The 2010 Calder Cup Finals is set and will pit the league’s newest club against its most historic. After knocking off the Hamilton Bulldogs 4-2 on Wednesday night, the Texas Stars advanced to the Finals and will get an opportunity in unseat the defending Calder Cup Champion Hershey Bears.
In its inaugural season, the Stars have advanced to the Calder Cup Finals after winning back-to-back series in Game 7 on the road against the Western Conference’s top two regular season teams (Hamilton and Chicago). Texas knocked off the Rockford IceHogs in four games in the West Division Semifinals to begin their march to the Finals.
Hershey has won an AHL-high 10 Calder Cup Championships, including last spring’s title. The Bears put together one of the best regular seasons in the AHL’s 74-year history in 2009-10, compiling a league-best record of 60-17-0-3 and 123 points. The AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Washington Capitals won the East Division in the regular season by 29 points.
The playoffs haven’t gone quite as smooth as the regular season for the Bears, especially the Eastern Conference Finals. After winning eight of their first nine postseason games, Hershey knocked off the Manchester Monarchs in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals in a series that featured five one-goal games and four overtime contests. But despite the challenge by the Monarchs, Hershey advanced to their league-most 22nd Calder Cup Finals.
In 13 combined Conference Finals games, seven of them went to overtime. Texas was 3-0 in overtime in the Western Conference Finals while Hershey won three of their four OT games against Manchester.
The AHL hasn’t had a team win back-to-back Calder Cup Championships since 1990 and 1991 when the Springfield Indians claimed two straight titles. Back-to-back crowns have occurred 10 times overall in the previous 73 year AHL tournaments, including 1958 and 1959 when the Bears won it twice in a row.
Below is the schedule for the 2010 Calder Cup Finals:
Game 1 : Thu., June 3 – Texas at Hershey, 6 p.m.
Game 2 : Sat., June 5 – Texas at Hershey, 6 p.m.
Game 3 : Mon., June 7 – Hershey at Texas, 7:30 p.m.
Game 4: Wed., June 9 – Hershey at Texas, 7:30 p.m.
*Game 5: Fri., June 11 – Hershey at Texas, 7:30 p.m.
*Game 6: Mon., June 14 – Texas at Hershey, 6 p.m.
*Game 7: Wed., June 16 – Texas at Hershey, 6 p.m.