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Goalies Power Western Conference to AHL Skills Competition Win

The Western Conference beat the Eastern Conference, 15-11, in the 2017 AHL All-Star Skills Competition.

John Saraya/Cleveland Monsters

Representatives from 29 teams descended upon Allentown Sunday to partake in the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic Skills Competition.

The Western Conference came out on top in five of the seven events giving them the 15-11 win over the Eastern Conference.

Lucas Ullmark of the Rochester Americans took hope the coveted CCM Top Goaltender award. In the three goaltending events, Ullmark stopped 15 of the 18 shots he faced.

The Western Conference goalies came up big in the last event of the evening when they stopped 100% of the shots they faced.

Event 1 - Sher-Wood Puck Control Relay

Rules:

  • Two relay races with three participants in each and two head to head races
  • Winning team of each relay heat receives one goal
  • Winner of each head to head heat receives one goal

Race #1

WEST EAST
Race #1
Spencer Abbott (RFD) Nicklas Jensen (HFD)
Matej Stransky (TEX) Mackenzie Weegar (SPR)
Matt Lorito (GR) Travis Boyd (HER)
Winning team: West

The first race started off neck and neck between Spencer Abbott and Nicklas Jensen. After the first stop, Jensen got a leg up on the competition and got to his relay man, Mackenzie Weegar, before Abbott could get to Matej Stransky.

Weegar was off to a good start until he slipped up. Stransky capitalized on his mistake and picked up the pace to get to Matt Lorito.

Lorito immediately put a good amount of distance between him and Travis Boyd. The Eastern Conference was unable to catch up. The Western Conference took the first heat of the Puck Control Relay.

Race #2

WEST EAST
Race #2
Alexandre Carrier (MIL) Danton Heinen (PRO)
Mark Jankowski (STK) Cole Schneider (RCH)
Vince Dunn (CHI) Cory Conacher (SYR)
Winning team: West

Danton Heinen started the second race off on a positive note for the Eastern Conference. Heinen’s smooth skating allowed him to get to Cole Schneider before Alexandre Carrier was able to get to Mark Jankowski.

Jankowski was able to catch up with Schneider at center ice. They stayed neck and neck until they hit their man.

Cory Conacher almost wiped out before the last set of pylons giving Vince Dunn the chance to cross the finish line first.

The Western Conference took race number two.

Race #3

WEST EAST
Race #3
Jordan Oesterle (BAK) Taylor Leier (LV)
Winning team: West

Taylor Leier started things out strong for the Eastern Conference in the third race. However, when Jordan Oesterle reached the other end of the ice there was no puck waiting for him. They had to restart the race.

During the second race, Leier and Oesterle were neck and neck all the way to the blue line. Leier began to fall behind right before the final pylons. Oesterle kicked it up a notch and skated across the finish line to give the Western Conference the win.

Race #4

WEST EAST
Race #4
Oliver Bjorkstrand (CLE) Jordan Weal (LV)
Winning team: East

Oliver Bjorkstrand races past Jordan Weal to get to the puck first. The two become neck and neck at center ice and stay this way until the final pylons when Bjorkstrand faltered a bit.

Weal turned on the burners at the last second to give the Eastern Conference their first win of the night.

After event one, the Western Conference led the Eastern Conference, 3-1.

Event 2 - CCM Fastest Skater

Rules

  • Three skaters for each team
  • Player with the fastest time is awarded one goal
  • Team with fastest average time is awarded one goal
  • If tied, each team is awarded one goal
  • Each player starts at a stand still
  • Have the option to go clockwise or counter-clockwise

Player Conference SEC.
Devon Toews (BRI) East 13.478
Jack Roslovic (MB) West 13.674
Jonny Brodzinski (ONT) West 13.787
Justin Bailey (RCH) East 13.788
Daniel O’Regan (SJ) West 13.845
Yanni Gourde (SYR) East 14.114
Player with fastest time: Devon Toews
Fastest team average time: West

Jack Roslovic (MB) started the CCM Fastest Skater event off for both teams. The highlight of Roslovic’s skate were the long strides he took along the straight away.

