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CANTLON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK AHL OFF-SEASON VOLUME 4

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – The AHL’s Final Four teams are set.

It took seven games, but the team with the league’s best record, the Toronto Marlies prevailed with a late goal in Game 7 to win 4-3 and eliminate the Albany Devils.

The Marlies were the deepest and most talented team entering the playoffs and were tested in every way in Game 7 and throughout the series with Albany.

Tied at one entering the third period, Albany scored early as Nick Lappin,  just signed out of Brown University after the collegiate season ended in March, scored his fifth of the postseason on a rebound after Jim O’Brien on a face off.

Before a packed crowd at the Ricoh Coliseum, Kasperi Kapanen, son of Whaler great Sami Kapanen, showed off his incredible speed by zipping down the left wing and whistling a wicked wrist shot to the short-side on Devils’ goalie, Scott Wedgewood.

William Nylander, son of former Whaler and New York Ranger Michael Nylander, employed his considerable skill and raced into the Devils zone. Nylander curled in the lower left-wing circle and found Kapanen again as he was open on the left wing. Kapanen waited and found Connor Carrick coming off the right point and hit him with a perfect cross-ice pass and he zipped his shot to the top shelf to take a 3-2 lead.

The Devils didn’t go away as Paul Thompson, a right-handed shot on the left wing side, took Marc-Andre Gragnani’s right point pass and drilled it to the short-side past a partially screened Antoine Bibeau.

Marlies veteran Richard Clune got a fortuitous bounce off the backboards of Andrei Soshnikov’s shot and chipped the puck into the top part of the net with 2:30 left in regulation for the game-winning goal.

The Devils had three whacks at the puck in the waning seconds, but Bibeau was down of the ice and kept his pads stacked to preserve the 4-3 win.

The Marlies will play the Hershey Bears featuring the Bourque brothers, Chris, and Ryan in the Eastern Conference final starting with Games 1 & 2 in Hershey Friday and Saturday night. The series will see a rare schedule of 2-3-1-1 format because of building scheduling issues in Hershey with the circus.

What a difference a year makes by the way.

Despite a strong regular season for Albany, Yann Danis has been the backup this playoff after his spectacular run last spring with the Wolf Pack and played just one period in relief of Wedgewood.

It took seven games and overtime for the Hershey Bears to advance.

Dustin Boyd’s goal at 10:58 gave Hershey a 3-2 over their Keystone State rivals, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Boyd swung around from behind the left-wing side and fired his shot high to the short side earning the Bears the victory.

Hershey took a 2-1 lead on what certainly has to be among those considered for the Goal-Of-The-Year.

Carter Camper made a great move to free himself then made a beautiful forehand-to-backhand move on Casey DeSmith to score the goal.

The Pacific Division series ended in Ontario Saturday night with the Reign winning 2-1 and advancing in five games to the Western Conference title.

Justin Auger had the game winner in the 2-1 Game 5 clincher.

The San Diego Gulls had just one win, a 3-0 shutout in Game Three.

Matt Hackett is the nephew of a former winner of the Calder Cup’s Jack Butterfield Award as the MVP of the playoffs. His uncle is also a goaltender. He’s Jeff Hackett, who played for Springfield in 1990. They younger Hackett pitched a shutout with 29 saves.

The Reign won Game 4 in overtime. The final score was 4-3 despite a strong three-point performance by ex-Hartford Wolf Pack, Chris Mueller.

Mueller set up rookie Shea Theodore on the powerplay with a perfect cross-ice pass from the right wing circle to Theodore at the left point for the first goal of the game.

Mueller potted a goal to tie the game at two from the left side of the net. The shot came off a rebound off the stick of AHL All-Rookie team member, rearguard Brandon Montour, who outworked Ontario captain Vincent LoVerde and jammed the puck home.

The Reign went ahead with two quick goals at 3-2 in a 1:52 span both by Adrian Kempe. Mueller scored ten seconds later going down the left wing side and turned Nic Dowd inside out and beat the league’s best in netminder Peter Budaj, but like last spring in Manchester when they were the Monarchs, the Reign found a way to get the game winner in overtime.

