The Binghamton Senators won the AHL's Eastern Conference championship and a berth in the Calder Cup Final with a 4-3 overtime victory against the Charlotte Checkers on Wednesday night, completing a four-game sweep.
Sens' captain Ryan Keller
scored the series-winner 13:05 into overtime. Goaltender Robin Lehner
stopped 42 shots.
The top affiliate of the NHL's Ottawa Senators
, Binghamton finished fifth in the East Division with a record of 42-30-3-5 (92 points) and crossed over to the Atlantic Division playoff draw. The Senators, under coach Kurt Kleinendorst
, defeated the Manchester Monarchs in seven games in the division semifinals and the Portland Pirates in six games in the division finals before sweeping the Checkers, Carolina's AHL affiliate, to become Binghamton's first team Calder Cup finalist since the Binghamton Whalers in 1982.
The Senators' playoff run has been led by Ryan Potulny
, the AHL's leading postseason scorer with 14 goals and 25 points in 17 games. Potulny is one of 13 active Binghamton players who also saw NHL time with Ottawa in 2010-11.
Binghamton will face either the Houston Aeros or the Hamilton Bulldogs, Montreal's top affiliate, in the 2011 Calder Cup Finals. The Aeros, Minnesota's AHL affiliate, lead the Western Conference Finals 3-1 despite losing 8-1 at Hamilton on Wednesday.