clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

AHL All-Star Skills Competition: Alex Nylander helps East win

Nylander teamed with Laval’s Anthony Richard and Hartford’s Zac Jones for a goal in the Pass and Score event, as the AHL’s best put on an amazing show Sunday night.

Alex Nylander of the WBS Penguins waves to the crowd during player introductions of the 2023 AHL All-Star Skills Competition.
TV broadcast by NHL Network, picture taken by me

The All-Stars of the American Hockey League showed off their considerable skills to open the 2023 AHL All-Star Classic Sunday night in Laval. Here’s a recap of everything that went down.

Event 1: Inglasco Puck Control Relay

The Puck Control relay consisted of two three-player relay race and two solo races, with players taking a puck through a slalom course of cones. The Eastern and Western conferences split the team races, with Syracuse’s Alex Barré-Boulet beating Ontario’s T.J. Tynan and Bakersfield’s Seth Griffith beating WBS’s Alex Nylander in the individual races.

Event 2: CCM Fastest Skater

Simple enough, just as the NHL does it: One lap around the ice, fastest individual time and faster team average time get points. Hershey’s Ethen Frank took the individual point with a blistering, league-record lap of 12.915 seconds.

Springfield’s Matthew Highmore (13.904) and Laval’s Anthony Richard (13.322) contributed to the team point for the East and put the East up 4-2 after 2 events.

Event 3: AHLTV Rapid Fire

This event spotlighted the goaltenders, as they stood in against two opposing shooters for 4 rounds of 8 quick shots in 18 seconds. One team point was on the line for the most saves made, with the Eastern Conference quartet of Springfield’s Joel Hofer, Toronto’s Joseph Woll, Utica’s Nico Daws, and Providence’s Brandon Bussi prevailing to give the East a 5-2 advantage after 3 events.

Event 4: CCM Hardest Shot

Once again, not all that different from how the NHL does it: Two shots for each of 4 players per side, fastest shot won a point, faster average team speed won another point. Top overall speed went to Syracuse’s Darren Raddysh with a shot of 102.0 MPH.

The East’s quartet of Raddysh, Toronto’s Noel Hoefenmayer, Cleveland’s Jake Christiansen, and Lehigh Valley’s Ronnie Attard won the average to give the East a commanding 7-2 lead after 4 events.

Event 5: RONA Accuracy Shooting

Stick a target into each corner of the goal, give players 8 shots to hit all four targets, and watch what happens. Rockford’s David Gust made a bit of history for the Western Conference by becoming only the fourth All-Star in AHL history to hit the 4 targets in 4 shots.

Riley Barber of Texas went 4 for 7, Michael Carcone of Tucson went 3 for 8, and Max Lajoie of Chicago went 3 for 8 to give the West the team point and bring them back to within 7-4 after 5 events.

Event 6: Pass and Score

Take three of the AHL’s best players, give them three 3 on 0 breakaways against one of the AHL’s best goaltenders, and you’ve got a recipe for some outstanding plays. Four trios took part against opposing goaltenders, with the Eastern Conference trio of Charlotte’s Riley Nash, Hershey’s Frank, and Laval’s Alex Belzile going 3 for 3 in their round. The East got two more goals from the trio of Laval’s Richard, Hartford’s Zac Jones, and WBS’s Nylander for a total of 5 in the event.

For the West, the trio of Colorado’s Jean-Luc Foudy, Bakersfield’s Griffith, and Rockford’s Lukas Reichel converted once against Utica’s Daws, while the trio of Rockford’s Brett Seney, Calgary’s Matthew Phillips, and Rockford’s Gust put one past Providence’s Bussi. The East led 12-6 going into the final event.

Event 7: Breakaway Relay

For the final event, twenty All-Stars from each side were divided into four teams of 5 and given 50 seconds to take breakaways against an opposing goaltender. Each side converted four goals, with the undisputed highlight of the night coming from Syracuse’s Gabriel Dumont’s son, Mateo, taking an attempt for the Eastern Conference and beating San Diego’s Lukas Dostal.

Harford’s Jones, Lehigh Valley’s Tyson Foerster, and Charlotte’s Nash also converted their breakaway attempts. Alex Nylander for WBS took his breakaway attempt against Jesper Wallstedt of the Iowa Wild, but he was unable to score.

For the West, Brayden Pachal of the Henderson Silver Knights, Griffith, Barber, and Thomas Bordeleau of San Jose scored on their breakaways.

The event’s final score favored the Eastern Conference by a count of 16-10, but it was a highly entertaining, efficient, and succinct two hours showcasing the best that the American Hockey League has to offer.

The All-Star Classic continues Monday morning with the induction of Nolan Baumgartner, Keith Aucoin, Dave Creighton, and Bill Torrey into the AHL Hall of Fame as the Class of 2022. Also being honored is longtime AHL President and CEO Dave Andrews, the only inductee from the AHL Hall of Fame Class of 2021. The ceremony will be available for streaming on AHL TV.

The All-Star Classic concludes Monday night with the 2023 AHL All-Star Challenge, beginning at 7 pm EST, with TV coverage provided by NHL Network in the United States, TSN/RDS in Canada, and AHL TV streaming around the world.