Chirps from Center Ice

A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins

AHL Power Rankings: Week 16

It’s the All-Star break in the AHL, so how is your team doing?

There are a couple of teams that have been good all season long. Teams like Manchester, Utica, Rockford and Oklahoma City have been constantly at the head of their division class.

But there is a team, just west of where the festivities are taking place this weekend, that has been knocking and knocking and finally kicked the door down on the division lead on Saturday night.

It’s the Syracuse Crunch. One of the Eastern Conference’s most dangerous teams knocks off last week’s number one Hartford in a thrilling Saturday night battle at home and take over the Northeast Division and the number one spot in the Week 16 Chirps from Center Ice AHL Power Rankings. The Crunch are just a point off of the Manchester Monarchs for first overall in the Conference, too.

I don’t know how many times I use the word “break” in the rankings this week. It was a lot, though. Count them up and let me know in the comments. But first, you have to jump through if you didn’t link in direct….

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Crunch take over second in the Conference and first in the Northeast with a thrilling win Saturday at home against the Wolf Pack. Just a point off the Monarchs who are at the head of the Eastern Conference class.
Rank: 1
Last Week: 6th
Change: Up 5
Last Week:
LV 2 @ SYR 4
HFD 2 @ SYR 3
This Week:
vs. RCH 1/30
@ HER 1/31

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The AHL’s best team at the All-Star break. Provided it is held together, the talk of Calder Cup front runner may start finding it’s way to Oklahoma City.
Rank: 2
Last Week: 2nd
Change: n/a
Last Week:
OKC 3 @ CHA 1
OKC 2 @ CHA 3
This Week:
vs. LE 1/30
vs. LE 1/31

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Springfield was finally overtaken by the Crunch Saturday night. It’s something that Syracuse will look to hold on to and these Falcons want back in a hurry.
Rank: 3
Last Week: 5th
Change: Up 2
Last Week:
SPR 3 @ HFD 4
PRO 2 @ SPR 1
This Week:
vs. WBS 1/30
@ HFD 1/31

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IceHogs are the Midwest Division class of the field at the break. It should be fun seeing if Milwaukee can overtake and if Chicago or Grand Rapids want to challenge Rockford.
Rank: 4
Last Week: 3rd
Change: Down 1
Last Week:
CHI 4 @ RFD 1
RFD 1 @ IA 0
UTI 0 @ RFD 3
This Week:
vs. CHI 1/30
@ CHI 1/31

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Midwest Division slowly looking like a two-horse race between the Admirals and IceHogs. Should be an interesting finish.
Rank: 5
Last Week: 7th
Change: Up 2
Last Week:
UTI 2 @ MIL 3 (SO)
IA 3 @ MIL 4
This Week:
vs. GR 1/30
@ GR 1/31

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Boy, a Syracuse / Hartford playoff series would be fun, wouldn’t it? Both teams split a pair of one goal games this weekend.
Rank: 6
Last Week: 1st
Change: Down 5
Last Week:
PRO 0 @ HFD 1
SPR 3 @ HFD 4
HFD 2 @ SYR 3
This Week:
vs. BRI 1/30
vs. SPR 1/31

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Sharks see the eight game win streak come to an end at home against Albany but exacted revenge the next day in Albany with a win in overtime.
Rank: 7
Last Week: 4th
Change: Down 3
Last Week:
WOR 3 @ POR 2
ALB 3 @ WOR 2
WOR 2 @ ALB 1 (OT)
This Week:
@ PRO 1/30
vs. PRO 1/31

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Light week for Manchester, the Eastern Conferences best team all season.
Rank: 8
Last Week: 14th
Change: Up 6
Last Week:
MCH 1 @ PRO 2 (OT)
This Week:
vs. POR 1/30

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Hershey leads the East at the break with a point lead over the Penguins, with three games in hand. It is looking like the Bears are controlling their own destiny.
Rank: 9
Last Week: 9th
Change: n/a
Last Week:
HER 7 @ LV 2
BNG 2 @ HER 3 (OT)
This Week:
@ LV 1/30
vs. SYR 1/31
vs. NOR 2/1

