AHL All-Stars Take Skills Competition In Thrilling Fashion

Tuesday, February 11, 2014
A photo of the awards ceremony after tonight's AHL All-Stars Skills Competition. Photo credit: @dwancherry
The American Hockey League's (AHL) best took to the ice at Mile One Centre in St. John's, Newfoundland for the AHL's annual Skills Competition against Farjestad BK (FBK), a team from the Swedish League. If tomorrow's game is anywhere near as competitive and thrilling like tonight's Skills Competition was, get ready for some good hockey to be on display.

While FBK held a two goal advantage heading into the final event of the night, the breakaway relay, hometown favorite and AHL All-Stars captain Jason Jaffray stole the spotlight. Jaffray tied the competition on the last shot of the last event, and later won the Skills Competition in the third round of the sudden death tie-breaker, giving the AHL All Stars the 18-17 win. The AHL All-Star Game is tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. EST.

A full list of how tonight's events went here. A quick recap of notable highlights below.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins were represented by Brian Gibbons, and the Pens forward did not disappoint. He participated in the fastest skater competition and his time of 14.350 seconds was the third best time overall, and second best on the AHL team to winner Mike Hoffman of the Binghamton Senators (13.990). An interesting note on Hoffman, who's bold strategy of diving forward at the finish line might've tricked the clock.

Other highlights included Magnus Nygren's shot in the hardest shot competition. His shot of 104.6 mph broke the old AHL hardest shot record held by Mark Mancari. Nygren also shared the lead in the accuracy shooting contest, going 4-for-6.

I was also very impressed by 16-year-old Oliver Kylington of FBK, who won a 1-on-1 race in the puck control relay and scored an impressive goal in the breakaway relay. His skating ability and puck handling skills should be fun to watch in a game-setting tomorrow night.

The breakaway relay had some impressive shooters too, most notably Toronto Marlies defenseman T.J. Brennan and FBK's Charles Bertrand. I'll look for a video replay of their shot attempts and post those shortly. Video of Bertrand's goal starts at the 1:03 mark of this highlight package from SendtoNews:

The AHL All-Stars face a tough task in tomorrow night's game against Farjestad BK, as the visitors from Sweden certainly have the edge in team-chemistry playing together as a team this season. I'll be watching tomorrow night's AHL All-Star Game and have some in-game updates/insights/analysis on Twitter.


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