Tag Archives: Jon DiSalvatore

SPOTLIGHT: AHL ALL-STAR GAME

Bruce BerletBY: Bruce Berlet

The Eastern Conference lost a four-goal lead and a shootout in the AHL All-Star Game on Monday night that had a definite Connecticut Whale flavor.

Rookie Jonathan Audy-Marchessault scored on his first shift of the game and had a goal and two assists in the first period with teammate and linemate Mats Zuccarello before the Western Conference rallied for an 8-7 victory before 6,113 at historic Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.

Audy-Marchessault, one of the few undrafted players among the AHL’s elite, scored only 2:06 into the game and set up Zuccarello for a breakaway goal late in the first period as the Eastern Conference took a 6-2 lead after 20 minutes.

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FROM THE CREASE with BRUCE BERLET

BY: Bruce Berlet

I can still picture New York Rangers center Artem Anisimov, then with the Hartford Wolf Pack, standing with Alexander Vasyunov after he was named the No. 1 star and his former Russian linemate the second star in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Lowell Devils at the XL Center on Nov. 21, 2008.

Anisimov and Vasyunov, a speedy wing, had played together at different levels for a decade, often on the same line, with the elite Lokomotiv Yaroslavl teams before heading to North America after being born only a month apart and drafted just four spots apart in the second round of the 2006 NHL draft by the Rangers and rival New Jersey Devils. The XL Center game was their first meeting overseas, and they had plenty to celebrate and catch up on after the final horn sounded before heading their separate ways again.

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FROM THE CREASE with BRUCE BERLET

BY: Bruce Berlet

Talk about a worthwhile confab.

The Houston Aeros were floundering in January when coach Mike Yeo, elevated to coach of the parent Minnesota Wild on June 17, called a team meeting.

“It was a decision that we decided to make and kind of a story that we wanted to tell,” South Windsor native and Aeros captain/right wing Jon DiSalvatore said during the sixth annual Pete Asadourian Pro Hockey Camp that ended with a public scrimmage Friday night at Champions Skating Center. “We were kind of struggling, had a little team meeting and were probably the hottest team in the league in the second half.

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FROM THE CREASE with BRUCE BERLET

BY: Bruce Berlet

It’s hardly been an OFF-season for Connecticut Whale/New York Rangers center Kris Newbury.

First, Newbury’s wife, Amanda, gave birth to the couple’s third child, Jorja, on May 7.

“The little one is growing like a weed,” proud papa said with a wide smile.

Newbury also was involved in plenty of off-ice activities, mostly baseball, with 8-year-old son Jake and 6-year-old daughter Jaidyn. And when not busy with the kids, Newbury was working out 2-to-3 hours four days a week with former Whale strength and conditioning coach Jeremy Goodman at Future Fitness Sport Specific Training at Champions Skating Center, the Whale’s practice facility when they’re not at the XL Center in Hartford.

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FROM THE CREASE with BRUCE BERLET

bruce mug shot 1BY: Bruce Berlet

The Binghamton Senators hadn’t even qualified for the Calder Cup playoffs the past five seasons, but Tuesday night they had extra incentive to win their first AHL championship.

With assistant coach and former Bridgeport Sound Tigers and New York Islanders head coach Steve Stirling back in central New York recovering from emergency quadruple bypass heart surgery Sunday night, the Senators rallied with third-period, power-play goals from Bobby Butler and captain Ryan Keller to beat the host Houston Aeros 3-2 and clinch the title before a record crowd of 10,125 at the Toyota Arena.

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TWO MINUTES with BRUCE BERLET

bruce mug shot 1South Windsor native and Houston Aeros captain Jon DiSalvatore has had the season of his life while leading the Western Conference champions within two victories of their second Calder Cup title.

DiSalvatore had a career-high 28 goals in the regular season and scored with 1:13 left in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals to give the Aeros a 3-2 victory over the Hamilton Bulldogs and former Hartford Wolf Pack and New York Rangers wing Nigel Dawes.

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TWO MINUTES for BRUCE BERLET

BY: Bruce Berlet

Connecticut hockey fans had more to cheer about Wednesday than just Hartford Whalers icon Kevin Dineen being named coach of the Florida Panthers.

South Windsor native and Houston Aeros captain Jon DiSalvatore scored only 68 seconds into the game and had the primary assist on Nate Prosser’s winner in a 2-1 victory over the host Binghamton Senators in Game 3 of the Calder Cup playoffs Wednesday night.

