This week, competition for spots in the AHL Power Rankings was fierce. Several teams scored out the same way, as even previous bottom-feeders showed signs of life to move up, including one Western Conference squad who looked to be in the middle of the pack. Even the race to the AHL basement had to be carefully considered.
But through it all, a new No. 1 has emerged in a week filled with individual multi-point performances and blowout victories.
1. Albany Devils (23-11-3-3)
A 4-3 shootout loss to the Hershey Bears on Sunday was the only blemish on the Devils’ record this weekend. Albany beat the Utica Comets 8-3 on Friday behind two goals from Joe Whitney and then followed it up with a 4-1 win over the Adirondack Phantoms on Saturday.
Upcoming Schedule: Friday, January 24 at Binghamton Senators, Saturday, January 25 vs. Adirondack, Sunday, January 26 vs. Binghamton
2. Grand Rapids Griffins (27-11-1-2)
The Griffins have the second-best winning percentage in the AHL at .695 and went 2-1 in three games this week. NHL veteran Jordin Tootoo scored twice in Wednesday’s 3-1 win over the Chicago Wolves, and Tom McCollum followed up on Friday with a 35-save shutout as Grand Rapids defeated the Abbotsford Heat 3-0. It now heads to Texas for what should be two exciting games with a top Stars team.
Upcoming Schedule: Friday and Saturday at Texas Stars, Sunday at San Antonio
3. Texas Stars (25-11-2-3)
The Stars blew out the Charlotte Checkers on Friday by a 7-1 score. Travis Morin tallied five points, while Curtis McKenzie had four assists. Morin and McKenzie rank in the top five in AHL scoring with 55 and 38 points, respectively. Texas will now play seven straight games at the Cedar Park Center and try to get another winning streak going after Charlotte got revenge with a 6-1 victory on Saturday.
Upcoming Schedule: Wednesday, January 22 vs. Iowa Wild, Friday and Saturday vs. Grand Rapids
4. Binghamton Senators (25-12-0-3)
Binghamton put up six goals twice this weekend against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Syracuse Crunch. Stephane Da Costa had four points in Friday’s 6-2 win over Bridgeport, while Jean Gabriel Pageau had three on Saturday against the Sens’ in-state rivals. Da Costa is seventh in the league and second on Binghamton with 37 points on the season.
Upcoming Schedule: Friday vs. Albany, Saturday vs. Rochester, Sunday at Albany
5. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (24-12-1-3)
The Penguins split a 2013 playoff rematch with the Providence Bruins this weekend, losing 5-1 on Friday and winning by the same score on Sunday. In between, Philip Samuelsson had four points as WBS beat the Portland Pirates 4-2 on Saturday. He now has a career-best 17 points overall and was named the AHL Player of the Week for his efforts.
Upcoming Schedule: Friday and Saturday vs. Norfolk Admirals, Sunday at Hershey Bears
6. Springfield Falcons (27-8-1-3)
Springfield is still the only club in the AHL to not lose double-digit games. It won both its games this weekend, and Andrew Joudrey helped with three points to give the Falcons a 5-3 win over the Bruins on Saturday. Jonathan Marchessault leads the team with 12 goals and 28 points, and it also got team captain Ryan Craig back from the Columbus Blue Jackets prior to this weekend’s games.
Upcoming Schedule: Monday, January 20 vs. Adirondack, Friday vs. Hartford Wolf Pack, Saturday vs. Bridgeport, Sunday vs. Portland
7. Abbotsford Heat (26-14-1-1)
Although the Heat had slowed down a little recently, they are still in fourth place in the Western Conference. Max Reinhart had three points on Saturday to give Abbotsford a win over the Griffins, which came just one night after the Heat were shut out. He ranks third on the team with 30 points.
Upcoming Schedule: Friday and Saturday vs. Utica Comets
8. Toronto Marlies (22-11-2-2)
The Marlies keep the eighth spot in this week’s power rankings after two overtime wins this week. T.J. Brennan had four points in Wednesday’s 4-3 win over Iowa, and Spencer Abbott also chipped in with one goal and two assists. They are tied for Toronto’s scoring lead with 38 points, and Brennan has 16 goals, good for a tie for fifth in the AHL. The Marlies have a tough week ahead with five games on the docket.
Upcoming Schedule: Monday at Rockford IceHogs, Tuesday, January 21 at Milwaukee Admirals, Friday at Hamilton Bulldogs, Saturday vs. Chicago, Sunday vs. Lake Erie Monsters
9. Chicago Wolves (21-14-2-2)
The Wolves remain in the top 10 after getting points in two out of three games this week and going 7-3 in their last ten. Mark Mancari and Corey Locke both have 25 points on the season, while three players (Ty Rattie, Dimitrij Jaskin and Sergey Andronov) are in the double digits in goals scored.
Upcoming Schedule: Tuesday at Utica, Saturday at Toronto, Sunday at Hamilton
10. Manchester Monarchs (26-11-2-4)
The Monarchs fell 4-1 to the St. John’s IceCaps on Friday, but came back with a big 6-0 win on Saturday. Tyler Toffoli and Jordan Weal each had four points on the night, and Jean-Francois Berube got the shutout with 28 saves. Manchester faces St. John’s one more time before a three-in-three this coming weekend.
