SPRONG, EASTERN ALL-STARS WIN 2018 SKILLS COMPETITION
UTICA, N.Y. – The Eastern Conference came away with an 18-12 victory over the Western Conference in the 2018 AHL All-Star Skills Competition at the Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium on Sunday night.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins forward Daniel Sprong participated in three events, helping the East claim victory in the AHL Live Rapid Fire, Turning Stone Resort Casino Pass & Score and Dunkin’ Donuts Breakaway Relay. During the Breakaway Relay, Sprong drew oohs and ahs from the crowd by pulling off a between the legs move.
“I don’t think Clarkie (Donatelli) would appreciate that if I tried that in a game, but it’s called a skills competition for a reason,” Sprong said. “It’s about creativity. We’re here to have fun and show off a little bit.”
Sprong busts out the fancy moves in the breakaway relay! pic.twitter.com/ZXjB2CbAno
— WBS Penguins (@WBSPenguins) January 29, 2018
Sprong showed off more of his creativity during the Pass & Score event, during which groups of three players would attack a goaltender unopposed and shoot as long as they had each touched the puck once. The Penguins’ leading scorer orchestrated a move straight out of Hollywood that unfortunately did not count towards the East’s winning score because their time had expired.
“On the last one, we were trying to do the Flying V like the Mighty Ducks,” Sprong said. “I think it should have counted, I don’t know why it didn’t count. I think it should have counted. I don’t think the people on TV realized it didn’t count, so at least we looked good on TV.”
Alexandre Grenier of the Springfield Thunderbirds shined in his return to Utica, where he is the Comets franchise’s all-time leader in goals, assists and points. Grenier won the CCM Hardest Shot event with a shot clocked at 104.1 miles per hour – the third-hardest shot ever recorded in an AHL skills competition.
Defenseman John Gilmour of the Hartford Wolf Pack claimed the CCM Fastest Skater title with a lap of 13.663, the fourth-fastest in event history. And Eastern Conference teammates Chris Bourque of the Hershey Bears and Chris Terry of the Laval Rocket shared the Turning Stone Resort Casino Accuracy Shooting crown by each breaking four targets in five attempts.
The Eastern Conference salted away the win by earning an 8-3 victory in the Dunkin’ Donuts Breakaway Relay.
The Providence Bruins’ Jordan Binnington and the Ontario Reign’s Cal Petersen shared the CCM Top Goaltender award, as each turned aside 16 of 18 shots on the evening. Petersen made history in the AHL Live Rapid Fire, becoming the fifth goaltender ever to stop all 10 attempts.
The 2018 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Turning Stone Resort Casino continues on Monday with the AHL Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony at 11 a.m., featuring the enshrinement of Jim Bartlett, Don Biggs, Brian Kilrea and Glenn Merkosky as the AHL Hall of Fame Class of 2018 and also celebrating honorary All-Star Classic captains Scott Pellerin and Craig Cunningham.
The league’s mid-season showcase wraps up Monday night at 7:00 p.m. ET with the 2018 AHL All-Star Challenge, a round-robin tournament among the league’s four divisions played at 3-on-3. The All-Star Challenge will air live across the United States on NHL Network, across Canada on Sportsnet and on the internet at AHL Live.