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2009 Kelly Cup Playoffs Conference Finals Preview

The 2009 Kelly Cup Playoffs Conference Finals begin on Saturday with the winners of the best-of-seven series advancing to the Kelly Cup Finals scheduled for May 23-June 5.

Alaska, Las Vegas Meet In National Conference Finals

The 2009 Kelly Cup Playoffs National Conference Finals will begin on Saturday at 7:15 p.m. at the Sullivan Arena when the West Division champion Alaska Aces host the Pacific Division champion Las Vegas Wranglers.

Alaska will host Game 2 at 7:15 p.m. on Sunday before the before the best-of-seven series travels to the Orleans Arena for Games 3 and 4 at 7:30 p.m. PT on May 12 and 14.

The winner will advance to the Kelly Cup Finals where they will meet either defending Kelly Cup champion Cincinnati or two-time Kelly Cup champion South Carolina, who begin their best-of-seven American Conference Finals series on Saturday.

It is the third postseason meeting for the two teams with Las Vegas beating Alaska 4-1 in the conference semifinals in 2008 and the Aces beating the Wranglers 4-2 in the division finals in 2006 en route to the Kelly Cup championship. Cam Keith scored the winning goal at 13:30 of the third overtime to give Alaska a 4-3 win at home in Game 6 in 2006, the fourth-longest game in league history at 113:30.

Alaska is only the second team in league history to reach the conference finals four times in five years after appearing in a record-tying three conference finals in a row from 2005-07. Louisiana reached the conference finals four times from 1997-2001 and Greensboro reached the conference finals in 1990, 1991 and 1992. Alaska is the first team to advance in the postseason each of its first six seasons and the first team to advance six consecutive years. The Aces finished first in the division for the fourth time in the last five seasons and atop the National Conference for the third time. Alaska became the second team to win the Kelly Cup and the Brabham Cup, the trophy presented to the regular season champion, in the same season in 2006 and they reached the conference finals in 2007 and 2005.

Las Vegas is making its second consecutive conference finals appearance having swept Utah in four games in 2008 to reach the Kelly Cup Finals where they lost in six games. The Wranglers are in the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the fourth year in a row and the fifth time in six years and they have advanced each of the last four seasons. Las Vegas has lost to the Kelly Cup winner every time that they have reached the postseason with Idaho in 2004 and 2007, Alaska in 2006 and Cincinnati in the Kelly Cup Finals in 2008.

Glen Gulutzan of the Wranglers is 36-27 in the Kelly Cup Playoffs and 254-124-55 in the regular season. He was named ECHL Coach of the Year in 2005-06 and has been selected to coach in the ECHL All-Star Game three times, tying him for the most appearances. Alaska’s Keith McCambridge is 13-6 in the Kelly Cup Playoffs and 86-50-8 in the regular season.

The Kelly Cup trophy is named for Patrick J. Kelly, who was one of the founding fathers of the ECHL and the second inductee into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2008. Kelly served as Commissioner for the league’s first eight seasons and was named Commissioner Emeritus in 1996, a title that he continues to hold. Kelly, who celebrated his 55th season in professional hockey in 2007-08, coached 1,900 career games and had 935 wins. Kelly coached in the Eastern Hockey League, the Southern Hockey League and the National Hockey League where he was the only coach to ever lead the Colorado Rockies to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Alaska won the Kelly Cup in 2006 and is looking to join Idaho and South Carolina as the only two-time winners of the trophy. The Aces finished first in the National Conference and second overall with a winning percentage of .646 and a record of 45-24-1 while Las Vegas was second in the Pacific Division and 13th overall with a winning percentage of .521 and a record of 34-31-8. It was the fourth time in the last five years that Alaska was first in the division and the third time that the Aces were first in the National Conference.

Alaska beat Victoria in five games in the West Division Finals, outscoring the Salmon Kings 22-12, after defeating Utah in five games in the West Division Semifinals, outscoring the Grizzlies 16-7.

The Wranglers beat Stockton 5-1 in Game 7 of the Pacific Division Finals to improve to 3-0 all-time in Game 7s. Las Vegas beat Bakersfield 5-1 in Game 7 of the Pacific Division Semifinals.

Alaska is 4-0 at home in the Kelly Cup Playoffs with three shutouts and has outscored its opponents 15-2. The Wranglers are 6-2 at home.

