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Admirals, Bears roar to series sweeps

Darren Haydar’s hat trick lifted the Milwaukee Admirals into the Western Conference Final for the second time in three years with a 4-2 victory over the Houston Aeros on Tuesday night.

The Admirals finished off a four-game sweep of the Aeros, outscoring Houston by a 23-10 margin for the series.

Haydar leads the AHL with 10 goals, 11 assists and 21 points in 11 postseason games. He wound up with nine points (6g, 3a) in the division final against the Aeros. Simon Gamache recorded three assists to also wind up with nine points in the series (1g, 8a).

Haydar opened the scoring in Game 4 just 74 seconds in, picking up Milwaukee’s fourth shorthanded goal in the last two games. He added a power-play marker and an even-strength score for his second hat trick of the season.

Pekka Rinne made 19 saves to improve to 4-0 on the postseason, and Libor Pivko capped the scoring with an empty-netter with 10.8 seconds remaining.

Patrick O’Sullivan, the AHL’s rookie of the year in 2005-06, scored both goals for Houston, and finished the postseason as the Aeros’ leading scorer with 10 points (5g, 5a).

The Admirals will play either Grand Rapids or Manitoba for the right to advance to the 2006 Calder Cup Final.

HERSHEY 1, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 0 | Boxscore

The Hershey Bears completed a four-game sweep of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins with a 1-0 victory at the Giant Center on Tuesday night.

The Bears’ eighth straight victory this postseason propels them into the Eastern Conference championship series against either Portland or Hartford, one step away from their 19th trip to the Calder Cup Finals.

Frederic Cassivi made 27 saves for his second shutout of the series and Brooks Laich scored the game’s only goal during a five-minute power play in the first period.

Dany Sabourin stopped 33 of 34 shots in defeat.

Cassivi and the Bears allowed just five goals in the four games, including one over the final 186:52 of the series. Hershey is the first AHL team since the 1988 Bears to sweep back-to-back best-of-seven series.

The Penguins began the regular season with a remarkable 20-0-2-1 run and held off the Bears to capture their first division title. But Wilkes-Barre was overmatched following an emotional seven-game triumph over Bridgeport in the first round, and wound up with their first four-game losing streak of the year.

GRAND RAPIDS 5, MANITOBA 4 (OT) | Boxscore
Eric Manlow’s goal 6:38 into overtime gave Grand Rapids a 5-4 victory over host Manitoba in Game 3 of the North Division Final on Tuesday night.

The Griffins take a 2-1 series lead into Thursday’s Game 4 at the MTS Centre.

Manlow, Jiri Hudler and Valtteri Filppula each recorded a goal and an assist for Grand Rapids, which raced out to a 3-0 lead less than five minutes into the game but could not hold on in regulation.

The Griffins’ three goals on their first three shots chased Wade Flaherty at the 4:48 mark. Maxime Ouellet faced just two shots the rest of the way in the first period, and Flaherty was back between the pipes to start the second.

Matt Ellis and Donald MacLean also scored for Grand Rapids, and Jimmy Howard finished with 29 saves.

Jason Jaffray and Alexandre Burrows tallied a goal and an assist each for the Moose.