Hamilton spends its Victoria Day in search of a coronation as Western Conference champions tonight in Game 6 of the conference finals vs. Texas. The Bulldogs put themselves in position to secure its fourth Calder Cup Finals appearance in 14 seasons with a 3-0 win over the Stars in Cedar Park on Saturday night, Hamilton’s third shutout of the playoffs and 15th dating back to the start of the regular season.
To advance, the Bulldogs need to win one of two games at Copps Coliseum, where they are 7-1 this postseason. Goalie Curtis Sanford made 23 saves in the Game 5 win as Hamilton bounced back after seeing the Stars even the series with wins in Games 3 and 4. Sanford, who reached the Calder Cup Finals as Manitoba’s backup goaltender last year, is 5-2 with a 1.68 GAA and a .938 save percentage in these playoffs. Ryan Russell, Mike Glumac and David Desharnais scored for the Bulldogs on Saturday night, the third goal of the series for each. Desharnais, who also picked up an assist in Game 5 and leads all scorers with 3-5-8 in the series, has points in seven straight games (5-6-11) and 15 of 17 overall (9-12-21) on the postseason.Jamie Benn
has scored five of the Stars’ 10 goals in the series, and his 13 playoff goals total are one shy of the AHL rookie record held by Rochester’s Sean McKenna (14 in 1983). Matt Climie
(3-3, 2.91, .907) made 30 saves in the Game 5 loss, his sixth consecutive start since relieving an injured Brent Krahn
(7-3, 2.32, .928) in Game 6 vs. Chicago. The Stars are 5-for-19 with the man advantage (26.3 percent), but all five of those goals came in Games 1 and 3. The Bulldogs are 18-12 all-time with a chance to close out a series, including 12-8 at Copps Coliseum and 2-1 in 2010. The Stars are facing elimination for the second time this postseason; they defeated Chicago in Game 7 of the West Division Finals. In the AHL’s 113 previous best-of-seven series tied at 2-2, the Game 5 victor has won the series 90 times (79.6 percent).Western Conference Finals Schedule
Game 1 - Texas 2 at Hamilton 3 (OT)
Game 2 – Texas 1 at Hamilton 3 (HAM leads series 2-0)Game 3 – Hamilton 4 at Texas 5 (OT)
Game 4 – Hamilton 1 at Texas 2 (OT)
*Game 5 – Hamilton 3 at Texas 0 (HAM leads series 3-2)
*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 necessaryMONDAY’S GAME 5-24-10:
Game 6 - Texas at Hamilton, 6:30 PM (CDT) (HAM leads series 3-2)SUNDAY’S SCORE:
NoneHERSHEY WAITS FOR THE WINNER OF WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
After beating the Manchester Monarchs in Game 6 of their best-of-seven series at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa., on Saturday night, the Hershey Bears will wait to play the winner of the Hamilton –Texas series for the Calder Cup. The Bears are in the Calder Cup Finals for the fourth time in the five years and for the 22nd time overall. Hershey has won a record 10 Calder Cups in franchise history, most recently in 2006 and 2009.SERIES SUBPLOTS
• Hamilton has scored first in all five games in the series and in six straight contests overall; Texas has allowed the first goal in eight straight outings.
• Texas is 8-1 when Jamie Benn
(13-8-21) records a point this postseason and 2-5 when he doesn’t.
• Hamilton has outshot Texas in four of the first five games of the series, and has scored at least one power-play goal in all five games.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.