The Lake Erie Monsters looked to complete the sweep of the Grand Rapids Griffins after amassing a 3-0 series lead.  The Griffins, however, fought back to make it to a game six, but the Monsters overtime victory prevented a Game 7 by the count of 4-3. The Monsters will now play the defending AHL Calder Cup champions, the Ontario Reign in the Western Conference final starting Saturday with Game 2 Sunday in California.

Lake Erie was down early 2-0 in the first 2:16 of the game and that became 3-1 early in the second. When that happened, the Monsters replaced starting goalie Joonas Korpisala, with veteran and former Springfield Falcon goalie, Anton Forsberg and he shut the door stopping all 23 shots he faced.

Zach Werenski, the young defenseman just signed out of Michigan after their season ended a month ago, helped in engineering the Monster’s comeback.

Werenski set up Lukas Sedlak’s goal early in the second period with a right point shot. Sedlak chipped in a backhand rebound. Werenski, had the game-winner at 12:32 of overtime getting his rebound of a backhand shot and with four Grand Rapids players all nearby, Werenski got to the loose puck, and he put his second backhander in for the victory.

Had there been a seventh game, it would have been played in Columbus because the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers had a playoff game scheduled for Tuesday the same night that would have forced a date and venue change.

The Griffins rallied from a 4-1 deficit in Game Four with a three-goal third period to win 5-4 and avoid the playoff sweep. Anthony Mantha had a goal and an assist.
Five different Grand Rapids players scored with Andreas Antanasiou tallying the game-winner with 1:55 to go in regulation.
Game 5 was all Grand Rapids a 6-1 win paced by a Tyler Bertuzzi hat trick.

STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS

French Connection II watching ex-CT Whale Jonathan Marchessault setting up former Ranger Anton Stralman to tie the game at two in Game 2 Monday night. Then Jonathan Drouin, banished to Syracuse in the AHL at midseason, sniping a goal off the right side to tie the game at two.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

The Pack’s Nicklas Jensen continued the same strong play he showed down the stretch in Hartford’s failed playoff push helped Denmark engineer an upset win over the Czech Republic 2-1 in a shootout.

Jensen helped Denmark engineer an upset win over the Czech Republic 2-1 in a shootout.

He assisted on the game-tying goal, and he scored a shootout goal to keep Denmark alive in the extra round before Nikolas Ehlers scored the game winner.

Monday, Denmark beat Kazakhstan 4-1 with Jensen scoring again and had seven shots on goals, and the Danes secured a quarterfinal appearance because the Swiss lost 5-4 to Czechs on Tuesday. Last Friday, he scored his second goal, a shootout goal, to lead Denmark to a 3-2 win over Latvia. In six games he has five goals (tied for fourth in goals scored with Tomas Plekanec Czech Republic/Montreal) and seven points for the Danes.

Last Friday, Jensen scored his second goal, in the shoot-out to lead Denmark to a 3-2 win over Latvia. In six games he has five goals (tied for fourth in goals scored with Tomas Plekanec Czech Republic/Montreal) and seven points for the Danes.

The quarterfinals start Thursday Denmark plays Finland in St. Petersburg.

Ex-Pack Nigel Dawes continues to do well for Kazakhstan he scored the lone goal in a 3-1 loss to the Czech Republic on Friday and again in a loss to Denmark. He has eight points with four goals, good for tenth place in the tournament.

The best scoring defenseman still in the tourney is the Wolf Pack’s Raphael Diaz with six assists for Switzerland. Diaz played the most minutes (19:14) and had four shots on goal in a crucial 5-4 loss to the Czechs eliminating the Swiss from the medal round.

Ex-Sound Tiger Nino Niederreiter is right behind for the Swiss with three goals and five points.

The second best goalie so far is Canada’s and former Wolf Pack, Cam Talbot. In four games, Talbot has a microscopic 0.75 GAA, given up just three goals, pitched two shutouts and has a spectacular 96.0 % save percentage.

The Czech Republic’s Dominic Furch has a 0.65 GAA and a 97.2% save percentage. His numbers are better than Talbot’s, but he has played in only three games while Talbot’s played four.

Reminds you of Talbot’s AHL playoff debut when he shutout the Sound Tigers in three straight in an opening round series.

