Saturday's Morning Skate 10/31

Saturday, October 31, 2015
Taylor Leier looks to create a turnover on the fore-check Friday night against St. John's. Photo credit: Nina Weiss
Happy Halloween puck heads! As the first month of the regular season comes to an end, three teams have separated themselves from the rest of the field in the Atlantic Division.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have won six straight games after losing their second game of the season to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, who have also gotten of to a hot start. The Hartford Wolf Pack have also played some good hockey in October.

Atlantic Division Standings (through 10/23's games)

1. W-B/Scranton: 8 games played, 7-1-0-0 = 14 points
2. Bridgeport: 10 games played, 7-3-0-0 = 14 points
3. Hartford: 8 games played, 5-2-1-0 = 11 points
4. Providence: 8 games played, 3-3-2-0 = 8 points
5. Hershey: 7 games played, 3-3-0-1 = 7 points
6. Portland: 6 games played, 3-3-0-0 = 6 points
7. Lehigh Valley: 8 games played, 3-5-0-0 = 6 points
8. Springfield: 7 games played, 2-4-1-0 = 5 points

Around the Atlantic

St. John's - 3 at Lehigh Valley - 2

In the rematch of Wednesday night's game between these two teams, the IceCaps came out ready to play on Friday and split the two-game set at the PPL Center by hanging on for a 3-2 decision over the Phantoms.

Chris Conner had a game-high two goals to lead the Phantoms attack, but Lehigh Valley continued to lose guys to injuries with forwards Evan Rankin (hit by puck) and Nick Cousins (elbowed in head) leaving the game in the 3rd period. Neither player returned.

Michael McCarron tallied the go-ahead goal - the eventual game winner - with 11:11 left in regulation on a play that Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon said post-game was an offside play at the blue line that went uncalled. Sven Andrighetto and Charles Hudon also tallied goals for the IceCaps, while rookie Zachary Fucale improved to 4-0-0 on the season with 23 saves on 25 shots.

The IceCaps continue their road trip with a game in Hershey against the Bears tonight, while the Phantoms have a day off to prepare for a Sunday visit to Giant Center to take on a Bears team that will be at the tail end of their three-game weekend.
Hartford - 1 at W-B/Scranton - 4 

In Wilkes-Barre, the WBS Penguins won their sixth straight game behind a 29-save effort from Matt Murray who is now 5-1-0 on the season (1.83 GAA, .944 SV%, 1 SO). 

Scott Wilson led the offense with his team leading 5th and 6th goals of the season, while rookie Oskar Sundqvist sealed the victory with a shorthanded goal with 6:49 left in the 3rd period.

Ex-Penguins forward Jayson Megna had a game-high six shots on net, but finished the game pointless with a minus two rating as did former Pens forward Brian Gibbons.

Hartford returns home for a Saturday night match up with the Providence Bruins, while the Penguins prepare for a two-game set with St. John's starting on Wednesday night.

Bridgeport - 3 at Albany - 2

In Albany, the Devils held a 2-1 lead after the first period but were unable to maintain the lead in the final 40 minutes to the Sound Tigers in a 3-2 loss. 

Vojtech Mozik tallied his first career AHL goal and Mike Sislo tallied his 3rd of the year to get the Devils attack going in the opening period. Doug Carr stopped 17 of 20 in the loss.

The Sound Tigers got goals from Alan Quine and Justin Vaive in the first and second periods, respectively, before Bracken Kearns tallied his 6th of the season to give Bridgeport a 3-2 lead in the third period they'd never look back on. Rookie Stephon Williams stopped 15 of 17 in the win, improving to 4-2 on the season.

Albany stays at home for a Saturday night match up against Utica, while Bridgeport gets Halloween night off before hosting Utica on Sunday. 
Rochester - 1 at Springfield - 6

In Springfield, the Falcons put forth a dominating effort in a 6-1 win over the Americans. Dustin Jeffrey had a game-high three points including two goals to lead Springfield.

Henrik Samuelsson, Laurent Dauphin, Greg Carey and Brendan Shinnimin all tallied goals for the Falcons in the win. Louis Domingue stopped 23 of 24 to pick up his first win of the season.

Phil Varone tallied the lone goal for Rochester, while Andrey Makarov surrendered six goals on 37 shots in the loss for the Amerks.

Springfield gets their Saturday night off before traveling to Providence to take on the Bruins on Sunday afternoon, while Rochester travels to Portland for a Halloween afternoon game.

Hershey - 1 at Syracuse - 4

In Syracuse, the Bears jumped out to an early 1-0 lead just 2:46 into the contest before the Crunch tallied four unanswered goals in a 4-1 win at the OnCenter.

Defenseman Matt Taormina led the way with a goal and two assists for the Crunch, while rookie defenseman Anthony DeAngelo tallied his 3rd goal of the season and also added an assist in the win. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 27 of 28 to improve to 2-0-0 on the season.

Dustin Gazley got the Bears on the board in the first period, but were unable to get another one past Vasilevskiy the rest of the night. Dan Ellis stopped 28 of 32 in the loss for Hershey.
Hershey returns home to host the St. John's IceCaps tonight before finishing their three-game weekend at home against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The Crunch are off until next Friday when they resume their six-game home stand against Albany.

Portland - 4 at Providence - 6

In Providence, a high-scoring Friday night contest saw the PBruins strike last in a 6-4 win over the Portland Pirates.

Alexander Khokhlachev and Frank Vatrano tallied two goals each for the PBruins. Max Talbot, in his first AHL game since the 2006-07 season, tallied two assists in his PBruins debut. Goaltender Malcolm Subban stopped 32 of the 36 shots he faced in the win.

Rob Schremp tallied two goals to pace Portland's offense, while Garrett Wilson and Vincent Saponari tallied two assists each. Sam Brittain saved 30 of 35 in the loss for Portland.

Portland returns home to host Rochester this afternoon, while Providence travels to Hartford for a Saturday night meeting with the Wolf Pack.

Other Eastern Conference Scores

Grand Rapids - 1 at Toronto - 6
Utica - 7 at Binghamton - 5
Saturday's Eastern Conference Schedule

Rochester at Portland, 3:00 p.m. EDT
Utica at Albany, 5:00 p.m. EDT
St. John's at Hershey, 7:00 p.m. EDT
Providence at Hartford, 7:30 p.m. EDT



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