Series Preview: 2011 Gump Cup Final

In News on June 28, 2011 at 10:08 am

Salem Wannabees (53-22-7) vs. West Virginia River Rats (51-22-9)

When the Portland Winterhawks were ousted in the first round, it guaranteed that a different team would hoist the Gump Cup for the first time since 2006.

Now, with the conference finals in the books, we know that whatever teams wins it all in 2011 will be champs for the very first time in franchise history.

The Salem Wannabees and West Virginia River Rats are two elite teams looking to put 16 seasons of futility behind them. Salem made the finals last year but fell to the Portland dynasty, while the River Rats haven’t been this far since 2002-2003.

The series featuring two teams that stack up very well. Both boast deep, balanced defense corps. Salem probably has a slight edge up front, West Virginia in goal. It’ll be a doozy.

Season Series
Although the Salem narrowly earned home ice advantage in the final, that’s could prove misleading: the Wannabees and River Rats met only twice in the regular season and the home team lost both times. Salem hammered the Rats in West Virginia but were facing backup Brent Johnson, while the Rats topped the ‘Bees in Salem. Two high-scoring games and an interesting wrinkle for this final series.

Salem 7 at West Virginia 5
West Virginia 6 at Salem 4

Top Scorers – Playoffs


LW Kristian Huselius 12   5  12   17
LW Patrick Marleau   12   4   9   13
RW Patrick Sharp     12   7   5   12
RW Loui Eriksson     12   4   8   12
C  Pavel Datsyuk     12   3   9   12

West Virginia

RW Alex Semin        13  11  10   21
C  Sidney Crosby     13   8  13   21
C  Eric Staal        13   6   6   12
LW Thomas Vanek      13   6   5   11
D  Scott Niedermayer 13   3   6    9

Starting Goaltenders


G  Craig Anderson    12   8-4     2.51  .907

West Virginia

G  Ryan Miller       12   8-5     3.12  .908


– Salem needed its secondary scoring to come through in a big way and they delivered. Kristian Huselius scored an incredible 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) in the 5-game series against Charleston
– The River Rats’ big two – Sidney Crosby and Alex Semin – are lighting it up; they lead all scorers in the playoffs with 21 points apiece


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