Article By: Nate Haeni
05/27/2011 8:24 AM - With the Binghamton Senators waiting for their opponent in the Calder Cup Finals since knocking off the Charlotte Checkers on May 18, they finally got one in the Houston Aeros. Houston eliminated the Hamilton Bulldogs in Game 7 on Tuesday to advance to the Finals.
Houston will have the home-ice advantage in the best-of-seven series. The Aeros, National Hockey League affiliate of the Minnesota Wild, finished second in the West Division with a record of 46-28-1-5 during the regular season.
The Aeros swept the Peoria Rivermen (4-0) in the division semifinals before being tested by the Milwaukee Admirals (4-3) in the division finals. After escaping a close series with the Ads, the Aeros built up a 3-0 series lead against the Hamilton Bulldogs but the Bulldogs battled back to force a game 7 before Houston ousted them.
Left wing Patrick O’Sullivan leads the Aeros in scoring with 15 points (4g-11a) in 18 games. Goaltender Matt Hackett has served as Houston’s backstop in all 18 tilts, compiling a 12-6-0 record, 2.56 goals against average and .898 save percentage.
The IceHogs went 3-4-0-1 against Houston in 2010-11 and are 19-11-1-2 all-time against the Aeros.
The top affiliate of the Ottawa Senators, Binghamton ranked fifth in the East Division with a 42-30-3-5 record.
The B-Sens knocked off Manchester (4-3) in seven contests and Portland (4-2) in six games. Binghamton then rolled over Charlotte, sweeping the Checkers 4-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Former IceHogs center Ryan Potulny paces the Senators and the AHL in scoring with 14 goals and 11 assists in 17 games in the postseason. Potulny skated in 58 games for Rockford during 2010-11 before being traded to Ottawa.
The complete schedule for the 2011 Calder Cup Finals is as follows:
Game 1 – Fri., May 27 – Binghamton at Houston, 8:35 ET
Game 2 – Sat., May 28 – Binghamton at Houston, 8:35 ET
Game 3 – Wed., June 1 – Houston at Binghamton, 7:05 ET
Game 4 – Fri., June 3 – Houston at Binghamton, 7:05 ET
Game 5 – Sat., June 4 – Houston at Binghamton, 7:05 ET (if necessary)
Game 6 – Tue., June 7 – Binghamton at Houston, 8:05 ET (if necessary)
Game 7 – Thu., June 9 – Binghamton at Houston, 8:05 ET (if necessary)
Every Calder Cup Finals game can be viewed through www.ahllive.com. For more information on the Calder Cup finals, visit theahl.com.
Season Tickets On Sale For 2011-12: It'll be a long summer without IceHogs hockey and season ticket packages for the 2011-12 season are now on sale. To find a ticket package that quenches your hockey thirst, call (815) 847-6399.