The Hershey Bears, who led the AHL regular season standings with an astonishing 60-17-0-3 record (123 points) will take on the Texas Stars (46-27-3-4, 99 points) in the Calder Cup Finals that will start at the GIANT Center on Thursday, June 3rd. The Stars, who are affiliated with Dallas of the NHL, rallied from a three games to two deficit and defeated the Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal’s AHL team), 4-2, in game 7 on Wednesday night to set up what appears to be a showdown of two outstanding hockey clubs.
Dallas is led by former Western Hockey League Kelowna Rockets forward Jamie Benn. Benn, who was on the Memorial Cup runner-up team that lost to the Windsor Spitfires in the 2009 championship contest, notched 22 goals while playing ALL 82 games at the NHL level with Coach Marc Crawford’s club in 2009-10. Benn (5th round pick, 129th overall, in 2007 NHL Entry Draft) leads the AHL playoffs in scoring with 14 goals and 10 assists in 18 games and is the primary offensive threat for Texas. Some other familiar names on the Stars are former Washington Capitals draft pick Travis Morin (9th round, 263rd overall draft pick in 2004), who has pumped in three goals and 10 assists in 18 contests and former Michigan State and Stanley Cup winning (2006 Carolina Hurricanes) defenseman Andrew Hutchinson (four goals, 11 assists in 18 tilts). Forward Landon Wilson, the 19th overall pick in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs and a man who has played in 375 NHL games, is also on the Stars roster. In goal, Texas received a stellar performance from Matt Climie (stopped 41 of 43 shots) in game seven versus Hamilton. Climie ran his post season record to 5-3 and will likely start in net for the Stars. The 27 year old goalie, who was undrafted out of Bemidji State University, took over for starting net minder Brent Krahn (2000 Calgary Flames first round draft choice, 9th overall) in game six of the second round against the Chicago Wolves when Krahn suffered a concussion.
Here is the full schedule for the Calder Cup Finals:
Game 1: Thursday, June 3 at HERSHEY 7:00 p.m. GIANT Center
Game 2: Saturday, June 5 at HERSHEY 7:00 p.m. GIANT Center
Game 3: Monday, June 7 at Texas 8:30 p.m. Cedar Park Center
Game 4: Wednesday, June 9 at Texas 8:30 p.m. Cedar Park Center
*Game 5: Friday, June 11 at Texas 8:30 p.m. Cedar Park Center
*Game 6: Monday, June 14 at HERSHEY 7:00 p.m. GIANT Center
*Game 7: Wednesday, June 16 at HERSHEY 7:00 p.m. GIANT Center
The defending Calder Cup Champion Bears hope to get forward Andrew Gordon (lower body injury) back for the finals. Hershey will look to become the first team since the 1991 Springfield Indians to win back-to-back Calder Cup titles. Tickets for Game 1 and Game 2 of the 2010 Calder Cup Finals at the GIANT Center are on sale now at the GIANT Center box office or by phone at (717) 534-3911.