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Bulldogs take max points from home and home with Toronto and leapfrog the Marlies and set their sights on the Flames. Is Hamilton playing like the best team in the North Division?
Rank: 10
Last Week: 13th
Change: Up 3
Last Week:
TOR 0 @ HAM 3
HAM 4 @ TOR 3 (OT)
This Week:
@ IA 1/30
@ IA 1/31

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Portland takes over second and is seven points behind Manchester for the Atlantic Division lead. Don’t be surprised to see the Pirates shake things up in the second half.
Rank: 11
Last Week: 10th
Change: Down 1
Last Week:
WOR 3 @ POR 2
BRI 2 @ POR 4
POR 3 @ BRI 2 (OT)
This Week:
@ MCH 1/30
@ BRI 1/31

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Albany keeps taking home points from games. They remain in the discussion at the All-Star break.
Rank: 12
Last Week: 11th
Change: Down 1
Last Week:
BRI 3 @ ALB 5
ALB 3 @ WOR 2
WOR 2 @ ALB 1 (OT)
This Week:
@ LV 1/29
vs. STJ 1/30
vs. STJ 1/31

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Two big wins at home against the Wolves. Don’t be surprised if the Stars start a run.
Rank: 13
Last Week: 23rd
Change: Up 10
Last Week:
TEX 2 @ SA 5
CHI 2 @ TEX 3
CHI 4 @ TEX 5
This Week:
vs. SA 1/29
vs. CHA 1/31

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That’s more like it. A convincing win over St. John’s midweek and two gritty wins over Norfolk, who have given the Penguins fits. A point off Hershey for the East lead.
Rank: 14
Last Week: 28th
Change: Up 14
Last Week:
STJ 1 @ WBS 5
WBS 4 @ NOR 2
WBS 3 @ NOR 2 (OT)
This Week:
@ SPR 1/30
vs. LV 1/31

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Lake Erie will be looking to build off of a sweep of the Rampage this week. A two game set in Oklahoma City coming out of the break is ahead.
Rank: 15
Last Week: 29th
Change: Up 14
Last Week:
SA 2 @ LE 6
SA 2 @ LE 3 (OT)
This Week:
@ OKC 1/30
@ OKC 1/31

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The feel good story of the AHL Comets are slipping, 3-6-0-1 since the start of January. Still lead the North Division, but the Bulldogs are closing and the Flames remain in the picture.
Rank: 16
Last Week: 8th
Change: Down 8
Last Week:
UTI 2 @ MIL (SO)
UTI 1 @ GR 5
UTI 0 @ RFD 3
This Week:
vs. TOR 1/30
@ TOR 1/31

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If Lehigh Valley can get it rolling in the right direction in the second half, they could contend. But right now, they are playing like the third best team in Pennsylvania.
Rank: 17
Last Week: 15th
Change: Down 2
Last Week:
HER 7 @ LV 2
LV 2 @ SYR 4
STJ 3 @ LV 4
This Week:
vs. ALB 1/29
vs. HER 1/30
@ WBS 1/31

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Flames sit four back of North leading Comets and four ahead of pursuing Hamilton at the break. Could have been leading, with the dry spell the Comets are on.
Rank: 18
Last Week: 24th
Change: Up 6
Last Week:
ADK 2 @ RCH 3
RCH 1 @ ADK 4
This Week:
vs. RCH 1/31

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In other years, 48 points at the All-Star pause may be good enough for a playoff spot. But not this year for the P-Bruins where there are several good teams. Consistency is a must for the Bruins in the final months ahead.
Rank: 19
Last Week: 16th
Change: Down 3
Last Week:
PRO 0 @ HFD 1
MCH 1 @ PRO 2 (OT)
PRO 2 @ SPR 1
This Week:
vs. WOR 1/30
@ WOR 1/31

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A slow start by Grand Rapids has them barely in the Western Conference playoff discussion at the leagues halfway mark.
Rank: 20
Last Week: 17th
Change: Down 3
Last Week:
CHI 4 @ GR 2
UTI 1 @ GR 5
IA 3 @ GR 4
This Week:
@ IA 1/29
@ MIL 1/30
vs. MIL 1/31

