On most nights, a three-point performance would be worthy of first star honors. But Monday night wasn’t “most nights”, it was a record-setting evening which saw the PlanetUSA All-Stars rally with a 9-goal third period to defeat the Canadian All-Stars by a final score of 14-11 at the 2009 AHL All-Star Classic. When the smoke cleared, Philadelphia Phantoms forward Jared Ross had earned the game’s MVP award, setting records for assists and points in an All-Star game with a goal and six assists, while Houston Aeros winger Corey Locke set a new mark for goals in an All-Star game with four (he also added an assist). The teams’ 25 combined goals also set a new bar for the AHL’s annual showcase. All told, six players finished with four points or more, making Hartford Wolf Pack center Artem Anisimov’s one goal, two assist effort little more than a footnote for most viewers. But for Rangers fans, it was another indication that the 20-year old Russian, who’s currently tied for fourth in AHL scoring, will soon be knocking on the NHL door.
All three of Anisimov’s points came during a 9-goal third period PlanetUSA outburst which also set an AHL All-Star record, for goals in a period by one team. The first, a secondary assist, came off a feed to Michael Ryan who dished the puck to Jonas Junland to tie the score at eight at 4:03. His second point, the goal, came at 8:45 after he swatted a rebound past Canadian goaltender Tyler Weiman from in tight, making it 9-10. Anisimov’s final point was his most impressive. The 6-4 forward controlled the puck along the left boards and fed a perfect pass across the crease to Chris Bourque, who was waiting on the doorstep for the slam-dunk as his famour father Ray looked on. The goal proved to be the game-winner, with the PlanetUSA side adding two empty-netters in the final 1:04 of play.
Hartford’s second All-Star representative, Bobby Sanguinetti, did not dress for the game, and was not present at the AHL Hall of Fame Luncheon earlier in the day. While no mention was made of his absence on the broadcast, it seems likely that his early departure was related to the dental work that remained to be done after the rookie defenseman took a shot in the mouth on Friday night.
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