Next up was Justin Bailey (RCH) who almost wiped out but still managed to have the 4th fastest time. He was off Jonny Brodzinski’s time by .001 seconds.

Jonny Brodzinski was smoother than the ice all the way around the rink. He chose not to do crossovers behind the net and took the corners nicely.

Devon Toews (BRI) became the second fastest skater of all time for the AHL All-Star Skills Challenge after his skate. He didn’t miss a single stride and was perfectly flat on the edges behind the net.

Daniel O’Regan (SJ) turned on the burners the whole way around the ice but it wasn’t enough to crack the top three.

Yanni Gourde (SYR) started out strong but ended up gassed by the time he finished.

After the CCM Fastest Skater event, the West led the East, 4-2.

Event 3 - AHL Live Rapid Fire

Rules

  • Four goalies and eight shooters per team
  • Each pair of shooters takes 10 shots in 12 seconds
  • Team with the goalie who makes most saves is awarded one goal
  • If tied, each team is awarded one goal
WEST EAST SAVES GOALS
Round #1
Troy Grosenick (SJ) Alexandre Grenier (UTI) 4 6
Kerby Rychel (TOR)
Round #2
Ryan Craig (CLE) Linus Ullmark (RCH) 8 2
Vincent LoVerde (ONT)
Round #3
Jack Campbell (ONT) Chris Bourque (HER) 4 6
Matt Taormina (SYR)
Round #4
Robbie Russo (GR) Charlie Lindgren (STJ) 5 5
Kenny Agostino (CHI)
Round #5
Anton Forsberg (CLE) Justin Bailey (RCH) 7 3
Chris Terry (STJ)
Round #6
Kyle Wood (TUC) Zane McIntyre (PRO) 5 5
Alex Tuch (IA)
Round #7
Michael Leighton (CHA) T.J. Brennan (LV) 8 2
Taylor Leier (LV)
Round #8
Oliver Bjorkstrand (CLE) Tristan Jarry (WBS) 5 5
Christian Fischer (TUC)
Team with the most total saves: Tie (23-23)

Quick Thoughts

  • Kenny Agostino has great hands, immense amounts of patience, and pin point precision on his shot. It’s very clear why he is the leading scorer in the AHL.
  • Linus Ullmark is great at reading his opponent. However, if Ullmark goes too wide to deflect a shot, he won’t be able to get back into position to stop the rebound.
  • Anton Forsberg is usually two steps ahead of his opponent. Unfortunately, the top left corner is not his friend.

At the end of the AHL Live Rapid Fire event, the Western Conference led the Eastern Conference, 5-3.

Event 4 - CCM Hardest Shot

Rules

  • Four players from each team get two attempts
  • Team with the hardest average shot earns one goal
  • Player with the hardest shot earns one goal
Player Conference First Shot Second Shot
A.J. Greer (SA) West 97.2 99.2
Vincent LoVerde (ONT) West 95.5 96.1
Robbie Russo (GR) West 95.8 97.8
Kyle Wood (TUC) West 95.3 99.3
Casey Bailey (BNG) East 95.8 97.4
David Warsofsky (WBS) East 96.4 98.4
Jordan Subban (UTI) East 92.8 94
Kerby Rychel (TOR) East 99.1 96.8
Team with the highest average speed: West
Player with the hardest shot: Kyle Wood

Quick Thoughts

  • If you shoot the puck too high, the speed gun doesn’t register the shot. To excel at the hardest shot competition you have to know how to shoot the puck with both accuracy and speed.
  • The first shot was basically a practice shot for everyone. Once they got their timing down, most players added at least two mph to their shot.
  • Kyle Wood has a 110 flex on his stick. However, it’s a little bit less because he has an extension on the stick.

