PRINCETON, N.J. – The battle to determine the national ‘AA’ hockey champion continues Thursday when the National Conference champion Alaska Aces host the American Conference champion South Carolina Stingrays in Game 6 of the Kelly Cup Finals at 7:15 p.m. AKDT at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, Alaska.
South Carolina has a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series after winning 4-2 at Alaska in Game 1 and posting back-to-back wins at home, 4-2 in Game 3 and 5-0 in Game 4. The Aces won 3-1 at home in Game 2 and 3-2 in overtime at South Carolina in Game 5.
Game 7, if necessary, will be played Friday at 7:15 p.m. AKDT at Sullivan Arena.
Celebrating its 21st season in 2008-09, the ECHL is the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League and is the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League.
The Kelly Cup trophy is named for Patrick J. Kelly, who presents it each year to the postseason champion. Kelly 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 ECHL is the primary development league for the AHL and the NHL. The ECHL and the AHL are the only two minor professional hockey leagues that are recognized in the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL and the National Hockey League Players’ Association. The CBA states that any player on an NHL entry-level contract designated for assignment to a minor league must report if assigned to a team in the ECHL or the AHL. A player on an NHL entry-level contract assigned to a minor professional league other than the ECHL or the AHL is not required to report and can request reassignment to a team in the ECHL or the AHL.
Game 6 Sold Out, Record Crowd Of 6,610 Expected
Tickets for Game 6 of the ECHL Kelly Cup Finals sold out in less than 40 hours and the Alaska Aces are expecting a record crowd of 6,610 on Thursday. The crowd of 6,610 will be the largest at a hockey game since the Sullivan Arena opened in 1983.
South Carolina leads the best-of-seven series three games to two. The Stingrays are looking for their record third Kelly Cup while the Aces are trying to capture their second title in the last four years after joining the league as an expansion team in 2003-04.
The Aces have sold out every Finals game that they have played including a record crowd of 6,482 for Game 1 and a sellout crowd of 6,396 for Game 2. Alaska won the Kelly Cup in 2006 and had sold out crowds of 6,251 for Games 1 and 2 against Gwinnett.
The team sells 200 standing-room-only tickets for each game and an additional 159 seats were made available before the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Alaska leads the league in postseason attendance with 43,437 fans and an average of 5,430 per game.
B2 Networks Broadcasts Kelly Cup Finals
B2 Networks, the “Official Broadband Broadcast Provider of the ECHL,” is broadcasting every game in the Kelly Cup Finals.
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.
Down 3-1 Not Impossible To Overcome
South Carolina had a 3-1 lead in the Kelly Cup Finals before Alaska’s 3-2 overtime win in Game 5. There have been 34 series where a team has trailed 3-1 and only three times has the trailing team come back to win. Dayton came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat Cincinnati in the division finals in 2007, winning Game 5 (6-2 at Cincinnati) before winning Game 6 (3-0 at home) and Game 7 (5-3 at home). Mississippi came back from a 3-1 deficit against Richmond in the Kelly Cup Finals in 1999 winning Game 5 (2-0 at home) before winning Game 6 (7-3 at Richmond) and Game 7 (4-3 at home in double overtime). Las Vegas came back from a 3-1 deficit against Idaho in the division semifinals in 2006 winning Game 5 (5-2 at Idaho) before winning Game 6 (6-0 at home) and Game 7 (6-2 at home). There has never been a team that has trailed 0-3 in a seven-game series that has come back to win.
Farthest Distance For Kelly Cup Finals
The 4,517 miles between Anchorage, Alaska and North Charleston, S.C. is the greatest distance between two teams in the history of the Kelly Cup Playoffs eclipsing the 4,444 miles between Anchorage, Alaska and Trenton, N.J. for the conference finals in 2005 and the 4,396 miles between Anchorage, Alaska and Duluth, Ga. for the Kelly Cup Finals in 2006.South Carolina is looking to become the first three-time winner having won the inaugural Kelly Cup in 1997 and becoming the first two-time winner in 2001. Stingrays head coach Jared Bednar was a member of both championship teams. The Stingrays have qualified for the postseason a league record 15 times in 16 seasons and are the all-time leader with 132 postseason games and 73 postseason wins.
