WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Hershey Bears, the American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate of the Washington Capitals, beat the Milwaukee Admirals, affiliate of the Nashville Predators, 5-1, Thursday, June 15th in Milwaukee to claim the Calder Cup as the AHL champions. The Bears won three games in a row to claim the best-of-seven series, 4-2.
Joey Tenute, Jakub Klepis, Brooks Laich, Colin Forbes and Kris Beech provided the Hershey goals in Game 6, giving the Bears their ninth Calder Cup. Those five were among 15 players on the Bears’ roster who appeared in at least one Capitals game this season, led by Laich’s 73 NHL games.
The Bears jumped to a 4-0 lead in Game 6, including three first-period goals. Hershey outscored Milwaukee 13-0 in the first period of its four victories in the series.
Goaltender Frederic Cassivi, who played one game for the Capitals this season, earned the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the most valuable player in the AHL playoffs with a 16-5 record, a 2.10 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage. Forward Tomas Fleischmann, who the Capitals acquired via trade from Detroit in March 2004, led the Bears in playoff scoring with 32 points (11 goals, 21 assists) in 20 games. Beech, acquired in March of this year from Nashville, led the team with 14 goals. Mike Green, who was drafted in 2004 with a selection acquired from Detroit (along with Fleischmann), led the team’s defensemen with 18 points (3 goals, 15 assists) and had a plus-16 rating in 21 playoff games.
The Bears had 22 Capitals prospects on their roster, including Capitals’ first-round picks from 2004 (Green and Jeff Schultz), 2003 (Eric Fehr), 2002 (Boyd Gordon) and 1999 (Beech).
The Calder Cup is the first for a Capitals AHL affiliate since 1994, when goaltender Olie Kolzig led the Portland Pirates to the Calder Cup. The Capitals – whose rookie left wing, Alex Ovechkin, is a finalist for the Calder Trophy as the NHL rookie of the year – could become the first organization to win a Calder Cup and a Calder Trophy in the same year since the Atlanta Thrashers in 2002.