Pirates’ season on the line at home tonight

The Eastern Conference Final resumes with Game 5 at the Cumberland County Civic Center tonight (7:05 ET), and the visiting Hershey Bears are one win away from extending their own AHL record and securing their 19th trip to the Calder Cup Finals… The Bears are coming off a 4-0 victory in Game 4, their second shutout of the series… Each of Sunday’s four goal-scorers for Hershey – Jakub Klepis, Kris Beech, Dave Steckel and Jonas Johansson – was a former first-round draft pick… Although the Pirates have outshot the Bears in each of the first four games, Frederic Cassivi owns a .953 save percentage in the series for Hershey, while Jani Hurme and Nathan Marsters have combined for an .877 mark for Portland… Tomas Fleischmann, who scored seven goals as a rookie with Portland last year, was a 30-goal scorer for Hershey in 2005-06 and leads all skaters with seven points (4g, 3a) in the conference final series… Several Pirates, including top scorers Zenon Konopka, Shane O’Brien and Pierre Parenteau, played for Cincinnati last season and rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to eliminate Milwaukee in the first round.

Milwaukee took a commanding 3-0 lead in the Western Conference championship series with a 3-2 win over Grand Rapids last night… Darren Haydar scored the winning goal with 3:06 left in regulation, his league-leading 13th goal of the postseason… Simon Gamache and Shea Weber also scored and Pekka Rinne made 26 saves to improve to 7-0 for the Admirals, who have won eight in a row… Kent McDonell scored both Griffins goals in Game 3… Milwaukee can wrap up its second consecutive sweep with a win in Game 4 tomorrow.

Eastern Conference Final — Series "M" (best-of-7)
A1-Portland Pirates vs. E2-Hershey Bears
Game 1 – Wed., May 17 – Hershey 5, PORTLAND 0
Game 2 – Thu., May 18 – Hershey 2, PORTLAND 1 (OT)
Game 3 – Sat., May 20 – Portland 6, HERSHEY 5 (2OT)
Game 4 – Sun., May 21 – HERSHEY 4, Portland 0
Game 5 – Tue., May 23 – at Portland, 7:05
*Game 6 – Wed., May 24 – at Portland, 7:05
*Game 7 – Tue., May 30 – at Hershey, 7:00

Western Conference Final — Series "N" (best-of-7)
N1-Grand Rapids Griffins vs. W1-Milwaukee Admirals
Game 1 – Thu., May 18 – Milwaukee 4, GRAND RAPIDS 0
Game 2 – Sat., May 20 – Milwaukee 2, GRAND RAPIDS 1
Game 3 – Mon., May 22 – MILWAUKEE 3, Grand Rapids 2
Game 4 – Wed., May 24 – at Milwaukee, 8:00
*Game 5 – Fri., May 26 – at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sat., May 27 – at Milwaukee, 8:00
*Game 7 – Mon., May 29 – at Grand Rapids, 7:00

Complete Calder Cup Playoff schedules and results

All times Eastern… *if necessary

All four head coaches in the NHL’s conference finals are AHL alumni: Carolina’s Peter Laviolette played in the AHL All-Star Game in 1997, then won the Louis A.R. Pieri Award as he coached Providence to the Calder Cup championship in 1999… Anaheim’s Randy Carlyle coached Manitoba to the Western Conference Final in the 2005 Calder Cup Playoffs… Buffalo’s Lindy Ruff played for Rochester in 1992, helping them to within one win of a trip to the Calder Cup Finals… Edmonton’s Craig MacTavish played three seasons in the AHL with Binghamton, Springfield and Erie (1979-82).

25 — Points recorded by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Chris Kelleher during the 2001 Calder Cup Playoffs, an AHL record for defensemen… Portland blueliner Shane O’Brien enters tonight’s action with 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) in 16 games this postseason.

ON THIS DATE (May 23):
2005Brad Boyes scores 14:08 into overtime to give Providence a 2-1 win over Philadelphia, cutting the Phantoms’ lead in the Eastern Conference Final series to 2-1… 2004Kris Beech records two goals and an assist as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton evens up its Eastern Conference Final with a 5-4 win over Hartford in Game 4… 1997 – Capped by Chad Kilger‘s winning goal, Springfield erases a three-goal deficit and defeats Hershey, 4-3, to take a 3-1 lead in their conference final series… 1994Olaf Kolzig makes 37 saves to lead Portland to a 4-3 win at Moncton and a 2-1 series lead in the Calder Cup Final… 1987 – Rochester wins its fifth Calder Cup with a 4-2 win at Sherbrooke in Game 7.

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.