The American Hockey League’s 68th season, which began in Wilkes-Barre with the Penguins hosting the Norfolk Admirals on Oct. 8, ended 242 days later in the same arena, this time with the Milwaukee Admirals capturing the Calder Cup.
Milwaukee’s high-octane offense erupted for seven goals in the first 25:52 of Sunday’s Game 4, then put it on cruise control and coasted to a 7-2 victory, completing the first four-game sweep in a Calder Cup Final since 1995.Darren Haydar scored twice and added an assist to finish as the AHL’s postseason scoring leader with 26 points… Simon Gamache added a goal and three assists, as the duo combined for 17 points in the four games against Wilkes-Barre.Milwaukee was an amazing 10-for-20 on the power play in the series after the Penguins had allowed just nine power-play goals in 20 games against Bridgeport, Philadelphia and Hartford.The Admirals outscored the Penguins 10-0 in the second period of the four games in the series.Wade Flaherty finished with 16 wins – an AHL record for a single postseason – thanks to a 14-2 mark after the Admirals faced elimination in the division semifinals against Cincinnati, where they trailed three games to two.Wilkes-Barre’s Marc-Andre Fleury saw 31 minutes of action in Game 4, joining Rick DiPietro, Greg Joly and Michel Plasse as the only number-one overall draft picks ever to appear in a Calder Cup Finals game.Jay Henderson became just the fourth player ever to win a Calder Cup with three different teams, while he and Curtis Murphy became the 16th and 17th players to win back-to-back AHL titles with two different clubs.Road teams were an amazing 54-39 (.581) during the Calder Cup 2004 Playoffs, including 11-5 in the last two rounds… Wilkes-Barre/Scranton set a record by playing 11 overtime games, while Milwaukee tied a mark with its six OT wins… There were 17 shutouts, one more than the single-postseason record set in 2000… The Admirals finished on seven-game winning streaks both overall and on the road.
QUOTABLE:“They deserved the Cup. They played like true champions, that’s for sure.” — Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach Michel Therrien, addressing the media after Game 4.“Everybody chipped in. This is not a team where just one line or two lines did it; everybody feels a part of this team.” — Milwaukee forward Mathieu Darche.
WHAT’S NEXT:The AHL drops the puck on its 69th regular season on Wednesday night, Oct. 13. The complete 2004-05 schedule should be announced in late July.