2017 AHL All-Star Challenge | LIVE BLOG


ALLENTOWN, Pa. – We will be bringing our continued coverage of the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic tonight as the thrilling three-on-three round robin tournament takes place at PPL Center. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Tristan Jarry and David Warsofsky will both be competing with the Atlantic Division All-Stars and battle it out with the other studs from around the league. Every game and every big moment will be chronicled live as they happen right here.

So keep that refresh button handy! Updates will come as quickly as the action during the AHL All-Star Challenge piles up.

Most recent information will appear at the top of the break below.

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME – CENTRAL WINS, 1-0 (Shootout)all-star-challenge-atlantic-vs-central

This one’s for all the marbles. The Atlantic and Central Divisions face-off in the Championship game of the AHL All-Star Challenge for the second year in a row. This game is only six minutes. No halves.

Chris Bourque is one point shy of setting the All-Star Challenge record for points in a single tournament. This is only the format’s second year, but still.

Tristan Jarry is in again to start things for Clark Donatelli’s Atlantic Division. Michael Leighton stands in the blue paint for his squad.

• The Central has the early jump, but a series of shots go wide of Jarry.

• There’s no halftime, but the goalies for both teams change on the fly at the 2:50-mark. Pretty funny.

• Two minutes left. No score.

• Kenny Agostino takes a between-the-legs shot. Hits the post.

• Zane McIntyre tumbles behind the net trying to play the puck. It’s loose! Net empty! But a Central player trips over McIntyre and cannot score.

• Tie game after regulation. Shootout time.

• SHOOTOUT FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP: Jordan Weal shoots first and hits the post, the AHL’s leading scorer, Kenny Agostino, denied by McIntyre… Chris Bourque makes some moves but only finds Forsberg’s glove, Spencer Abbott stoned cold by McIntyre… Final round now, tied 0-0… Travis Boyd goes backhand strikes the iron, Oliver Bjorkstrand shoots and is denied by McIntyre… Sudden death… Up steps Taylor Leier to a big ovation and he fans on the shot, Matt Lorito slides it through the five-hole and the Central wins.

• So for the second-straight year, the Central takes down the Atlantic in the ‘Ship.

• Taylor Leier (3G-0A) named AHL All-Star Challenge Most Valuable Player. This is the second year in a row that the player with the most points did not win MVP.



The two Eastern Conference teams go head-to-head, now. Should be a good battle. The North is in a “win to get in” mentality as it pertains to the Championship game.

Tristan Jarry’s in goal for the third time to start the first half.

• It’s announced that the Atlantic has clinched a spot in the final, which we all knew after the second round, anyway. Now the Woo birds are out at PPL Center.

• GOAL: Nicklas Jensen gets set up from behind the net by Mackenzie Weegar. 1-0, Atlantic. Weegar’s now tied with Justin Bailey and teammate Chris Bourque for the tournament lead with four points.

• T.J. Brennan sends a spinning backhand shot top shelf and in, but just after the buzzer. The referee waves it off; the right call, but the crowd disapproves nonetheless. It’s halftime. A busy Jarry made four saves in those five minutes, including one with the knob of his stick.

• Zane McIntyre sends a pass sailing down the ice. It lobbed like a feed from Matt Ryan, hung in the hair, then landed right in the bread basket of Jordan Weal. One problem: offside.

• Net empty for the North with two minutes left.

• GOAL: Empty netter for Taylor Leier. Chris Bourque had a breakaway, but wanted to give it to Leier, who plays for the hometown Phantoms crowd. A tournament-leading fifth point of the night for Bourque. 2-0, Atlantic.

• The first shutout of the tournament. The Atlantic heads into the final game with a statement win. Jarry and McIntyre combine for the clean sheet.


All-Star Challenge - Central vs. Pacific.jpg

The West teams duke it out for a hope at qualifying for the Championship game. The Central can get there with a win and some help. The Pacific can only hope to play spoiler.

