AHL experiences early turnstile gains | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaAHL experiences early turnstile gains

Posted: Monday, October 15, 2012 | 01:19 PM

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Norfolk Admirals forward Peter Holland whoops it up with fans upon scoring in a 4-2 win over the Worcester Sharks on Oct. 12. (Vicki Cronis/Associated Press) Norfolk Admirals forward Peter Holland whoops it up with fans upon scoring in a 4-2 win over the Worcester Sharks on Oct. 12. (Vicki Cronis/Associated Press)

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With the NHL lockout having turned 30 days old today, here are some Monday morning musings from the first weekend of the American Hockey League's 2012-13 season.

With the NHL lockout having turned 30 days old today, here are some Monday morning musings from the first weekend of the American Hockey League's 2012-13 season.

Crowding in

The average attendance of the first 27 games over the weekend was 6,238. This was a 600 per game increase over the average crowd of 5,638 for AHL regular-season games last year.

The highlights were four 10,000-plus crowds on opening nights in Providence, Cleveland, Grand Rapids and Chicago, but three of these teams saw substantial declines in the next game. 

  • Dunkin' Donuts Center (Providence Bruins) 10,665 (1st night), No 2nd game.
  • Van Andel Arena (Grand Rapids Griffiths) 10,834 (1st), 3,380 (2nd).
  • Quicken Loans Arena (Lake Erie Monsters) 12,011 (1st), 4,136 (2nd).
  • Allstate Arena (Chicago Wolves) 14,505 (1st), 5,113 (2nd).

 Defenders keep winning

There was no Calder Cup banner-raising ceremony in Norfolk when the Admirals opened with a 4-2 win over the Worcester Sharks on Friday. That took place after the championship parade last June because Norfolk no longer housed the Tampa Bay Lightning farm club.

The Lightning moved its AHL affiliate to Syracuse after the season and Norfolk became the farm team of the Anaheim Ducks. The Admirals emerged out of the gate with a 2-0 record over the weekend, one point better than the 1-0-0-1 Crunch.

Meanwhile, reigning AHL MVP Cory Conacher continued to build off his solid rookie season last year with two goals and five points in the Crunch's first two games to take the early lead in the league scoring race.

Milestone for Ben Walter

Abbotsford Heat centre Ben Walter played in his 500th AHL game on Saturday and celebrated with a goal in his team's 6-2 win over the Peoria Rivermen.

Playing between youngsters Sven Baertschi (two goals, two assists) and Dustin Sylvester (one goal, three assists), Walter scored once and assisted on two others as the Heat dominated the Rivermen by a combined score of 12-3 on Friday and Saturday.

Walter, 28, is the son of former NHL forward Ryan Walter. The younger Walton was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the sixth round in 2004. He's played in 24 NHL games with the Bruins, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils.

Stanley Cup rematch  

The Los Angeles Kings farm club, the Manchester Monarchs, picked up where the parent club left off with two wins in two starts, including a 2-1 victory over the Albany Devils, New Jersey's AHL affiliate.

The Monarchs lineup includes defenceman Slava Voynov and right wing Jordan Nolan from the Kings' Stanley Cup-winning club. However, Nolan broke a finger in a fight on Friday and did not play against the Devils the next night.

Hall to join Barons

There is a chance that Taylor Hall could play his first game with the Oklahoma City Barons by the end of the month. Hall, who hasn't played since Mar. 16 to undergo left shoulder surgery, is expected to begin practicing with the Barons later this week.

Strong results were predicted for the Barons this season because of the presence in their lineup of Edmonton Oilers youngsters Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Magnus Paajarvi and defenceman Justin Schultz.

After a 2-1 road loss to Lake Erie on Friday, the Barons bounced back with a 3-2 win over the Monsters on Saturday afternoon. Schultz scored a goal and added an assist. Paajarvi checked in with an assist. Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle failed to register a point in either game.

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