At the end of the CCM Hardest Shot competition, the West led the East, 7-3.

Event 5 - Giant Food Stores/Velaspan Accuracy Shooting

Rules

  • Player with most hits in fewest attempts earns one goal
  • Team with most total hits in fewest attempts earns one goal
WEST HITS ATT EAST HITS ATT
Ryan Craig (CLE) 4 7 Travis Boyd (HER) 4 6
Alex Tuch (IA) 4 7 Cole Schneider (RCH) 4 5
Christian Fischer (TUC) 4 6 Matt Taormina (SYR) 4 6
Kenny Agostino (CHI) 4 7 T.J. Brennan (LV) 3 8
Player with most hits in fewest attempts: Cole Schneider
Team with most total hits in fewest attempts: East

Quick Thoughts

  • The top left corner of the net gives Alex Tuch a lot of trouble.
  • T.J. Brennan has a heavy wrister. I would not want to stand in front of his shot during a game.

After the accuracy event, the West led the East, 7-5.

Event 6 - Giant Food Stores/Velaspan Pass and Score

Rules

  • 12 shooters in groups of three
  • Four goalies from each team
  • Players have 30 seconds to attempt three shots
  • All three players must touch the puck at least once and stay onside
  • Every goal scored counts
  • Every goal saved counts towards the top goaltender

Round 1

WEST EAST GOALS SAVES
Round #1
Mark Jankowski (STK) Linus Ullmark (RCH) 1 2
A.J. Greer (SA)
Vincent LoVerde (ONT)

Mark Jankowski, A.J. Greer, and Vincent LoVerde missed the first pass of the challenge. A save is automatically credited to Linus Ullmark.

Jankowski fired the second shot over the net.

A.J. Greer was able to convert the third shot into a goal.

Round 2

WEST EAST GOALS SAVES
Round #2
Troy Grosenick (SJ) Danton Heinen (PRO) 0 3
Nicklas Jensen (HFD)
Mackenzie Weegar (SPR)

Troy Grosenick came up with three big saves against Danton Heinen, Nicklas Jense, and Mackenzie Weegar. The last shot almost went in but Grosenick was able to get his skate there in time to deflect the puck.

Round 3

WEST EAST GOALS SAVES
Round #3
Alexandre Carrier (MIL) Charlie Lindgren (STJ) 1 2
Jack Roslovic (MB)
Daniel O’Regan (SJ)

Charlie Lindgren threw himself on the ground to stop the first goal attempt from Alexandre Carrier, Jack Roslovic, and Daniel O’Regan.

On the second shot, Lindgren made a quick blocker save.

As time ran down, O’Regan was able to pop the puck in over Lindgren to tally a goal for the West.

Round 4

WEST EAST GOALS SAVES
Round #4
Jack Campbell (ONT) Cory Conacher (SYR) 1 2
Yanni Gourde (SYR)
Devon Toews (BRI)

On the first series, Devon Toews fired the puck through Jack Campbell’s five hole.

This was the only puck Cory Conacher, Yanni Gourde, and Devon Toews were able to get past Campbell. The best stop was on a poke check from the middle of the hash marks.

Round 5

WEST EAST GOALS SAVES
Round #5
Jonny Brodzinski (SJ) Zane McIntyre (PRO) 1 2
Matej Stransky (TEX)
Jordan Oesterle (BAK)

Jordan Oesterle was stuffed right off the bat by Zane McIntyre. On the second shot, Matej Stransky tried to go top shelf but McIntyre shot his glove up at the last possible moment. Jonny Brodzinski scored on the last shot.

Round 6

WEST EAST GOALS SAVES
Round #6
Anton Forsberg (CLE) Chris Terry (STJ) 3 0
Alexandre Grenier (UTI)
Jordan Subban (UTI)

A nice set of passes between Chris Terry, Alexandre Grenier, and Jordan Subban started things off on a positive note for the East in round 6.

Terry popped the second shot over Anton Forsberg’s left blocker to give the team a second goal.