Stingrays Look For Third Kelly Cup, Aces Chase Second
Alaska won the Kelly Cup in 2006 and is looking to join South Carolina and Idaho as the only two-time winners of the trophy. The Aces are third in postseason wins with 55, two behind the Toledo Storm. The ECHL postseason champion from 1989-96 was presented the Riley Cup. If the Stingrays win they would tie the league record for championships held by the Hampton Roads Admirals, who won in 1991, 1992 and 1998. South Carolina is making its third appearance in the finals tying the record held by the Greensboro Monarchs (1990, 1991 and 1995), the Hampton Roads Admirals (1991, 1992 and 1998) and the Wheeling Nailers (1989, 1990 and 1993).
Aces In Finals For Second Time In Four Years
The Aces are the top seed after finishing first in the National Conference and second overall in the ECHL with a winning percentage of .646 and a record of 45-24-3. 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.
Alaska, South Carolina and Cincinnati are the only teams to win the regular season Brabham Cup trophy and the Kelly Cup trophy in the same season. The Stingrays accomplished the feat in 1996-97 while the Aces did it in 2005-06 and the Cyclones did it in 2007-08.
The Aces finished first in the West Division in the regular season marking the fourth time in the last five years that they were first in the division and the third time that they were first in the National Conference. 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. The Aces are the only team to advance in the postseason each of their first six seasons and the first team to advance six consecutive years.
Home-Ice Advantage In Finals
Eight of the 12 Kelly Cup winners, including the last three champions, and 12 of the 20 league champions have had home-ice advantage. The Kelly Cup winners are Cincinnati (2008), Idaho (2007), Alaska (2006), Idaho (2004), Greenville (2002), Peoria (2000), Mississippi (1999) and South Carolina (1997) while the Riley Cup winners are Charlotte (1996), Richmond (1995), Toledo (1994) and Hampton Roads (1991 and 1992).
Stingrays’ Lacroix Sets Finals Record For Fastest Two Goals
Maxime Lacroix of the Stingrays set the ECHL record for fastest two goals in the finals when he scored twice in 13 seconds (5:56 and 6:09 of the second period) of a 4-2 win at Alaska in Game 1. Lacroix broke the record of 19 seconds set by Harry Mews of Hampton Roads, who scored at 0:48 and 1:07 of the second period in a 7-4 win at Greensboro in Game 3 of the 1991 Riley Cup Finals.
Name Already On Kelly Cup
Alaska’s Cam Keith, Vladimir Novak, Corbin Schmidt, Matt Shasby and coach Keith McCambridge were all members of the Aces Kelly Cup championship team in 2006. Scott Burt and Lance Galbraith played for Idaho when the Steelheads won the Kelly Cup in 2004 and 2007. In addition to Burt and Galbraith there are 13 individuals who have their name engraved on the Kelly Cup twice including South Carolina coach Jared Bednar, who played for the Stingrays when they won in 1997 and 2001. Peter Metcalf and Joe Talbot won the Kelly Cup with Atlantic City in 2003 and with Alaska in 2006. Eight of those who have had their name engraved twice were members of South Carolina’s championship team in 2001. Rick Adduono was an assistant coach for South Carolina when it won the first Kelly Cup in 1997 and was head coach when the Stingrays when they won in 2001. Jason Fitzsimmons was a player for South Carolina in 1997 and an assistant coach in 2001. Jared Bednar, Brad Dexter, Brett Marietti and Dave Seitz were all players in both 1997 and 2001. Marty Clapton had his name engraved in 1998 with Hampton Roads and in 2001 with South Carolina while Mike Nicholishen had his name engraved in 2001 with South Carolina and in 2003 with Atlantic City.
Players Returning To Finals
Alaska’s Scott Burt and Lance Galbraith played for Idaho in the Kelly Cup Finals in 2004 and 2007 while Cam Keith, Vladimir Novak, Corbin Schmidt and Matt Shasby of the Aces and Patrick Wellar of the Stingrays all played in the Kelly Cup Finals for the Aces in 2006. South Carolina’s Brad Farynuk played for Dayton in the Kelly Cup Finals in 2007.
