Sunday, April 11, 2010

Rats to face Penguins in playoffs

ALBANY β€” The Albany River Rats now know their opponent for the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs and it’s a familiar one.
On the strength of a second-place finish in the East Division, the River Rats will face divisional rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in a best-of-seven East Division semifinal series, which opens on Wednesday in Albany.
The third-place Penguins, who secured the third seed in the East Division playoffs with a 3-0 victory over Binghamton on Sunday, have won six of the eight regular-season meetings (6-1-0-1), including five of the past six, against the second-seeded River Rats.
The first two games will be played at Albany with Game 1 scheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Game 2 slated for Friday at 7 p.m.
The series then shifts to Wilkes-Barre for games on Sunday and Monday, at 3:05 p.m. and 7:05 p.m., respectively. Game 5, if necessary is at Albany on Wednesday, April 21, and Games 6 and 7 at Wilkes-Barre on Saturday April, 24 and Sunday, April 25, respectively.
This will be the first playoff meeting between the River Rats and Penguins and Albany will compete in the postseason for the third time in four seasons.
This is also the first time the Albany has earned home-ice advantage for a playoff series since 1999.
In the other East Division semifinal series, top-seeded Hershey will meet fifth-place Bridgeport of Atlantic Division, which will crossover to compete in the East.
In the 2006-07 playoffs, the Rats were beaten 4-1 by the Hershey Bears; and were edged by the Philadelphia Phantoms in seven games in 2007-08 β€” both in East Division semifinal series.
The River Rats franchise, now in its final season in Albany, won the Calder Cup in the 1994-95 campaign.
The Penguins have reached the Calder Cup final twice β€” in 2000-01 and in 2007-08.

EAST DIVISION SEMIFINALS
(Best-of-7)
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON vs. ALBANY
Wednesday
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at Albany, 7 p.m.
Friday
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at Albany, 7 p.m.
Sunday
Albany at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 3:05 p.m.
Monday, April 19
Albany at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 7:05 p.m.
x-Wednesday, April 21
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at Albany, 7 p.m.
x-Saturday, April 24
Albany at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 7:05 p.m.
x-Sunday, April 25
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at Albany, 5 p.m.
x-if necessary

BRIDGEPORT vs. HERSHEY
Wednesday
Bridgeport at Hershey, 7 p.m.
Friday
Bridgeport at Hershey, 7 p.m.
Saturday
Hershey at Bridgeport, 7 p.m.
Sunday
Hershey at Bridgeport, 3 p.m.
x-Wednesday, April 21
Bridgeport at Hershey, 7 p.m.
x-Friday, April 23
Hershey at Bridgeport, 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 24
Bridgeport at Hershey, 7 p.m.
x-if necessary

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