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Checkers split a pair with the AHL’s best Barons at home. Would be nice to see Charlotte build on this, but we have been waiting all season.
Rank: 21
Last Week: 21st
Change: n/a
Last Week:
CHA 2 @ NOR 3 (OT)
OKC 3 @ CHA 1
OKC 2 @ CHA 3
This Week:
@ SA 1/30
@ TEX 1/31

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Bad weekend for the Marlies, who are now in the wake of Hamilton, who swept them in a home and home this weekend.
Rank: 22
Last Week: 12th
Change: Down 10
Last Week:
TOR 0 @ HAM 3
HAM 4 @ TOR 3 (OT)
This Week:
@ UTI 1/30
vs. UTI 1/31

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Sound Tigers are still on the list of a team that can make it if it gets hot at the right time. Could still happen in the second half.
Rank: 23
Last Week: 18th
Change: Down 5
Last Week:
BRI 3 @ ALB 5
BRI 2 @ POR 4
POR 3 @ BRI 2 (OT)
This Week:
@ HFD 1/30
vs. POR 1/31

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Lake Erie good or San Antonio bad this weekend? Those are points that the Rampage will wish they had in April.
Rank: 24
Last Week: 19th
Change: Down 5
Last Week:
TEX 2 @ SA 5
SA 2 @ LE 6
SA 2 @ LE 3 (OT)
This Week:
@ TEX 1/29
vs. CHA 1/30

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Wolves don’t look interested in pursuing a run at the division. If they sweep the home and home with Rockford coming out of the break, then we may eat some crow here at the Politboro next weekend.
Rank: 25
Last Week: 25th
Change: n/a
Last Week:
CHI 4 @ RFD 1
CHI 4 @ GR 2
CHI 2 @ TEX 3
CHI 5 @ TEX 5
This Week:
@ RFD 1/30
vs. RFD 1/31

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Not a productive trip for the IceCaps this week. Defending Eastern Conference champs find themselves well out of a playoff spot at the end of February.
Rank: 26
Last Week: 20th
Change: Down 6
Last Week:
STJ 1 @ WBS 5
STJ 5 @ BNG 2
STJ 3 @ LV 4
This Week:
@ ALB 1/30
@ ALB 1/31

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Defending East Division champions are in a bad way at the break. 14th out of 15 teams. Need a stronger second half.
Rank: 27
Last Week: 27th
Change: n/a
Last Week:
STJ 5 @ BNG 2
BNG 2 @ HER 3 (OT)
This Week:
vs. NOR 1/30
vs. NOR 1/31

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Norfolk played great on the road a few weeks ago, then came home with games against Hartford, Charlotte and Wilkes-Barre, a total of five games, and took away just four points. Maybe the road is the Admirals friend, three this week.
Rank: 28
Last Week: 30th
Change: Up 2
Last Week:
CHA 2 @ NOR 3 (OT)
WBS 4 @ NOR 2
WBS 3 @ NOR 2 (OT)
This Week:
@ BNG 1/30
@ BNG 1/31
@ HER 2/1

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Amerks haven’t been good at all this season. 37 points has them 28th out of 30 clubs. Somehow only 9 points out of a playoff spot in the West though.
Rank: 29
Last Week: 22nd
Change: Down 7
Last Week:
ADK 2 @ RCH 3
RCH 1 @ ADK 4
This Week:
@ SYR 1/30
@ ADK 1/31

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Leagues worst team, pretty much all season long. I don’t see anything here that makes me change my opinion on my first statement.
Rank: 30
Last Week: 26th
Change: Down 4
Last Week:
RFD 1 @ IA 0
IA 3 @ MIL 4
IA 3 @ GR 4
This Week:
vs. GR 1/29
vs. HAM 1/30
vs. HAM 1/31

If you are heading to Utica like I am for the festivities this weekend, have a great time and look for me, I should be the tallest person there.

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