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Monday, May 21, 2007

Easily the most talked about goalie of the American Hockey League is Jason LaBarbera. He has started both East Conference final games in net for the Manchester (New Hampshire) Monarchs. Frederic Cassivi has started in the pipes in both games for the Hershey (Pennsylvania) Bears.

Like the Wolves v Bulldog series, this is set-up as a 2-3-2 series, with the Bears hosting the first two games. Unlike the Wolves series, the home team has taken both games and leads the series 2-0.

The winner of this series plays the winner of the Wolves v. Bulldog series for the AHL championship, the Calder Cup.

Patrick O’Sullivan, who Wolves fans will remember as a stand-out rookie on the Houston Aeros last season, is playing for the Monarchs. He is responsible for 13 of the 59 shots on goal of the team, and has a goal and an assist in the first two games.

Oleg Tverdovsky is another person who the Bears may have noticed, with six shots on goal in the first two games.

The Monarchs have only scored one special team goal in 20 tries. Moreover, in game two the Monarchs had three 5:3 advantages and were only able to convert one.

The Bears have dominated the Atlantic Division team putting 11 goals through in the two games, versus just three for the Monarchs. Mike D. Green, Dave Steckel and Kyle Wilson have all scored two goals for the Bears in a single game. Wilson has scored three total in the series. Tomas Fleischman had three points in game one, while Tyler Sloan has four points in the series and Scott Barney a goal and two points.

Special teams have been largely responsible not only for the Bear offense, five of the 13 goals, but also defensively, as only one goal has been scored on the Bears on the PK. The PK is responsible for a shortie.

Cassivi has allowed three goals on 59 shots, winning both games. LaBarbera was shelled out of the net in game one after the sixth goal. He has given up nine goals in 59 shots. Barry Brust, who played in game one after LaBarbera was shelled, has allowed one goal in four shots.

A former member of the Chicago Wolves and the Rockford IceHogs this season, Tim Wedderburn, currently plays for the Bears. He is responsible for an assist in the series. Other former Wolves include Kip Brennan, Troy Milam, Cassivi, and Barney.

Game one score, Hershey 7, Monarchs 2. Game two score, Hershey 4, Monarchs 1. The series moves to Manchester, NH for games three through five.

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