Bulldogs win first Calder Cup crown
HAMILTON, Ontario -- Carey Price led Hamilton to its first Calder Cup title, stopping 29 shots in the Bulldogs' 2-1 victory over the Hershey Bears on Thursday night in Game 5 of the American Hockey League championship series.
Price, the 19-year-old goalie who spent most of the season in junior hockey with the Tri-City Americans, was the playoffs MVP.
"I was just so relieved [when the game ended]," Price said. "They're a good team. They could have come back at any second. It's a nice way to top it off."
Price was 15-6 in the postseason.
"He's just unbelievable," said teammate Maxim Lapierre. "He's a young kid with great skills and he's not nervous. He made us look good all playoffs long. I think he's going to be a great goalie."
Ajay Baines gave Hamilton the lead with a short-handed goal at 9:33 of the third period. "I don't score too many goals so that's a pretty special one," Baines said.
Lapierre also scored for the Montreal affiliate.
"It's character," Bulldogs coach Don Lever said. "These kids, they just never quit. To go on the road and win every first game on the road and come in with the pressure when you had to win at home. ... It's not easy winning that fourth one, especially against the best team in the league."
Jakub Klepis scored for Hershey, the Washington farm club that won the 2006 title.
"The three games here, only one line scored a goal," Hershey coach Bruce Boudreau said. "You're not going to win when that happens. It wasn't through lack of effort. They just played very good defensively and their goaltender, you can tell he's going to have a future. I truly believe that if we had have won one [in Hamilton], I don't know if we would have won, but it would have been a seven-game set for sure."
Hamilton, in its 11th season in the AHL, lost to Hershey in the 1997 final and again to the Houston Aeros in a seven-game series in 2003.
A crowd of 14,205 attended the game at Copps Coliseum.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press