01/20/2010 9:47 AM
Article By: Mike PeckPortland, Maine- Forwards Mark Cullen and Jack Skille represented the Rockford IceHogs at the 2010 Time Warner Cable AHL All-Star Classic in Portland, Maine on Tuesday night. Both skaters suited up for PlanetUSA at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
It was the Canadian AHL All-Stars, however, who came out on top as they fought from behind for a 10-9 shootout victory over PlanetUSA. Skille chipped in two assists in his first career All-Star appearance while Cullen had a shot on goal in his first ever AHL All-Star Game.
Skille’s first assist came on a goal scored by Manitoba’s Sergei Shirokov at 16:08 of the first period, putting PlanetUSA up 5-2. The Madison, Wis. native then helped on Lake Erie’s T.J. Hensick’s goal at 2:51 of the third frame.
Rookie Tyler Ennis of the hometown Portland Pirates, one of 10 former NHL first-round draft picks in the game, was named most valuable player after notching a goal and two assists for the Canadians.
The Canadians were down by four goals when the Worcester Sharks’ Logan Couture began the comeback at 7:48 of the third period. The Binghamton Senators’ Ryan Keller collected his second goal of the night at 12:30 and Dustin Jeffrey of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins cut the deficit to 9-8 at the 14:41 mark. Then, with their goaltender pulled for an extra attacker, the Canadian squad evened the score when reigning league MVP Alexandre Giroux of the Hershey Bears banged home a shot with 18.0 seconds remaining.
Couture and Hamilton Bulldogs rookie P.K. Subban scored in the shootout while Hamilton’s Cedrick Desjardins stopped four of five PlanetUSA attempts to seal the win, establishing the largest third-period comeback in AHL All-Star Game history.
PlanetUSA’s offense was led by Brett Sterling of the Chicago Wolves, Mikko Lehtonen of the Providence Bruins and Sergei Shirokov of the Manitoba Moose with two goals apiece.
Corey Locke of the Hartford Wolf Pack picked up an assist for the Canadian side to set a league record with his ninth career All-Star point.
The road to the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs continues when the American Hockey League’s 74th season resumes on Friday.