An exciting AHL All-Star Game featured a hat trick and an exciting finish. The West defeated the East 7-6 Monday night in Providence to capture the contest.

Albany Devils Forward Bobby Butler notched an assist for the East in the contest.

The West's Ryan Hamilton of the Toronto Marlies notched an All-Star Game hat trick including the game winning goal with just 11.2 seconds left to win it for the West. Hamilton is named the All-Star Game MVP. Hamilton's goal, right under the cross bar, beat East goaltender Robin Lehner for the game winner.

The East's Trent Winfield of the host Providence Bruins scored just over a minute before Hamilton's game winner to give the east a temporary 6-6 tie. The goals came 1:18 apart. Over 10,000 fans packed the arena in Providence to take in the contest.

Also of note to come out of the All-Star weekend is the announcement that the league has hired a consultant to look into possible expansion in the western United States. As constructed the AHL is home for eight NHL teams that play on the west coast.

League president Dave Andrews said "we have been participating as a league with eight of the NHL's western based teams, working with them creating a west coast presence for the American Hockey League. We have a consultant that was hired to do a feasibility study."

Andrews expects results of the study to come in late February or Early March. The AHL season picks up again for the home town Devils Friday night when they begin a six game road trip in Providence