CALDER CUP UPDATE:
Hershey and Norfolk kick off their East Division semifinal at Giant Center tonight (7:00 ET)… This is the third playoff meeting between the clubs; the Bears ousted the Admirals in 2001 and again in 2002… Norfolk is the lower seed in the series, but the Ads won seven of 10 meetings from Hershey in the regular season, including four of five in Chocolatetown… Rookie Eric Fehr led the Bears in scoring vs. Norfolk with 10 points (5g, 5a) in nine games played… Hershey’s 103 points in the regular season tied for the second-most in the franchise’s 68-year history… The Admirals’ 94 points were a franchise high… Norfolk goaltender Adam Munro was 8-1-0 in his last nine decisions in the regular season.
The 2006 Calder Cup Playoffs got underway last night at the Hartford Civic Center, where AHL rookie Barry Brust made 39 saves to lead Manchester to a 1-0 win over the host Wolf Pack… Alexandre Daigle, the heralded first overall pick back in the 1993 Entry Draft and owner of 616 games of NHL experience, scored his first career playoff goal last night, snapping a shot home off a two-on-one break at the 11:46 mark of the second period… Marty Wilford recorded an assist on the play; both Wilford and Daigle are former members of the Wolf Pack… First-year pro Al Montoya stopped 25 shots for Hartford… The Pack finished with a 39-26 edge in shots, including 32-15 over the final two periods… Hartford was 0-for-7 on the power play; Manchester was 0-for-5.
Game 2 of this Atlantic Division semifinal is tonight (7:00 ET), with Hartford looking to avoid a perilous 0-2 hole heading on the road… Only four teams in AHL history have lost the first two games of a best-of-seven at home and come back to win the series… Dating back to 2004, the Wolf Pack have lost six of their last seven home playoff games, each loss by a single goal… Marc Staal, the 12th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, made his pro debut for Hartford last night, as did Manchester’s Ned Lukacevic, a fourth-round pick by Los Angeles in 2004… The Monarchs, who are looking for their first-ever playoff series victory, had never won a Game 1 before last night… Brust became the first AHL goalie to post a shutout in his Calder Cup Playoff debut since teammate Adam Hauser in 2004.
Brian Gionta had two goals and an assist as New Jersey captured the Atlantic Division title with a 4-3 win in Montreal on Tuesday night… 2001 AHL All-Star Jonathan Cheechoo won the Maurice Richard Trophy, leading the NHL with 56 goals on the season… 2005 AHL All-Star Eric Staal finished with 45 goals and 100 points for Carolina… Jason Spezza finished second in the NHL with 71 assists after leading the AHL in that category a year ago… Boston’s Brad Boyes finished third only to Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby in the NHL rookie scoring race… Two-time AHL All-Star Miikka Kiprusoff led the NHL in goals-against average for the second straight season… The Stanley Cup Playoffs get underway on Friday.
ON THIS DATE (April 19):
2000 – Behind Mika Noronen’s third straight home shutout, Rochester beats Albany, 2-0, in the decisive Game 5 of their first-round series… 1996 – Led by Chris Ferraro (4g, 1a) and Peter Ferraro (1g, 5a), Binghamton defeats Syracuse, 8-5, in Game 1 of their division semifinal… 1970 – Jim Stanfield’s goal 67 seconds into overtime gives Springfield a 5-4 win in Game 7 of its first-round series vs. Hershey.
AHL ON B2 NETWORKS:
B2 Networks brings all the action of the 2006 Calder Cup Playoffs to your computer with live video webcasts of every game… Click here for details.