AHL Morning Skate: 6.1.22 | TheAHL.com
Once again, Alexander Lyons proved to be a standout goaltender in Calder Cup playoff competition. Starting each of the Chicago Wolves’ first seven games this playoffs, Lyon went 6-1 with a 1.87 goals-against average and .926 save percentage.
Nevertheless, new aid has still arrived for Lyon and Wolves. After the parents of the Carolina Hurricanes were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs on Monday night, they assigned goaltenders Piotr Kochetkov and Jack Lafontaine in Chicago, giving them the opportunity to train more through practice and possibly playing action after both spent the second half of the regular season with Wolves.
Kochetkov, 22, adapted quickly to AHL play after leaving the Continental Hockey League’s Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod in February. Carolina’s second-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, Kochetkov was 13-1-1 in 15 appearances for Chicago, with a 2.09 GAA and .921 save percentage. He was named AHL Rookie of the Month for March and played in three regular season games and four playoff games for the Hurricanes.
LaFontaine, 24, came to Wolves in January, but via a different route. A 2016 third-round pick by Carolina, he left the University of Minnesota on January 9 to sign a one-year entry-level contract with Carolina on January 9. After making his NHL debut with the Hurricanes, LaFontaine went 4-3-4 with a 2.89 GAA and .885 save percentage in 13 games for the Wolves. He had been Carolina’s third goaltender in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
In the middle of the mix is Lyon’s sixth-year pro, who won the Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award in 2021-22 as Chicago led the league in goals against per game (2.55). Lyon is also playoff tested, with a 12-7 record, 1.95 GAA and .936 save percentage in 20 career playoff games for the Wolves and Lehigh Valley Phantoms – a resume that includes a 94-save performance in the longest game in AHL history, a 2-1 win and five overtime for the Phantoms over Charlotte in 2018.
Chicago opens the Western Conference Finals at home Friday night against the Stockton Heat.
The class is in session for the Laval Rocket.
Laval should be ready by Saturday night for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Springfield Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center. The head coach J. F. Houle and its Rocket players have a lot of video work to do this week. They’ve only seen the Thunderbirds twice in the regular season, the last meeting being a 5-2 loss at Place Bell on March 7.
“I think we have a pretty good idea of the type of players they have and the way they play,” Houle said after practice yesterday.
But Houle has some first impressions of the test the Thunderbirds are presenting. While the Rochester Americans and Syracuse Crunch, Laval’s previous playoff opponents, played a fast and dangerous style with transition play that could burn opponents, veteran Thunderbirds forwards use a more physical and punishing style.
“Springfield, they’re really good offensively,” Houle said. “We have to limit their chances. Their skilled players have experience, which is little different from Rochester. We have to be tough on their talented players, we have to limit their time and space. And turnovers for us are going to be key in this series; I think it’s important for us to make sure we have deep pucks on them.
“They’re a good team, and they’re playing well defensively too. They have a lot of goals (a league record 5.33 goals per game in the playoffs), but they are very deep in defense and they have two good goaltenders. [in former Rocket Charlie Lindgren and Joel Hofer]so it should be a pretty good match-up.
“They are dangerous. They are dangerous everywhere.
― patrick williams