Stolarz, Wideman Shine in Skills CompetitionJan 26, 2020
Defenseman Chris Wideman and goaltender Anthony Stolarz helped welcome the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Ontario International Airport to Southern California, bringing their best to the league's annual Skills Competition.
Gulls mascot Gulliver was also in attendance, interacting with fans, including a large showing of San Diego faithful.
Wideman participated in the opening race of the Inglasco Puck Control Relay alongside forward Lucas Elvenes (Chicago Wolves) and defenseman Brennan Menell (Iowa Wild). At the whistle from an on-ice official, players rushed down the ice, picked up a puck at the opposite end and weaved through pylons on their way back before the following player could start. Wideman played the middleman in the relay, catching up on missed time from a slow open, but the East earned the point in a close first race.
Stolarz represented the West in the Rapid Fire contest where he competed against defenseman Timothy Liljegren (Toronto Marlies) and forward Rudolfs Balcers (Belleville Senators). Facing alternating shooters from the opposing squad, Stolarz faced five shots from each player and made a total of seven saves.
Stolarz helped the Western Conference win the event.
Neither player from the Gulls participated in the Hardest Shot Competition. However, forward Martin Frk (Ontario Reign) closed out the event with a 109.2mph slapshot, breaking the all-time record for both the AHL and NHL. Zedeno Chara held the previous mark of 108.8 at the 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Skills Competition.
Stolarz held strong in net for the sixth event, the Pass and Score challenge. Forwards Balcers, Joey Anderson (Binghampton Devils) and Vinni Lettieri (Hartford Wolf Pack) were the shooters. All three players had to touch the puck at least once, passing back and forth before attempting to score. Stolarz blocked two of the three shots, including a sprawling blocker save on the third attempt.
Both Gulls representatives played in the seventh and final event, the Breakaway Relay. The closing challenge consisted of a goaltender from each Conference going against five separate shooters in quick succession. Stolarz made four saves in the contest and Wideman’s slapshot was stopped by netminder Jonas Johansson (Rochester Americans) in the third round. The West closed the event scoring six goals, holding the East to just four.\
The Gulls and the Western Conference won the 2020 AHL All-Star Skills Competition by a score of 18-15. The two-day event will continue tomorrow (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) and will be televised to national audiences on NHL Network in the United States and TSN2 across Canada.