Weston Tardy in, Stapleton out

     Idaho Steelheads defenseman Weston Tardy of Duluth is on to the next round of the East Coast Hockey League Kelly Cup playoffs, while former Minnesota Duluth center Tim Stapleton of the Chicago Wolves was eliminated in the American Hockey League playoffs Tuesday.

     Also Wednesday, Finland defeated the United States 3-2 in the final preliminary-round game at the 2010 International Ice Hockey Federation World Men’s Championship in Cologne, Germany. With a 0-0-2-1 record, the Americans will play in the tournament’s relegation round at 9:15 a.m. (CDT) Saturday. David Moss and T.J. Oshie scored for the U.S. Also, Switzerland (3-0) defeated Canada 4-1. Canada is 2-1.

    Idaho advanced to the Kelly Cup final Tuesday by defeating the Stockton Thunder 7-5 before 4,200 fans at Qwest Arena in Boise, Idaho. Idaho won the National Conference series 4-2 and opens the championship series at home Friday against Cincinnati or Reading. Reading (with forward Ben Gordon of International Falls) is at Cincinnati in an American Conference Game 7 Wednesday night. 

     Tardy, 26, is in his fourth professional season and first with Idaho. The Idaho assistant captain is the older brother of Minnesota Duluth recruit Max Tardy.

     The first-year Texas Stars rallied to beat the Chicago Wolves 6-5 in overtime Tuesday in Game 7 of the the AHL’s West Division finals in Rosemont, Ill. Chicago took a 2-0 lead against Texas and former Bemidji State goalie Matt Climie and was up 4-2 on a Stapleton goal early in the second period. Texas ultimately tied the game 5-5 with 6:50 left in the third and won 4:57 into OT. It was Climie’s first playoff start.

     In 14 playoff games, Stapleton led Chicago’s scoring with four goals and nine assists for 13 points.

    The puck drops at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario, on Friday night with the Hamilton Bulldogs meeting the Texas Stars for the American Hockey League’s Western Conference championship.