Every game day from now until the end of the Calder Cup Playoffs, the AHL Morning Skate takes a spin around the AHL ice with recaps and previews, news and notes, facts and figures, and the top headlines from around the American Hockey League.
2010 Calder Cup Finals – Series “O” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. W2-Texas Stars
Game 1 – Thu., June 3 – Texas 2, HERSHEY 1
Game 2 – Sat., June 5 – Texas 4, HERSHEY 3
Game 3 – Mon., June 7 – Hershey 6, TEXAS 3
Game 4 – Wed., June 9 – Hershey 4, TEXAS 2
Game 5 – Fri., June 11 – Hershey at Texas, 8:30
Game 6 – Mon., June 14 – Texas at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 7 – Wed., June 16 – Texas at Hershey, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern
WEDNESDAY’S THREE STARS:
1. Hershey defenseman John Carlson notched the game-winning goal on the power play late in the third period as the Bears evened up the Calder Cup Finals with a 4-2 win at Texas.
2. Greg Rallo contributed a goal and four shots on net to the Stars’ offensive attack.
3. Hershey’s Jay Beagle nabbed his second postseason goal on his lone shot of the night.
GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 5 – Hershey at Texas, 8:30 (Series tied, 2-2)
Video Webcast: AHL Live (www.ahllive.com)
TV: NHL Network, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic (DirecTV 642, Dish 424), ABC-27 Harrisburg
Satellite Radio: XM 204, Sirius 208
The 2010 Calder Cup Finals are deadlocked at two games apiece as Hershey visits Texas tonight for the pivotal Game 5 in what will be the Stars’ home finale at the Cedar Park Center… This marks the first time that the AHL championship series has been tied at 2-2 entering Game 5 since 2006, when Hershey ultimately took a 4-2 series win over Milwaukee … The road team has won all four Finals games thus far, as the regular-season champion Bears dropped a pair at Giant Center before winning Games 3 and 4 in Cedar Park, rallying from behind on both occasions… Hershey, which rebounded from a 3-1 deficit to take a 6-3 win in Game 3, trailed 2-1 in Wednesday’s Game 4 before scoring three unanswered goals for a 4-2 victory… Bears defenseman John Carlson netted a power play goal for the game-winner with just 2:08 left in regulation, registering his first goal of the Calder Cup Playoffs and first AHL tally since scoring in a game vs. Lowell on Feb. 14… Keith Aucoin and Alexandre Giroux – the AHL’s two most recent MVPs – each finished with a goal and an assist on Wednesday… Aucoin extended his points streak to three games (1-4-5) but nabbed his first goal since Game 1 of the division finals vs. Albany on Apr. 24, while Giroux broke a three-game goal-scoring drought with his marker… Giroux (13-11-24) and Aucoin (2-22-24) are tied for second on the Bears with 24 points in 19 games overall this postseason, two back of Chris Bourque’s 26 points (7-19-26)… Hershey’s Jay Beagle netted his second goal of the playoffs in Game 4, and Mathieu Perreault chipped in two assists to give him a point in five of his last six outings (2-5-7)… Bears goaltender Michal Neuvirth stopped 26 of 28 shots in the winning effort, and the reigning Calder Cup Playoffs MVP improved to 12-4 (2.28, .912) in 16 appearances this postseason… Greg Rallo and Perttu Lindgren tallied Game 2 goals for the Stars, with Travis Morin earning a helper on both markers… Lindgren now shows six points (2-4-6) in his last five games and ranks second on Texas overall with 17 points (7-10-17) in 22 playoff contests… Rallo is the only member of the Stars with more than one goal thus far in the Finals (2-1-3) – nine other players have scored once apiece… Texas defenseman Garrett Stafford picked up an assist on Wednesday to run his scoring streak to three games (1-2-3); Stafford shows four goals (4-6-10) in the playoffs, and all four have come on the power play… Stars rookie sensation Jamie Benn entered this round with a league-leading 14 goals and 24 points in 18 games, but Hershey has limited the 20-year-old to just two assists through the first four Finals contests… Benn’s 26 points are now tied with Hershey’s Bourque for the overall league lead… The Bears’ power play had been 1-for-11 in the series before converting on three of five opportunities in Game 4, moving them to 4-for-16 (25.0 percent) through four contests… Texas checks in at 3-for-21 (14.3 percent) with the extra man this round but has netted a power play goal in each of the last three games… In 18 previous best-of-seven Calder Cup Finals that were tied 2-2, the Game 5 winner went on to win 17 times; the only exception is the 1987 Sherbrooke Canadiens, who won Game 5 but dropped the series to Rochester… Tonight is Hershey’s 100th game of the season; they have won 74 of the first 99… Wednesday’s win by the Bears guarantees that the Calder Cup will be presented in Hershey for the first time since 1980.
ALL-TIME CALDER CUP PLAYOFF LEADERS
CARLSON’S LATE-GAME HEROICS SQUARE SERIES – Harrisburg Patriot-News
John Carlson doesn’t score a lot of goals. He just scores the big ones. Carlson, Hershey’s rookie defenseman and prized Washington Capitals prospect, teamed up with forward Keith Aucoin to produce the big play in the Bears’ 4-2 victory over Texas Wednesday at Cedar Park Center. With Hershey on the power play and Game 4 of the Calder Cup finals tied 2-2, the 20-year-old Carlson tipped a pass from Aucoin past Stars goalie Matt Climie with 2:08 left.
