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Bears capture Canning Trophy

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The Hershey Bears have won the Richard F. Canning Trophy as the AHL’s Eastern Conference champions for 2005-06, claiming the title with a dramatic 5-4 overtime victory over the Portland Pirates at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa., on Tuesday night.

The Bears will extend their own American Hockey League record by appearing in the Calder Cup Finals for the 19th time in team history. They will face the Western Conference champion Milwaukee Admirals in the 2006 Calder Cup Finals, beginning Friday night at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.

Eric Fehr, a first-round pick of the Washington Capitals in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, scored his second goal of the night at the 9:07 mark of the extra period, giving Hershey its first Game 7 overtime victory in the franchise’s storied 68-year history.

The Bears, top affiliate of the Capitals, are returning to the Calder Cup championship series for the first time since 1997, when they won their eighth championship. Under Bruce Boudreau, a seventh-year AHL head coach in his first season behind the Hershey bench, the Bears finished second in the East Division with a regular-season record of 44-21-5-10 (103 points) before sweeping Norfolk in the division semifinals (4-0) and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the division final (4-0), then outlasting Portland in the conference final (4-3).

Established in 1990, the AHL’s Eastern Conference championship trophy honors Richard F. Canning, who served the AHL for more than 50 years during his career, including a term as league president from 1958-61. Mr. Canning is recognized as the author of the AHL’s constitution, by-laws and regulations.

2006 Calder Cup Finals (best-of-seven)
Game 1 – Fri., 6/2 – Hershey at Milwaukee, 8:00 ET
Game 2 – Sat., 6/3 – Hershey at Milwaukee, 8:00 ET
Game 3 – Sat., 6/10 – Milwaukee at Hershey, 7:00 ET
Game 4 – Sun., 6/11 – Milwaukee at Hershey, 6:00 ET
*Game 5 – Tue., 6/13 – Milwaukee at Hershey, 7:00 ET
*Game 6 – Thu., 6/15 – Hershey at Milwaukee, 8:00 ET
*Game 7 – Sat., 6/17 – Hershey at Milwaukee, 8:00 ET

*if necessary