The American Hockey League announced today that Rochester Americans forward C.J. Smith and goaltender Linus Ullmark have been named to the North Division All-Star roster for the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Turning Stone Resort Casino. The annual event will take place Jan. 28-29 at the Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium in Utica, N.Y., home of the Utica Comets.
Currently in his first pro season, Smith paces the Amerks with 20 assists and 30 points and ranks second on the team with 10 goals while being one of just three skaters to appear in all 34 games this season. His 87 shots and plus-12 on-ice rating are also tops on the team. Coming into the New Year, the Des Moines, Iowa, native is tied for second among all AHL rookies in scoring and 10th overall among the league’s top point-getters while his 20 assists lead all first-year skaters.
Smith, who also leads the Amerks with seven multi-point outings, made his NHL debut for the Buffalo Sabres at the end of last season, notching one assist in two games following the completion of his junior year at UMass-Lowell.
Ullmark secures his second straight AHL All-Star selection after a 15-save performance in last year’s Skills Competition that earned him CCM Top Goaltender honors. A mainstay between the pipes again for the Amerks this season, no other goaltender has played more games than Ullmark, who boasts a 15-5-3 record and has won 14 of his last 20 starts dating back to Oct. 25, including a career-best five straight to open the month of November. Even more impressively, Ullmark is 7-0-3 on the road this season and is 12-2-3 over his last 17 appearances. Named the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for period ending Dec. 24, 2017, he currently ranks second in the AHL in saves (668) and minutes played (1,362) while being tied for first in wins (15) and shutouts (2). The former Swedish Goaltender of the Year and reigning team MVP also ranks third and fifth amongst all AHL goaltenders with a .926 save percentage and 2.33 goals-against average, respectively.
In his third season in Rochester, the 6-foot-4, 212-pound netminder owns a career AHL record of 51-48-5 with a 2.89 goals-against average, a .911 save percentage and three shutouts. A sixth-round pick of the Buffalo Sabres in 2012, Ullmark also boasts an 8-11-2 record with a 2.64 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage in 21 career NHL contests with Buffalo.
The two-day event begins on Sunday, Jan. 28 with the 2018 AHL All-Star Skills Competition at 8:00 p.m. In keeping with its traditional format, the All-Stars from the two Eastern Conference divisions will be squaring off against the All-Stars from the two Western Conference divisions in seven skills events, including hardest shot, fastest skater and accuracy shooting.
The 2018 AHL All-Star Challenge will then take place on the evening of Monday, Jan. 29 at 7:00 p.m. For the third straight year, instead of a traditional 60-minute game, the league’s all-stars will be divided into four teams, one representing each of the league’s divisions (Atlantic, North, Central, Pacific). The teams will then play a round-robin tournament featuring six games of 10 minutes each played entirely at 3-on-3. The two teams with the best records at the end of the round-robin tournament will face off for the championship, a six-minute game also played using the 3-on-3 format. Rosters for each team will be composed of 11 skaters and two goaltenders.
Tickets for the two-day 2018 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Turning Stone Resort Casino are priced at $39, $49, $69 and $89, and include admission to both the Skills Competition on Jan. 28 and the All-Star Challenge on Jan. 29. Tickets can be purchased either in person at the Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium Box Office located at 400 Oriskany St. W in Utica, N.Y., online by visiting www.uticacomets.com or www.empirestatetix.com or by calling 1-315-790-9070.