Press Release Details
BEARS WIN 10TH CALDER CUP TITLE!!!
- BEARS HANG TEN WITH GAME 6 WIN
Hershey Hoists Franchise's Record 10th Calder Cup
By Jess Mikula
Providing a picturesque ending to a storybook season, HERSHEY captain Bryan Helmer hoisted the BEARS' AHL record 10th Calder Cup on MTS Centre ice in Winnipeg Friday night, as HERSHEY defeated the Manitoba Moose 4-1 in Game 6 of the 2009 Calder Cup Finals.
The BEARS came out firing in the first period, finding the back of the net three times. Andrew Gordon opened scoring for the Chocolate and White, as Kyle Wilson fed him a cross-crease pass for his 6th of the postseason at 3:56. Chris Bourque registered the secondary assist. Bourque potted his 5th goal of the playoffs, picking up a pass from Wilson in the slot and firing a one timer past Manitoba netminder Cory Schneider at 6:10. Alexandre Giroux then again wrote himself into HERSHEY record books, burying his franchise-record 15th postseason tally, an unassisted marker at 8:44. With the goal, he surpassed Kris Beech's 2006 record of 14 playoff goals. Giroux nearly struck again on the man advantage, the puck just grazing the inside of the post. The BEARS out-shot the Moose by a 15-7 margin and carried a commanding 3-0 advantage after 20 minutes of play.
The Moose clawed back in the second period, managing to get one past rookie backstop Michal Neuvirth. Mario Bliznak put Manitoba on the board, potting a wrister from Cody Hodgson and Shaun Heshka at 11:03. HERSHEY held a slight 11-9 shot advantage in the second and a two-goal lead after two.
Despite playing desperation hockey, Manitoba could not stage a comeback in the third period. The BEARS held off nine shots from the home team in the final stanza to silence better than 15,000 Moose faithful at MTS Centre. Keith Aucoin put the final nail in the coffin, scoring an empty net marker to clinch the Calder Cup for the HERSHEY BEARS at 19:40.
Netminder Michal Neuvirth earned his 16th postseason victory in net and was named 2009 Calder Cup MVP, as he turned aside 24 of 25 shots Friday night. With the win, Neuvirth bettered Frederic Cassivi's playoff goals against average record of 2.10, ensuring himself a page in HERSHEY record books with his 1.92 GAA effort in 22 postseason appearances.
Bears Radio Network Three Stars of the Game:
1. Chris Bourque (1 goal, 1 assist)
2. Michal Neuvirth (24 saves on 25 shots)
3. Kyle Wilson (2 assists)
Notes: HERSHEY clinched the club's record 10th league championship Friday night, eclipsing the nine-win mark previously held by the BEARS and the Cleveland Barons. The BEARS are now 10-12 all-time with a chance to clinch a Calder Cup championship. Giroux extended his scoring streak to 13 games (11-8-19) and upped his postseason league-leading total to 28 points (15-13-28) in 22 games, while Aucoin now shows a point in four straight tilts (2-3-5) and seven of his last eight (3-8-11). HERSHEY, which failed to convert on three power play opportunities, improved to 2-4 this postseason when the power play was held scoreless, which was 14-2 when the team scored at least one man-advantage marker. The BEARS' all-time record in Calder Cup Finals games played in Canada is now 9-10. Opponents from north of the border include Manitoba, the Hamilton Bulldogs (1997, 2007), the Fredericton Express (1988), the New Brunswick Hawks (1980), the Nova Scotia Voyageurs (1976) and the Quebec Aces (1969). Three of the Chocolate and White's past four Calder Cup championships have been won in Canada (Manitoba, 2009; Hamilton, 1997; Fredericton, 1988).