• GOAL(s): They’re scoring so fast, we can’t even keep up. Matt Lorito and Kenny Agostino set one another up for goals seven seconds and 21 seconds into the game. THEN, Alex Tuch pulls off a filthy, one-handed move and brings the score to 3-0, Central, at 43 seconds. Must be a record.

• Remember, the Central beat the Atlantic for the title last year. They look like a team possessed poised on writing the same script this year.

• GOAL: Not so fast. The Pacific gets one past Michael Leighton, and it’s 3-1 now. Christian Fischer.

• The first penalty og the night! Hooking. Automatic penalty shot for Vince Dunn of the Central Division…

… Dunn attempts some fancy puck work, but it pays no dividends. No goal.

• GOAL: Please, Hammer! Don’t hurt ’em! The central scores again. Jack Roslovic pulls off a between-the-legs dangle at the o-zone blue line, then dishes to Oliver Bjorkstrand who tips it into the top corner.

• Halftime mercifully comes for the Pacific. It’s 4-1.

• Anton Forsberg remains very, very good for the Central.

• Agostino just attempted the ol’ Nino Niederreiter move. He didn’t score, but perhaps more impressively, he sent it over the crossbar.

• GOAL: The net looked to be off, but the refs give it to the Central anyway. Pacific goalie Jack Campbell jokingly campaigns for the call to be reversed.

• GOAL: Kyle Wood gets his second of the night after his sharp angle shot goes off of a Central defender and past Forsberg. Now, it’s only a three-goal deficit for the Pacific…

• Forsberg good.

• GOAL: With four seconds left, Danny O’Regan gets his third of the night, but it’s too little too late for the Pacific.

• FINAL, 5-3. If the Atlantic beats the North in regulation, then the Central slides into the Championship game.

8:48 p.m.
The Atlantic looks like the most dominant team thus far, and their record shows it. Justin Bailey and Chris Bourque lead the tournament with four points already, but the hometown Phantoms are starting to rack up the points.

Here are the standings through two rounds of preliminary play:

  1. ATLANTIC, 2-0-0-0
  2. NORTH, 1-0-0-1
  3. CENTRAL, 1-1-0-0
  4. PACIFIC, 2-0-0-0

Next up will be the Western Conference teams, the Pacific and the Centr- oh… oh, no. Here come the mascots…

Mascot hockey.jpg

The mascots that made it here to Allentown engage in a friendly scrimmage.

Tux is manning the crease for one of the mascot teams. He allowed two goals. Safe to say we’ll stick with Jarry moving forward.

GAME 4 – ATLANTIC WINS, 6-1all-star-challenge-atlantic-vs-pacific

The Atlantic has to be careful here. It won its first game on stout, low-event defense and good goaltending, but the Pacific has some mighty weapons even though it lost its first bout.

Tristan Jarry starts in goal for the Atlantic again, Jack Campbell (Ontario) is between the pipes for the Pacific.

• Mackenzie Weegar has been quite good for the Atlantic.

• Jarry demonstrating the same skills he showed in last night’s Pass and Shoot competition. He turns aside a two-on-oh rush like it’s nothing. Still scoreless with two minutes left in the first half.

• GOAL: T.J. Brennan brings the Lehigh Valley crowd to its feet with some quick hands and a great release. 1-0, Atlantic.

• David Warsofky soars past the Pacific defense for a short breakaway, but gets turned away by Campbell.

• GOAL: It’s the Phantoms show. Jordan Weal gets his name on the AHL All-Star Challenge scoresheet with a tally coming with 31.9 seconds left in the half.

• GOAL: Defensive breakdown for the Atlantic and Danny O’Regan nabs his second of the tournament. The Atlantic’s lead cut to 2-1.

GOALClark Donatelli’s Atlantic All-Stars come right back and reestablish the two-goal advantage. Chris Bourque goes top cheese and makes it 3-1 with nine seconds remaining in the half. Three goals in 22 seconds between the two squads.

