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Calder Cup Playoffs begin tonight

The 2006 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway tonight with Game 1 of the Atlantic Division semifinal series between the Hartford Wolf Pack and the Manchester Monarchs.

Hartford, coming off its third consecutive 100-point regular season, is meeting Manchester in a rematch of their first-round series from 2002. The Wolf Pack claimed the winner-take-all Game 5 that year on a double-overtime goal by current Monarchs defenseman Marty Wilford.

Brad Smyth, Manchester’s leading scorer in 2005-06, was loaned to Hartford on Mar. 13 and added 22 points in 16 games with the Wolf Pack. Including Smyth, Hartford finished the regular season with five 30-goal scorers.

Current Monarch and one-time Wolf Pack forward Alexandre Daigle, the first overall pick in the 1993 NHL draft, is still looking for the first playoff goal of his pro career. Manchester’s Adam Hauser has championship experience from his college days, having backstopped the University of Minnesota to an NCAA title in 2002.

Game 1 faces off at 7:00 (ET) tonight. If you can’t make it to the game, don’t miss the live video webcast from B2 Networks – and you can still sign up for their complete Calder Cup Package.

You can also follow all the action from tonight’s postseason opener live on the AHL’s real-time scoreboard.

Complete 2006 Calder Cup Playoff schedule and results

Interactive 2006 playoff brackets