2015 AHL Calder Cup Semifinals Set

(Photo Credit: Mark Newman)

It wasn’t easy but the Grand Rapids Griffins survived an opening round grinder against the Toronto Marlies. (Photo Credit: Mark Newman)

The last of the opening round series came to a close yesterday. Of note, the Grand Rapids Griffins came all the way back from 2-0 hole to defeat the Toronto Marlies in the best-of-five series. The Griffins weren’t alone in getting pushed heavily in the opening round, either. The Chicago Wolves forced a Game 5 against the top seeded Utica Comets before bowing out. Said it once and I’ll say it again. That Midwest Division is the toughest in the AHL. It would have been impressive if Jordan Binnington and company pulled off the upset.

Now that the opening round is done and dusted the semifinals are all set. I think that each conference has a whopper of a match-up this round. The Midwest Divisional battle between the Grand Rapids Griffins and Rockford IceHogs, who traded blow for blow down the stretch to decide the division crown, should be brilliant. And I’m expecting the top seeded Eastern Conference squad, the Manchester Monarchs, to face a stiff test from top AHL netminder and rookie this season Matt Murray and his Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Here is the full slate of games and their schedules:

~Eastern Conference~

(1) Manchester Monarchs vs. (4) Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Game 1 – Wed, May 6 – @ Manchester, 6pm CST
Game 2 – Thu, May 7 – @ Manchester, 6pm CST
Game 3 – Sat, May 9 – @ W-B/Scranton, 6:05pm CST
Game 4 – Mon, May 11 – @ W-B/Scranton, 6:05pm CST
Game 5 – Tue, May 12 – @ W-B/Scranton, 6:05pm CST
Game 6 – Fri, May 15 – @ Manchester, 6pm CST
Game 7 – Sat, May 16 – @ Manchester, 6pm CST

(2) Hershey Bears vs. (3) Hartford Wolf Pack
Game 1 – Wed, May 6 – @ Hershey, 6pm CST
Game 2 – Fri, May 8 – @ Hershey, 6pm CST
Game 3 – Sun, May 10 – @ Hartford, 2pm CST
Game 4 – Mon, May 11 – @ Hartford, 6pm CST
Game 5 – Wed, May 13 – @ Hershey, 6pm CST
Game 6 – Fri, May 15 – @ Hartford, 6pm CST
Game 7 – Sun, May 17 – @ Hershey, 4pm CST

~Western Conference~

(1) Utica Comets vs. (6) Oklahoma City Barons
Game 1 – Thu, May 7 – @ Utica, 6pm CST
Game 2 – Fri, May 8 – @ Utica, 6pm CST
Game 3 – Mon, May 11 – @ Oklahoma City, 7pm CST
Game 4 – Wed, May 13 – @ Oklahoma City, 7pm CST
Game 5 – Thu, May 14 – @ Oklahoma City, 7pm CST
Game 6 – Mon, May 18 – @ Utica, 6pm CST
Game 7 – Wed, May 20 – @ Utica, 6pm CST

(2) Grand Rapids Griffins vs. (4) Rockford IceHogs
Game 1 – Wed., May 6 – @ Grand Rapids, 6pm CST
Game 2 – Fri., May 8 – @ Grand Rapids, 6pm CST
Game 3 – Wed., May 13 – @ Rockford, 7pm CST
Game 4 – Thu., May 14 – @ Rockford, 7pm CST
Game 5 – Sun., May 17 – @ Rockford, 4pm CST
Game 6 – Tue., May 19 – @ Grand Rapids, 6pm CST
Game 7 – Wed., May 20 – @ Grand Rapids, 6pm CST

Of note, Game 3 and Game 4 of the Bear/ Wolf Pack series will take place in Worcester and not the home confines of Hartford. I assume that is some sort of scheduling issue that impacted Hartford. Hopefully their fans turn up in numbers to still make that seem like a home ice advantage.

Randoms of the opening round: The lone lower ranked seed to advance were the Oklahoma City Barons who swept their divisional foes and division winning San Antonio Rampage. The Rampage were 9-1-2-0 against the Barons in the regular season before getting swept. There were three Game 5’s in this year’s opening round – two of which involved the top seeds from each conference. There were three three-game sweeps in the opening round – Rockford IceHogs over the Texas Stars, Oklahoma City Barons over the San Antonio Rampage, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins over the Syracuse Crunch. The Stars elimination means there will be a newly crowned Calder Cup champion this season. The Stars elimination was the first time a previous year’s Calder Cup champion was swept in an opening round series the following season in eleven years. In what will be Worcester’s final AHL game, due to the Pacific Division coming to fruition, they lost 10-4 to the Bears.

Also, the ECHL semifinals are already underway. Scott Ford and his South Carolina Stingrays are up 2-0 over the Florida Everblades. Gary Steffes and the Allen Americans are tied 1-1 with the Rapid City Rush. I am really pulling for a Stingrays/Americans 2015 Kelly Cup Finals. At least it would be fun if one of our two Admirals from this season get that far.

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One Response to 2015 AHL Calder Cup Semifinals Set

  1. mandy says:

    I agree I hope Ford and the stingrays win the cup and then for next season we sign Ford again. We need his internal leadership

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