The Atlantic Division won the 2020 All-Star game by defeating the Central Division in the final of the round-robin tournament at Toyota Arena in Ontario, California last night.
The tournament began with a matchup between Joey Anderson’s North Division and the Pacific. The Western Conference squad won this one in a shootout, 6-5.
The game, much like every other hockey all-star format, was played at three-on-three. Kale Clague of the Pacific got the scoring started when he beat goaltender Jonas Johansson 14 seconds in with assists to Glenn Gawdin and Martin Frk of the hometown Ontario Reign.
Brayden Burke put the Pacific up 2-0 when he scored at 1:09 from TJ Tynan and goalie Cal Petersen (also of the Reign). Brogan Rafferty got the North on the board when he scored with the primary assist to Anderson and Jeremy Bracco picking up the secondary at 1:25. Alex Barre-Boulet tied the game at 2:21 unassisted.
Chris Wideman and Tynan gave the Pacific back the lead at the end of the first “half,” but the Eastern Conference team came back to tie things in the second. With the Pacific scoring one more and the North three. When regulation ended, we were headed to the rare all-star game shootout.
Alex Formenton and Barre-Boulet were stopped by Pacific goalie and Edison, New Jersey native Anthony Stolarz and Tynan and Wideman each scored on their attempts for the Pacific to give them the win, 6-5. Stolarz had a great tourney, playing the puck multiple times and really getting into the offensive side of the game. You could tell that Martin Brodeur was his favorite NHL player growing up by how he showcased his talents in this game.
The second game featured the Atlantic versus the Central. This one saw Lucas Elevenes, Matthew Ford and Gerald Mayhew score for the Central to give them the win. Vinni Lettieri scored the Atlantic’s lone goal. The third goal for the Atlantic was scored when goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic was pulled for the Atlantic.
It is at this time in the broadcast when TSN did a feature on the AHL Hall of Fame. I would be remiss if I did not mention that former Devils head coach and Calder Cup winner with the Albany River Rats, Robbie Ftorek was enshrined this year with the class of 2020. Congratulations to him on this wonderful honor.
The next game featured the North Division versus the Central. This one is of most importance to Devils fans as Joey Anderson, of the Binghamton Devils, scored a hat trick in the 6-5 losing effort.
Sam Anas, Joel L’Esperance, Mayhew, Chris Terry, Jansen Harkins and Ford each scored a goal for the Central while Formenton and Jeremy Bracco scored the other two for the North.
Goalie Kasimir Kaskisuo played the entire ten-minute game for the North Division and made eight saves on 14 shots against.
In game four, the Atlantic took on the Pacific in a coast-to-coast battle. The Atlantic edged the Pacific 3-2 in a rare defensive battle in an all-star game.
In the first “half,” Wideman scored for the Pacific while Paul Carey tied it for the Atlantic. The Atlantic would add one more from Tynan while the Atlantic got two more from Sam Miletic and Matt Moulson in getting the victory.
Anderson was back in action for the next game between the Atlantic and the North. The Atlantic won this one 5-2. The fist “half” was all Atlantic as Lettieri, Joey Keane, Carey and Jack Studnicka each scored. In the second, Rafferty and Charles Hudon scored for the North and their goals sandwiched around a goal from Sebastian Aho of the Atlantic. Anderson picked up another point in this game, an assist on Rafferty’s goal.
The sixth game was a lot closer, featuring the Pacific beating the Central, 5-4 in a shootout.
The Pacific got two to begin the game from Brayden Burke and Kyle Capobianco. L’Esperance and Ford then tied it for the Central late in the first.
In the second, Tynan and Joachim Blichfeld scored for the Pacific in the first part of the “half” while Elvenes and Alexandre Carrier scored late to tie it up again and send it to a shootout.
In the shootout, Ford, Anas and Terry were all stopped for the Central while for the Pacific, Tyler Benson was stopped and Clague scored.
With that, the Atlantic (nine goals, 2-1 record) faced the Central (13 goals, 3-0 record) in the final. Lettieri scored to give the Atlantic the 1-0 lead and then Studnicka added two (with both primary assists to Lettieri and secondary assists to Jake Bean) to make it 3-0. Ford added one for the Central but it was too late.
The Atlantic won this game and the tournament, making them the 2020 AHL All-Star Game champions. According to the AHL, this is the first time the Atlantic has won the game in this format.
Vitek Vanecek of the Hershey Bears was named the MVP, who let in only two goals all night following his team’s victory.
And that does it for me. It has been a late night of hockey, but an exciting one. Good night everyone!