Binghamton Senators’ Mike Hoffman‘s goal and two assists help lead the AHL All-Stars to a 7-2 rout over the Farjestad BK of the Swedish Hockey League at St. John’s, Newfoundland. The unique game was the first of its kind as FBK made the 12 hour trip to the North American soil for the first Swedish team in history. Hoffman settled for the ‘Player of the Game‘ award for team AHL as Rockford IceHogs Brandon Pirri took the MVP award honors with his two goals and an assist performance, both goals set up by Hoffman.
Hoff is playing on the team’s third line with Albany’s Joe Whitney and Pirri at the start of the game with Springfield’s Cody Goloubef and Frederic St. Denis back on D. Hoffman would get the game’s first goal tapped in by FBK starter Frederik Pettersson-Wentzel as Whitney’s quick pass found Mike in the slot for the early lead. Hoffman had the open net all to himself as Whitney never saw him alone barreling in from the left circle.
Hoffman continues his up tempo style as Whitney and Mike find some chemistry early on. Pirri would score on a breakaway from a turnaround pass from Hoff mid ice and nets his first of two goals to make it a 5-0 contest as the Swedes are having a difficult time in adjusting to the smaller ice rink it seems. Mike than draws the eventual only penalty of the game with a hooking call. He’s in the box smiling but no damage would come from it as on the replay shows it was an obvious call.
In the third Hoff with a beauty of a forward pass to Pirri for the quick tap in by back up goalie Pekka Tuokkola to then make it a 6-1 contest. That goal was all Mike as he had a FBK defender all over him and found a way to get the puck quickly to a streaking Pirri. FBK really didn’t discover their game until the third which resulted in them scoring two goals and out shooting the AHL 17-7, but the final was 7-2 in favor of the AHL All-Stars.
Interesting quotes I’m going to put up by SportsNet color commentator Sam Cosentino concerning Hoffman during the third period;
..He’s matured as a person, matured as a player..he has been electric tonight.
Later adding after the game, Cosentino adds;
When you look at the Ottawa Senators and Mike Hoffman, I can’t see how he does not have a job in the top nine there. He was electric tonight!
You know what, he’s right. Ottawa has not given Mike a long enough shot as they continue to snub the 24-year-old for whatever reasons. He’s not the most physical guy in the line up, but he’s completely tapped out of his environment in the AHL with his performance tonight at St. John’s. I will continue to enjoy him though playing as he leads the B-Sens this season, but at some point, like now, you gotta wonder what’s going on for him to remain in the minors and not up top.
As far as the format, I’m a fan even if the AHL won it. I think it brought some spark to an otherwise dreadful, boring game amongst player’s exclusively for the AHL. It’s great exposure and causes interest for many minor league participates for perhaps the NHL should look into sometime down the road. Maybe the PR department of the AHL will do a better job next season as it took many hockey hardcore’s by surprise without an explanation to the changed format.
103rd consecutive sell-out at Mile One Centre is very impressive. Hope they get a new team with Winnipeg planning to move their affiliate closer as they will end their ties after nest season. Good market for the AHL as rumors abound that Ottawa will re-locate to St. John’s from Binghamton but I don’t see that happening as that will not only increase travel for player’s transactions but increase expenses as well.