Hamilton Tops Hershey for Calder Cup
Jun 7, 2007
The Bulldogs, top development team of the National Hockey League's Montreal Canadiens, defeated the Bears four games to one to win their first AHL title.
Carey Price made 29 saves in the decisive Game 5 and finished the playoffs with a record of 15-6 with a 2.06 goals-against average, a .936 save percentage and two shutouts. The 19-year-old Price, the fifth overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft who made his professional debut with the Bulldogs on Apr. 13, earned the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the most valuable player of the 2007 Calder Cup Playoffs.
Price becomes the third goaltender in AHL history, and the first since Patrick Roy in 1985, to lead his team to a Calder Cup title as a teenager. It's the culmination of a season in which the Williams Lake, B.C., native was named the tournament MVP for Canada at the 2007 World Junior Championships and the outstanding goaltender in the Canadian Hockey League.
Zack Stortini will have his name engraved on the Calder Cup after falling just short as a member of the Admirals during the team's run to the Cup finals last season. Stortini led the league with 56 PIMs during the playoffs and also chipped in with three goals during the Bulldogs run to the title.
Don Lever, 20 years removed from winning the Calder Cup as a player for the Rochester Americans, earned his first AHL title as a head coach as the Bulldogs captured the championship in their third trip to the Finals. Hamilton was the lower seed in each round but never trailed in any of its four series, defeating Rochester (4-2), Manitoba (4-2) and Chicago (4-1) before ousting the defending Calder Cup champs from Hershey.
Hamilton's victory brings the curtain down on the AHL's 71st season. In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 83 percent of today's NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and this season marked the sixth consecutive year in which more than 6 million fans have attended AHL games across North America.