The US, despite a two-game slump, made the quarterfinals in Group B.

The US lost to Slovakia 3-2 on Tuesday despite getting the games first goal from ex-Sound Tiger, Brock Nelson.The game-winner came off the stick of ex-Springfield Falcon, Marko Dano.

The US plays the Czech Republic on Thursday in Moscow (9:00 am NBC Sports Network).

RANGERS SIGNING

Much heralded right-wing, and third round pick, 75th overall in 2013, Pavel Buchnevich, inked an NHL entry-level deal with the Rangers last week.

The 21-year-old split the year with his hometown KHL team Severstal Cherepovets before being traded to St. Petersburg. For the season, he had 16 goals and 31 points in 58 games. St. Petersburg made it to the KHL Western Conference final of the Gagarin Cup playoffs.

His three-year standard entry-level contract has an NHL salary of $925K and an AHL salary of $70K, but the contract according to General Fanager-dot-com has a European assignment clause which could mean if he doesn’t make the Rangers he would likely return to Russia.

ON THE MOVE

Former Hartford Whaler, Randy Cunneyworth, was replaced and reassigned from Rochester as the Buffalo Sabres named Dan Lambert (Kelowna-WHL) as their new AHL head coach.

Congrats to another former Whaler and longtime AHL coach, Tom Rowe, who became GM of Florida (NHL) as part of a major Panthers organizational shuffle.

Curiously, Eric Joyce was named as an assistant GM; he was also the GM of the Portland Pirates last year. When Rowe was given his promotion on January 1st to Assistant GM in Florida after coaching the Pirates in the first half of the season.

Joyce retained the title GM of their of their AHL affiliate, but the team remains unnamed in the press release. The move of their member team from Portland to Springfield is still under review by the AHL, which is set to reconvene in ten days on the matter. The sale was made by the local owner Ron Cain to a yet publicly unidentified ownership group, but Cantlon’s Corner has learned former Falcons owner Charles Pompea and long-time face of Springfield hockey, Bruce Landon, are two of the primary investors.

Sam Ftorek, son of former Nighthawk coach and player Robbie Ftorek, was named the first head coach for Roanoke (SPHL). He was the assistant coach for Kalamazoo (ECHL) last year.

Bridgeport Sound Tiger Sebastian Collberg heads back home to play with Rogle BK (Sweden-SHL) next year making him the sixth AHL’er to sign to play in Europe next season.

Ex-Pack Tomas Zaborsky goes from HIFK Helsinki (Finland-FEL) to Brynas IF (Sweden-SHL), nd defenseman Ilkka Heikkinen goes from Vaxjo (Sweden-SHL) to TPS Turku (Finland-FEL).

Old New Haven Knights forward, Alexei Lazarenko, 40, signed for another year with Vityaz Kharkov to play in the Ukrainian Hockey League. He is just one of seven players left actively playing who wore a New Haven uniform between the AHL and UHL.

AEG Europe announced its team the Hamburg Freezers (Germany-DEL) will not operate next season despite an average attendance of 9.002 (tenth best in Europe) last year when they missed the playoffs.

The team GM is former Nighthawk, Stephane J.G. Richer and ex-Pack, Sam Klassen, played on the team. AEG also owns another team in the DEL Eisbaren Berlin who have the second best attendance of all hockey played in Europe with 13,022 per game.

Rich McKenna was hired as the new head coach for the Division III powerhouse University Wisconsin-Superior. McKenna was an assistant coach at both UConn (AHC years) and Wesleyan University. There are thirteen former UConn players and coaches in the coaching ranks nationally collegiately (Division I and III), juniors, and prep and public schools

US JUNIOR HOCKEY PLAYOFFS

Former UConn player, Trevor Stewart, guided his Fairbanks (AK) Ice Dogs to their third NAHL Robertson Cup title after a 2-0 win over Wichita Falls (TX) Wildcats on Sunday in Edina, MN in the national championship game.

Each team won both semifinal games Fairbanks over Aston (PA) Rebels and Wichita Falls over Bismarck (ND) Bobcats.

