GO WEST, YOUNG MEN
Allentown, PA – Western Conference goaltenders were the brightest stars on the ice, and helped to lead their squad to a 15-11 victory at the 2017 AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday night at the PPL Center in Allentown.
The foursome of Troy Grosenic (San Jose), Jack Campbell (Ontario), Anton Forsberg (Cleveland) and Michael Leighton (Charlotte) stopped all 20 shots they faced in the ExteNet Systems Breakaway Relay, holding the opposition at bay while the West’s shooters slid five pucks past Eastern Conference net minders. That allowed the Western Conference to overcome an 11-10 deficit headed into the final contest of the night and secure a second consecutive victory in the overall competition, following last year’s 19-14 win in Syracuse.
The visitors from the west jumped out to an early lead by taking three of the four points awarded in the Sher-Wood Puck Control Relay to start the night.
The teams split two points in the CCM Fastest Skater competition. Bridgeport’s Devon Toews secured a point for the East with the fastest individual time on the night, and the second-fastest time in the contest’s 21-year history at 13.478 seconds. But the Western Conference’s average time was a hair faster, putting the score at 4-2 after two rounds.
The teams saw another push in the AHL Live Rapid Fire, with both groups of goaltenders combining for 23 saves on 40 shots.
The CCM Hardest Shot competition saw two points go to the West, with Tucson’s Kyle Wood winning the individual point with a shot of 99.3 miles per hour, and the team posting an average of 98.1, less than one MPH better than the Eastern Conference’s 97.225 mark.
The East swept it’s first competition of the night in the Giant Food Stores/Velaspan Accuracy Shooting, claiming two points thanks to a four-for-five performance by Rochester’s Cole Schneider and a better percentage in the team tally.
The pendulum swung in the Eastern Conference’s direction after a 6-3 victory in the Giant Food Stores/Velaspan Pass and Shoot round, moving the host city’s squad into the lead at 11-10.
Rochester Americans’ goaltender Linus Ullmark was named the CCM Top Goaltender after stopping 15 of 18 shots he faced across three competitions.
The 2017 AHL All-Star Classic continues on Monday night, when four divisional teams (Central, Atlantic, North and Pacific) face off in the AHL All-Star Challenge, a six-game, three-on-three tournament beginning at 7:00pm.
NOTES: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins net minder Tristan Jarry stopped 11 of 18 shots he saw in the Rapid Fire (5-of-10), Pass and Score (3-of-3) and Breakaway Relay (3-of-5)…Penguins defenseman David Warsofsky competed in the Hardest Shot, posting shots of 96.4 and 98.4 miles per hour.