• Half. Just like last game, the Atlantic and Pacific switch tenders at the midway point. Zane McIntyre in for the Atlantic, Troy Grosenick for the Pacific.

• GOAL: Thirty-five seconds into the second half, Travis Boyd beats Grosenick and makes it 4-1, Atlantic. Grosenick tried the pinwheel save. Didn’t work out.

• GOAL: Another one for the Atlantic 15 seconds later! It’s suddenly 5-1, and you can thank another Phantom, Taylor Leier.

• “Do the Harlem Shake”. No. We all stopped doing that years ago. Why don’t we Gagnam Style while we’re at it, too?

• Weal has some sorcery in his bag of tricks, but is robbed by a sprawling Grosenick. Then Danton Heinen hits the post.

• GOAL: There are 58 seconds left in the game, and the Atlantic has ballooned its lead to 6-1. Leier again. Assist to David Warsofsky.

• This one’s final, and the Atlantic improves to 2-0-0-0. Lehigh Valley fans very satisfied with the production of their players in that one. Warsofsky has two helpers in the tournament.

GAME 3 – CENTRAL WINS, 2-1 (Shootout)All-Star Challenge - North vs. Central.jpg

The North, coming off of a 6-3 stomping of the Pacific, now takes on the Western Conference’s other foe. The Central was on the losing end of a goaltending battle during Game 1. Now, the Central’s stars a chance to get in the win column.

Starting goalies are Linus Ullmark (Rochester) for the North and Anton Forsberg (Cleveland) for the Central.

• We may need a review here. A slow-rolling redirect fooled Ullmark at first, but he recovered to get his glove on top of it while his momentum carried his body deeper into the net. Ref says no goal at first, and…

… and it stays that way. No goal.

• Postage stamp! Alexandre Grenier nails the post on a wicked wrister.

• Buttery moves from Jack Roslovic to get behind the North defense. Ullmark makes the save on a mini-breakaway.

GOAL: With just 28 seconds left in the half, Justin Bailey feeds Casey Bailey who buries it. 1-0, North. Justin Bailey now had four points (2G-2A).

• Halftime. Charlie Lindgren (St. John’s) replaces Ullmark for the North.

• GOAL: Alex Tuch showcases some soft hands and ties the game, 1-1. Yanni Gourde, a forward back on D, played the pass, so Tuch walked in for the shot.

• Forsberg is having himself a nice game for the Central. He had a .949(!) save percentage for the Monsters in the Calder Cup Playoffs last year when they won the AHL’s title. He’s appeared in five NHL games with the Columbus Blue Jackets during his career, too.

• One minute to go. Still 1-1.

• The goalie Forsberg with a breakaway pass! But Lindgren unleashes a pokecheck to knock the puck aside.

• The second half ends in a 1-1 tie. Here comes the shootout. Three rounds. That’s it.

• SHOOTUT: Cole Schnieder scores for the North, Kenny Agostino counters for the Central… Chris Terry denied by Forsberg, Spencer Abbott dangles to a goal. The crowd approves… Alex Grenier stoned by Forsberg, no third shooter needed for the Central.

The Central division redeems itself with a 2-1 shootout victory. The North snags a point in the standings, though, as a result of a shootout loss.

7:55 p.m.
Well, we’ve seen two games to this point, and one was decidedly more exciting than the other. The Atlantic and North Divisions are both 1-0-0-0, and the Pacific and Central squads start 0-1-0-0. (Remember, ties are a thing, as are shootout losses.)

The North’s Justin Bailey leads the tournament with three points (2G-1A) through one round.

Now some little tykes entertain us with mite hockey in the meantime…

GAME 2 – NORTH WINS, 6-3all-star-challenge-north-vs-pacific

Before Game 2 begins, a tribute shown on screen for Tucson Roadrunners captain, Craig Cunningham. AHL alumnus Brian Burke interviews current Roadrunners Kyle Wood and Christian Fischer about the emotional season its been out in the desert.

• GOAL: Early tally 26 seconds into this one for the Pacific. Danny O’Regan left all alone and he roofs it.