Upcoming Schedule: Monday at St. John’s, Friday vs. Worcester, Saturday vs. Portland, Sunday at Worcester
11. Rochester Americans (17-15-3-3)
Rochester went 3-for-6 on the power play in a 4-3 win over Oklahoma City on Friday night, boosting a unit that is ranked 12th in the NHL with an 18.6 percent success rate. It finished the week with a 3-2 win against San Antonio on Saturday. Luke Adam leads the Americans with 15 goals on the year, eight of which are on the man advantage.
Upcoming Schedule: Thursday, January 23 at Lake Erie, Saturday at Binghamton
12. Hershey Bears (19-14-3-3)
Things are looking up for the Bears, who won two of three games this week. Brandon Segal and Jeff Taffe each posted three points in a 5-3 win over the Sound Tigers on Saturday, and Hershey came back from being down 3-1 to beat the Devils 4-3 in a shootout on Sunday. It scored on three of its four attempts and has won four of its last five.
Upcoming Schedule: Friday at Syracuse, Saturday vs. Syracuse, Sunday vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
13. Iowa Wild (17-16-3-2)
Iowa is still finding its way in the Western Conference, but broke the top half of the rankings after a 2-1 week. Six different players scored in a 6-1 win over Lake Erie on Friday, and John Curry made 45 saves to defeat the Monsters 1-0 in overtime on Saturday. He is now 3-2-1 on the year with a 1.95 GAA and .942 save percentage.
— AHL Communications (@AHLPR) January 18, 2014
Upcoming Schedule: Wednesday at Texas, Friday and Saturday at San Antonio Rampage
14. Norfolk Admirals (21-13-1-6)
The Admirals were supported by rookie goalie John Gibson in Saturday’s 1-0 overtime win against the Worcester Sharks, as Gibson made 20 saves. Although the Ads got points in all three of their games, they lost the first of their two-game set to Worcester and fell in overtime to an 11th-place Checkers team.
— AHL Communications (@AHLPR) January 20, 2014
Upcoming Schedule: Friday and Saturday vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
15. Providence Bruins (21-15-1-5)
Nick Johnson had two assists against his former team on Friday night as the Bruins rolled to a 5-1 win over the Penguins. However, they had two other losses to Springfield and WBS to go 1-2 in three games. Providence has only one win in its last five, but Johnson is second on the team with 29 points and third with 14 goals.
Upcoming Schedule: Friday vs. St. John’s, Saturday at Worcester, Sunday vs. St. John’s
16. Adirondack Phantoms (20-16-0-2)
The Phantoms have lost three of their last five games after having a four-game winning streak snapped on January 10. A 5-3 victory over Binghamton on Wednesday came right before defeats against a poor Wolf Pack team and the Devils. Jason Akeson leads Adirondack with 34 points on the year, which is also good to rank in the top 10 in the AHL.
Upcoming Schedule: Monday at Springfield, Saturday at Albany, Sunday vs. Hartford
17. St. John’s IceCaps (20-16-1-2)
St. John’s holds on to its spot for another week after a win and a loss against the Monarchs. Jerome Samson had two goals in Friday’s 4-1 win victory, while Will O’Neill had two assists. Samson is third on the team with 11 goals, and the IceCaps are scoring close to three per game (2.97) so far this season. They will now take to the road for a five-game swing through New England.
Upcoming Schedule: Monday vs. Manchester, Friday at Providence, Saturday at Hartford, Sunday at Providence
18. Charlotte Checkers (19-19-0-1)
Charlotte made up for a 7-1 loss to Texas on Friday with a 6-1 victory on Saturday. Aaron Palushaj scored twice to bring his points total to 36 in 39 games. The Checkers then won their fourth contest out of five in a 4-3 shootout victory over Norfolk on Sunday. Despite the recent success, they are still out of the playoff picture in a tight Western Conference (currently in 11th place).
Upcoming Schedule: Thursday and Friday vs. Oklahoma City
19. Oklahoma City Barons (16-20-1-5)
The Barons won two out of three games this week, both of which came against Milwaukee. Anton Lander currently leads the team with 11 goals and 24 points in just 25 games played, but the Barons score 2.8 goals per game while allowing 3.3. Their power play is 10th in the AHL at 19 percent, but the penalty kill is 26th with a 78.8 percent conversion rate.
Upcoming Schedule: Thursday and Friday at Charlotte
20. Milwaukee Admirals (18-12-5-3)
The Western Conference Admirals went 1-2 this week and have won just three of their last 10 contests. However, they are about equal on offense and defense, scoring 2.7 goals a game and surrendering 2.8. Colton Sissons and Taylor Beck are tied for the team scoring lead with 25 points apiece, and Milwaukee recently signed goalie Hannu Toivonen, who has 61 games of NHL experience.
