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The 2010 Calder Cup Finals shift to the Lone Star State and the Austin suburb of Cedar Park tonight as the Texas Stars, leading 2-0 in the series, hosts the Hershey Bears for Game Three. The Stars have won four-straight road games since their last appearance at the Cedar Park Center, a 3-0 loss to Hamilton on May 22 in Game Five of the Western Conference Finals.
Texas owns its 2-0 series lead in the Calder Cup Finals after taking a pair of one-goal victories over the Bears last week at Giant Center, a building where Hershey had been 8-0 this postseason and 37-1-0-0 in its last 38 games overall. Hershey is the ninth team in AHL history to open the Finals with two home losses and the first since Chicago in 2005; all eight previous teams went on to lose the series. The Stars claimed Saturday’s Game 2 by a 4-3 final when ex-Bear Travis Morin
broke a 3-3 tie with just 45.3 seconds left in regulation, giving his club its fourth one-goal advantage of the night. Morin recorded his first tally since Game 7 of the division finals at Chicago on May 11, snapping an eight-game drought. Aaron Gagnon
, Garrett Stafford
, and Mathieu Beaudoin also had goals on Saturday for the Stars, who opened the game’s scoring after surrendering the first goal in their previous 11 contests. Gagnon shows a point in each of the first two games of this series (1-1-2), as do Scott McCulloch (1-1-2) and Greg Rallo (1-1-2). Perttu Lindgren
recorded a pair of assists in Game 2 to give him five points (1-4-5) in his last three outings.
AHL leading playoff scorer Jamie Benn
(14 goals,11 assists), who was held without a point for the Stars in Game One, picked up an assist on Gagnon’s goal in Game Two, which came just 60 seconds after the opening face-off. Stars goaltender Matt Climie
improved to 7-3 this postseason (2.51, .923) with 25 saves in net. Hershey has lost four of its last six games after winning 10 of 11 to begin the playoffs. The Bears battled back from a trio of one-goal deficits on Saturday, receiving markers from Steve Pinizzotto, Francois Bouchard, and Andrew Gordon. Gordon’s third-period strike gave him 11 goals in just 13 games this postseason (11-5-16), ranking him second on Hershey behind Alexandre Giroux’s 12 scores (12-9-21). Giroux went scoreless for a second straight game to begin this series, the first time the former AHL MVP has been held without a point in consecutive contests since Mar. 20 and 21 vs. Syracuse and Adirondack. Bouchard now has a goal in the first two games of the series and in three of his last four outings overall (3-0-3), while Pinizzotto’s tally snapped a five-game goal-scoring drought. Defenseman Patrick Wellar chipped in two assists for the Bears in Game 2, his first points since recording a helper in Game 3 of the division finals at Albany on Apr. 27, and Keith Aucoin added a single assist to give him a league-leading 19 helpers (1-19-20) in 17 games this postseason. The Bears have not suffered a three-game losing streak all season.SERIES SUBPLOTS
• The team leading the Calder Cup Finals 2-0 has won the Calder Cup 39 of 41 times (95.1%).
• Hershey is 0-for-its-last-15 on the power play dating back to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals vs. Manchester, including 0-for-6 in the first two contests vs. Texas.
• Texas is the 11th team in AHL history to reach the Calder Cup Finals in its first season in the league.TICKET INFORMATION
The Stars are expecting capacity crowds for all of the home games this week (Game Four is slated for Wednesday, Game Five, if necessary, for Friday). Limited amounts of tickets are available for Wednesday and Friday. Call 512-GO-STARS for information of go to www.ticketmaster.com.