The Calder Cup Finals are deadlocked at two games apiece as Hershey visits Texas Friday night for Game 5 in what will be the Stars' home finale at the Cedar Park Center. The game will be shown live on the NHL Network, beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET.
It's the first time the AHL championship series has been tied at 2-2 entering Game 5 since 2006, when Hershey beat Milwaukee in six games.
In 18 previous best-of-7 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 Games 6 and 7 to Rochester.
Tonight is Hershey's 100th game of the season; the defending champion and top affiliate of the Washington Capitals 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. The series resumes in Hershey on Monday, with Game 7, if needed, scheduled for Wednesday. Both of those games will also be shown on the NHL Network.
Texas, the top affiliate of the Dallas Stars, will be trying to become the first home team to win a game in the series. The Stars won the first two games at Hershey but dropped the next two in their new home arena -- losing leads in both games. Texas led 3-1 in game 3 but allowed five unanswered goals in a 6-3 loss, then was unable to hang onto a 2-1 lead in a 4-2 loss in Game 4.
Hershey's Chris Bourque and Stars rookie Jamie Benn lead all playoff scorers with 26 points; Benn, a 20-year-old who played all 82 regular-season games for Dallas and had 22 goals, is tops in playoff goals with 14 to go along with 12 assists; Bourque has 7 goals and 19 assists. Hershey's Keith Aucoin and Alexandre Giroux, the AHL's two most recent MVPs, are next with 24 points; Aucoin tops all players with 22 assists, while Giroux leads the Bears with 13 goals and has 11 assists.