2015 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs Set

Place your bets! …please don’t but guess away please! (Photo Credit: AHL)

The 2014-15 AHL regular season officially came to an end today and now the first round playoff matches are set. The Manchester Monarchs and Utica Comets are the top seeds of their respective conferences. As far as what was decided Sunday night the Portland Pirates survived a thriller of a game to secure the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Toronto Marlies took down the Chicago Wolves to claim the seventh seed and push the Amtrak Rivals down to the eighth spot in the Western Conference.

With all things in order, and the dust neatly settled from the regular season, here is the opening round match-ups for the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs.

~Western Conference~

(1) Utica Comets vs. (8) Chicago Wolves
Game 1 – Apr. 22 – Utica @ Chicago, 7pm CST
Game 2 – Apr. 24 – Utica @ Chicago, 7pm CST
Game 3 – Apr. 29 – Chicago @ Utica, 6pm CST
Game 4 – May 1 – Chicago @ Utica, 6pm CST
Game 5 – May 2 – Chicago @ Utica, 6pm CST

(2) Grand Rapids Griffins vs. (7) Toronto Marlies
Game 1 – Apr. 25 – Grand Rapids @ Toronto, 2pm CST
Game 2 – Apr. 26 – Grand Rapids @ Toronto, 2pm CST
Game 3 – Apr. 29 – Toronto @ Grand Rapids, 6pm CST
Game 4 – May 2 – Toronto @ Grand Rapids, 6pm CST
Game 5 – May 3 – Toronto @ Grand Rapids, 4pm CST

(3) San Antonio Rampage vs. (6) Oklahoma City Barons
Game 1 – Apr. 23 – San Antonio @ Oklahoma City, 8pm CST
Game 2 – Apr. 25 – San Antonio @ Oklahoma City, 8pm CST
Game 3 – Apr. 29 – Oklahoma City @ San Antonio, 8pm CST
Game 4 – May 1 – Oklahoma City @ San Antonio, 8:30pm CST
Game 5 – May 2 – Oklahoma City @ San Antonio, 8pm CST

(4) Rockford IceHogs vs. (5) Texas Stars
Game 1 – Apr. 24 – Rockford @ Texas, 8:30pm CST
Game 2 – Apr. 25 – Rockford @ Texas, 8:00pm CST
Game 3 – Apr. 29 – Texas @ Rockford, 8:00pm CST
Game 4 – May 1 – Texas @ Rockford, 8:00pm CST
Game 5 – May 2 – Texas @ Rockford, 8:00pm CST

~Eastern Conference~

(1) Manchester Monarchs vs. (8) Portland Pirates
Game 1 – Apr. 23 – Portland @ Manchester, 6pm CST
Game 2 – Apr. 25 – Portland @ Manchester, 6pm CST
Game 3 – Apr. 26 – Manchester @ Portland, 4pm CST
Game 4 – Apr. 30 – Manchester @ Portland, 6pm CST
Game 5 – May 2 – Portland @ Manchester, 6pm CST

(2) Hershey Bears vs. (7) Worcester Sharks
Game 1 – Apr. 24 – Hershey @ Worcester, 6pm CST
Game 2 – Apr. 25 – Hershey @ Worcester, 6pm CST
Game 3 – Apr. 29 – Worcester @ Hershey, 6pm CST
Game 4 – Apr. 1 – Worcester @ Hershey, 6pm CST
Game 5 – May 3 – Worcester @ Hershey, 4pm CST

(3) Hartford Wolf Pack vs. (6) Providence Bruins
Game 1 – Apr. 22 – Providence @ Hartford, 6pm CST
Game 2 – Apr. 25 – Providence @ Hartford, 6pm CST
Game 3 – Apr. 26 – Hartford @ Providence, 6:05pm CST
Game 4 – Apr. 28 – Hartford @ Providence, 6:05pm CST
Game 5 – May 1 – Providence @ Hartford, 6pm CST

(4) W-B/Scranton Penguins vs. (5) Syracuse Crunch
Game 1 – Apr. 24 – Syracuse @ W-B/Scranton, 6:05pm CST
Game 2 – Apr. 25 – Syracuse @ W-B/Scranton, 6:05pm CST
Game 3 – Apr. 29 – W-B/Scranton @ Syracuse, 6pm CST
Game 4 – Apr. 30 – W-B/Scranton @ Syracuse, 6pm CST
Game 5 – May 2 – Syracuse @ W-B/Scranton, 6:05pm CST

There you have it! The opening round is a best-of-five format before shifting to a best-of-seven in the conference semifinals. One thing that is bugging me while looking at these fixtures is… isn’t the opening round format meant to be the choice of the top seed either playing the first two games at home or last three games at home? What’s up with Monarchs/Pirates, Wolf Pack/Bruins, and Penguins/Crunch?

Well, per the AHL press release, the phrase “unless building availability dictates otherwise” is the key there. If I’m the lower seed in any of those match-ups I’d be fairly frustrated if there is a game five scenario because there is a massive advantage given to the high seed to start and end a playoff series on home ice. While that doesn’t sound like anything that new, it’s how any best-of-seven works, the team selection of home ice for two games to start or three games to end the series can play a big role in how a series plays out. Interestingly, as you can see in the schedule, some teams elected to get those home games first and take the risk of three road games to end the series. Most tend to elect for the final three games of the series on home ice. Is that any different than having two games to start the series and one game for the crucial deciding game five? To me it is because you get home ice momentum at the start and for the finish which otherwise wouldn’t be the case – and isn’t for teams who can actually use their playing facility on a scheduled date for a game.

That was a weird things for me to see and I’d love to see some of those series go the distance to see some of the banter that gets raised from such questions I posed above. Could be a difference. Could be no difference what so ever. Either way it should be fun to kick back and see if it actually has an impact.

I’m not sure who you folks have taking the Calder Cup this season but I’ve got my mind made up already. I think the 2015 Calder Cup Finals will be between the Griffins and Monarchs with the Midwest Division leaders from Grand Rapids taking their second championship in three seasons.

Who do you see advancing from the opening round? Do you have any favorites to win it all now? What is your predictions for the Calder Cup Final and pick to win?

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2 thoughts on “2015 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs Set”

  1. Daniel, you’re in my head!! You know my feelings for the detail of Grand Rapids game and swear i thought Manchester for the east about two weeks ago! I might make a trip to Rockford for a game or Chicago if time is on my side perhaps even GR if the series gets serious.

  2. I think the utica comets shouldnt be underestimated as they are stacked with veterans and have argueably the leagues best netminder.

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