As we reach tonight's Game 7 in Hamilton, Ontario with a Conference Championship and Calder Cup Spot on the line against the Hershey Bears. The Texas Stars are looking to be the first team since 2002 to be the first year team since the Chicago Wolves to win the Calder Cup Championship in their first season. Texas forced a Game 7 after Aaron Gagon scored to win the game 3-2 and force a Game 7 tonight.
The winner of tonight's game will head to Hershey, Pennsylvania for Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals as the Bears finished the regular season with a league best 60 wins and 123 points to gain home ice advantage for the entire playoffs. The Bears have used to home ice to strong use as they beat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in 5 games, then sweeped through Albany River Rats in the East Division Final.
In the Eastern Conference Final against Manchester, they were able to take down the Monarchs in 6 games. Perhaps the most impressive part of the playoffs for the Bears is the fact that they are a perfect 8-0 at home in the playoffs for the defending Calder Cup Champions.
Can either Aaron Gagon, Jamie Benn or Warren Peters can come up with another piece of magic to get the team to it's first ever Final, or will the additions of players like P.K. Subban and Ben Maxwell can make the difference for Hamilton after being sent back from Montreal after the Canadians were eliminated from the playoffs back on Monday Night? We will find out tonight!
Also for you fans in Austin, Cedar Park Center will be hosting a watching party as fans can watch the game on the big screen as they root the Stars to the Calder Cup Championship series tonight.
Other stories on tonight's Game:
Western Conference Final reaches Climax: http://theahl.com/tight-west-finals-to-reach-climax-in-game-7-p142833
Maxwell and Subban to return tonight: http://theahl.com/maxwell-subban-return-to-hamilton-p142829
Game 7 will be on XM Satellite Radio: http://theahl.com/game-7-to-air-on-xm-satellite-radio-p142831
Benn there, done that: http://theahl.com/benn-there-done-that-west-finals-all-square-p142782
From the Austin American Statesman: www.statesman.com
In Hamilton, Ontario: The Texas Stars have one last chance to do something that hasn't been done since 2002. The Stars are attempting to get to the AHL Calder Cup Championship Series in their very first AHL Season - a feat last accomplished by two teams 8 years ago.
For the Stars to do it, they need to prevent the Hamilton Bulldogs from advancing to the fourth time since 1997.
Texas is attempting to win its second straight series with a game 7 road victory, while the hometown Bulldogs have lost only twice at home during the playoffs - including Monday's victory by the Stars in Overtime.
"When your season is on the line, it's win or go home. You've got nothing to save it for," said Aaron Gagon, who scored the winning goal on Monday to square the Western Conference Final at three games apiece.
Hamilton coach Guy Boucher told hometown reporters Monday Night that he expects it come down to the wire once more tonight.
"There a hard team to beat," he said about the Stars. "I wouldn't be surprised if the seventh game goes to OT, too."
Stars coach Glen Guluzan says another fast start and sticking to his team's style will decide this series. "We just going to play our game," he insisted. "We know pretty much all there is to know about each other now and it's going to be a battle of wills. Game 7 usually is."
Hamilton announced that P.K. Subban and Ben Maxwell will be back in the lineup after the Montreal Canadians were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs by Philadelphia back on Monday Night. Subban had nine points and two game winners in the first round of the AHL playoffs before moving up to the parent team. He was Hamilton's third leading scorer during the regular season and Maxwell if fourth.
Gagon said it's hard to predict the impact returning players will have.
"Those guys are great players and i'm sure they going to help their team, but that dosen't change our game-plan doesn't change."
Stars goaltender Matt Climie said the team is ready to stay the course.
"We've got a lot of character guys in the dressing room, a lot of leadership, so its just the mindset of going out there and playing hard every shift and not taking anything for granted."
"We're not really worried about Hamilton right now," added Climie. "We're just worried about the Texas Stars and coming prepared to the rink, and really taking it one shift at a time.
Tonight's Winner advances to play the defending Calder Cup Champion Hershey Bears for the Calder Cup. The Bears, who have won the Cup 10 times in franchise history, eliminated the Manchester Monarchs on Saturday.
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