Admirals win Robert W. Clarke Trophy

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The Milwaukee Admirals have won the Robert W. Clarke Trophy as the AHL’s Western Conference champions for 2005-06, advancing to the Calder Cup Finals with a 5-4 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins in Milwaukee on Wednesday night.

It is the second conference championship in three seasons for the Admirals, who got an early third-period goal from Darren Haydar to break a 4-4 tie in Game 4. Haydar, who was Milwaukee’s leading playoff scorer during their 2004 championship run, ranks first in the AHL with 14 goals and second with 28 points in 15 games during the 2006 Calder Cup Playoffs.

Milwaukee, the top affiliate of the NHL’s Nashville Predators, won the West Division championship during the regular season, amassing 108 points with a record of 49-21-6-4. The Admirals defeated the Iowa Stars in the division semifinals (4-3) and the Houston Aeros in the division finals (4-0) before dispatching Grand Rapids, and will face either the Portland Pirates or the Hershey Bears in the 2006 Calder Cup Finals.

Established in 1990, the AHL’s Western Conference championship trophy honors the late Robert W. Clarke. Mr. Clarke served as the Chairman of the AHL’s Board of Governors from 1967-94, and in 1956, he played an instrumental role in the formation of the Rochester Americans, one of the most successful franchises in AHL history and themselves a seven-time recipient of the Clarke Trophy.