Pirates, Bears kick off conference finals tonight

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … Twenty-three down, four to go.

A quartet of teams remains in the hunt for the 2006 Calder Cup championship after the division finals concluded on Tuesday night.

The Grand Rapids Griffins moved into the conference finals for the second time in their five AHL seasons with a dramatic 5-4 win over Manitoba in Game 7 on Tuesday. Grand Rapids scored the final four goals of the game after they trailed 4-1 entering the final moments of the second period. Jiri Hudler, a Second Team AHL All-Star in 2005-06, recorded five assists in the clincher, giving him 14 points in the series and 21 points for the postseason.

The Griffins will meet Milwaukee for the