The New York Rangers AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack, defeated the Rochester Americans, 4-1, last night at the Blue Cross Arena, to win their first ever Calder Cup championship. Hartford won the best-of-seven championship series, four games to two.
Johan Witehall tallied two goals and Derek Armstrong & Todd Hall each scored, as the victory clinched the first ever hockey championship for the city of Hartford. J.F. Labbe, who allowed just 10 goals in the Finals, turned aside 20 shots to ensure the victory. Labbe finished the postseason with a 15-7 record, along with a 2.18 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage.
Armstrong was awarded the Jack Butterfield Trophy as the most valuable player of the AHL Playoffs. The center recorded 23 points (seven goals, 16 assists), while playing in all 23 playoff matches.
Aside from capturing their first Calder Cup, Hartford also won the MacGregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the AHL’s 1999-2000 regular season champs and the F.G. (Teddy) Oke Trophy as the New England Division champions. With their victory over the Providence Bruins, the Wolf pack captured their first Richard F. Canning Trophy as the champions of the AHL’s Eastern Conference. The club also became the first team in Hartford’s pro hockey history to reach a league championship series. The Wolf Pack defeated the Springfield Falcons (3-2), the Worcester IceCats (4-1), the Providence Bruins (4-3) and the Rochester Americans (4-2) for a compiled 15-8 playoff record.
The Rochester Americans reached the Calder Cup Finals for the second straight year without bringing home the championship title. The Americans have posted an 13-8 mark in the playoffs, which included a 3-2 first round series win over Albany, a 4-2 semi-final series victory over Hamilton, a 4-0 sweep of Hershey in the Western Conference Finals and a 4-2 series loss to the Wolf Pack in the Cup Finals.
HARTFORD WOLF PACK vs. ROCHESTER AMERICANS (Wolf Pack win championship series, 4-2)
Game 1 – Wed., May 24 – Hartford 1, Rochester 0 (H) Game 2 – Fri., May 26 – Rochester 4, Hartford 1 (H) Game 3 – Sun., May 28 – Hartford 3, Rochester 1 (A) Game 4 – Wed., May 31 – Rochester 4, Hartford 2 (A) Game 5 – Fri., June 2 – Hartford 3, Rochester 0 (H) Game 6 – Sun., June 4 – Hartford 4, Rochester 1 (A)