PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- When Adirondack Phantoms defenseman Brandon Manning thought of the situations he’d be in at the AHL All-Star Game, a power play did not make the list.
But there he was, with 6:29 to go in the third period, on the first power play in an All-Star Game since 2005, after Peoria’s Mark Cundari was called for tripping.
“It was great for us, but it’s not really a power play, no one’s shooting the puck or anything,” Manning said. “I think a penalty shot might have been a little more sufficient for us.”
Ultimately, the Western Conference was a 7-6 winner over Manning and the Eastern Conference on Monday night.
There was only one way to tell that Manning was a replacement selection for Erik Gustafsson, who is working his way back from a deep bruise — his jersey number. Manning wears number 28 for the Phantoms but his All-Star jerseys read 36.
The jerseys had already been ordered when Manning was named Gustafsson’s replacement. So he wore his name and Gustafsson’s number. Manning brushed it off easily, however.
“Not a big deal at all, I’m just happy to be here,” he said. “You go home with a jersey and you got to spend a couple days with great hockey players. I’m just happy to be around these people and have an experience like this for myself.”
Not having known any of the players on either team personally going into the two-day event, Manning said it was nice to be able to get to them, especially his usual opponents-turned teammates.
“I’m probably not the favorite guy around the dressing room,” Manning said. “I like to be a hard guy to play against, I pride myself on that. I wouldn’t say I’m a dirty hockey player, but I like to get my nose dirty and get under guys’ skin.”
For one game, Manning had to leave that part of his game out of it. The one hit in the game, dealt by Bridgeport’s Matt Donovan on his former University of Denver teammate Drew Shore, attracted a lot of attention — hitting isn’t really part of the All-Star Game.
On one occasion, Manning had a Western Conference player up against the boards, but he only had a hand lightly on his back rather than going in and fighting for the puck as he would in a typical game.
“It’s hard not to get in there and do something different,” Manning said. “You can just tell, when it’s a minute in one zone and guys are just circling, you can tell it’s a scrimmage and it’s just for fun.”
Eastern Conference coach Jon Cooper, the Syracuse Crunch head coach, got in on the fun too, taking to his brand new Twitter account during the game.
“Wonder twins activate! East mounting a comeback #AHLAllStar #SyrCrunch,” he tweeted after Syracuse’s Tyler Johnson and Springfield’s Jonathon Audy-Marchessault connected on a nifty goal.
“If Brust’s shoe size were a 9, not a 10, Whitfield would have had this place erupt! #AHLAllStar,” he added after a nice toe-save by Abbotsford’s Barry Brust.
The event, after all, wasn’t about who was going to win as much as it was about having fun and engaging the fans. And in that sense, consensus said it was a success.
Western Conference 4 1 2 -- 7
Eastern Conference 1 3 2 -- 6
First Period—1, Western Conference, Zucker 1 (Shore, Peters), 7:39. 2, Eastern Conference, Kolarik 1 (Tardif, Gudas), 11:14. 3, Western Conference, Fraser 1 (Bartley), 13:25. 4, Western Conference, Hunt 1 (Nyquist, Cundari), 14:35. 5, Western Conference, Shore 1 (Zucker, McNabb), 15:11. Penalties—None.
Second Period—6, Eastern Conference, Audy-Marchessault 1 (Johnson, Panik), 4:57. 7, Eastern Conference, Kearns 1 (Butler, Niederreiter), 6:31. 8, Western Conference, Hamilton 1 (Arcobello), 16:43. 9, Eastern Conference, Kolarik 2 (Gudas, Toffoli), 17:11. Penalties—None.
Third Period—10, Western Conference, Hamilton 2 (Agozzino, Arcobello), 5:41. 11, Eastern Conference, Toffoli 1 (Taffe, Meech), 7:33. 12, Eastern Conference, Whitfield 1 (Barberio, Gryba), 17:30. 13, Western Conference, Hamilton 3 (Arcobello, Oleksiak), 19:48. Penalties—Cundari, West (tripping), 13:31.
Shots on Goal—Western Conference 18-16-10-44. Eastern Conference 13-16-8-37.
Power Plays—Western Conference 0 / 0; Eastern Conference 0 / 1.
Goalies—Western Conference, Peters 0-0-0 (13 shots-12 saves); Brust 0-0-0 (16 shots-13 saves); Mrazek 1-0-0 (8 shots-6 saves). Eastern Conference, Svedberg 0-0-0 (18 shots-14 saves); McElhinney 0-0-0 (16 shots-15 saves); Lehner 0-1-0 (10 shots-8 saves).