The Aces lead the Kelly Cup Playoffs with a goals-against average of 1.90 while the Wranglers are third with a goals-against average of 2.50. Alaska is second in the postseason with 3.80 goals per game while Las Vegas is tied for fifth with 3.29. The Wranglers are second in the Kelly Cup Playoffs with three shorthand goals while the Aces are tied for third with two. Neither team has allowed a shorthand goal in the postseason. Las Vegas leads the Kelly Cup Playoffs on the power play with 25.4 percent while Alaska is fifth with 19.0 percent. The Aces are second in the Kelly Cup Playoffs on the penalty kill with 89.3 percent while the Wranglers are seventh with 85.5 percent.

Alaska’s Colin Hemingway leads the Kelly Cup Playoffs with 19 points and is tied for the league lead with 13 assists. He is tied for second with three power-play goals and is tied for third with seven power-play points. Josh Soares of the Aces is second in the postseason with three game-winning goals and is tied for second with eight goals and 13 points while teammate Cam Keith is third with 12 assists and tied for fifth with 14 points. Las Vegas rookie defenseman Dan Spang leads the Kelly Cup Playoffs with nine power-play points while his three power-play goals are tied for second and his six power-play assists are third.

Dan Spang of Las Vegas leads ECHL defensemen in the postseason with nine power-play points while his three power-play goals are tied for the lead and his six power-play assists are second. He is second with 10 assists and 14 points. Bryan Miller of Alaska is fifth among defensemen in the Kelly Cup Playoffs with seven assists and tied for fifth with eight points while his four power-play assists are fourth and his five power-play points are tied for fifth.

Adam Miller of the Wranglers is tied for second among league rookies in the Kelly Cup Playoffs with nine assists and is tied for third with 13 points.

Alaska rookie Jean-Philippe Lamoureux is 8-2 and leads the Kelly Cup Playoffs in wins while he is second with a goals-against average of 1.89 and tied for second with a save percentage of 942. He leads the postseason with three shutouts after setting the league record with eight in the regular season. Glenn Fisher of the Wranglers is 6-2 and is tied for second with a save percentage of .942 while ranking third with a goals-against average of 1.96 and is tied for third in wins.

National Conference Finals (Best of Seven)

West Division Champion Alaska Aces vs. Pacific Division Champion Las Vegas Wranglers

Saturday, May 9 at 7:15 p.m. AT
Las Vegas at Alaska

Sunday, May 10 at 7:15 p.m. AT
Las Vegas at Alaska

Tuesday, May 12 at 7:30 p.m. PT
Alaska at Las Vegas

Thursday, May 14 at 7:30 p.m. PT
Alaska at Las Vegas

Friday, May 15 at 7:30 p.m. PT
Alaska at Las Vegas (If Necessary)

Tuesday, May 19 at 7:15 p.m. AT
Las Vegas at Alaska (If Necessary)

Wednesday, May 20 at 7:15 p.m. AT
Las Vegas at Alaska (If Necessary)

National Conference - West Division Finals (Best of Seven)

#3 Victoria Salmon Kings (38-27-7) vs. #1 Alaska Aces (45-24-3)
Alaska Wins Series 4-1

Game 1 - Victoria 0 at ALASKA 2
Game 2 - Victoria 2 at ALASKA 8
Game 3 - ALASKA 5 at Victoria 2
Game 4 - Alaska 0 at VICTORIA 4
Game 5 - ALASKA 6 at Victoria 4

National Conference - West Division Semifinals (Best of Seven)

#4 Utah Grizzlies (32-30-10) vs. #1 Alaska Aces (45-24-3)
Alaska Wins Series 4-1

Game 1 - Utah 0 at ALASKA 2
Game 2 - Utah 0 at ALASKA 2
Game 3 - Alaska 2 at UTAH 3 (OT)
Game 4 - ALASKA 5 at Utah 2
Game 5 - ALASKA 5 at Utah 2

National Conference - Pacific Division Semifinals (Best of Seven)

#2 Las Vegas Wranglers (34-31-8) vs. #4 Stockton Thunder (32-33-7)
Las Vegas Wins Series 4-3

Game 1 - Las Vegas 3 at STOCKTON 4
Game 2 - Stockton 2 at LAS VEGAS 4
Game 3 - Las Vegas 1 at STOCKTON 5
Game 4 - LAS VEGAS 3 at Stockton 2 (OT)
Game 5 - Stockton 2 at LAS VEGAS 4
Game 6 - STOCKTON 3 at Las Vegas 1
Game 7 - Stockton 1 at LAS VEGAS 5

National Conference - Pacific Division Semifinals

#2 Las Vegas Wranglers (34-31-8) vs. #3 Bakersfield Condors (33-31-8)
Las Vegas Wins Series 4-3