Celebration At Home & On Road
In the 20 previous ECHL Playoffs, the champion has won the deciding game on the road 11 times and at home nine times. The 11 teams to win the title on the road are: Idaho (2007), Alaska (2006), Trenton (2005), Greenville (2002), Hampton Roads (1998 and 1992), South Carolina (1997), Charlotte (1996), Toledo (1994), Greensboro (1990) and Carolina (1989). The nine teams to win the title on home ice are: Cincinnati (2008), Idaho (2004), Atlantic City (2003), South Carolina (2001), Peoria (2000), Mississippi (1999), Richmond (1995), Toledo (1993) and Hampton Roads (1991).
Home-Ice Advantage In Overtime
There have been 95 overtime games in seven-game series and the home team has won 54 times. There have been 17 overtime games in the 2009 Kelly Cup Playoffs and the home team has won 10 times. There have been 20 overtime games in the ECHL Finals and the home team has won 10 times.
Playing Past Regulation
Nine of the 20 games in the ECHL Finals that have been tied at the end of regulation have gone to multiple overtimes. There have been eight games decided in double overtime, including Game 4 of the 2007 Kelly Cup Finals, and one decided in triple overtime, Game 4 of the 1991 Riley Cup Finals.
In the 2009 Kelly Cup Playoffs there have been 17 overtime games and the home team has won 10 times. Alaska is 1-1 overall and 1-1 on the road in overtime while South Carolina is 2-2 overall and 2-0 on the road in overtime.
Here are the five longest games in Finals history:
1991 HAMPTON ROADS 2 at Greensboro 1 Game 4 5:47 3rd OT (105:47)
2007 IDAHO 2 at Dayton 1 Game 4 14:20 2nd OT (94:20)
1990 Winston Salem 3 at GREENSBORO 4 Game 4 14:18 2nd OT (94:18)
1994 Raleigh 3 at TOLEDO 4 Game 1 1:38 2nd OT (91:38)
1999 Richmond 3 at MISSISSIPPI 4 Game 7 10:31 2nd OT (90:31)
Overtime Wins Can Result In Series Win
Winners of 62 of the 94 overtime games in seven-game series have gone on to win the series, including a 33–11 record in Games 4–7. Eleven teams that have won in overtime in Game 3 have gone on to win the series – Las Vegas in the 2008 conference finals, Alaska and Victoria in 2008 conference quarterfinals, Las Vegas in 2007 conference quarterfinals, Idaho in 2007 conference quarterfinals, Alaska in 2007 conference semifinals, Alaska in 2006 conference finals, Trenton in 2005 conference finals, Idaho in 2004 Kelly Cup Finals, Greenville in 2002 Kelly Cup Finals and Peoria in 2000 Kelly Cup Finals.
Game 7 Is Not Common – Every 10 Years In Finals
In the history of the ECHL, there have been 18 Game 7s and it has only happened twice in the Kelly Cup Finals. In 1999, Mississippi won the final three games of the Finals against Richmond, including a 4–3 double overtime win in Game 7. In the first ever Riley Cup Finals in 1989, Carolina defeated Johnstown 7–4 in Game 7. Dayton won two Game 7s in route to the Kelly Cup Finals, they beat Cincinnati at home in the division finals and then won at Florida in the conference finals.
The home team is 13-5 in Game 7. The five teams to win Game 7 on the road are Stockton and Elmira in the 2009 division semifinals, Dayton in the 2008 conference finals, Trenton in the 2006 conference finals and Carolina in the 1989 Riley Cup Finals.
