KASSIAN AND THE WESTERN CONFERENCE WIN 2012 ALL-STAR CLASSICNews | 1/30/2012 10:46:25 PM | Rob Crean
In his first AHL All-Star Game, Rochester Americans forward Zack Kassian came away with a victory, as he and his Western Conference teammates rallied from a four-goal deficit to take down the Eastern Conference, 8-7 in a shootout at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on Monday night.
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While he didn’t score, Kassian finished with three shots on goal and will leave with a weekend full of memories.
“It was a lot of fun. It got a little competitive at the end, but all in all it was a great experience,” Kassian said. “It was everything I thought it would be and more, and it’s something I’ll always remember.”
Kassian had several scoring chances, including a shot that was turned aside by Adirondack goalie Michael Leighton, who stacked the pads to make the stop. Leighton and Kassian are from the same hometown in Ontario and know each other well.
“He made a big save and he’s a great goalie,” Kassian said.
Kassian also had a partial breakaway and a rebound chance in the second period, but Manchester netminder Jeff Zatkoff was able to deny both offerings. In the third period, he took a wrist shot that rang off the crossbar.
When it was all said and done, the 21-year-old enjoyed being able to meet and play alongside the best players in the entire American Hockey League.
“Events like this are about the memories. You make friends, you play with great players, take part in the skills competition and game, so it’s more about the memories than anything.”
NOTES: There were several former Amerks playing in the game: Michael Leighton of Adirondack, Colby Robak of San Antonio, and Norfolk’s Corey Conacher. Conacher, who played two games with the Amerks last season as an undrafted rookie out of Canisius College in Buffalo, scored two goals and an assist in the game. He is currently tied with Syracuse’s Kyle Palmieri for most goals by an AHL rookie with 25.
- Buffalo native Chris Mueller represented the Milwaukee Admirals in the game. Mueller leads the Admirals with 30 points (19+11) and is in his fifth AHL season. Earlier this year, he played a game against his hometown Sabres as a member of the Nashville Predators.
- Peoria netminder Ben Bishop was named the game’s Most Valuable Player despite playing only 20 minutes. He stopped 10 of the 11 shots he faced in the third period to help the West force overtime, then denied all four shooters he faced in the shootout.
- Five players recorded three-point nights, including four members of the Eastern Conference squad. Charlotte’s Chris Terry (2+1), Conacher (2+1), and Connecticut’s Mats Zuccarello (1+2) and Jonathan Audy-Marchessault (1+2) all registered three points.