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Anton Forsberg Leads Lake Erie to a Calder Cup Championship

The AHL playoffs concluded on Saturday night, as the Lake Erie Monsters defeated the Hershey Bears 1-0 in overtime to capture their first Calder Cup in franchise history. Even though it was a 4-0 sweep, the series was extremely tight. The winning goal by rookie Oliver Bjorkstrand was scored with 1.9 seconds remaining in the overtime period. Winning goaltender Anton Forsberg stopped all 23 shots that he was faced with, and Justin Peters stopped 32 of 33 in the loss.

A capacity crowd of 19,665 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland saw the Columbus Blue Jackets affiliate take home the championship. It stands as the second-largest crowd in AHL Calder Cup history. The previous Cleveland-area AHL team, the Barons, were one of the most successful AHL franchises in history. They captured nine Calder Cups in their history, but their last one came all the way back in 1963-64. It’s been a while.

Peters2Peters is a 29-year-old veteran with NHL experience, who is trying to make his way back to the big league. This fantastic playoff run will certainly help his cause! Forsberg, on the other hand, is a 23-year-old prospect that has dominated the AHL for the last two seasons. He was the 13th-ranked goaltending prospect in our rankings at the beginning of the season. Although he has struggled at the NHL level in his brief stints with the Blue Jackets, his future remains bright.

The highly entertaining fourth game of the 2016 Calder Cup final will go down as an incredible goaltending battle. Lake Erie pressed early, but Peters would not budge, making a number of highlight reel saves to keep the game scoreless. As the teams both tightened up with overtime approaching, the game slowed down. That didn’t last very long, as they picked up full steam in the extra frame. The goalies matched each other save-for-save, and it didn’t seem like either of them were about to crack.

Hershey had a brilliant chance early on in the overtime period, forcing a screened shot through to the net. Forsberg tracked it, and went into the full splits for an unbelievable glove save that brought the entire crowd to its feet.

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Only moments later, Peters would not be outdone. He made a glove stop of his own to keep it a 0-0 game.

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It was one of those games that you wish didn’t have to end. It was an absolute shame that Peters couldn’t get the win. He put up an enormous fight, and turned in an incredible performance in the final game. That’s all you can do as a goaltender.

The game winning goal was scored from an impossible angle, as Bjorkstrand banked it off the post, then off the outstretched glove of Peters – who must have been gassed. Check it out the goal, and some other notes from the game below:

About The Author

Greg Balloch

Greg Balloch is a Vancouver-based writer for InGoal Magazine, broadcaster for Sportsnet 650, and goaltending coach. His career began in Hamilton, Ontario with the Junior 'A' Hamilton Red Wings, before moving to Vancouver to cover the Canucks on the radio and work with the Surrey Eagles of the BCHL. A lifelong goaltender, he has been teaching the position for over a decade.