Admirals, Stars roll dice in Game 7

After Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Hartford prevailed on Saturday night, the 2006 Calder Cup Playoffs get their third Game 7 of the first round when Milwaukee hosts Iowa in the finale of their West Division semifinal series this afternoon.

The action from the Bradley Center gets underway at 5:00 p.m. ET.

The Stars are looking to become the 14th team in AHL history to win a series after trailing three games to one, while the Admirals are trying to avoid becoming the first team to squander that lead two years in a row.

In the division semis last year, Milwaukee, coming off the 2004 Calder Cup championship, lost the last three games against Cincinnati, including a 4-3 defeat at home in Game 7.

This time, the Admirals raced out to a 3-1 series lead before Iowa took Game 5 on Thursday night and Game 6 on Friday.

Milwaukee’s Darren Haydar leads all scorers in the series with 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in the series. Teammate Simon Gamache has scored five goals.

Junior Lessard leads the Stars with seven points in six games.

Mike Smith has gone the distance in goal for Iowa, stopping 65 of 68 shots in the last two games. Milwaukee’s goaltending situation got muddy in Game 6 when Brian Finley left injured in the first period and yielded to Jake Moreland, who made just his fifth career AHL appearance (third in the playoffs).

This afternoon’s winner meets Houston in the second round.

Later this evening, Syracuse hosts Manitoba in Game 6 of their North Division semifinal, with the Moose one win away from a date with Grand Rapids in round two.

The Crunch are back home at the Onondaga County War Memorial, where they won the first two games of the series last weekend. Manitoba returned the favor with three straight wins at the MTS Centre to take a 3-2 series lead.

It’s generally been a defensive series, with the teams combining for 20 goals in five games.

Only six different Moose players have scored in the series, led by Alexandre Burrows with three. Geoff Platt is the only Crunch player with two goals, scoring once in Game 4 and once more in Game 5.

Pascal Leclaire‘s numbers were brilliant in Games 1 and 2, stopping 77 of 78 shots. He made 38 saves in Game 3, then allowed five power-play goals in Game 4 before dropping a 3-2 overtime decision in Game 5.

Wade Flaherty has improved his playoff record to 27-11 over the last three postseasons with his work in the series, entering Game 6 with a 1.55 GAA and .940 save percentage.

Face-off in Syracuse is set for 7:00 p.m. ET.

If you can’t make it to today’s games, don’t miss the live video webcasts of all the action from B2 Networks, and follow along live on the AHL’s real-time scoreboard. You can also access live scores from your web-enabled cell phone at