In the USHL’s best of five Clark Cup Finals, the Tri-City (NE) Storm are up 2-0 over the Dubuque (IA) Fighting Saints. In Game One, Yale-bound Evan Smith scored the first goal of the game for Dubuque,b ut Tri-City scored the next five goals in a 5-1 victory.

Then in Game 2, Tri-City won 4-2. Smith and his twin brother, Mitchell (also heading to Yale) had five and four shots respectively and former prep school teammate at Salisbury Michael O’ Leary, who is committed to Notre Dame had three shots at Tri-City.

Games 3 and maybe 4 are in Tri-City Friday and Saturday.

The 98th edition of Canadian junior hockey’s Memorial Cup tournament is all set to start in Red Deer, Alberta on Friday night as the host team and city Red Deer Rebels (WHL) play the London Knights in the opening game.

The Rebels join WHL playoff champion Brandon Wheat Kings, QMJHL champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and the OHL juggernaut winners of 13 straight games London Knights coached by Dale Hunter.

The tourney starts Friday and the NHL Network will air the games live with Red Deer in the Mountain time zone. Saturday Brandon plays Rouyn-Noranda and Sunday Red Deer plays Rouyn-Noranda at 7pm.

If you haven’t watched it you should it’s a fantastic view of some future NHL stars already drafted, those to be drafted and of course new names emerge.

ALLAN CUP

Congrats to the Bentley Generals coached by former Wolf Pack, Ryan Tobler, winning their second consecutive Canadian senior hockey title in beating the tournament host Southeast Praire Thunder in Steinbach, Manitoba.

The Generals also featured former Wolf Pack, Matt St fashion, who scored six goals in four games in the tournament. He played most of his season with Big Valley in the North Central (Senior) Hockey League and was added to the Bentley roster for the post season when Big Valley’s season ended.

Former Sound Tiger Adam Huxley was also on the team and he played for his hometown senior team Wainwright (SASHL) in the regular season and was also added for the playoffs.

CHAIMOVITCH: AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE ANNOUNCES FRANCHISE TRANSACTION

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AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE ANNOUNCES FRANCHISE TRANSACTION

Board of Governors conditionally approves Arizona Coyotes’ purchase, relocation of AHL affiliate

BY: Jason Chaimovitch, AHL VP of Communications

SPRINGFIELD, MA – Convening today in Chicago for its Spring Meeting, the American Hockey League’s Board of Governors unanimously granted conditional approval of the transfer of ownership of the Springfield Falcons AHL franchise to the National Hockey League’s Arizona Coyotes. Also, the Board also approved the relocation of that franchise from Springfield, Mass., to Tucson, Ariz., beginning with the 2016-17 season.

Should all conditions of the transaction be met, the Coyotes’ AHL franchise will begin to play this fall at the Tucson Convention Center Arena.

The Board of Governors is also currently reviewing an application for the transfer of ownership and relocation of the Portland Pirates AHL franchise from Portland, Maine, to Springfield, Mass., for 2016-17. The Board expects to reconvene to vote on that request within two weeks.

Founded in 1936 and now with franchises in 30 cities across North America, the American Hockey League serves as the top development league for the players, coaches, managers, executives and broadcasters of all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 88 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the 15th year in a row, more than 6 million fans have attended AHL games in 2015-16.

CANTLON’S CORNER: SPRINGFIELD HOCKEY SAVED AGAIN

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – All is not quite as it seems.

What appeared to be a genuinely miraculous last minute save to keep the hockey alive in Springfield, MA  has devolved into a potentially divisive issue in the AHL. The ramifications of this move could be lasting and powerful.

After Springfield had lost the Falcons two weeks ago to Tucson, Arizona, amazingly, as of Wednesday, they seemed like they had regained a franchise.

BUT, that situation has become hazier the day after. The Florida Panthers are expressing a very tepid, lukewarm response (at best) to the developments.

“I was informed by Portland CEO, Ron Cain, (Thursday) that he’s signed a letter of intent to sell the Pirates, pending league approval,” Panthers Executive Chairman Peter Luukko said. “We will be in contact with the American Hockey League regarding the sale process. In the meantime, Florida will begin exploring all our options to put our players in the very best developmental situation. We have enjoyed the city of Portland, the venue and the incredible fan support.”

