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Both conference finals on ice tonight

CALDER CUP UPDATE:
The Western Conference Final gets underway tonight with Grand Rapids hosting Milwaukee (7:00 ET)… The Admirals have been off since May 9, when they wrapped up a four-game sweep of Houston… The Griffins are riding high off what is being called the biggest win in franchise history, a 5-4 decision in Game 7 vs. Manitoba in which Grand Rapids erased a three-goal deficit… Jiri Hudler recorded five assists in Tuesday’s clincher and 14 points in the series against the Moose… Darryl Bootland capped a four-point night by scoring the winning goal with 2:08 left… Milwaukee’s Darren Haydar and Simon Gamache each recorded nine points in the four games vs. Houston… The Admirals’ Pekka Rinne and the Griffins’ Jimmy Howard were two of the AHL’s top rookie goaltenders in 2005-06… Grand Rapids (21.8 percent) and Milwaukee (20.0 percent) sported the top two power-play efficiencies in the AHL during the regular season… Eleven of the last 13 teams to sweep a best-of-seven Calder Cup Playoff series have lost in the following round.

Hershey opened the Eastern Conference Final with a convincing 5-0 win in Portland last night… The Pirates now face a critical test when they host Game 2 tonight (7:05 ET)… Former Pirates Brooks Laich and Tomas Fleischmann each scored twice for Hershey, and Graham Mink, who spent the previous four seasons in Portland, recorded a pair of assists… Frederic Cassivi stopped 33 shots for his third shutout in the last four games as the Bears became just the third team in AHL history to open a postseason with nine consecutive wins… Cassivi is the first Bears goalie since Gord Henry in 1947 to post back-to-back playoff shutouts… Hershey has allowed one goal in its last 246:52 of play… The Bears have scored five goals in six of their nine playoff games… Portland led the AHL in offense during the playoffs (4.17 gpg) before being blanked in Game 1… Zenon Konopka’s scoring streak ended at 12 playoff games (9g, 14a) and 24 games overall (15g, 25a)… Shane O’Brien, who had a team-high five shots in Game 1, continues to lead all AHL defensemen in playoff scoring with 14 points and is first overall with 63 penalty minutes… Tonight’s game will be the Pirates’ sixth straight on home ice.

Eastern Conference Final — Series "M" (best-of-7)
A1-Portland Pirates vs. E2-Hershey Bears
Game 1 – Wed., May 17 – Hershey 5, PORTLAND 0
Game 2 – Thu., May 18 – at Portland, 7:05
Game 3 – Sat., May 20 – at Hershey, 7:00
Game 4 – Sun., May 21 – at Hershey, 6:00
*Game 5 – Tue., May 23 – at Portland, 7:05
*Game 6 – Wed., May 24 – at Portland, 7:05
*Game 7 – Tue., May 30 – at Hershey, 7:00

Western Conference Final — Series "N" (best-of-7)
N1-Grand Rapids Griffins vs. W1-Milwaukee Admirals
Game 1 – Thu., May 18 – at Grand Rapids, 7:00
Game 2 – Sat., May 20 – at Grand Rapids, 7:00
Game 3 – Mon., May 22 – at Milwaukee, 8:00
Game 4 – Wed., May 24 – at Milwaukee, 8:00
*Game 5 – Fri., May 26 – at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sat., May 27 – at Milwaukee, 8:00
*Game 7 – Mon., May 29 – at Grand Rapids, 7:00

Complete Calder Cup Playoff schedules and results

All times Eastern… *if necessary

ALUMNI WATCH:
On Wednesday, Michael Peca and Shawn Horcoff scored and Dwayne Roloson made 24 saves as Edmonton advanced to the Western Conference Finals with a 2-0 win over San Jose… In the quarterfinal round at the 2006 World Championships in Latvia, former Houston Aeros forward Mika Hannula recorded a hat trick in Sweden’s 6-0 win over the United States… Former AHL All-Stars Mike Cammalleri and Patrice Bergeron scored for Canada in a 4-1 win over Slovakia.

BY THE NUMBERS:
5 — Finnish-born goaltenders to reach the AHL’s conference finals in the last two years… Milwaukee’s Pekka Rinne and Portland’s Jani Hurme were preceded by Antero Niittymaki, Kari Lehtonen and Hannu Toivonen in 2005.

ON THIS DATE (May 18):
1997Chad Kilger and Brad Isbister record a goal and an assist each and Manny Legace makes 43 saves as Springfield opens its Southern Conference final series with a 6-2 win in Hershey… 1996Andrew Brunette records a goal and two assists as Portland beats Saint John, 7-1, in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference final… 1992Mike Sillinger picks up two goals and an assist as Adirondack opens the Calder Cup Final with a 6-3 win at St. John’s… 1990Jeff Rohlicek’s goal 23 seconds into overtime of Game 6 gives Springfield a 4-3 win over Rochester and its sixth Calder Cup championship.

AHL ON B2 NETWORKS:
B2 Networks brings all the action of the 2006 Calder Cup Playoffs to your computer with live video webcasts of every game… Click here for details.