• Justin Bailey (Rochester) is wearing number 23 for the North. Casey Bailey (Binghamton) is wearing number 25 for the North. Shouldn’t be confusing.

• GOAL: Breakaway moves. Silky smooth. The North ties it with a goal by Cole Schnieder.

• GOAL: The Pacific pops back on top in what’s been a high-scoring first half. Sharp-angle snipe by A.J. Greer.

• GOAL: The North answers right back again! This time its Kerby Rychel calmly wiring a wrister into the back of the net. It’s 2-2 with two minutes still to play in the first half of Game 2.

• Eye-popping passing by Yanni Gourde and Schnieder, but a jaw-dropping save by Troy Grosenick. Please collect your dropped items and belongings, folks.

• Half. The North and Pacific are tied 2-2. Both teams make goalie changes to start the second. Linus Ullmark in for the North, Jack Campbell for the Pacific.

• GOAL: Late All-Star invite Chris Terry takes a stretch pass and puts the North Division on top, 3-2, 37 seconds into the second half.

• Ullmark robs Christian Fischer.

• GOAL: Lookie what I found. Campbell makes a mistake handling the puck at the boards, Justin Bailey takes it and tucks in a rebound.

• GOAL: Rough go for Campbell. A shot from six feet away beats him down low and the North now leads, 4-2.

• Justin Bailey now has two goals. Taormina two assists. Rychel a goal and an assist.

• GOAL: The North gets another. Now it’s the other Bailey. Casey. He makes it 6-2. Alex Grenier now has two helpers, as well.

• GOAL: The two teams trade breakaways in the last 15 seconds, and the goalies make the save both times! But Kyle Wood is there to bury a rebound for the Pacific, beat the buzzer and ruin Ullmark’s chance at a perfect save percentage. 6-3 Final.

GAME 1 – ATLANTIC WINS, 2-1.all-star-challenge-atlantic-vs-central

The Atlantic Division All-Stars are up first! Tristan Jarry, David Warsofsky and co. have to contend with the Central Division, which boats three players from last year’s Calder Cup Champions as well as the league’s leading scorer, Kenny Agostino.

Jarry is manning the pipes for the first half of Game 1 for the Atlantic. Warsofsky will also take the first shift alongside Lehigh Valley Phantoms Taylor Leier and Jordan Weal.

• Agostino turns the puck over in the offensive zone, starting a two-on-one rush for the Atlantic. Pretty passing, but no finish from Leier.

• GOAL: Weal wheels it around the offensive zone before finding Mackenzie Weegar on the backdoor. There’s your first goal of the tournament, and it comes from the Springfield Thunderbird’s D-man. Warsofsky gets the secondary assist!

• GOAL: Shortly thereafter, Travis Boyd finds the back of the net for the Atlantic.

• The Central got a puck past Jarry, but not before the buzzer blew to end the half. It’s 2-0 Atlantic through the first five minutes.

• Jarry faced zero shots in the first half. He’s replaced by Providence’s Zane McIntyre for half No. 2.

• The Central’s first shot on goal comes 50 seconds into the first half. McIntyre makes the save.

• Two-on-oh rush for the Atlantic. Michael Leighton makes an unbelievable save on Weal.

• McIntyre answers back with a good stop of his own. The Central has been the better team in the second half, but still no goals to show for it. It’s the goalie’s show at this point.

• Add a blocked shot for T.J. Brennan. Denies a goal on an otherwise empty net. Then a Central player attempts a between-the-legs deke only to be denied by McIntyre.

• GOAL: Oliver Bjorkstrand does what he does best. Snip show from the high slot. The Central has its first goal with less than a minute to go.

• Alex Tuch nearly connected with Bjorkstrand AGAIN, but the Great Dane can’t punch it in. Time expires.

7:02 p.m.
Welcome to the ice your 2017 AHL All-Stars! Player introductions underway as a few fans still trickling into PPL Center.