STARS FALL AGAIN TO HERSHEY – Austin American-Statesman
The Texas Stars aren’t looking at two consecutive losses in the championship series as an end-all – more like an unwelcome leveling of the ice. After skating to a 2-0 lead over Hershey in the AHL Calder Cup Championship finals, Texas dropped its second straight game at the Cedar Park Center on Wednesday, falling 4-2 in front of a record 7,032 fans. The Bears are primed to become just the third team since 1937 to rebound from two losses to open the championship series and capture the title.
BEARS ALL SQUARE IN TEXAS – Lebanon Daily News
The Hershey Bears came to Texas with their backs squarely against the wall and attempting to defy years and years of history. Now, after a dramatic 4-2 win over the Texas Stars, the Bears are back to even in the Calder Cup finals and halfway toward a remarkable comeback. John Carlson’s power-play goal with 2:08 left in the third period proved to be the winning goal to even the best-of-seven series, 2-2. This, after being down 2-0 in the series and facing three straight games on the road.
BEARS TIE SERIES – WashingtonCaps.com
On Sunday, the Hershey Bears boarded a charter plane for Texas hill country with a big hill to climb. Having uncharacteristically lost the first two games of their Calder Cup final series with the Texas Stars on Hershey ice, the Bears needed a Texas-sized bounce-back to climb the Texas-sized hill that faced them. Three nights later they are enjoying the view from that hill.
LOSS OF HUTCHINSON HURTS AS STARS TRY TO SLOW POTENT BEARS – Austin American-Statesman
The Texas Stars have enough problems slowing down the high-powered Hershey Bears, but that job just got a little more difficult. Defenseman Andrew Hutchinson, perhaps the Stars’ best at the position, is listed as “day-to-day” with a “lower body” injury. He attempted to skate prior to Game 4 of the Calder Cup finals but was unable to play Wednesday.
MCCULLOCH HAS KNACK FOR TIMELY GOALS – NHL.com
The regular season began poorly for Texas Stars rookie forward Scott McCulloch and ended even worse. That left him only one option this postseason — cram all the fun of a full year into a hectic several weeks. McCulloch has become a money scorer for Texas in its run to the American Hockey League Calder Cup final against Hershey.
IT’S OFFICIAL: LIGHTNING HIRE BOUCHER – Tampa Tribune
Well before Steve Yzerman took on his role as general manager of the Lightning, an idea for whom he might select as his first coach stuck in the recesses of his mind. On Thursday, Yzerman brought that vision to fruition, officially announcing the hiring of Guy Boucher as the seventh coach in franchise history. Boucher, 38, the NHL’s youngest coach, was the American Hockey League’s Coach of the Year this season after guiding Hamilton to a franchise-record 52 wins and 115 points in his first season in professional hockey.
LOCAL BUSINESSES SCORE WITH CALDER CUP FINALS – News 8 Austin
As pizza bubbles up in the oven, Rudino’s Pizza & Grinders in Cedar Park prepared to bake and rake in more dough Wednesday night. “Before the game, we definitely get a rush of people that come in,” owner Kert Kveton said. Since the franchise’s first season began, and especially as the Texas Stars face the Hershey Bears in the Calder Cup finals, other nearby businesses have also been reaping the benefits.
AHL HOCKEY BACK IN ALBANY – Albany Times-Union
After more than two months of negotiations, the New Jersey Devils finally made the official announcement Thursday that their American Hockey League affiliate would be moved from Lowell, Mass., to Albany’s Times Union Center. Bob Belber, the arena’s general manager, had been working to find a tenant since the Albany River Rats sold their franchise Feb. 10 and announced that they would be playing next season in Charlotte, N.C.
2005 Calder Cup champion Patrick Sharp netted a goal and goaltender Antti Niemi made 21 saves in net as Chicago wrapped up the 2010 Stanley Cup title with a 4-3 overtime win at Philadelphia on Wednesday in Game 6… More than two-dozen AHL graduates are members of the Blackhawks’ championship squad, including 13 players who previously suited up for their AHL affiliates in Norfolk and Rockford.
Also Wednesday, 2010 AHL coach of the year Guy Boucher was named head coach of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning… In his lone season behind an AHL bench, Boucher guided Hamilton to the AHL’s second-best regular-season record at 52-17-3-8 (115 points) and then took the Bulldogs to Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals.
BY THE NUMBERS:
7 – Intermissions, out of eight through four games played, at which the score has been tied during this series.
5 – Third-period goals scored by Hershey in Games 3 and 4 combined… Texas had allowed one third-period goal total in its six previous games.
14-2 – Combined postseason home-ice record for Hershey (8-0) and Texas (6-2) entering the Calder Cup Finals.
0-4 – Combined home record for Hershey (0-2) and Texas (0-2) in the Calder Cup Finals.
ON THIS DATE:
June 11, 2006 – Hershey blitzes Pekka Rinne and the Milwaukee Admirals with four goals in the first 9:14 and evens the Calder Cup Finals at two wins each with a 7-4 victory in Game 4.
June 11, 1999 – Martin Biron makes 35 saves and assists on two third-period goals as Rochester avoids a sweep and defeats Providence, 4-2, in Game 4 of the Calder Cup Finals.
June 11, 1997 – Pascal Trepanier and Steffon Walby record a goal and an assist each as Hershey takes a 3-1 series lead with a 4-2 win at Hamilton.
Don’t miss a step on the road to the 2010 Calder Cup championship. AHL Live brings AHL action to your computer all season long with live video webcasts and highlights of every AHL game, as well as behind-the-scenes features and interviews in the Video On Demand section… Visit theahl.com or ahllive.com for details.