The latest is the team claims it told local officials of a possible sale back in February when seeking changes and concessions on its current lease. No mention of whether or not the Florida Panthers were aware of this conversation. Read about that HERE.

There are many and varied issues at hand.

The Pirates have just completed Year Two of a five year lease arrangement with the Cumberland County Civic Authority after a $34 million taxpayer-dollar-funded upgrade was completed on the Cross Insurance Arena (nee Cumberland County Civic Center) two years ago.

Ironically, the Pirates last game of the regular season was against the Springfield Falcons at the MassMutual Center on April 17.  If the sale goes through, it would be the second year in a row an affiliation has moved from Portland to Springfield.

The Pirates have been in Portland for 23 years except for a brief one-year stint in Lewiston, Maine while the team was in a lease dispute with then-Pirates CEO Brian Petrovek.

The AHL first came to Portland in 1977 as a farm team for the Philadelphia Flyers. That team was called the Maine Mariners and played until 1983 when they became the affiliate of the New Jersey Devils before they moved to Utica in 1987. The Boston Bruins followed, and they sold the Mariners and moved them to Providence in 1992.

After a year hiatus, the Pirates were reborn until potentially this past Sunday. The Pirates saw the Hershey Bears end their season in Game 5 of their first-round AHL playoff series.

The old saying goes, “the devil is in the details” and that’s certainly the case when it comes to a lease contract. Is there an attendance clause in that says if the Pirates fell below (29th this year and 30th last year) in the AHL that voids the deal without penalty? Was there a buyout provision in their affiliation agreement with Florida if the Pirates ran into financial difficulties? Is the potential ownership group in Springfield responsible for paying out the remaining three years on the lease?

Did the AHL assist in the deal to facilitate it without consulting the Panthers?

Numerous questions need to answering. Without a copy of the lease or affiliation agreement its speculation, but something has apparently gone wrong.

Cantlon’s Corner wrote last week that Charles Pompea, the soon-to-be former owner of the Falcons after selling the team to the Arizona Coyotes two weeks ago, is now going to purchase the Portland Pirates. We referred to it as Northeastern city and from our sources the sale would be announced next month.

Our sources also indicated the team would stay in Portland NOBODY saw the turn of events that transpired yesterday.

Late Wednesday afternoon, it was leaked out to a Portland TV station, WCSH, and the local newspaper, the Portland Press Herald, that the team was sold and moved to Springfield for this coming season.

In fact, office staff in Portland were actually conducting business with a fan when they abruptly shut the team offices down. Read about that HERE

As of 2:00pm,  based on the Twitter account of the Maine Hockey Journal, it is believed the Portland arena officials were still in meetings with their lawyers regarding the final three years left on their lease deal.

The Pirates COO and former player, Brad Church, said the team was not sustainable in Portland. He hasn’t released any statistics regarding the team’s finances either negatively or positively.

Former Falcons Director of Hockey Operations, Bruce Landon, who’s been the face of the franchise since the mid-80’s, seems to have helped engineer another victory for Springfield hockey. 23 years ago, Landon helped create the Falcons when the Springfield Indians, then owned by Peter Cooney, was sold to the late Roy Boe and moved to Worcester.

Landon formed a local ownership group and brought an expansion team and kept it in Springfield.

Seems Landon’s invaluable connections in the AHL and within the Springfield business community paid off huge dividends yet again for the city’s hockey community who are making his enshrinenent in the AHL Hall of Fame and Springfield Hockey Hall of Fame all the more apropos if this deal holds together.

Cantlon’s Corner reached out to Landon on Tuesday before the news broke and was asked directly if Pompea was purchasing the Pirates. “I never deal in rumors and wild speculation. I never have and never will. I shook Charlie’s hand last week said thanks for everything and now I am retired.”

The former goalie deked beautifully from forehand to backhand and went top shelf. Save the rocking chair for another day.

In fact, Pompea, Landon, and several soon-to-be-announced-investors could potentially include the new MGM Springfield, the casino people scheduled to take over the MassMutual Center operations on July 1s. The expectation is they will have a casino down the street from the building opening in 2018.

Landon was contacted again on Wednesday evening. “I can’t comment on anything at this time. We’ll have more to talk about in the next day or two.”