Upcoming Schedule: Tuesday vs. Toronto, Friday vs. Rockford, Saturday at Rockford, Sunday vs. Rockford
21. Rockford IceHogs (18-18-4-2)
Like their upcoming opponents in the Admirals, the IceHogs have also lost seven of their last 10 games. Jason LaBarbera, who started the season with the Edmonton Oilers, has a .923 save percentage and 2.62 GAA for Rockford despite a 2-3 record. Adam Clendenning is second among AHL defensemen in scoring with 32 points, while his 27 assists are tied for third.
Upcoming Schedule: Monday vs. Toronto, Friday at Milwaukee, Saturday vs. Milwaukee, Sunday at Milwaukee
22. San Antonio Rampage (15-21-1-3)
The Rampage have points in four of their last five games, and both of their wins this week came in the shootout. Joey Crabb scored twice on Thursday against Milwaukee, but San Antonio still has a lot of ground to make up. It is in 14th in the West headed into Monday’s games and scores 2.6 goals per game, but allows over three.
Upcoming Schedule: Friday and Saturday vs. Iowa, Sunday vs. Grand Rapids
23. Utica Comets (12-20-2-3)
The Comets are led by Pascal Pelletier, who has 34 points in 33 games and had five assists in two games this week. But a slow start has left Utica lingering as one of the worst two teams in the AHL, and it had lost six games in a row before beating Hamilton 3-1 on Saturday. Its penalty kill is just as bad, ranking 29th with a 75.4 percent success rate.
Upcoming Schedule: Tuesday vs. Chicago, Friday and Saturday at Abbotsford
24. Hamilton Bulldogs (19-16-0-4)
Hamilton lost its only game of the week to Utica on Saturday and has scored just one goal apiece in two of its last three games while giving up seven. Martin St. Pierre has 27 points on the season, but no Bulldogs players have reached the double digits in goals. Louis Leblanc and Nick Tarnasky are tied for the team lead with nine.
Upcoming Schedule: Friday vs. Toronto, Saturday at Lake Erie, Sunday vs. Chicago
25. Syracuse Crunch (17-15-2-4)
Brett Connolly scored all of Syracuse’s goals in a 6-3 loss to Binghamton on Saturday and is now second on the Crunch with 26 points. With Nikita Kucherov possibly in Tampa Bay for good, Connolly and Vladislav Namestnikov help the offense with 12 goals apiece. Syracuse is four points behind Hershey for the last playoff spot in the East and has points in four of its last five games.
Upcoming Schedule: Friday vs. Hershey, Saturday at Hershey, Sunday at Bridgeport
26. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (15-22-1-4)
The Sound Tigers had lost four of their last five games going into Sunday’s contest with the Wolf Pack, which they won 5-1. John Persson had a goal and two assists, while Parker Milner stopped 31 of 32 shots. The first-year goalie is 3-2 in seven games with Bridgeport, but he has just a 2.97 GAA and .902 save percentage.
Upcoming Schedule: Friday at Portland, Saturday at Springfield, Sunday vs. Syracuse
27. Hartford Wolf Pack (12-21-0-5)
Hartford has the AHL’s worst winning percentage at .382, but was able to end a six-game losing streak on Friday against Adirondack. Aaron Johnson had three assists to bring his total to 23 on the season. However, the Wolf Pack couldn’t keep the momentum and gave up five goals to a Bridgeport team that’s just as mediocre as they are on Sunday.
Upcoming Schedule: Friday vs. Springfield, Saturday vs. St. John’s, Sunday at Adirondack
28. Worcester Sharks (18-15-3-1)
The Sharks had won four games in a row to help them go over .500, but that came to an end against Norfolk on Saturday night. Goalie Harri Sateri had to make just 17 saves on 19 shots in Friday’s 3-2 shootout win, but both his save percentage (.903 to .894) and GAA (2.89 to 2.93) have gone down in his third professional year. There is some hope with the team’s penalty kill, which is 13th in the league at 82.9 percent.
Upcoming Schedule: Tuesday at Portland, Friday at Manchester, Saturday vs. Providence, Sunday vs. Manchester
29. Portland Pirates (15-15-1-6)
The Pirates have lost three in a row and four of their last five. Lucas Lessio had two goals in a 4-3 shootout loss to Springfield on Friday to total 12 on the season. Portland has as many points in the standings as games it has played (37), and it has only one decent winning streak to speak of this season. The Pirates won three games in a row from November 8-15, but have not been consistent since.
Upcoming Schedule: Tuesday vs. Worcester, Friday vs. Bridgeport, Saturday at Manchester, Sunday at Springfield
30. Lake Erie Monsters (17-18-0-3)
The Monsters fall to the bottom of the rankings as a result of a five-game losing streak, but have still scored seven goals in their last four contests. Bryan Lerg has 12 goals on the season, while Mark Olver leads Lake Erie with 27 points. The team’s winning percentage is just under .500 at .487 and it plays two out of its next three games at home.
Upcoming Schedule: Thursday vs. Rochester, Saturday vs. Hamilton, Sunday at Toronto
Alison is currently covering the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL for The Hockey Writers after writing about the NHL’s New Jersey Devils from 2011-2012. She is currently employed for the fast growing sports website Bleacher Report as a quality editor and hopes to one day have a media relations career with a professional hockey team. Follow her on Twitter @AlisonM_110.