First though, before we get started, a little something from the "It could happen at any moment" department.
Making it to Game 7 was no easy task for the Hamilton Bulldogs (MTL) as they had dug themselves an early 0-3 hole to the Houston Aeros (MIN).
Sweltering temperatures in Houston on Tuesday (humid and in the 90s), left the ice surface at Toyota Center somewhat less than ideal for the dramatic conclusion to what had turned into a fantastic series, capped by Hamilton's double OT win on Sunday night, forcing Game 7.
When all was said and done, Houston captain Jon DiSalvatore knocked in the winning goal with just 1:13 remaining in regulation time, sending the Aeros to the Calder Cup Finals.
There was plenty of drama in this one, as it was a back and forth affair. The Aeros quickly skated to a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Chad Rau and Casey Wellman, just nine seconds apart. It took the Bulldogs just over six minutes to net two of their own, knotting things up after one period.
The teams swapped second period goals, setting up the overtime-like third period. After DiSalvatore's somewhat controversial goal, the Bulldogs applied pressure to Aeros' netminder Matt Hackett who stood tall for Houston. His opponent at the other end of the ice, Drew MacIntyre made his 41st consecutive start in goal for the Bulldogs. Drew Mac will be a UFA come July 1st.
The Calder Cup Finals will begin Friday night in Houston, as the Aeros will meet the well rested Binghamton Senators. Game 2 will be Saturday night, also at the Toyota Center in Houston.