The final goal came after Subban psyched Forsberg out. Seeing Forsberg slide to the right of the crease, Subban stopped on the doorstep and popped the puck in.

Round 7

WEST EAST GOALS SAVES
Round #7
Vince Dunn (CHI) Tristan Jarry (WBS) 0 3
Spencer Abbott (RFD)
Matt Lorito (GR)

Tristan Jarry managed to stop every attempt by Vince Dunn, Spencer Abbott, and Matt Lorito.

Lorito thought he was going to turn the second shot into a goal but Jarry had an incredible kick save at the last moment to foil his plans.

Round 8

WEST EAST GOALS SAVES
Round #8
Michael Leighton (CHA) Jordan Weal (LV) 2 1
Chris Bourque (HER)
David Warsofsky (WBS)

On the first try, Chris Bourque threw the puck into the net after a deflection. Since the shot came off of a deflection and not a pass, the goal was deemed invalid.

The second and third shot went into the net and both counted as a goal.

East won the sixth event 6-3. This win gave the Eastern Conference the lead over the Western Conference, 10-11.

Event 7 - ExteNet System Breakaway Relay

Rules

  • Four groups of five shooters
  • Four goalies per team
  • Every goal scored counts as one goal
  • Each group has 50 seconds to score
  • Each save counts towards the top goaltender

*The ExteNet Systems Breakaway Relay is basically a rapid-fire shootout.

Round 1

WEST GOAL SAVE
Round #1
Alex Tuch (IA) x
Robbie Russo (GR) x
Kyle Wood (TUC) x
Vincent LoVerde (ONT) x
Christian Fischer (TUC) x
vs. Linus Ullmark (RCH)

Alex Tuch - Shoots just a bit high of the crossbar - No Goal

Robbie Russo - Russo races towards Linus Ullmark, fires, and is immediately stopped - No Goal

Kyle Wood - Wood tries to deke but is stopped - No Goal

Vincent LoVerde - LoVerde goes for the fake but Ullmark is up to his tricks. - No Goal

Christian Fischer - Fischer goes for the five hole but Ullmark does a rolling save to stop the puck - No Goal

Round 2

EAST GOAL SAVE
Round #2
Casey Bailey (BNG) x
Kerby Rychel (TOR) x
Cole Schneider (RCH) x
Travis Boyd (HER) x
David Warsofsky (WBS) x
vs. Troy Grosenick (SJ

Casey Bailey - Bailey fires his shot just a bit wide of the net - No Goal

Kerby Rychel - Rychel lights a fire under his skates and speeds down the ice towards Troy Grosenick who politely stuffs him - No Goal

Cole Schneider - Schneider started out fast and then slowed down to catch Grosenick off guard. Grosenick was up to his tricks and stopped him. - No Goal

Travis Boyd - Boyd settles down as he approaches the net and tries to poke check the puck into the net. Grosenick rolls on the ground to stop the puck. - No Goal

David Warsofsky - Warsofsky with a point blank shot which Grosenick grabbed out of the air - No Goal

Round 3

WEST GOAL SAVE
Round #3
Jack Roslovic (MB) x
Alexandre Carrier (MIL) x
Matej Stransky (TEX) x
Jonny Brodzinski (ONT) x
A.J. Greer (SA) x
vs. Charlie Lindgren (STJ)

Jack Roslovic - Roslovic had a fancy backhand move which Charlie Lindgren was unable to stop - Goal

Alexandre Carrier - Carrier barrels down on Lindgren but is stopped - No Goal

Matej Stransky - Stransky does some nifty footwork before being stopped by the pad of Lindgren - No Goal

Jonny Brodzinski - Patience and silky sweet mitts benefited worked in Brodzinski as he was able to pop it in over Lindgren. - Goal

