Saturday June 11, 2016
13 CHL graduates are Calder Cup Champions with the Lake Erie Monsters following a 1-0 overtime victory over the Hershey Bears in Game 4 on Saturday night in Cleveland, OH.
Portland Winterhawks graduate and former WHL Player of the Year Oliver Bjorkstrand scored with 1.9 seconds remaining in overtime, putting a rebound past Hershey goaltender Justin Peters (Plymouth Whalers) from the side of the goal to give the Monsters their first AHL Championship in franchise history.
Bjorkstrand earned AHL Playoff MVP honours, recording 10 goals, six assists and 16 points over 17 games for the Monsters, an AHL franchise that has operated since 2007 and wraps up its first season as the affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Of the 13 CHL graduates on the Monsters, three hoisted the Memorial Cup during their tenure in the league.
Veteran journeyman Steve Eminger was both an OHL and MasterCard Memorial Cup Champion with the Kitchener Rangers in 2003. Spokane Chiefs blueliner Justin Falk won a WHL title before helping the Chiefs claim the Memorial Cup crown in Kitchener in 2008. QMJHL graduate Michael Chaput hoisted the Memorial Cup as a member of the host Shawinigan Cataractes in 2012.
Also included on Lake Erie’s playoff roster despite not appearing in postseason action were recent CHL graduates in Jordan Maletta (Niagara IceDogs), Blake Siebenaler (Niagara IceDogs), Justin Scott (Barrie Colts) and Paul Bittner (Portland Winterhawks) along with blueliners Mark Cundari (Windsor Spitfires) and Steve McCarthy (Kootenay Ice).
The Calder Cup returns to Cleveland for the first time since 1964, giving the city its 10th ever title following nine by the old Cleveland Barons franchise during its existence from 1936-72.
The Game 4 crowd of 19,665 is the largest to ever see a professional hockey game in the state of Ohio and the second-largest postseason crowd in AHL history.
CHL Graduates on the Lake Erie Monsters (13):
Josh Anderson (London Knights)
Oliver Bjorkstrand (Portland Winterhawks)*
Alex Broadhurst (London Knights)
Michael Chaput (Shawinigan Cataractes)
Ryan Craig (Brandon Wheat Kings)
Steve Eminger (Kitchener Rangers)
Justin Falk (Spokane Chiefs)
Brett Gallant (Saint John Sea Dogs)
Dillon Heatherington (Swift Current Broncos)
Sonny Milano (Plymouth Whalers)
Nick Moutrey (North Bay Battalion)
Kerby Rychel (Guelph Storm)
Lukas Sedlak (Chicoutimi Sagueneens)
*named AHL Playoff MVP
For news and information on the American Hockey League, please visit theahl.com.