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North, West Division finals set

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … Two Game 7’s closed out the first round of the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs this week and finalized the field of eight teams remaining in contention for the American Hockey League’s coveted championship trophy.

The Abbotsford Heat made history on Tuesday night with their 2-0 win over Rochester to wrap up their North Division semifinal series. The Heat, who allowed 18 goals in losing Games 2-4, outscored the Americans 10-2 the rest of the way and became the 15th team in AHL history to come back from a three-games-to-one deficit and win a best-of-seven series, and the fourth ever to win Games 6 and 7 of a series on the road.

Up next for Abbotsford are the Hamilton Bulldogs, who eliminated Manitoba in a six-game series capped by a 3-2 overtime win on Sunday night.

The Chicago Wolves also needed a Game 7, taking a 2-1 decision from Milwaukee on Monday night to advance to the second round for the seventh time in as many trips to the Calder Cup Playoffs.

The Wolves, who have now won a remarkable 17 of 21 playoff series since joining the AHL in 2001-02, advanced to meet the first-year Texas Stars thanks to the Stars’ sweep of Rockford in the division semifinals. Texas’s stingy defense allowed just five goals in four games vs. the IceHogs.

The North Division final series gets underway Thursday night at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, followed by the Game 1 of the West Division final series on Friday at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill.

North Division Finals – Series “K” (best-of-7)
N1-Hamilton Bulldogs vs. N3-Abbotsford Heat || Series Preview

Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 29 – Abbotsford at Hamilton, 7:30
Game 2 – Sun., May 2 – Abbotsford at Hamilton, 2:00
Game 3 – Tue., May 4 – Hamilton at Abbotsford, 10:00
Game 4 – Thu., May 6 – Hamilton at Abbotsford, 10:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 8 – Hamilton at Abbotsford, 10:00
*Game 6 – Mon., May 10 – Abbotsford at Hamilton, 7:30
*Game 7 – Tue., May 11 – Abbotsford at Hamilton, 7:30

West Division Finals – Series
“L” (best-of-7)
W1-Chicago Wolves vs. W2-Texas Stars || Series Preview
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 30 – Texas at Chicago, 8:30
Game 2 – Sun., May 2 – Texas at Chicago, 4:00
Game 3 – Tue., May 4 – Chicago at Texas, 8:30
Game 4 – Wed., May 5 – Chicago at Texas, 8:30
*Game 5 – Fri., May 7 – Chicago at Texas, 8:30
*Game 6 – Sun., May 9 – Texas at Chicago, 4:00
*Game 7 – Tue., May 11 – Texas at Chicago, 8:00 

*if necessary… All times Eastern