ECHL Game 7s
May 6, 2009 Stockton 1 at LAS VEGAS 5 Division Finals
Apr. 22, 2009 STOCKTON 5 at Ontario 4 Division Semifinals
Apr. 22, 2009 Bakersfield 1 at LAS VEGAS 5 Division Semifinals
Apr. 21, 2009 ELMIRA 5 at Trenton 3 Division Semifinals
Apr. 20, 2009 Wheeling 1 at CINCINNATI 2 (2 OT) Division Semifinals
May 5, 2008 Reading 1 at CINCINNATI 6 Division Finals
May 18, 2007 DAYTON 4 at Florida 3 (OT) Conference Finals
May 3, 2007 Cincinnati 3 at DAYTON 5 Division Finals
May 22, 2006 Fresno 2 at ALASKA 3 (2 OT) Conference Finals
May 6, 2006 Bakersfield 2 at FRESNO 4 Division Finals
Apr. 22, 2006 Long Beach 3 at BAKERSFIELD 4 Division Semifinals
Apr. 19, 2006 Idaho 2 at LAS VEGAS 6 Division Semifinals
May 16, 2005 TRENTON 2 at Alaska 0 Conference Finals
May 3, 2003 Cincinnati 2 at ATLANTIC CITY 3 Conference Finals
May 13, 2001 Peoria 3 at TRENTON 4 Conference Finals
May 30, 1999 Richmond 3 at MISSISSIPPI 4 (2 OT) Kelly Cup Finals
Mar. 31, 1992 Roanoke 2 at GREENSBORO 6 First Round
Apr. 12, 1989 CAROLINA 7 at Johnstown 4 Riley Cup Finals
The following is a breakdown of the length of the 84 seven-game series in ECHL history, not including the 2009 Kelly Cup Finals:
Four Games: 21 (25.0 percent)
Five Games: 21 (25.0 percent)
Six Games: 25 (29.8 percent)
Seven Games: 17 (20.2 percent)
The following is a breakdown of the 20 Finals in ECHL history, not including the 2009 Kelly Cup Finals:
Four Games: 3 (15.0 percent)
Five Games: 10 (50.0 percent)
Six Games: 5 (25.0 percent)
Seven Games: 2 (10.0 percent)
The following is a breakdown of the record for eventual series winners in each game, not including the 2009 Kelly Cup Finals:
Game 1 53-31 13-7
Game 2 57-27 15-5
Game 3 60-24 12-8
Game 4 65-19 15-5
Game 5 53-12 17-0
Game 6 30-15 6-1
Home Cooking Is Sweet Early But Can Turn Sour Later
The home team has had success early in seven-game series, but has not fared as well in later games, particularly in the finals.
Game 1 49-36 11-10
Game 2 57-28 14-7
Game 3 37-48 9-12
Game 4 39-46 9-12
Game 5 38-28 9-9
Game 6 24-21 3-5
Game 7 13-5 1-1
Bednar, McCambridge Having Success Behind Bench
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 25-16 in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. The former defenseman was an assistant coach for five years before taking over as head coach in 2007-08. He is in his 13th season with the organization having played for the Stingrays from 1995-2002 and helping South Carolina win the Kelly Cup in 1997 and 2001. Alaska’s Keith McCambridge, who was captain of the Aces championship team in 2006, is 19-9 in the Kelly Cup Playoffs and 86-50-8 in the regular season.
Kelly Cup Finals Back On Familiar Ice
This is the third time that the Kelly Cup Finals have been played in the North Charleston Coliseum and the second time at the Sullivan Arena. It is the fifth time that the ECHL championship series has been hosted in the Palmetto State as Greenville won the championship in 2002 and Columbia lost to Atlantic City in 2003. South Carolina clinched the Kelly Cup at Louisiana in 1997 and won it at home in 2001 while Alaska hoisted its trophy at Gwinnett in 2006.
Preseason To Postseason
The two teams met in Alaska before the 2008-09 season and raised more than $120,000 for the American Cancer Society in Alaska and Breast Cancer Focus, Inc. Lamoureux made 34 saves and Colin Hemingway had two assists in Alaska’s 3-2 overtime win on Oct. 8, 2008 while Travis Morin had three assists and four points in South Carolina’s 5-1 win on Oct. 9, 2008. Alaska visited South Carolina in 2003-04 and the Stingrays won 4-1 on Mar. 16, 2004 and 4-3 in a shootout on Mar. 19, 2004.
2009 Kelly Cup Finals (Best of Seven)
South Carolina Leads Series 3-2
Game 1 – SOUTH CAROLINA 4 at Alaska 2
Game 2 – South Carolina 1 at ALASKA 3
Game 3 – Alaska 2 at SOUTH CAROLINA 4
Game 4 – Alaska 0 at SOUTH CAROLINA 5
Game 5 – ALASKA 3 at South Carolina 2
Game 6 – Thursday, June 4 at 7:15 p.m. AKT at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, Alaska
Game 7 – Friday, June 5 at 7:15 p.m. AKT at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, Alaska *
* – If Necessary
Kelly Cup Champions – Here is a complete list of 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