HERSHEY CLAIMS 10TH CALDER CUP TITLE

By: Jason Chaimovitch

Winnipeg, Man.- A three-goal first period was more than enough as the Hershey Bears captured the American Hockey League’s 2009 Calder Cup championship with a 4-1 win over the Manitoba Moose at the MTS Centre on Friday night.

The Bears, the top development team of the National Hockey League’s Washington Capitals, defeated the Moose four games to two, winning their second AHL title in the last four years and their 10th overall, establishing a new league record.

Rookie goaltender
Michal Neuvirth won the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the most valuable player of the 2009 Calder Cup Playoffs, finishing with a 16-6 record, a 1.92 goals-against average, .932 save percentage, and four shutouts. The 21-year-old Neuvirth was a second-round draft choice by the Capitals in 2006, and was one of 13 Bears to also skate for Washington during the 2008-09 season.

After winning the AHL scoring title and MVP honors with a 60-goal performance in the regular season, Hershey forward
Alexandre Giroux led the league in postseason scoring with 15 goals and 28 points in 22 games.

Hershey did not waste much time in gaining a 1-0 advantage in Game 6. The Bears had a flurry of chances in front of the Manitoba net, and
Andrew Gordon converted a second effort for his sixth goal of the postseason at 3:56 of the opening period.

The Bears made it a 2-0 game at 6:10 of the first stanza, as
Kyle Wilson sent a drop-pass to Chris Bourque at center point, and Bourque fired a blistering one-timer through traffic past Moose goaltender Cory Schneider. A second-round draft pick by Washington in 2004, Bourque tallied his fifth goal of the playoffs and first since Game 5 of the conference finals at Providence on May 25.

Herhsey extended the lead to 3-0 at 11:16, as Giroux broke in on a partial breakaway and beat Schneider with a backhand shot down low for his league-leading 15th goal of the playoffs.

Mario Bliznak put Manitoba on the board at 11:03 of the second period, converting a nice centering feed from Cody Hodgson to record his third postseason goal and his first since May 20.

But
Keith Aucoin sealed the Hershey victory with an empty-net tally in the closing minute of regulation, tallying his fifth goal of the postseason to secure his first-ever Calder Cup championship.

Neuvirth finished with 24 saves in net and became the fourth goaltender in AHL history to win 16 games in a single postseason.

Attendance at the MTS Centre for Friday’s game was 15,003, the fifth sellout of the series. The average (12,839) and total (77,038) attendances for the six-game Finals were both all-time league records for a playoff series. As a whole, average playoff attendance in the AHL increased 19 percent league-wide over last postseason.

Under second-year head coach Bob Woods, the Bears won the East Division with a record of 53-22-2-3 (111 points) during the regular season, then eliminated the Philadelphia Phantoms (4-0), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (4-3) and Providence Bruins (4-1) before defeating the Moose in the Finals.

Hershey’s victory brings the curtain down on the AHL’s 73rd season. In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 84 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and this season marked the eighth consecutive year in which more than 6 million fans attended AHL games across North America.



Search Archive »




Browse by Year »

2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
200
0

Browse by Month »

August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010

December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
December 0200