Game 1 - Bakersfield 1 at LAS VEGAS 3
Game 2 - BAKERSFIELD 3 at Las Vegas 2
Game 3 - Las Vegas 5 at BAKERSFIELD 6 (OT)
Game 4 - LAS VEGAS 4 at Bakersfield 0
Game 5 - Las Vegas 3 at BAKERSFIELD 4
Game 6 - Bakersfield 1 at LAS VEGAS 3
Game 7 - Bakersfield 1 at LAS VEGAS 5

Cincinnati, South Carolina Meet In American Conference Finals

The 2009 Kelly Cup Playoffs American Conference will get underway on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. ET at the North Charleston Coliseum when the South Division champion South Carolina Stingrays host the North Division champion Cincinnati Cyclones.

South Carolina will host Game 2 at 7:05 p.m. ET on Monday before the best-of-seven series travels to U.S. Bank Arena for Games 3 and 4 at 7:30 p.m. ET on May 13 and 15.

The winner will advance to the Kelly Cup Finals where they will meet either Las Vegas or Alaska, who begin their best-of-seven American Conference Finals series on Saturday. Alaska won the Kelly Cup in 2006 and is in the conference finals for the fourth time in five years while Las Vegas was in the Kelly Cup Finals for the second year in a row.

It is a repeat of the 2008 American Conference Finals which the Cyclones won in five games en route to the Kelly Cup championship. It marks only the second time in league history that teams have met in the conference finals in back-to-back years. Peoria and Trenton met in the conference finals in 2000 and 2001 with Peoria capturing the Kelly Cup in 2000 and Trenton losing to South Carolina in the Kelly Cup Finals in 2001.

It is the fourth trip to the conference finals for South Carolina and the third trip for Cincinnati. The Stingrays are 2-1 in conference finals series having captured the Kelly Cup in 1997 and 2001 while the Cyclones are 1-1 having defeated South Carolina on their way to the Kelly Cup in 2008 and losing in seven games to eventual Kelly Cup winner Atlantic City in 2003.

The Kelly Cup trophy is named for Patrick J. Kelly, who was one of the founding fathers of the ECHL and the second inductee into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2008. Kelly served as Commissioner for the league’s first eight seasons and was named Commissioner Emeritus in 1996, a title that he continues to hold. Kelly, who celebrated his 55th season in professional hockey in 2007-08, coached 1,900 career games and had 935 wins. Kelly coached in the Eastern Hockey League, the Southern Hockey League and the National Hockey League where he was the only coach to ever lead the Colorado Rockies to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Stingrays are trying to become the first three-time winner of the Kelly Cup. South Carolina won the trophy the first year it was presented in 1997 and became the first two-time champion in 2001. The Stingrays were the first team in history to win both the Brabham Cup, the trophy awarded to the regular season champion, and the Kelly Cup in the same season in 1996-97. Stingrays head coach Jared Bednar was a member of both championship teams. South Carolina has qualified for the postseason a league record 15 times in 16 seasons and is the all-time leader with 128 postseason games and 69 postseason wins.

Cincinnati is the defending champion and one of only three teams to win the Brabham Cup and the Kelly Cup in the same season. The Cyclones had 71 combined wins in the regular season and postseason breaking the ECHL record of 69 wins by Alaska when it won the Kelly Cup in 2006. Cincinnati was the third team to finish the regular season with 100 points and win the Kelly Cup joining Alaska (113 points in 2005-06) and South Carolina (100 points in 1996-97).

In the 12 years that the Kelly Cup has been presented to the postseason winner there has never been a team that has captured it in back-to-back years. The postseason trophy from 1989-1996 was the Riley Cup which had back-to-back winners twice with Hampton Roads in 1991 and 1992 and Toledo in 1993 and 1994.

South Carolina was the fourth seed overall and the second seed in the South Division with a winning percentage of .634 and a record of 42-23-6 while Cincinnati was the top seed in the North Division and the fifth seed overall with a winning percentage of .604 and a record of 41-26-5.

The Stingrays upset regular season champion Florida in the South Division Finals in a series that saw all six games decided by one goal including three in overtime. South Carolina beat Charlotte in six games in the South Division Semifinals.

The Cyclones swept Elmira in four games in the North Division Finals after beating Wheeling in seven games in the North Division Semifinals, including a 2-1 win in double overtime in Game 7. Cincinnati won the North Division regular season title for the second year in a row with a 41-26-5 record.

