Western Conference Wins AHL All-Star Skills Competition
It was an exciting night at the AHL All-Star Game, as the top players from around the league showcased their skills. This included a league record set by Martin Frk, drawing the Ontario, CA crowd to their feet. Here are the highlights.
Puck Control Relay
The teams split this event, as both the East and West won a one-on-one race and a relay. That gave each team two points.
This event was dominated by the East, as all three of their skaters beat the top time of Iowa Wild forward Gerald Mayhew. Belleville Senators forward Alex Formenton set the pace, finishing with a time of 13.356. That narrowly beat out Joey Keane as the Hartford Wolf Pack defenseman finished in 13.453. Mayhew had the top time for the West at 13.866.
That gave the East one goal, putting them on top, 3-2.
Milwaukee Admirals goaltender Connor Ingram set the mark in the Rapid Fire competition, stopping nine shots. Toronto Marlies netminder Kasimir Kaskisuo started things off by stopping eight shot. Ingram then stopped nine. Overall, the West goaltenders stopped 30 shots to 29 by East.
That gave the West a goal, tying the competition at three.
Next came the hardest shot, where the Ontario Reign’s Martin Frk got the hometown crowd to its feet by setting a league record. Through the first seven shooters, Bakersfield Condors defenseman Evan Bouchard was on top. He was the second shooter, nailing a 103.0 mph shot with his second attempt.
That looked like it would hold until Frk stepped up. After hitting a 104.0 mph shot in his first attempt, he came back to drill a 109.2 mph blast. That not only set an AHL record for the competition, but bests the NHL mark set by Zdeno Chara back in 2011 when he hit 108.8 at the NHL All-Star game.
Frk gave the West a 4-3 lead.
Each team earned a point in this event, as both teams had two shooters who hit all four targets. Charles Hudon of the Laval Rockets hit his four targets in five attempts. The Cleveland Monster’s Adam Clendening also hit four targets, doing so in eight attempts.
Mayhew was the first player from the West to hit the mark, doing so in seven attempts, while the Grand Rapids Griffins’ Chris Terry replicated the mark in six attempts.
Hudon earned the East a goal with his performance. The West won the competition overall, hitting 14 targets to the East’s 12.
Pass and Score
The Pass and Score event featured three players from each team taking on the opposing goaltender. Each player was required to touch the puck at least before a shot could be taken. Each group only had 30 seconds to score as many goals as possible. That worked out to each group getting three attempts.
Each group scored at least once, but no team of three scored more than two goals. In the end, both teams tallied six goals as the West maintained their one goal advantage, 12-11.
The final event of the night was the Breakaway Relay. Five skaters from each group each took an attempt against the opposing goaltender. That made for eight rounds.
The West took control of this event right off, as Jack Studnicka scored the only goal in Round 1, while the West got goals from Joel L’Esperance, Glenn Gawdin, and Evan Bouchard. From there, each team scored a single goal in each round, giving the West a 6-4 advantage.
That gave the Western Conference an 18-15 edge overall, giving the conference the win.
The AHL All-Star Game is Monday night. The puck drops at 7:00 PT.
By Robert Pannier
Featured Image Courtesy of Jessica Christine Photography/AHL