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Hershey looks for Cup clincher on Monday

Monday, 06.14.2010 / 12:07 PM / AHL Update

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Hershey looks for Cup clincher on Monday
The Hershey Bears can clinch the Calder Cup with a victory against the Texas Stars Monday. The game can be seen on the NHL Network in the U.S. and Canada starting at 7 p.m. ET.
The Hershey Bears can clinch their second consecutive Calder Cup title, and third in the last five seasons, with a victory against the Texas Stars in Game 6 on Monday at Giant Center in Hershey, Pa.

The game can be seen on the NHL Network in the U.S. and Canada starting at 7 p.m. ET.

Hershey, the top affiliate of the Washington Capitals, is one win away from capping off a record-setting season with a championship after winning all three games in Texas, an affiliate of the Dallas Stars last week.

The Bears, who are on the verge of becoming the AHL’s first repeat champions since the Springfield Indians won in 1990 and 1991, took a thrilling Game 5 on Friday night, 2-1, on Alexandre Giroux’s goal 13:28 into overtime. It was Hershey’s eighth OT win of the 2010 playoffs and Giroux’s fifth career playoff OT goal, extending a pair of AHL records.

Giroux (14-11-25) also became the third player in AHL history with 50 career playoff goals, joining Darren Haydar (59) and Jody Gage (51). Hershey’s top defensive tandem of John Carlson and Karl Alzner -- both former first-round draft picks by the Capitals -- picked up the assists on the game-winner.

Francois Bouchard (5-5-10) scored in regulation for Hershey on Friday, his third goal of the Finals and fifth of the playoffs. Chris Bourque (7-20-27) picked up an assist to claim sole possession of the league postseason scoring lead.

Michal Neuvirth (13-4, 2.18, .916) finished with 35 saves to earn his fourth consecutive road win, and stopped all 36 Texas shots in the third period and overtime of Games 3-5. Neuvirth has now made as many career appearances -- 39 -- in the playoffs (29-10, 2.03, .925, 4 SO) as in the regular season (24-11-2, 2.45, .916, 2 SO) for the Bears.

Keith Aucoin (2-23-25), who had an assist in Game 5, leads all scorers with 1-5-6 in the series. Aaron Gagnon (8-4-12) had the only Texas goal in Game 5, redirecting home a Dan Jancevski (1-11-12) shot on a first-period power play.

Notes -- The Stars have scored with the man advantage in four consecutive games. ... Matt Climie (7-6, 2.71, .916) made 41 saves on Friday night, his third game this postseason with 40-plus saves and just two goals against. ... Brent Krahn (7-3, 2.32, .928) served as Climie’s backup in Game 5, dressing for the first time since being injured in Game 6 at Chicago on May 9. ... Jamie Benn (14-12-26) has been held to 0-2-2 in the series after recording 14-10-24 in 18 games over the first three rounds. ... The team scoring first is just 1-4 in the Finals, and all five games have been tied entering the third period. ... Hershey trailed beyond the midway point of the second period in all three games at the Cedar Park Center but rallied for their 10th, 11th, and 12th come-from-behind wins of the postseason. ... The Bears, who have won 75 of their 100 games since opening night, are the first team to win three road contests in a single Finals series since Adirondack (four) and St. John’s (three) combined to win all seven games of the 1992 Finals on the road. ... Hershey had won 13 straight and 37 of 38 at home before losing Games 1 and 2 to Texas. ... The Bears have not clinched a Calder Cup title on home ice since 1980, when they defeated the New Brunswick Hawks in Game 6 at Hersheypark Arena; Hershey won the Cup on the road in 1988 (Fredericton), 1997 (Hamilton), 2006 (Milwaukee) and 2009 (Manitoba). … The Bears are 10-12 all-time with a chance to clinch a Calder Cup championship. ... Texas is already 3-0 when facing elimination this postseason, winning Game 7 at Chicago in the second round and taking Games 6 and 7 of the conference finals in Hamilton. ... This is the third consecutive Finals series to go six games; there has not been a Game 7 since 2003 (Houston vs. Hamilton).

Quote of the Day

We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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