The Aeros took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, with Games 4 and 5 on Friday and Saturday nights at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton. Games 6 and 7, if necessary, on Tuesday and next Thursday nights in Houston.

DiSalvatore knocked in his own rebound for his sixth playoff goal, then Prosser picked up a loose puck and beat Senators rookie goalie Robin Lehner at 12:51 of the second period. Patrick O’Sullivan got his second assist of the game on the winner.

Senators captain Ryan Keller scored his ninth goal of the playoffs at 2:52 of the third period, but Aeros rookie goalie Matt Hackett (28 saves) shut down Binghamton the rest of the way to improve to 14-7 in the postseason. The Senators, who had 21 goals in a four-game sweep of Charlotte in the Eastern Conference finals, have only four games in the first three games against the Western Conference champion Aeros, who are seeking their first title since 2003.

But the fans thought the Senators had tied it with 24.5 seconds left on a goal by former Wolf Pack center Corey Locke, the AHL’s MVP and leading scorer (86 points) this season, during a late flurry after pulling Lehner. But referee Terry Koharski waved his arms to signal no goal, leading to many in a sellout crowd of 4,710 to rain plastic bottles and cups on the ice.

“(The puck) was on its edge, but it didn’t go over (the goal line),” Hackett said. “With the (Senators) goalie pulled, it was pretty intense. People were blocking shots with their faces, with any part of their body, and they did a great job.”

Senators coach Kurt Kleinendorst didn’t dispute the no-goal call but was upset his team wasn’t as intense as the Aeros.

“These are the Calder Cup finals, and you would expect your group would show up and give you an honest 60 (minutes),” Kleinendorst said. “I think we can do better. We have to give credit to Houston, but at the same time, I know this group, I know my guys, and we’re not quite where we need to be. We’re close, but close isn’t going to cut it. We’re going to have to fight for every little inch.”

And that’s about by how much the Senators failed to tie it late, but there is no video replay in the AHL because not all arenas in the 30-team league are equipped for it.

“That’s hockey,” Senators forward Mike Hoffman said. “Sometimes that happens. The chances were there, we just had to capitalize, and we didn’t. That’s why we lost the game.”

Instead, the Aeros regained the home-ice advantage and hope to return home with the Calder Cup. The Senators, now only 4-5 at home in the playoffs, hope to get back to Houston in a bid for their first title.

DiSalvatore was thinking otherwise.

“We’re striving for two more wins,” he said. “We can’t go flying high on this win and forget what we need to do. We have to look at tape from this game and look at things we can do to get better.”

DiSalvatore has been better than ever this season, having scored a career-high 28 goals during the regular season and now helping put the Aeros within two victories of another AHL championship. It has been 11 years since the Wolf Pack won the only title in Hartford hockey history, though Dineen had sure tried hard to get one earlier. After all, there are loads of reasons that his number (11) and that of Connecticut Whale coach Ken Gernander (12) are in the XL Center rafters.

FROM THE CREASE with BRUCE BERLET

bruce mug shot 1BY: Bruce Berlet

Could there be a miracle comeback for Manny Malhotra in the Stanley Cup finals?

The former Hartford Wolf Pack and New York Rangers forward has been cleared by doctors to participate in Vancouver Canucks practice, including taking light contact.

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FROM THE CREASE with BRUCE BERLET

By Bruce Berlet

Former Hartford Wolf Pack wing Nigel Dawes was part of a Winnipeg native daily double for the Hamilton Bulldogs that was a large part of AHL history on Monday night.

Dawes notched his team-leading ninth goal of the playoffs at 6:24 of the third period to tie it, then Dustin Boyd scored only six seconds into the third overtime, ending the longest Game 7 in  the AHL’s 75-year history as the Bulldogs beat the visiting Manitoba Moose 2-1 in the decisive game of the North Division finals. Continue reading

FROM THE CREASE with Bruce Berlet

Bruce HeadshotBy Bruce Berlet

An autographed Toronto Maple Leafs prospect trading card of Jeremy Williams showed up on eBay on Tuesday morning.

Its value likely increased by day’s end after Williams, the Connecticut Whale right wing tied for the AHL goal-scoring lead, was named a reserve on the AHL’s Eastern Conference All-Star team that will face the Western Conference on Jan. 30-31 at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa.

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