Cup chase ready to begin Wednesday

cc08.jpgThe AHL’s 72nd regular season is in the books, and the match-ups are set for the first round of the 2008 Calder Cup Playoffs. The last day of the season had plenty at stake, and the 16-team postseason field has been filled.

Syracuse ran its winning streak to 15 games and its points streak to 23 (20-0-0-3) with a 7-1 win over Hamilton on Sunday, securing second place in the North Division and home-ice advantage in its opening-round series against Manitoba.

Rockford wrapped up second place in the West with a 5-3 win over Iowa, while Houston took third with a 3-2 shootout decision over Milwaukee. The IceHogs and Aeros will square off in the division semifinals, and the Admirals will meet division champion Chicago.

San Antonio finishes fifth in the West Division, but crosses over to the North bracket as a result of finishing ahead of Hamilton. The Rampage, in the Calder Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2003, will meet Toronto in round one.

The Eastern Conference match-ups will see Providence meet Manchester and Hartford take on Portland in the Atlantic Division semifinals, while Wilkes-Barre/Scranton faces Hershey and Philadelphia tangles with Albany in the East Division.

Click here for the series schedules for the division semifinal round, which will get underway on Wednesday night.