The American Hockey League (AHL) is more popular than it has been
since the last lockout in years. With hockey fans needing their fix, the kid brother of the NHL can only benefit from the lockout. Young players that would normally be up in the NHL right now have been sent to the AHL to keep their skills sharp until all is settled with the CBA.
The Portland Pirates, affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes, opened its season Saturday against the Adirondack Phantoms, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers. Joining the Pirates for the duration of the lockout is premier young defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who contributed immediately with a goal and a team-high five shots on goal against the Phantoms.
It wouldn't be an easy game for the Pirates. The Flyers sent two of their elite young forwards, Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn, to The A. Schenn scored two goals and had five shots on goal. Couturier had a goal of his own and tied for a team-high six shots on goal. The Phantoms beat the Pirates 6-3.
The next game for the Pirates is Saturday, Oct. 19, against San Jose affiliate the Worcester Sharks. The Sharks played back-to-back road games the previous weekend against the Norfolk Admirals. Worcester lost one game in regulation and one game in a shootout, giving them a single point in the standings.
Currently, Portland is fourth in the Atlantic Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference.
Eastern Conference Standings
1. Springfield Falcons (4 points)
2. Manchester Monarchs (4 points)
3. Norfolk Admirals (4 points)
4. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (4 points)
5. Syracuse Crunch (3 points)
6. Binghamton Senators (2 points)
7. St. John's IceCaps (2 points)
8. Adirondack Phantoms (2 points)
9. Worcester Sharks (1 point)
10. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (0 points)
11. Albany Devils (0 points)
12. Hershey Bears (0 points)
13. Portland Pirates (0 points)
14. Connecticut Whale (0 points)
15. Providence Bruins (0 points)
1. Abbotsford Heat (4 points)
2. Chicago Wolves (4 points)
3. Texas Stars (4 points)
4. Lake Erie Monsters (4 points)
5. Charlotte Checkers (3 points)
6. Milwaukee Admirals (2 points)
7. Hamilton Bulldogs (2 points)
8. Oklahoma City Barons (2 points)
9. San Antonio Rampage (2 points)
10. Toronto Marlies (2 points)
11. Rochester Americans (2 points)
12. Grand Rapids Griffins (1 point)
13. Rockford IceHogs (1 point)
14. Houston Aeros (0 points)
15. Peoria Rivermen (0 points)