against Wilkes-Barre in game two, stopping all 27 shots fired his way and leading the Admirals to a 2-0 win in the game and a 2-0 lead in the series.

Paul Szczechura broke a 0-0 tie late in the second period and a Marc-Antoine Pouliot empty netter with four seconds left in the third was the only other offense in the game – and all that the Ads would need behind Tokarski’s heroics.

With a 24-point discrepancy in the regular season standings, Norfolk staking themselves to a 2-0 advantage to open the series over Wilkes-Barre has to be looked as the absolute perfect start to the playoffs and quite the opposite from the opposing perspective.

It will be interesting to see how this series plays out from here, heading to Norfolk for games 3-5.

Norfolk goal-scorers: Paul Szczechura (1), Marc-Antoine Pouliot (2)
Norfolk goaltenders (saves/shots): Dustin Tokarski (27/27)
Three stars of the game: 1 – Dustin Tokarski, NOR; 2 – Paul Szczechura, NOR; 3 – Brad Thiessen, WBS

Sunday, 4/17/11: Hershey Bears 4, Charlotte Checkers 2

Hershey got goals from four different scorers in game two to even up their series with Charlotte at one game apiece.

Patrick McNeill and Andrew Kozek put the Bears in front and had the Checkers hard-pressed to battle back, though Zac Dalpe did all he could on his own to pull his team even, scoring a pair of goals that left his club just short in their comeback effort.

With the game 3-2 in favor of Hershey after the second Dalpe goal, veteran defenseman Sheldon Souray’s shorthanded goal at 17:05 of the second period restored Hershey’s two-goal lead and that was all the Bears needed in this one.

Goaltender Braden Holtby stopped 22 of 24 shots in the win.

Hershey goal-scorers: Patrick McNeill (1), Andrew Kozek (1), Brian Willsie (2), Sheldon Souray (1)
Charlotte goal-scorers: Zac Dalpe 2 (3)
Hershey goaltenders (saves/shots): Braden Holtby (22/24)
Charlotte goaltenders (saves/shots): Justin Pogge (16/20)
Three stars of the game: 1 – Dmitry Orlov, HER; 2 – Zac Dalpe, CHA; 3 – Brian Willsie, HER

CHARLOTTE CHECKERS LEADING PLAYOFF SCORERS
Click here for full Charlotte player statistics
(PLAYER NAME: GP-G-A-P-(+/-)

1 – Zac Dalpe: 2-3-2-5-(+3)
2 – Brett Bellemore: 2-1-1-2-(+2)
3 – Drayson Bowman: 2-1-1-2-(-2)
4 – Zach Boychuk: 2-1-1-2-(E)
5 – Brett Sutter: 2-0-2-2-(-1)

CHARLOTTE CHECKERS PLAYOFF GOALTENDING STATISTICS
(PLAYER NAME: W-L,GAA,SV%,SO)

1 – Justin Pogge: 1-1, 4.08, .843, 0

HERSHEY BEARS LEADING PLAYOFF SCORERS
Click here for full Hershey player statistics
(PLAYER NAME: GP-G-A-P-(+/-)

1 – Keith Aucoin: 2-1-3-4-(+1)
2 – Brian Willsie: 2-2-1-3-(E)
3 – Patrick McNeill: 2-1-1-2-(-1)
4 – Steve Pinizzotto: 2-1-1-2-(E)
5 – Mathieu Perreault: 2-0-2-2-(+1)

HERSHEY BEARS PLAYOFF GOALTENDING STATISTICS
(PLAYER NAME: W-L,GAA,SV%,SO)

1 – Braden Holtby: 1-1, 3.54, .865, 0

NORFOLK ADMIRALS LEADING PLAYOFF SCORERS
Click here for full Norfolk player statistics
(PLAYER NAME: GP-G-A-P-(+/-)

1 – Marc-Antoine Pouliot: 2-2-0-2-(+2)
2 – Mattias Ritola: 2-1-1-2-(+2)
3 – Paul Szczechura: 2-1-0-1-(E)
4 – Matt Fornataro: 2-0-1-1-(+1)
5 – Pierre-Cedric Labrie: 2-0-1-1-(E)

NORFOLK ADMIRALS PLAYOFF GOALTENDING STATISTICS
(PLAYER NAME: W-L-SOL,GAA,SV%,SO)

1 – Dustin Tokarski: 2-0, 0.50, .983, 1

AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE LEADING PLAYOFF SCORERS
(PLAYER NAME, TEAM: GP-G-A-P-(+/-)

1 – Gabriel Bourque, Milwaukee: 2-2-4-6-(+4)
2 – Zac Dalpe, Charlotte: 2-3-2-5-(+3)
4 – Marco Rosa, Manitoba: 2-3-2-5-(+1)
4 – Bud Holloway, Manchester: 3-3-2-5-(+3)
5 – Justin Azevedo, Manchester: 3-1-4-5-(-1)

AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFF GOALTENDING LEADERS
(PLAYER NAME: W-L,GAA,SV%,SO)

1 – Dustin Tokarski, Norfolk: 2-0, 0.50, .983, 1
2 – Matt Hackett, Houston: 2-0, 1.37, .942, 0
3 – Drew MacIntyre, Hamilton: 2-0, 1.50, .954, 0
4 – Brad Thiessen, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton: 0-2, 1.53, .938, 0
5 – Tyler Weiman, Manitoba: 1-0, 1.64, .947, 0

For full American Hockey League scoring and goaltending leaders, click here

TRANSACTIONS
4/11: Forward Drayson Bowman returned to Charlotte by Carolina (NHL).
4/14: Forward Alex Hutchings reassigned to Norfolk from Florida (ECHL) by Tampa Bay (NHL).
4/17: Defenseman Justin Faulk signed to amateur tryout contract by Charlotte.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Throughout the Calder Cup playoffs (as long as at least one Southeast Division affiliate remains in contention), we’ll alter our POTW selection slightly, bestowing the honors in three stars fashion.

The third star for this past week, with a goal and three assists in a pair of games for Hershey, is forward Keith Aucoin.

The second star, with three goals and two assists in two games for Charlotte, is forward Zac Dalpe.

And the first star, during the first week of Calder Cup playoff action, with a 2-0 record, a 0.50 goals-against and a .983 save percentage, is Norfolk goaltender Dustin Tokarski.

UNTIL NEXT TIME

Here’s the playoff schedule for the week ahead:

Tuesday, 4/19: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at Norfolk, game 3; Hershey at Charlotte, game 3
Wednesday, 4/20: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at Norfolk, game 4; Hershey at Charlotte, game 4
Friday, 4/22: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at Norfolk, game 5; Hershey at Charlotte, game 5
Saturday, 4/23: Norfolk at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, game 6
Sunday, 4/24: Charlotte at Hershey, game 6

JJ
jj@kuklaskorner.com
JJ on Twitter

Filed in: AHL Hockey, Carolina Hurricanes, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | Beasts of the Southeast | Permalink
 

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