Hamilton, ONT, Canada - The Texas Stars (8-4) were defeated by the Hamilton Bulldogs (9-4) 3-2 in overtime on Friday night in front of 2,977 fans at Copps Coliseum in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. Hamilton leads the best of seven series 1-0. Forward Brock Trotter scored a power-play goal 14 seconds into overtime, lifting the Bulldogs over the Stars in the series opener. Trotter finished with two goals in the game. Stars rookieJamie Benn scored two goals, as Texas dropped its first Game 1 in this year's playoffs. Hamilton center David Desharnais scored and added two assists in the first win of the series for Hamilton. Hamilton goalie Curtis Sanford (2-0) stopped 18 Texas shots in the defeat. Texas goalie Matt Climie (1-0) made 35 saves in the overtime loss.
Western Conference Finals Schedule (best of seven) Game 1 -Texas 2 at Hamilton 3 (OT) (HAM leads series 1-0) Game 2 - Sun., May 16 - Texas at Hamilton, 1:00 pm CT Game 3 - Wed., May 19 - Hamilton at Texas, 7:30 pm CT Game 4 - Fri., May 21 - Hamilton at Texas, 7:30 pm CT *Game 5 - Sat., May 22 - Hamilton at Texas, 7:00 pm CT *Game 6 - Mon., May 24 - Texas at Hamilton, 6:30 pm CT *Game 7 - Wed., May 26 - Texas at Hamilton, 6:30 pm CT *if necessary
FRIDAY'S SCORE: Game 1 - Texas 2 at Hamilton 3 (OT) (HAM leads series 1-0)
HERSHEY GOES FOR 2-0 SERIES LEAD TONIGHT After a pair of days off, Hershey and Manchester resume the Eastern Conference Finals with Game 2 tonight at Giant Center. The Bears earned their sixth consecutive victory with a 4-2 triumph in Wednesday's series-opener, improving Hershey to 9-1 overall this postseason. Hershey is a perfect 6-0 at home in the playoffs and has won 11 straight and a remarkable 35 of its last 36 games at Giant Center dating back to the regular season. The Bears' only home loss in that span was a 4-3 setback to Adirondack on Mar. 21; prior to that, Hershey hadn't lost on home ice since dropping a 5-4 shootout decision to the Phantoms back on Nov. 28. Forwards Andrew Gordon and Steve Pinizzotto joined defensemen Sean Collins and Karl Alzner in tallying Game 1 goals for the Bears. Collins' marker, which was his first of the postseason, came just 16 seconds after the opening face-off. Gordon registered his 10th goal of the playoffs (10-5-15), tying him with linemate Alexandre Giroux (10-8-18) for the league lead. Giroux and Keith Aucoin assisted on Gordon's Game 1 marker; Giroux is now on a six-game scoring streak (5-5-10), while Aucoin now has at least one helper in all 10 playoff games thus far (1-13-14). Two-time Calder Cup champion Chris Bourque picked up an assist for Hershey to run his own scoring streak to six games (4-9-13), and Mathieu Perreault shows a point in three straight (2-3-5) after going scoreless in his previous four outings. Hershey goaltender Michal Neuvirth stopped 24 of 26 shots on Wednesday and improved to a perfect 7-0 (2.36, .895) this postseason. The Monarchs, who dropped Game 1 on the road for the second consecutive round, received markers from rookie Andrei Loktionov and Gabe Gauthier, the latter closing the game's scoring after Hershey had built a 4-1 edge. Loktionov's goal was his first ever in the Calder Cup Playoffs after totaling nine goals and 24 points in 29 AHL games during an injury-plagued regular season. Gauthier, meanwhile, has netted a goal in four of his last five games and shows a point in all five of those contests (4-1-5). Manchester leading scorer Bud Holloway (6-5-11) went without a point on Wednesday for the first time in 11 postseason games. Monarchs' goaltender Jonathan Bernier is now 0-3 in these playoffs when he allows three or more goals, but he's a perfect 8-0 when he surrenders two or fewer goals. Manchester is now 0-5 lifetime in the conference finals, all against the Bears.
SERIES SUBPLOTS -- Texas is 1-1 in Game 2's this spring, while Hamilton is 2-0. -- In the AHL's conference finals round, the Game 1 winner has gone on to win 13 of 14 series over the last seven postseasons. -- Hamilton is 6-0 in the playoffs when scoring the first goal of the night, Texas is 6-1.
Playoff Format Four rounds, with each round slated as a best of seven series. The top four teams in each division qualify for playoffs. The teams play within their division for the first two rounds. The division winners will meet in the conference finals. The winner of the Western Conference will play the winner of the Eastern Conference for the Calder Cup. In order to take the Calder Cup, a team must win 16 games.
The Calder Cup The coveted Calder Cup has been a motivational force for American Hockey League teams throughout the League's 73-year history. It is one of our sport's greatest challenges and ultimate honors to hoist the Calder Cup in victory.
The trophy is named for Frank Calder, who served as the National Hockey League's first President from 1917 to 1943. During the 1920's, Mr. Calder was instrumental in guiding hockey into the mainstream of America's major cities including Boston, New York, Detroit and Chicago, while helping in the formation of the American League.
The Calder Cup trophy itself was actually first awarded in 1938 to the Providence Reds for winning the second International-American Hockey League championship. (In 1996, George Parsons of the Syracuse Stars was presented the Calder Cup in a ceremony at the Onondaga County War Memorial, as it is believed the Stars never received a trophy for their 1937 championship.