Notes from the opening night of the AHL’s Calder Cup 2004 conference final series:
Tom Kostopoulos recorded a goal and two assists for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in its 3-1 win in Game 1. Kostopoulos is now tied for the AHL scoring lead with 17 points, and has 37 points in 35 games in a Wilkes-Barre uniform this season.Andy Chiodo stopped 23 shots for the Penguins, winning his fifth straight playoff decision and eighth straight overall on home ice. Wilkes-Barre has outscored its opponents 16-2 in those five games. Chiodo’s last loss at the Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza was on Mar. 17 against Bridgeport.Hartford goaltender Jason LaBarbera left Tuesday’s Game 1 following the Pens’ second goal, 8:26 into the third period. Wolf Pack head coach Ryan McGill told reporters that the league MVP was suffering from dehydration, and is expected to start Game 2 on Thursday.Steve Valiquette worked 11:10 in relief of LaBarbera on Tuesday, his first game action since Apr. 7. Valiquette served as Rick DiPietro‘s back-up when Bridgeport reached the Calder Cup Final in 2002.LaBarbera had been unbeaten in his previous 15 road appearances (10-0-3, 2 no-decisions) prior to Game 1. His last road loss: Jan. 28 at Worcester.Both Hartford (eight games) and Rochester (seven games) had long winning streaks snapped on Tuesday.Milwaukee was 0-17-3-1 in the 2003-04 regular season and 0-5 in the playoffs when trailing after two periods, before scoring twice in the final frame to beat Rochester in Game 1, 2-1. A Tony Hrkac goal with 56 seconds remaining gave the Admirals the win.Former Admiral Domenic Pittis scored the Amerks’ only goal in Game 1, his 17th point this postseason and the 78th point of his Calder Cup Playoff career, tying him for 10th place on the AHL’s all-time list.All four of Rochester’s losses this postseason have been by one goal.The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports that the Amerks’ trip to Milwaukee for Game 1 wasn’t without problems. The team was scheduled to depart Rochester at 6:00 on Monday evening and fly to Chicago via Philadelphia, then bus to Milwaukee. Weather delays canceled the second leg of the trip, and the team spent the night in the Philadelphia airport, finally arriving in Milwaukee around noon on game day Tuesday.