Cincinnati’s Chuck Weber has won 163 games (133 in the regular season and 30 in the postseason) in his first three seasons which is more than any ECHL coach in his first three seasons. Mike Haviland, who is now an assistant coach with the Chicago Blackhawks in the National Hockey League, won 152 games (130 in the regular season and 22 in the postseason) in his first three seasons with Atlantic City. Weber is the second coach to win a playoff series in each of his first three seasons. Davis Payne won a series in each of his three seasons in Pee Dee from 2000-03 and won a series in each of his four seasons in Alaska from 2004-08.

South Carolina’s Jared Bednar is the first coach to take his team to the conference finals in his first two seasons. He is 89-45-9 in the regular season and 18-14 in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. The former defenseman was an assistant coach for five years before taking over as head coach in 2007-08 and he is in his 13th season with the organization having played for the Stingrays from 1995-2002.

In the Kelly Cup Playoffs South Carolina is 5-1 at home and 5-2 in one-goal games while Cincinnati is 5-0 on the road and 4-0 in one-goal games.

South Carolina is fifth in the Kelly Cup Playoffs with 3.75 goals per game while Cincinnati is tied for sixth with 3.27 goals per game. The Cyclones are tied for fourth with a goals-against average of 2.73 while the Stingrays are seventh with 3.00. Cincinnati leads the postseason with four shorthand goals while South Carolina is tied for fifth with one shorthand goal. The Stingrays have not allowed a shorthand goal while the Cyclones have allowed one. Cincinnati is tied for fifth on the penalty kill with 85.7 percent while South Carolina is eighth with 82.9 percent. The Stingrays are second in the Kelly Cup Playoffs with 22.7 percent while the Cyclones are 13th with 13.1 percent.

South Carolina’s Brad Farynuk is tied for the league lead among defensemen with three power-play goals and is fourth with six power-play points. He is tied for third with three goals and tied for fifth with eight points. Zach Tarkir of the Stingrays leads all defensemen with two game-winning goals, both scored in overtime, and a plus-minus rating of +8. He is tied for the lead with four goals and is third with 12 points and tied for third with eight assists. Tarkir is third with five power-play assists and tied for second with seven power-play points. Cincinnati’s Brian O'Hanley leads defensemen in the Kelly Cup Playoffs with two shorthand points and is tied for the lead with one shorthand goal and one shorthand assist.

Cincinnati’s Dustin Sproat leads all rookies with seven goals and his 12 points tie him for fifth with teammate Jimmy Kilpatrick, who leads all rookies with 10 assists. Kilpatrick also leads all rookies with five power-play assists and he is tied for the lead with five power-play points. Sproat and Kilpatrick are tied for the rookie leads with two game-winning goals each. South Carolina’s Nikita Kashirsky is tied for fourth with eight assists and is seventh with 11 points while teammate Maxime Lacroix is tied for ninth with eight points (4g-4a).

Ryan Nie of the Cyclones is 3-1 with a shutout and a league-leading goals-against average of 1.85 while ranking fifth with a save percentage of .925. Cincinnati’s Loic Lacasse is 5-2 with a goals-against average of 2.98 while Jonathan Boutin of the Stingrays is 7-2 and ranks second in wins.

South Carolina’s Trent Campbell is fourth in the league with 11 assists and tied for ninth with 13 points while Stingrays defenseman Zach Tarkir is tied for third overall with seven power-play points and tied for fourth overall with five power-play assists. Cincinnati’s Matt Syroczynski leads the Kelly Cup Playoffs with six power-play goals while rookie teammate Dustin Sproat is tied for fourth overall with seven goals and is tied for 15th with 12 points.

American Conference Finals (Best of Seven)

South Division Champion South Carolina vs. North Division Champion Cincinnati

Saturday, May 9 at 7:05 p.m.
Cincinnati at South Carolina

Monday, May 11 at 7:05 p.m.
Cincinnati at South Carolina

Wednesday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m.
South Carolina at Cincinnati

Friday, May 15 at 7:30 p.m.
South Carolina at Cincinnati

Saturday, May 16 at 7:30 p.m.
South Carolina at Cincinnati (If Necessary)

Monday, May 18 at 7:05 p.m.
Cincinnati at South Carolina (If Necessary)

Tuesday, May 19 at 7:05 p.m.
Cincinnati at South Carolina (If Necessary)

American Conference - South Division Finals (Best of Seven)

#2 South Carolina Stingrays (42-23-6) vs. #1 Florida Everblades (49-17-5)
South Carolina Wins Series 4-2

Game 1 - SOUTH CAROLINA 2 at Florida 1 (OT)
Game 2 - South Carolina 3 at FLORIDA 4
Game 3 - Florida 3 at SOUTH CAROLINA 4
Game 4 - FLORIDA 3 at South Carolina 2 (2 OT)
Game 5 - Florida 3 at SOUTH CAROLINA 4
Game 6 - SOUTH CAROLINA 4 at Florida 3 (OT)

