VGAHL Season 19 Snap Shots, Volume 9: Seven Dates With Destiny
I'm balls deep into Mad Men now and just finished the second season. I like watching these shows anywhere from 4-5 years after they've aired because you understand the legacy of these shows and evaluate if they actually match up to it. I'm usually not a fan of hour long programs, as I get bored about half an hour into it (Arrested Development is more my speed). However, after watching Breaking Bad and now Mad Men, I'm a huge fan of the hour long shows and might just start watching movies for the hell of it (I got a Tarantino box set and the Star Wars films I gotta get through).
A duel is defined as a "a contest with deadly weapons arranged between two people in order to settle a point of honor", and we are in for a championship duel for the ages. The best team in the Eastern Conference and the best team in the Western conference have emerged with their respective titles and are looking to add one more to their collection: the Calder Cup. From the east we have the Hershey Bears, the first seed in the Eastern conference, and from the west we have the Tucson Roadrunners, the eighth team in the Western conference.
Based on seeding, it's not odd to think that this is a mismatch; the Bears were near the top of the standings for almost the entire season, and continued that success into the playoffs. They easily disposed of the Sound Tigers in the first round, and then beat the Checkers and surprisingly only took 5 games against a team that was predicted to be one of the more difficult challenges for Hershey. In a controversial conference finals against the Rochester Americans that included reschedules, pedophilia accusations, threats of violence, and more, Hershey was able to take the series in 7 games and win the Richard F. Canning Trophy.
Meanwhile, the Roadrunners picked up momentum at the end of the season to claim the second wild card spot in the West. However, the Roadrunners are no joke; they were able to knock off the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy winners, the Utica Comets, in the first round, and then the Western conference favourites, the San Diego Gulls, in the second round. They squared off against another cinderella story in the Rockford Ice Hogs, who managed to win more against the Roadrunners than the Gulls, but ultimately fell in 6 games as Tucson won the Robert W. Clarke Trophy.
With our Calder Cup finalists set, let's recap the conference finals and see if I was close with my predictions. I did pretty good in the first round but kinda blew it in the second round. Let's see if we can do a little bit better this time.
Let's take some snap shots!
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
Hershey Bears (1) vs. Rochester Americans (3)
Result: Hershey Bears win 4-3.
DD Prediction: Hershey Bears win 4-2.
What Happened: boy, this series had a lot of ground to cover. The two teams split the first two games, with the Bears' victory (4-1) being much more lopsided than the Americans' victory (4-3 in OT). However, a forfeit win for the Americans in game 3 caused all hell to break loose; suspensions were demanded, threats were uttered, and much more. The Bears would win the next two games by a combined score of 11-6, and Rochester would use it's reschedule for game 6. After the Americans won their rescheduled game 4-2, we were set for a game 7. In an overtime victory, the Bears were able to defeat the Americans 2-1 and punch their ticket to the Calder Cup finals.
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
Tucson Roadrunners (4) vs. Rockford Ice Hogs (2)
Result: Tucson Roadrunners win 4-2.
DD Prediction: Tucson Roadrunners win 4-2.
What Happened: we got one! The Ice Hogs surprised a majority of the community by getting to this spot, but proved that they deserved to be there as they took the first two games of this series, outscoring the Roadrunners 13-8. The Roadrunners would decimate the Ice Hogs over the next two games, winning both to tie the series at 2 and out-scoring the opposition 11-3. The Roadrunners never looked back, as they scored 11 goals in their next two games to send the Ice Hogs packing and move onto the Calder Cup finals.
My congratulations and condolences go out to the aforementioned Rockford Ice Hogs and Rochester Americans. Each of these squads had very respectful seasons and are filled with tremendous amounts of talent, and should be proud of how far they came this season. FUCKNUTZ and Graham did a great job developing and maintaining their team this season, and Krazy and Sportsgeek put together an unbelievable run including two series sweeps. Neither team should be ashamed of their efforts in these playoffs, and I'm sure that they will be contenders again next season.
However, it's time to take a look at our finalists, and predict the outcome of the VGAHL Season 19 Calder Cup finals.
VGAHL Season 19 Calder Cup Finals
Hershey Bears vs. Tucson Roadrunners
Hershey Bears: Capitalsfan and YoungBoog built a team that was heavily favoured from the start of the season, and it's no surprise to see them as the representative from the Eastern conference in these Calder Cup finals. They've only lost 5 games these playoffs, but 4 of those 5 losses have come on the road, and 3 of those losses occurred in the previous series. They have outscored teams by 17 goals, and have kept offenses to just over 2 goals a game to complement their high-powered offense, an offensive core that employs the Willie Marshall Award in Blades, Marty, and the aforementioned management squad. On defense, the Bears have a stacked core that is led by ct83, and supported by Josi and DC, combining for a +39 between the three. In between the pipes, the tandem of snipeshotty and chemtrails have been reliable all season, and have not been any different in the playoffs, aside from some slight difficulties against the Americans. Snipe has emerged as the starting goalie in these playoffs, with a 1.94 GAA and saving 79% of shots. Overall, the Bears have an incredibly reliable team, top to bottom, and are capable of winning any game with any lineup they put out, and are looking to win four more to secure their place in VGAHL history.
Tucson Roadrunners: Chris and Hamanator deserve all the credit in the world for the turnaround of the Roadrunners this season, bringing them from a team that was on the brink of the playoffs to a team that is four wins away from the Calder Cup. Their offense is averaging over 4.5 goals a game with the league leader in goals (PerfectSkillz with 31) and points (BoilyHP with 72) leading their squad. Hammy helps out on offense, while killerz and Angrod have been holding down the fort at D with the help of Moreault, with 37 points in 34 games from the blueline. In net, the Roadrunners have one of the most underrated netminders in the league in the Dominator, who is the only goalie remaining posting a 80% save percentage or higher. His record in these playoffs is 11-2, while Chris's record in net is less than impressive with 1-3 and a sub 70% save percentage. The Roadrunners, amidst some criticism, turned their season around at just the right time and assembled a team that has a very good chance at winning the Calder Cup.
The Verdict: While Tucson has the offensive edge on paper with their goal totals these playoffs, they're up against the team who had the best regular season offense in the AHL. The Bears may not have had the most difficult of roads to the finals in comparison to their adversaries, they knocked off a Calder Cup final caliber team on their way there, and didn't allow a lot of goals against due to their stifling defense. Overall, this will be a battle of two prominent offensive cores, where defense and goaltending will be heavily tested and depended upon. In the end, I think the Bears have the slight edge in defense and goaltending, and will take this series and the Calder Cup. Hershey Bears win 4-3.
Three months of hard work has culminated into these last seven games; the two teams have earned their right to be called the conference champions and now seek one more important accolade. The Calder Cup awaits the first team to win four of these upcoming games, and they will without a doubt be the toughest games that either team has played all season. We also have one of the most intriguing storylines in the league with the top seed in the East facing off against the bottom seed in the West, a true David vs. Goliath story.
However, we should all be looking forward to an incredibly competitive and honestly hard to predict championship series between two excellent teams. No matter what happens here, both teams should be incredibly proud of their accomplishments this season amidst a field of very competent teams. Out of 31 teams, they outlasted 29 others in the pursuit of championship glory, but when the dust settles, only one team can be victorious and stake their claim to the Calder Cup as the champions of season 19 of the VGAHL.
Good luck to both teams this week, see you on next week's championship edition of Snap Shots!