This year’s AHL Hall of Fame class introduced first: Rob Murray, Billy Dea, Doug Yingst and Bryan Helmer. All four of them pose for a ceremonial puck drop with team captains Chris Bourque (Atlantic) and Ryan Craig (Central).

6:15 p.m.
A few reminders about the event before we get going:all-star-format

• The initial round robin phase will feature every division facing one another at least once. Games during the round robin phase will be 10 minutes long, divided into two halves.

• The two teams with the best records after three rounds of preliminary play meet in the Championship. The Championship game is also played at three-on-three, but lasts only six minutes. In the event of a tie score at the end of the six minutes, the two teams will go to a shootout with standard AHL rules.

• You can tie in the round robin phase. If the score is knotted after 10 minutes, the teams will engage in a best-of-three shootout. In the event that the shootout does not determine a winner in those three attempts, it does not continue and the game ends in a tie.

• An All-Star Challenge MVP will be named at the conclusion of the tournament. Pat Cannone was deemed MVP of the event after he and the Central Division All-Stars won the whole thing.

• While Cannone was named MVP, the record for points in an All-Star Challenge since the format was introduced last year belongs to T.J. Tynan. The Lake Erie/Cleveland Monsters centerman earned five points (0G-5A) in four games as he stood atop the podium with Cannone and the rest of the Central’s stars as Champions.

• Rosters for tonight are as follows…

# Pos. Player AHL Team
5 D David Warsofsky W-B/S Penguins
7 D Devon Toews Bridgeport Sound Tigers
9 F Danton Heinen Providence Bruins
13 F Nicklas Jensen Hartford Wolf Pack
15 F Travis Boyd Hershey Bears
17 F Chris Bourque “C” Hershey Bears
23 F Taylor Leier Lehigh Valley Phantoms
31 G Zane McIntyre Providence Bruins
35 G Tristan Jarry W-B/S Penguins
40 F Jordan Weal Lehigh Valley Phantoms
43 D T.J. Brennan Lehigh Valley Phantoms
52 D Mackenzie Weegar Springfield Thunderbirds
# Pos. Player AHL Team
6 D Vince Dunn Chicago Wolves
12 F Ryan Craig “C” Cleveland Monsters
13 F Spencer Abbott Rockford IceHogs
17 F Alex Tuch Iowa Wild
18 F Kenny Agostino Chicago Wolves
28 F Matt Lorito Grand Rapids Griffins
29 F Oliver Bjorkstrand Cleveland Monsters
31 G Anton Forsberg Cleveland Monsters
49 G Michael Leighton Charlotte Checkers
50 F Jack Roslovic Manitoba Moose
55 D Alexandre Carrier Milwaukee Admirals
82 D Robbie Russo Grand Rapids Griffins
# Pos. Player AHL Team
7 D Jordan Subban Utica Comets
9 F Cory Conacher Syracuse Crunch
10 F Cole Schnieder Rochester Americans
17 F Chris Terry St. John’s IceCaps
19 F Kerby Rychel Toronto Marlies
20 D Matt Taormina Syracuse Crunch
23 F Justin Bailey Rochester Americans
25 F Casey Bailey Binghamton Senators
28 F Alexandre Grenier Utica Comets
30 G Linus Ullmark Rochester Americans
35 G Charlie Lindgren St. John’s IceCaps
37 F Yanni Gourde Syracuse Crunch
# Pos. Player AHL Team
1 G Troy Grosenick San Jose Barracuda
3 D Kyle Wood Tucson Roadrunners
5 D Vincent LoVerde Ontario Reign
17 F Mark Jankowski Stockton Heart
22 F Johnny Brodzinski Ontario Reign
24 F A.J. Greer San Antonio Rampage
26 D Brandon Montour San Diego Gulls
28 F Matěj Stránský Texas Stars
36 F Christian Fischer Tucson Roadrunners
41 D Jordan Oesterle Bakersfield Condors
65 F Danny O’Regan San Jose Barracuda
70 G Jack Campbell Ontario Reign



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