Sunday, June 12, 2016

NHL, AHL, ECHL Champions Crowned

The Pittsburgh Penguins closed out the 2015-16 hockey season with a 3-1 victory at San Jose on Sunday night to win the fourth Stanley Cup in franchise history. The Penguins, who defeated the Sharks in six games, have won all four of their Cups on the road, dating back to 1991.

Brian Dumoulin (Boston College) opened the scoring for the Penguins on a first-period power play, assisted by Nick Schultz (Wisconsin) and Chris Kunitz (Ferris State). Less than two minutes after the Sharks tied the game in the second period, Conor Sheary (UMass) help set up the Cup-winning goal by Kris Letang. Pittsburgh then scored into an empty net late in the third stanza to seal the victory.

Other former NCAA players who starred for Pittsburgh this postseason included the HBK line of Carl Hagelin (Michigan), Nick Bonino (Boston University) and Phil Kessel (Minnesota), who combined for 56 points and a +23 plus-minus rating. The Penguins were led by head coach Mike Sullivan (Boston University), who took the reins in December and then led Pittsburgh to a 16-8 playoff mark.

The Lake Erie Monsters brought Cleveland its first professional hockey title since 1964 with Saturday night's 1-0 overtime victory over the Hershey Bears at Quicken Loans Arena. The Monsters won the American Hockey League's Calder Cup Final in four games.

Lake Erie, the top farm team of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, went 15-2 during the postseason to complete its ninth season in Ohio and the league’s 80th season, according to Rookie defenseman Zach Werenski (Michigan) finished among the top scorers in the AHL playoffs with five goals and nine assists for 14 points in 17 games with the Monsters. Hershey forward Carter Camper (Miami) was second overall among AHL postseason scorers with six goals and 17 points in 21 outings.

The Monsters' Calder Cup victory came two nights after the ECHL's Allen Americans won their second consecutive Kelly Cup with a six-game, final-round victory over the Wheeling Nailers. Riley Gill (Western Michigan) backstopped the Americans to the title, his third ECHL crown, with a 12-5-0 playoff record, according to Allen is the first repeat ECHL champion since the Toledo Storm in 1993-1994.

See you next season.

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