(UTICA, NY) … Rochester Americans rookie C.J. Smith scored the only goal of the championship game as the North Division captured the 2018 AHL All-Star Challenge title with a 1-0 win over the Pacific Division at the Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium on Monday night.
The AHL All-Star Challenge is a round-robin tournament among the league’s four divisions, played at 3-on-3. The first six games are 10 minutes in length, followed by the six-minute championship final.
Down by three goals with less than three minutes remaining in the final preliminary contest, the North Division rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Atlantic Division to earn a berth in the championship. Smith scored the game-tying goal with 29 seconds left in the second half of the contest.
Smith finished the night with three goals and two assists, earning 2018 AHL All-Star Challenge Most Valuable Player honors. Syracuse Crunch rookie Mitchell Stephens chipped in two goals and three assists and Belleville Senators forward Gabriel Gagne tallied a goal and four assists on the night for the North Division, which was also led by Amerks goaltender Linus Ullmark and the Utica Comets’ Thatcher Demko.
The Pacific Division was paced offensively by Tucson Roadrunners rookies Kyle Capobianco and Nick Merkley, who finished the evening with six points each. Hershey’s Chris Bourque and Charlotte teammates Warren Foegele and Valentin Zykov had four points apiece for the Atlantic Division, and Grand Rapids’ Matt Lorito and Chicago’s T.J. Tynan tallied three points each for the Central Division.
The road to the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs continues when the American Hockey League’s 82nd season resumes on Thursday.
Game 1 – Pacific Division 5, North Division 3
Game 2 – Atlantic Division 5, Central Division 2
Game 3 – North Division 4, Central Division 2
Game 4 – Pacific Division 4, Atlantic Division 3
Game 5 – Pacific Division 4, Central Division 3
Game 6 – North Division 4, Atlantic Division 3
Championship – North Division 1, Pacific Division 0