AHL All Star Game Proves Full of Surprises!

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Posted January 30, 2012

Because I live in the Eastern Standard Time Zone, your prerequisite action shot from the ASG comes from the first period. #2 & 3 were not so kind to the boys in blue (P!Bruin Camper in White, Aero Hackett in red) (All Photos Credit: M. Richter)

This year’s AHL All Star Game was full of surprises (at least as much as an ASG ever can be, when it doesn’t involve props).  It also involved a ridiculous number of mascots, in all shapes/colors/sizes, but the post on that will be going up tomorrow (and be very image-heavy).

The Short Version: Shootout W by the West, the Bears were functionally invisible (but on the same line! and clearly having fun!), the Whale representatives were short (but visible!), nobody got blood on the ice, and in general things were remarkably well-balanced (in +/- news, nobody on either team was above a +2 or below a -3).  Ben Bishop was decreed “awesome,” and then everyone hit the showers.

Numbers and Things:

The first period was about what one expects of an ASG – Phantom Michael Leighton proving that he cared passionately and Aero Matt Hackett had as many bad bounces as a goalie not named Toskala can in a single period (Period Totals: 6-2 in favor of the East).  Periods two and three were a bit more reserved, with the West serving up three unanswered goals in the second and then leading third frame scoring 2-1 to manage the tie.

(In)Visible Teams:

Hershey’s three attendees – Keith Aucoin, Chris Bourque, and Boyd Kane (also notable as captain of Team East) – started the game off on separate lines, with Aucoin being voted to the starting lineup.  Within a single rotation, all three had been reorganized onto the same line, playing together as they often do at home.  Unlike their regular games, however, in this one the three forwards combined for exactly zero points (and each ended the game with a -1 rating).  That didn’t stop them from having a good time, though, which is the real point of the ASG.

Chris Borque, Keith Aucoin, and Boyd Kane enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the game.

By contrast, the players from the Whale – Mats Zuccarello & Jonathan Audy-Marchessault (clocking in at the bottom of the height index at 5′ 7″ and 5′ 9″ respectively) – were all over the scoresheet.  Each had a goal and two assists, and walked away with a +2 rating.

Penalties:

This was an All Star Game.  The only penalty assessed during the course of the evening was at the Mascot Game, when Grif the Grand Rapids Griffin tripped the Hamilton Bulldog:

While Bruiser was awarded a penalty shot, it did little to calm the situation. Moments later, the game descended into a free-for-all.

Noteworthy Notables:

The evening’s MVP award went to goalie Ben Bishop, of the Peoria Rivermen.  He claimed the shootout win, using his 6′ 7″ frame to stonewall the Eastern shooters (3 out of 4 of which were under 6′; Colin McDonald of the Baby Pens was the 6′ 3″ exception).  Height is no guarantee of (or substitute for) skill, but the numbers seemed worth a mention.

Speaking of McDonald, he’s the only player in AHL history to record a point in consecutive All Star Games for different conferences (last year, he represented the Oklahoma City Barons, of the West).

Keith Aucoin and Corey Locke (of the B!Sens) also get a nod for being on their sixth All Star Game appearances – tying the AHL record.

M. Richter

M. Richter

Associate Editor at Capitals Outsider
Em is a fan of hockey first and individual teams second, with geographical ties that cross the NHL. She was born in the Midwest, raised along the East Coast, and graduated from a university in Western Canada. A firm believer in context above all else, and a card-carrying on-ice official with USA Hockey, she splits her time between the big picture and the details. When not covering the AHL and ECHL for Caps Outsider, her photography can be found on Behance and Flickr. She also occasionally chimes in about the Hershey Bears on the Power Play Post Show.
M. Richter

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