A crazy night in the American Hockey League.
Normally I wouldn’t be writing about a selection of fixtures in the AHL during a Wednesday evening in December. Even more so when you consider the Toronto Marlies weren’t in action.
However I’m compelled to do so, as this Wednesday 17th December brought perhaps the craziest night’s action in the league’s history.
We’ll start with three goals in 21 seconds. Yes you read that right.
Lehigh Valley Phantoms played host to the Binghamton Senators, and even with Christmas around the corner, the home team weren’t going to be charitable.
Lehigh opened the scoring just 15 seconds in as Petr Straka scored off a feed from Steven Delisle. Off the ensuing face-off to restart the game, Lehigh kept possession of the puck and at the 27 second mark Jason Akeson fire home although Andrew Hammond in net for Binghamton definitely over-committed to his right. The Senators net minder’s evening would be done after 36 seconds as he let a speculative shot from the stick Andrew Gordon from the right boards somehow creep under him. I’ll put it down to shellshock but that was an ugly goal.
The Phantoms three goal burst ties the record held by the Hershey Bears, who scored three times in 21 seconds during a 7-1 win over the Cleveland Barons on Nov. 14, 1962. It wasn’t all plain sailing for Lehigh as they eventually only won by a score of 5-3.
The Manchester Monarchs went into Portland and absolutely spanked the Pirates in a game notable for the contributions by Andy Andreoff.
Sent down to the Monarchs by the L.A Kings for a conditioning stint, the former Oshawa General took the headlines. He scored a hat-trick inside a twenty minute spell and had a four point night as Monarchs won 8-2. There were no power play markers as Manchester dominated even strength play. Portland did pull within a goal to make it a 2-1 game but Manchester eased away by netting four times in 16 minutes to keep the Pirates in their current downward spiral.
So if you’re keeping count, that’s 18 goals through two games and the goals kept flying in.
Just five goals in Rochester but it was the home town team who lost out as Syracuse tallied three times on just 18 shots. Both of Rochester’s goal were scored on the man advantage, but they couldn’t keep pegging back the Crunch who took the lead on three occasions,
Syracuse extended their win steak to seven and now tie the Springfield Falcons for the Northeast Division lead.
There were also “just” five goals in Chicago but once more it was the road team who would come out on top. Adirondack tallied three of their four goals on the power play as they eased away to third period win after a single goal through forty minutes. Culkin and Baertschi both recorded a pair of assists on the man advantage as the special teams proved the difference. Joni Ortio won his 14th game of the season and now ties the lead in that category with Breube of Manchester Monarchs. The victory solidified the Flames fourth place position in the Western Conference and drew them within two points of the North Division leaders Utica Comets.
Only two of the five games would see the home fans cheering a victory and the second of those were the Hamilton Bulldogs faithful as they witnessed their team give St. Johns IceCaps a good thumping.
Despite trailing by an IceCaps marker midway through the first, Hamilton responded in the second period to tie the game on the power play and it was the start of four unanswered goasl including both man advantage markers by Bennett. Dietz and Carr also had multi-point games for the host as they ran out comfortable 5-2 winners. Hamilton were a perfect two for two on the power play, Mike Condon made 37 saves and victory extended the Bulldogs point streak to six games
Five games saw 35 goals, history made, a hat-trick and a pair of outstanding goaltending displays.
Who said AHL hockey was boring?