A.J. Greer - Gets stuffed by Lindgren - No Goal

Round 4

EAST GOAL SAVE
Round #4
Justin Bailey (RCH) x
Matt Taormina (SYR) x
Alexandre Grenier (UTI) x
Devon Toews (BRI) x
Mackenzi Weegar (SPR) x
vs. Jack Campbell (ONT)

Justin Bailey - Bailey sped towards Jack Campbell who stopped him - No Goal

Matt Taormina - Taormina faked not once but twice before shooting the puck. Campbell was up to his tricks. - No Goal

Alexandre Grenier - Grenier took his hand at the fake out only to be stopped by Campbell as well. - No Goal

Devon Toews - Campbell took down a point-blank shot from Toews - No Goal

Mackenzie Weegar - The last hope for this squad decided to go for the fake as well. The result was the same as the two times before. - No Goal

Round 5

WEST GOAL SAVE
Round #5
Mark Jankowski (STK) x
Vince Dunn (CHI) x
Daniel O’Regan (SJ) x
Jordan Oesterle (BAK) x
Ryan Craig (CLE) x
vs. Zane McIntyre (PRO)

Mark Jankowski - Jankowski starts things off for the squad only to be stopped glove side by Zane McIntyre. - No Goal

Vince Dunn - Dunn goes with a slick forehand to backhand move. Regardless of the stick work, McIntyre was able to keep an eye on the puck. - No Goal

Daniel O’Regan - O’Regan traveled east to west to east before getting stuffed. - No Goal

Jordan Oesterle - Oesterle patiently waited for McIntyre to make his move before sniping the puck into the net. - Goal

Ryan Craig - Craig comes in hot but stopped by McIntyre - No Goal

Round 6

EAST GOAL SAVE
Round #6
Yanni Gourde (SYR) x
Chris Terry (STJ) x
Jordan Subban (UTI) x
Nicklas Jensen (HFD) x
T.J. Brennan (LV) x
vs. Anton Forsberg (CLE)

Yanni Gourde - Gourde fires his shot off the goal post. - No Goal

Chris Terry - A slick backhand move wasn’t good enough to sneak past Anton Forsberg - No Goal

Jordan Subban - Subban’s shot was denied entry to the net - No Goal

Nicklas Jensen - Jensen tried to tuck the puck around Forsberg’s leg but his blocker saved the day - No Goal

T.J. Brennan - Brennan had one too many fakes and almost ran over the goal line. - No Goal

Round 7

WEST GOAL SAVE
Round #7
Spencer Abbott (RFD) x
Ryan Craig (CLE) x
Matt Lorito (GR) x
Kenny Agostino (CHI) x
Oliver Bjorkstrand (CLE) x
vs. Tristan Jarry (WBS)

Spencer Abbott - Abbott barrels down on Tristan Jarry and scores first for the squad - Goal

Ryan Craig - With his second attempt of the night, Craig decied to make a quick backhand move. Jarry stuffed him. - No Goal

Matt Lorito - Lorito goes wide and bangs the puck off the post - No goal

Kenny Agostino - Agostino’s percision and patience were no match for Jarry. - No Goal

Oliver Bjorkstrand - Bjorkstrand slows down before backhanding the puck into the net behind Jarry - Goal

Round 8

EAST GOAL SAVE
Round #8
Taylor Leier (LV) x
Danton Heinen (PRO) x
Cory Conacher (SYR) x
Chris Bourque (HER) x
Jordan Weal (LV) x
vs. Michael Leighton (CHA)

Taylor Leier - Leier popped the puck off the post. - No Goal

Danton Heinen - Heinen decided on an early poke check which Michael Leighton was able to see coming. - No Goal

Cory Conacher - Conacher backhands the puck into Leighton’s pads - No Goal

Chris Bourque - Leighton was able to read Bourque like a book. - No Goal

Jordan Weal - Weal fires down the ice towards Leighton before shooting. Leighton had to throw his body on the ground to stop the puck from entering the net. - No Goal

When all was said and done, the Western Conference defeated the Eastern Conference; 15-11.