They finished the regular season in 2nd place in the West Division behind Chicago. After sweeping Rockford in the first round of the playoffs they have since gone to 2 game 7s in beating the league's #3 team in Chicago and the league's #2 team in Hamilton.
And now they get the league's #1 team in Hershey.
If they do end up winning the cup at least you know they earned every bit of it by playing the top 3 teams in the league in the playoffs.
During the regular season they scored 238 goals (Hershey had 342) and allowed 198 goals (same as Hershey). Not exactly an offensive juggernaut but definitely played well at the defensive end.
In the playoffs to date they have scored 56 goals (Hershey has 55) and have allowed 47 (Hershey 39). They have also played 3 more games than the Bears this postseason.
Their regular season scoring leaders were:
- C Aaron Gagnon with 27 goals and 31 assists for 58 points
- C Travis Morin with 21 goals and 31 assists for 52 points
- C Perttu Lindgren with 14 goals and 33 assists for 47 points
The postseason has been a bit different though:
- F Jamie Benn has 14 goals and 10 assists as he leads the Stars and the AHL in goals and points in the postseason.
- D Andrew Hutchinson is 2nd on the team in points with 15 (4g and 11a).
- C Perttu Lindgren is 3rd with 6 goals and 8 assists.
- C Travis Morin is 4th with 3 goals and 10 assists.
You might recognize one name on that list. Travis Morin is a former South Carolina Stingray who played 5 games for Hershey over the previous two seasons. He was picked up by the Stars this past summer and played well for them all season. I always wanted Travis to get his shot in Hershey but unfortunately the center depth in the organization worked against him.
Another former part-time Bear is RW Mathieu Beaudoin who played 7 games during the 07-08 regular season and added a playoff game that year as well.
And former Bear forward Paul Jerrard who played parts of 3 seasons for the Bears from 94-97 and was on the 96-97 Calder Cup winning team. He is currently the assistant coach for the Stars.
Here are a few other players you might recognize from Calder Cup Finals past...
- D Maxime Fortunos played for the Manitoba Moose last season and faced the Bears in the Calder Cup Finals. He will surely be called upon over the next week to help dissect exactly what the Bears do.
- RW Raymond Sawada also played against the Bears during last seasons Calder Cup Finals as a member of the Manitoba Moose. He scored 1 goal in the series.
- C Greg Rallo was yet another of the 08-09 Manitoba Moose. He played in 4 games against the Bears in the finals but did not record a point.
- D Dan Jancevski was a member of the 06-07 Hamilton Bulldogs team that beat Hershey in 5 games.
That is who the Stars are.
So how will the series go? How do the Bears match up?
Check back early next week and I will have a good series preview ready to go. I will say this...I want Hershey to win in 6 because I want to see a clinching game on home ice.