Chirps from Center Ice

A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins

Respect Your Elders – Hershey / Lake Erie Advance 

Unless you are a fan of either team, no one saw this one coming.

Lake Erie, tasked with going up against an opponent that they have never played in the regular season, not only beat the defending champion Ontario Reign, they swept them. After beating the Reign out in California twice, Ontario needed to respond in a big way.

They didn’t. They were shut out in Game 3 by a score of 4-0.

In Game 4, it went to double overtime and Lake Erie advanced.

In the East, people (myself included) were calling for Toronto to steamroll Hershey as they have steamrolled every team in the AHL this season, earning them the best record in the American Hockey League and home ice throughout the playoffs.

Hershey stunned Toronto 3-1 in Game 1. Toronto played a near perfect Game 2 and lost in overtime. The Marlies needed to respond in a big way in Game 3 back on home ice, got smoked 8-2 and embarrassed.

Toronto beat Hershey 5-0 in Game 4 and were disposed of in Game 5 by a score of 3-2.

So you have the two oldest cities in the AHL in Hershey and Cleveland, meeting in the Calder Cup Finals in the League’s 80th season.

Schedule:

More here.

No idea how one can predict this series. Lake Erie has played a strong style of playoff hockey, sweeping division foe Rockford in three games in Round 1 then beating a streaky Grand Rapids Griffins team in six games after going up 3-0 in that series. Sweeping Ontario is nothing to discount either.

On the Hershey side, they took Portland to the limit in Round 1, Wilkes-Barre to the limit in Round 2 and beat a Toronto team many had pegged as the Champions back in February.

So expect the unexpected in the Calder Cup Finals.

If they announce a TV schedule instead of tape delay on NHL Network, I will run a blog post to inform those if they are so inclined to watch.

Now back to my summer. It’s nice sitting outside, smoking cigars in flip flops, without the stress of the playoffs.

One would be nice, though.

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