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)

Click For Match-Up Sheet

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

Kelly Cup Champions

2008 – Cincinnati defeated Las Vegas, 4 games to 2
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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