American Conference - South Division Semifinals (Best of Seven)

#3 Charlotte Checkers (34-29-8) vs. #2 South Carolina Stingrays (42-23-6)
South Carolina Wins Series 4-2

Game 1 - South Carolina 3 at CHARLOTTE 5
Game 2 - South Carolina 3 at CHARLOTTE 5
Game 3 - Charlotte 2 at SOUTH CAROLINA 4
Game 4 - Charlotte 1 at SOUTH CAROLINA 4
Game 5 - Charlotte 3 at SOUTH CAROLINA 8
Game 6 - SOUTH CAROLINA 4 at Charlotte 2

American Conference - North Division Finals (Best of Seven)

#3 Elmira Jackals (39-26-7) vs. #1 Cincinnati Cyclones (41-26-5)
Cincinnati Wins Series 4-0

Game 1 - Elmira 3 at CINCINNATI 8
Game 2 - Elmira 4 at CINCINNATI 5 (OT)
Game 3 - CINCINNATI 4 at Elmira 2
Game 4 - CINCINNATI 2 at Elmira 0

American Conference - North Division Semifinals (Best of Seven)

#1 Cincinnati Cyclones (41-26-5) vs. #4 Wheeling Nailers (36-28-8)
Cincinnati Wins Series 4-3

Game 1 - WHEELING 4 at Cincinnati 1
Game 2 - WHEELING 3 at Cincinnati 1
Game 3 - CINCINNATI 7 at Wheeling 3
Game 4 - CINCINNATI 4 at Wheeling 3
Game 5 - CINCINNATI 2 at Wheeling 1
Game 6 - WHEELING 6 at Cincinnati 0
Game 7 - Wheeling 1 at CINCINNATI 2 (2 OT)

B2 Networks Scheduled To Broadcast Every Game In Kelly Cup Playoffs Conference Finals

PRINCETON, N.J. - The ECHL announced that B2 Networks, the “Official Broadband Broadcast Provider of the ECHL,” is scheduled to broadcast every game in the Conference Finals of the 2009 Kelly Cup Playoffs beginning Sautrday.

B2 Networks has broadcast ECHL games around the globe the last six years including the Kelly Cup Finals and the ECHL All-Star Game. The first hockey game broadcast by B2 Networks was the Las Vegas Wranglers in February 2004 and the first hockey championship carried by B2 Networks was the 2004 Kelly Cup Playoffs.

The first channel on B2CableTV.com, a free 24-hour cable-style network dedicated to broadcasting sports and entertainment to viewers worldwide, was ECHL TV which allows fans to watch the biggest games from the previous week for free. B2CableTV.com also offers ECHLALLSTARTV which broadcasts ECHL All-Star Games 24 hours a day for free.

To watch ECHL TV and ECHLALLSTARTV fans can go to B2CableTV.com and click on the “Hockey” tab. Viewers will need a high-speed internet connection and a current version of Microsoft Windows Media Player to watch the Network. All events on ECHL TV and ECHLALLSTARTV are free of charge and available 24 hours a day.

B2 Networks is a premier provider of reliable and secure international television and pay-per-view broadcasting systems. B2's installed technologies and worldwide network of arenas, stadiums, local venues and data centers are currently in use to distribute live sports and entertainment programming to personal computers, television screens, mobile devices and commercial venues around the world. Working with professional sports leagues, teams, NCAA and NAIA institutions and producers of entertainment programming, B2 Networks has established itself as a leader in innovative global direct to home, mobile and television broadcasting. The B2 Networks LIVE Programming Guide is available at B2TV.com while B2CableTV.com provides 24-hour cable-style programming.

Kelly Cup Champions

2008 – Cincinnati defeated Las Vegas, 4 games to 1
2007 – Idaho defeated Dayton, 4 games to 1
2006 – Alaska defeated Gwinnett, 4 games to 1
2005 – Trenton defeated Florida, 4 games to 2
2004 – Idaho defeated Florida, 4 games to 1
2003 – Atlantic City defeated Columbia, 4 games to 1
2002 – Greenville defeated Dayton, 4 games to 0
2001 – South Carolina defeated Trenton, 4 games to 1
2000 – Peoria defeated Louisiana, 4 games to 2
1999 – Mississippi defeated Richmond, 4 games to 3
1998 – Hampton Roads defeated Pensacola, 4 games to 2
1997 – South Carolina defeated Louisiana, 4 games to 1
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