Wednesday off: Liveblogging the playoff race

(Maybe. No guarantees. Once we get to the “The Middle”/”Modern Family” hour at 8:30, all bets are off)

We’ll hang out and keep an eye on the three games that matter for Bridgeport tonight: Manchester-Lowell, and Penguins-Adirondack, and Hartford-Worcester.

Here’s the AHL all-rookie team; no real surprises.

Am figuring on listening to Manch-Lowell to start. Feel free to join in if you’ve got comments or interesting updates we’ve missed.

–What is Grant’s Tomb? (Sorry, wrong liveblog)

–Lowell pops one home in the first minute. Appears the Webcast is a bit behind, at least in my load, because Lowell’s Davis’ double minor for high sticking Loktionov, 20 seconds after Mills’ goal, was already on the box score.

–Davis, shortly out of the box, makes it 2-0. Davis and Manchester goalie Jeff Zatkoff apparently collided, leaving Zatkoff down. With Bernier up, Manchester’s backup is Matt Lopes, who had no apparent hockeydb entry as of this afternoon.

Lopes is apparently coming in for Manchester.

–Hartford (Brashear) and Worcester (McCarthy, a potential all-rookie teamer who didn’t make it) trade goals in the middle of the first. Tied up in Hartford.

–Just got word that Rhett Rakhshani agreed to terms and will come here to finish out the regular season. (See other post for a little more.)

–Monarchs get one, Kolomatis on a five-on-three. It’ll stay five-on-three, because Swift was in for a double minor for spearing (Simpsons reference, op cit). Meanwhile in Hartford, McCarthy has his second for a 2-1 Worcester lead.

–Penguins jump on top on Dustin Jeffrey’s goal in the last minute of the first.

–Penguins make it 2-0 later in the final minute of the first.

–I had a high-school classmate named Matt Lopes (decidedly not this one). Should check in with him on Facebook.

–End of one all around while I’m writing a Rakhshani note: Penguins 2-0, Devils 2-1, Sharks 3-1.

–Second period is on in all three. BTW, appears Wagner scored for Wilkes-Barre right off the draw after Jeffrey’s.

–Phantoms and Penguins trade goals, 3-1 early second.

–Manchester’s John Zeiler ties it almost midway through the second period. Lopes has stopped all 14 shots he has faced.

–Elsewhere, Keith Aucoin hits 100 points (35-65-100) as the Bears lead 3-0 in Syracuse, on their way to tying Binghamton’s wins record.

–Nice little note from Springfield: Charles Linglet, who has 75 points, got an NHL contract so the Oilers could call him up.

–Two cuts: @WBSPenguins notes a short-handed Phantoms goal (edit: Jared Ross’) to make it 3-2 Penguins. Bobby Sanguinetti scores for Hartford to cut the Sharks’ lead to 2-1.

–It’s a shame we had to have awards ballots in Monday. It’s clear I voted for the wrong Monarchs goalie. Matt Lopes has 25 saves, 18 in the second.

–End of 2 in Lowell (2-2; Lopes 26 saves) and Hartford (Worcester 3-2).

–Pens hang onto that 3-2 lead after two. ABC comedies have started. Debra Barone is agitated. Scrubs Janitor has received tickets to a sporting event and is mighty excited.

–Good read on Jon Mirasty from Lindsay Kramer. Two of the three third periods are on, with Wilkes-Barre’s coming soon.

–Worcester’s up 4-2 on Cory Quirk’s short-handed goal.

–The Monarchs grab a 3-2 lead on Trevor Lewis’ fourth goal in a couple of weeks. Lopes, not to harp on it, has 32 saves.

–Zeiler’s second for Manchester; Monarchs lead Lowell 4-2. Dane Byers for Hartford, cutting Worcester’s lead to 4-3. And now Kevin Henderson answers for Worcester, which leads 5-3.

–Matt Halischuk finally beats Matt Lopes, on a breakaway. Manchester still leads 4-3, almost midway through the third. Lopes stopped the first 35 shots he saw in his pro career.

–Under two minutes in Hartford. Under six in Manchester. Under nine in Wilkes-Barre. It’s Phil’s birthday on Modern Family. Humor will ensue.

Worcester 5, Hartford 3, unofficial final. Worcester clinches home ice. Hartford can reach no more than 85 points.

Manchester 4, Lowell 3, Matt Lopes is a force of nature. Sounds as if he robbed Ben Walter late in the third. Looks like 42 saves for Lopes. Lopes was only the No. 2 star. I know I didn’t get a vote Sunday in Lowell. Don’t know who’s voting. But Lopes, No. 2? That’s an argument against democracy right there.

Penguins 3, Adirondack 2. The Phantoms are eliminated.

–Bridgeport and Lowell, then, are in a dead-even tie for fourth place in the Atlantic. They have a four-point lead on Norfolk, but the Admirals have a game in hand. The Sound Tigers and the Devils are also dead even in the season series at this instant, too. The winner of next week’s game not only has the swing in the standings but also gets the second tiebreaker, too. Certainly has the potential for Biggest Game In Franchise History.

Atlantic Watch and East Watch are updated. Oh, and Hershey won in Syracuse, tying the B-Rangers.

OK, that was kind of more involved than I’d expected. Crazy night. Kinda fun. Off for a better watch of Modern Family.

Michael Fornabaio