The AHL Puts On "All-Star" Performance in St. John's

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

WBS Penguins' AHL All-Star forward Brian Gibbons waves to the crowd during his player introduction at tonight's pregame. Photo credit: @dwancherry
The American Hockey League hosted their 2014 AHL All-Star event this season with a twist, bringing in Farjestad BK from the Swedish Hockey League for a skills competition and game. The AHL's best used a strong first period to gain an early lead en route to a 7-2 win over FBK in the first ever international exhibition match between a Swedish pro team and AHL built roster.

Binghamton Senators forward Mike Hoffman (1G-2A) and Rockford Icehogs' Brandon Pirri (2G-1A) led the way for the AHL's All-Stars, connecting three times throughout the game and taking home "Player of the Game" and "MVP" honors, respectively.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins forward Brian Gibbons showcased his best attributes tonight, twice forcing turnovers in the FBK defensive zone with his speed and tenacity on the forecheck and setting up Bridgeport Sound Tigers' Ryan Strome for goals. Gibbons finished with two assists and a plus two rating.

The AHL resumes their regular season schedule this weekend, while Farjestad BK travels to Toronto for one more exhibition match this weekend against the AHL's Toronto Marlies.

Some highlights from SendtoNews, which I have recently discovered I can embed onto the website.

Quick recap after the jump.

The AHL All-Stars came out firing and scored four straight goals to take a 4-0 lead into the first intermission.

BSens forward Mike Hoffman, who won the fastest skater competition last night, opened the scoring 8:43 into the contest. WBS Penguins forward Brian Gibbons got a primary assist on the 2nd goal, forechecking and causing a turnover for Ryan Strome's goal to make it 2-0. Ben Street and Travis Morin made it 4-0 after 20 minutes.

A much tighter 2nd period of play as FBK started to look a little more used to the smaller rink. After allowing four goals on 12 shots in the first period, FBK starting goaltender Frederick Pettersson-Wentzel looked sharp, making several saves in the first half of the period,  but  after a goalie change Hoffman was at it again as he sprung Brandon Pirri on a breakaway to extend the AHL lead to 5-0 about nine minutes into the middle frame.

It was the first shot new FBK goaltender Pekka Tuokkola, who had just come on as both teams switched goaltenders. Dustin Tokarski relived Jake Allen for the AHL All-Stars, who stopped all 14 shots he faced.

FBK didn't quit, drawing the game's first power play with 1:49 left in the 2nd. They didn't score on the man advantage but got on the board 0:25 into the 3rd period, when Per Aslund deflected Magnus Nygren's point shot after a nice pass from 16-yr-old Oliver Kylington.

The AHL-All Stars responded with their 6th goal of the night. Pirri and Hoffman connected again. This time a backhand feed from Hoffman found Pirri, giving both players three points on the night.

FBK got their second goal of the third period with about 11:00 left in regulation, making it a 6-2 game. FBK's captain got the Swedish team's 2nd goal of the third period with assists from Charles Bertand and Shawn Belle.

That would be as close as FBK would get as Strome added his 2nd goal of the night on Gibbons' 2nd forced turnover and primary assist late in the third to cap the scoring at 7-2 in favor of the AHL All-Stars.


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