The closest thing to a confirmation came to the Springfield Republican’s veteran reporter, Ron Chimelis. He was told by, Frank Fitzgerald, the attorney for the new investor’s group who’s handling the legal end of securing the Pirates for new ownership group. “I can confirm that a broad-based local investor group has signed a letter of intent to purchase the Portland Pirates. We are currently working on a definitive agreement that would bring the team to Springfield. This contract would be subject to league approval and an agreement with the Florida Panthers, the Pirates’ parent organization,” Fitzgerald said.

The Pirates clearly had financial difficulties under the current owner, Ron Cain. Clearly the Pirates were going to have new local ownership. The sale would solve several short term issues.

For the AHL having a team in the city of the league headquarters puts off any potential move for at least a few more years.Two. it helps makes the schedule-not released till August-better for the four other remaining Northeast AHL teams Hartford, Bridgeport, Providence and Albany keeping it somewhat stable for the lance sheet.

Two, it helps make the unreleased schedule in Springfield, which is not released until August, a better one for the four other remaining Northeast AHL teams, the Hartford Wolf Pack, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Providence Bruins and Albany Devils.

It would make for a lot more games than fans would like against those teams, but maintains the travel budgets, which have already been inching upward, from exploding.

Is a distinct possibility that if the deal gets scuttled in any way or not approved by the AHL BOG, both Portland, and Springfield could be without teams.

The only thing remotely close to this in recent AHL history was 16 years ago when the Islanders announced they were changing their affiliation from Lowell, MA, who they were sharing with LA at the time, to Bridgeport, CT after the 2000-2001 season and failed to give Lowell a heads up on the change.

This led to a major profanity laced fight from then Lowell GM/Head Coach Tom Rowe (ironically the current assistant GM in Florida and who coached Portland the last year and half before the promotion on January 1st) and then NY Islanders GM Mike Milbury who abruptly pulled five players from the Lowell roster and placed them in Springfield in December 2000, a team in their own division.

RANGERS: RAANTA A NYR FOR TWO YRS AT $1M PER

Annti RaantaRANGERS AGREE TO TERMS WITH ANTTI RAANTA

BY: The New York Rangers

NEW YORK, May 2, 2016 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has agreed to terms with goaltender Antti Raanta on a new contract.

Raanta, 26, appeared in 25 games with the Rangers this past season, posting an 11-6-2 record, along with a 2.24 GAA, a .919 SV%, and 1 SO. He tied his career-high in appearances, and he ranked eighth in the NHL in GAA in 2015-16. Raanta allowed two goals or fewer in 13 of his 18 starts during the season. Raanta earned a win in each of his first four starts of the season, becoming the first goaltender in franchise history to register a win in each of his first four starts with the Rangers. He stopped all 22 shots he faced to earn a win/shutout while making his debut with the Blueshirts on Oct. 19, 2015, vs. San Jose. Raanta becomes the fourth goaltender in franchise history to earn a shutout in his first start with the Rangers and the first to do so since Marcel Paille on Nov. 2, 1957.

Raanta concluded the 2015-16 regular season by earning a win in each of his final four starts, posting a 1.75 GAA and a .941 SV% in those contests. Also, he posted a 7-1-0 record, along with a 2.13 GAA and a .931 SV% in his final eight starts of the season. Raanta appeared in three playoff games with the Rangers in 2016 and made his NHL playoff debut in Game 1 of the First Round against Pittsburgh on Apr. 13.

The 6-0, 193-pounder has appeared in 64 career NHL games over parts of three seasons with the Rangers and Chicago, posting a 31-15-7 record, along with a 2.35 GAA, a .914 SV%, and 4 SO. Among goaltenders who have appeared in at least 15 games over the last two seasons (2014-15 – 2015-16), Raanta ranks second in the NHL in GAA (2.10) and ranks fourth in SV% (.926). In 31 career NHL appearances at home, Raanta has posted a 19-4-4 record, along with a 1.80 GAA, a .934 SV%, and 4 SO. In 13 career NHL appearances in which he has made at least 30 saves, Raanta has posted an 11-1-1 record, along with a 1.61 GAA, a .955 SV%, and 2 SO.

