Calder Cup Finals open tonight

The culmination of the American Hockey League’s 70th-anniversary season gets underway tonight (8:00 ET) as the Western Conference champion Milwaukee Admirals and the Eastern Conference champion Hershey Bears meet in Game 1 of the 2006 Calder Cup Finals at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee…

Champions in 2004, Milwaukee is looking to reclaim the Calder Cup and become the first team since the 1990-91 Springfield Indians to win two titles in as few as three years… The Admirals ousted Iowa in seven games in the first round before recording surprising back-to-back sweeps of Houston and Grand Rapids… Milwaukee’s current nine-game winning streak is three shy of the AHL record for a single postseason, set by the 1988 Hershey Bears… Darren Haydar, who recorded eight points in his last three regular-season games, has followed up with 28 points in 15 playoff matches, and takes a 10-game scoring streak into the Finals (12g, 8a)… Milwaukee captain Greg Zanon has seven points and a plus-15 rating in his last eight games… Pekka Rinne is 8-0 with a 2.13 GAA this postseason… It’s been 26 years since Admirals head coach Claude Noel scored the winning goal for Hershey in the Cup-clinching Game 6 of the 1980 Finals against New Brunswick.

Hershey’s 19th trip to the Calder Cup Finals is its first since 1997, when the Bears defeated Hamilton in five games to win their eighth league championship… Hershey swept Norfolk and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, then outlasted Portland in seven games to reach the Finals… Rookie Eric Fehr, a first-round draft pick in 2003 and an AHL All-Star this winter, scored the series clincher at 9:07 of overtime in Tuesday’s Game 7 against the Pirates… Tomas Fleischmann recorded 14 points (6g, 8a) in the conference finals, and has found the scoresheet in 24 of his last 26 games since Mar. 17, the day Kris Beech made his Hershey debut… Beech, who faced Milwaukee in the 2004 Finals while with Wilkes-Barre and then skated for the Admirals in 48 games earlier this season, has 33 points in 25 games since joining the Bears… Frederic Cassivi has played every minute in net for Hershey this postseason, and is 19-6 with a 1.93 GAA in 26 career playoff appearances in a Bears sweater.

2006 Calder Cup Finals
W1-Milwaukee vs. E2-Hershey

Game 1 – Fri 6/2 at Milwaukee, 8:00
Game 2 – Sat 6/3 at Milwaukee, 8:00
Game 3 – Sat 6/10 at Hershey, 7:00
Game 4 – Sun 6/11 at Hershey, 6:00
*Game 5 – Tue 6/13 at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 6 – Thu 6/15 at Milwaukee, 8:00
*Game 7 – Sat 6/17 at Milwaukee, 8:00

Complete Calder Cup Playoff schedules and results

All times Eastern… *if necessary

Carolina will take on Edmonton in the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals after the Hurricanes’ 4-2 win over Buffalo in Game 7 last night… The Oilers’ roster includes 1995 Calder Cup champion Jason Smith and former Calder Cup finalists Jarret Stoll (2003), Marc-Andre Bergeron (2003), Ty Conklin (2003), Raffi Torres (2002, 2003), Toby Petersen (2001, 2004) and Georges Laraque (1997)… Dwayne Roloson was a three-time AHL All-Star and winner of the Baz Bastien Award as the league’s top goalie in 2000-01… Carolina is coached by Peter Laviolette, who guided Providence to a Calder Cup championship in 1999… Cam Ward was the AHL’s All-Rookie Team goaltender in 2004-05.

76.8 — Percentage of Game 1 winners in the Calder Cup Finals that go on to win the championship (53 of 69), including 11 of the last 12.

ON THIS DATE (June 2):
2005 – Philadelphia becomes the first team in AHL history to post a 1-0 road win in the Calder Cup Finals, getting 27 saves from Antero Niittymaki and a goal from Mike Richards in Game 1 at Chicago… 2004 – Milwaukee scores four power-play goals and two shorthanded markers in an 8-4 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in Game 2 of the Finals… 2000J.F. Labbe’s 40-save effort in a 3-0 shutout gives Hartford a 3-2 Finals series lead over Rochester before 12,125 fans at the Hartford Civic Center… 1996 – Rochester wins its eighth straight home game, 5-1 over Portland, in Game 2 of the Finals.

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