Aeros.com Power Poll
1 Rochester (1) The Amerks keep rolling, and they are 10 points up on Manchester for the best overall record in the league. Rochester won five straight, and 16 straight at home. Since a three-game skid December 8-11, the Americans are 28-3-0-2. Seriously, 28-3-0-2, and they could be better, if not for a 5-8 overtime/shootout mark. Goalie standout Ryan Miller has six more wins than anyone else in the AHL.
2 Manchester (2) The Monarchs have lost five of seven dating back to just prior to the All-Star break, losing just a bit of their invincibility. Hartford has gotten within four points for the top record in the Eastern Conference. As nice as their 193-123 goal margin is, consider this: those numbers are a smothering 138-76 in the first two periods. Michael Cammalleri enters this week three points back of Binghamtons Jason Spezza for the AHL scoring lead, although he leads in goals with 32.
3 Hartford (5) Like many Eastern Conference teams this season, Hartford is a bear at home (24-5-1-1) but average on the road (12-13-1-1), which could be good for the Aeros this Friday. Reigning AHL MVP Jason LaBarbera is 3-7-0 in his last 10 decisions, despite allowing one or two goals in each of his last four starts. Pack is a gritty team, with five players topping the 100-PIM mark.
4 Manitoba (4) Moose would be in top contention in any division but the North, but the team trails Rochester by 15 points. Manitoba was rolling along until suffering a three-game road losing streak, rare since it is still 18-7-1-3 on the road. The return of powerful defenseman Johnathan Aitken will only help a defense tied for eighth in goals allowed.
5 Milwaukee (5) The Admirals suddenly see Chicago getting ever closer in the rearview mirror, having lost five straight, two in OT/shootout, prior to a weekend win over St. Johns. The once-dominant offense was shut out in two straight games recently, and Milwaukee hasnt scored more than two goals in regulation in their last six.
6 Chicago (12) Since those wild and crazy 5-4 losses to the Aeros out of the All-Star break, the Wolves have won four straight. Kari Lehtonen is again healthy, for the time being, and all of a sudden the Wolves arent so much worried about holding off third-place Cincinnati as they are catching first-place Milwaukee.
7 Philadelphia (9) Tied for second in contentious East Division, but first in percentage points. The Phantoms need to find consistency on offense. Recent goal totals read: 2, 6, 0, 4, 1. Antero Niittymaki sports a nifty 1.94 gaa, but is just five games over the .500 mark at 21-16-4.
8 Norfolk (10) The Ads are 17-6-0-1 since just after Christmas, but theyll be in for a dog-fight with four other teams in the East. Norfolk needs to get better with the lead, as it has lost four times in regulation when leading after one period one off the league lead, held by many teams, including Houston.
9 Lowell (7) The goaltending is still brilliant, but the Lock Monsters have put up more than three goals only once in the last 15 games. Cam Ward and Brent Krahn need an easy one every now and then. Cam Wards 18-10-3 mark with a 1.98 gaa have him the frontrunner for the goalie spot on the AHLs All-Rookie Team, and maybe Rookie of the Year?
10 Binghamton (11) Speaking of Rookie of the Year, the Sens Brandon Bochenski is in the mix with 49 points, including a team-best six game-winning goals. Binghamton needs to send some overtime magic to Houston, as it has scored seven times in just the five-minute session alone.
11 Providence (14) Bruins have actually excelled since goalie Hannu Toivonen went out with a knee injury, winning four of their last five behind Chris Madden and Matt Underhill. Madden has allowed two goals in three starts, while Underhill shut out Portland over the weekend.
12 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (8) Pens have fed on own division foes, going 11 games over .500 against them and two over versus the rest of the AHL. The Penguins are just 3-11 in OT/shootout.
13 Cincinnati (18) If only the Ducks could play every game (and playoff game) at home, where they are 20-7-0-2, compared to 11-18-1-1 on the road. The Ducks speed is unmatched. And whod have thought Frederic Cassivi would be putting up the type of numbers he is to take Ilya Bryzgalov out of the picture. Cassivi just back-stopped Cincinnati to a five-game winning streak, including three shutouts.
14 Houston (13) The Aeros got six of 10 points on their recently completed road trip, and with several games against San Antonio and Grand Rapids upcoming, its the time to put those teams behind them.
15 Worcester (15) With goalies Jason Bacashihua and Curtis Sanford both banged up, the IceCats need to score more. Worcester is 10 games over .500 (14-4-3-2) in one-goal games and only Rochester has lost fewer one-goal games in regulation (three).
16 Hershey (16) The comeback kids have nine, count em, nine wins when trailing after two periods, four more than any other AHL team. Hershey has won 12 of 17 but still has work to do to make the playoffs in the East thanks to an 11-16-1-0 start.
17 St. Johns (6) The Baby Leafs have lost the first five games of their road trip, picking up just a point along the way, and they find Edmonton on their heels for third place in the division. The team in third will likely get Manitoba, while the fourth seed will get overall No. 1 Rochester.
18 Grand Rapids (20) After losing three of four for new head coach Greg Ireland, the Griffins have fired back with three straight wins to stay on the Aeros heels. The best news for Grand Rapids is that two of those wins were at home, a place they are just 13-15-1-0 this season.
19 Edmonton (17) The Road Runners were rolling along with five straight wins until going winless on a five-game road trip, then extending the streak to seven games with a pair of home losses to Cleveland. Edmonton is suddenly looking at Hamilton and Syracuse, both four points back for the Norths final playoff spot.
20 Hamilton (21) The Bulldogs have been playing at a .500 clip in recent weeks, but thats been enough to close the gap on St. Johns and Edmonton. An absolutely awful offense earlier in the season has suddenly scored four or more goals in five of seven games.
21 Syracuse (19) Crunchs late playoff push will be aided by 13 remaining home games, compared to only nine on the road.
22 Cleveland (22) The Barons have won two straight, but they still have to leap three other teams to qualify for the playoffs.
23 Portland (23) You want to feel good today? Think about Kirk Daubenspeck, a 30-year-old ECHLer who had thoughts of giving up the game after this season. The Wisconsin product has started 11 straight games, going 7-3-1 with a 1.46 gaa. The Pirates have been blanked in two of his three losses.
24 Bridgeport (25) The Sound Tigers have won five of seven to stay ahead of surging Albany and out of last in the East.
25 San Antonio (24) It will be hard for the Rampage to be a contender until the team starts the season better, as the annual month-long rodeo trip was nearly disastrous this year. San Antonio lost seven of the last eight, and the first game back wasnt much of a home game, as the Aeros were on the same flight the Rampage were.
26 Albany (26) The Rats had won six of eight before losing three straight. Albanys climb could continue now that its season series with Hershey has wrapped up. The Bears won all eight meetings this season.
27 Springfield (27) The Falcons have been shut out in three of their last five games.
28 Utah (28) After putting up five goals in his debut for them, the Grizzlies have scored three regulation goals in Jamie Storrs next four starts.