The Rauma, Finland native was acquired by the Rangers from Chicago in exchange for Ryan Haggerty on June 27, 2015.

Photo by FoxNews

BECK: TITANS DROP PENALTY-FEST GAME TWO TO PROWLERS

Danbury Titans      VERSUS      Port Huron Prowlers

BY: Mitch Beck, Howlings (With Zak McGinniss, Danbury Titans)

DANBURY, CT Defenseman Matt Fuller’s third-period goal earned him the Game’s First star honors and gave The Port Huron Prowlers a 4-3 win over the Danbury Titans in Game Two of the Commissioner’s Cup Finals before 786 at the Danbury Ice Arena Saturday night.

With the Titans scrambling in their end, Fuller from Ahmed Mahfouz and blasted a shot that went bar down behind Titan goaltender Alex Vazzano (17 saves).

For Game Two of a championship series, it was exceptionally sloppily played. There were 17 power plays. Port Huron received 34 minutes of penalty minutes on 13 infractions. Meanwhile, Danbury was issued 75 minutes of PIMs on 16 infractions

Danbury’s Ryan Patsch, was out with an undisclosed injury, after receiving a five-minute slashing penalty from Game 1, Port Huron’s Joe Pace Jr, also did not play.

Danbury Head Coach Phil Esposito started the game by sending out his tough guys, including defensemen Martin Tuma, Anthony Pisano, and forward Al Graves. Just as the referee dropped the puck for the initial faceoff, all three Danbury forwards dropped their gloves and jumped their Prowler counterparts. All three Prowlers “turtled” in response.

BOXSCORE Continue reading

RANGERS: RYAN BOURQUE TRADED FOR CHRIS BROWN

rp_new-york-r_thumb.gifRANGERS ACQUIRE FORWARD CHRIS BROWN

Blueshirts trade Ryan Bourque to Washington

BY: The New York Rangers

NEW YORK, February 28, 2016 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has acquired forward Chris Brown from the Washington Capitals in exchange for Ryan Bourque.

Brown, 25, has skated in 20 games with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL) this season, registering three goals and six assists for nine points, along with 20 penalty minutes. He has tallied an assist/point in each of his last four AHL games. Brown has also skated in one game with the Capitals this season, registering two hits and one shot on goal on Dec. 10 at Florida.

The 6-2, 215-pounder has skated in 23 career NHL games over four different seasons with the Coyotes and Washington, registering two goals and one assist for three points, along with a plus-one rating and 21 penalty minutes. Brown made his NHL debut as a member of the Coyotes on Mar. 4, 2013 vs. Anaheim. He skated in 12 NHL games with the Coyotes and Capitals during the 2013-14 season, recording two points (one goal, one assist).

The Flower Mound, Texas native has skated in 215 career AHL games over parts of four seasons, registering 65 goals and 59 assists for 124 points, along with 258 penalty minutes. Brown led all AHL rookies in goals with 29 during the 2012-13 season. He tallied at least 16 goals in each of his first three seasons in the AHL (2012-13 – 2014-15).

Brown was selected by the Coyotes in the second round, 36th overall, of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

Bourque was selected by the Rangers in the third round, 80th overall, of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, and he made his NHL debut with the Blueshirts on Apr. 9, 2015.

(Editor’s note: I think this was done as a favor to a good soldier in Ryan Bourque giving him the opportunity to play again with his brother. I don’t have any sources on that. It’s just a theory…but it makes sense).

FUEHRING: DODERO BACK IN GREENVILLE FROM SYRACUSE

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DODERO RETURNED FROM AHL SYRACUSE

Third-year defenseman has played 23 games with Greenville this season

BY: Alan Fuehring, Greenville Swamp Rabbits

Greenville, SC – The Greenville Swamp Rabbits, proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, today announced defenseman Charlie Dodero has been returned to the club from the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch.

Dodero, 23, made 23 appearances with Greenville earlier this season and collected three assists and 66 penalty minutes. He has also played seven games with Syracuse, recording four penalty minutes. The Swamp Rabbits acquired his ECHL rights on September 22 in trade with Idaho for future considerations. Continue reading