CALDER CUP UPDATE: Two more series get underway tonight as the Eastern Conference’s two division champions host Game 1 of their respective division semifinals… In Portland, the Pirates host Providence (7:05 ET) to begin the third postseason meeting between the New England rivals… Portland reached two Calder Cup Finals in its first three seasons (1994, 1996), but has not won a best-of-seven playoff series since… Pirates forwards Dustin Penner – who racked up 19 points in 11 games against the Bruins in 2005-06 – and Zenon Konopka both ended the regular season on 12-game scoring streaks… Providence rookie Jordan Sigalet went 10-3-0 (2.19, .913) over his final 17 appearances… The B’s finished the regular season on an 8-2-0-1 run on the road.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton entertains Bridgeport tonight (7:05 ET) in the opener of their East Division semifinal… The Sound Tigers are looking to avenge their seven-game loss to the Penguins in the first round two years ago, in which Wilkes-Barre rallied from a 3-1 series deficit… Bridgeport got 10 players back from the NHL when the parent N.Y. Islanders’ season ended on Tuesday, in addition to signing junior forward Blake Comeau, the Isles’ second-round draft pick in 2004… Marc-Andre Fleury and Ryan Whitney, both former top-five draft picks, are back in Wilkes-Barre for a playoff run after spending much of the regular season with NHL Pittsburgh… The Sound Tigers won five of the teams’ last seven meetings in 2005-06.
In Wednesday’s Calder Cup Playoff action, Martin Sonnenberg scored 16:17 into overtime to lift Hartford to a 3-2 win over Manchester, knotting their Atlantic Division semifinal at one game apiece… Sonnenberg, who began the season in San Antonio before being acquired for Jeff Taffe on Jan. 24, is playing in his first postseason since reaching the Calder Cup Final with Wilkes-Barre in 2001… Nigel Dawes and Chad Wiseman also scored for the Wolf Pack, while Al Montoya made 33 saves… Barry Brust, the Game 1 hero with a 39-save shutout for the Monarchs, stopped 40 shots in Wednesday’s loss… Mark Ardelan and Richard Petiot had the goals for Manchester, which dropped to 0-4 all-time in Calder Cup Playoff overtime games.
Boyd Gordon’s goal 6:11 into the third period snapped a tie and sent Hershey to a 3-2 victory over Norfolk in Game 1 at the Giant Center… For Gordon, a first-round draft pick by Washington in 2002, it was his third career Calder Cup Playoff goal… Kris Beech and Tomas Fleischmann added a goal and an assist each for the Bears… Frederic Cassivi made 30 saves in the win… Pavel Vorobiev and Carl Corazzini scored for the Admirals, who had won four straight visits to Hershey… Adam Munro made 23 saves in the loss, including a stop of a Fleischmann penalty shot in the second period.
BY THE NUMBERS:
81.1 — Percent (43 of 53) of Game 1 winners who have gone on to win their series over the last three Calder Cup Playoffs.
ON THIS DATE (April 20):
2002 – Marty Wilford’s goal at 9:29 of the second overtime gives Hartford a 3-2 victory over Manchester in the winner-take-all Game 5 of their first-round series… 1952 – Ray Hannigan’s overtime goal gives Pittsburgh the Calder Cup championship with a 3-2 win at Providence.
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.