Ryan Clowe scored the game-winning goal with 6:03 to go in regulation on Sunday afternoon as Cleveland knocked off Toronto, 6-3, to win the North Division qualifying series, two games to one.
The pesky Roadrunners won Game 1 before the Barons bounced back with a double-overtime victory on Saturday night. In Game 3, Cleveland saw leads of 2-0 and 3-2 disappear before the rookie Clowe put them ahead to stay.
Shane Joseph scored two insurance goals late in the third period, Grant Stevenson registered three assists, and Game 2 hero Shawn Mather added a goal and an assist. The Barons will face Hamilton in a best-of-seven division semifinal series beginning Tuesday night at Copps Coliseum.
Nick Bootland and Christian Ehrhoff also scored for Cleveland, which had found the net just three times in the first eight periods of the series.
WILKES-BARRE 3, BRIDGEPORT 2 (OT)
This time, the result was different.
For the third game in a row, Wilkes-Barre came from behind on the AHL’s top-ranked defense in the third period and forced overtime. But Sunday, the Penguins finished the deal, with Eric Meloche scoring 3:08 into OT to seal a 3-2 victory and cut the Sound Tigers’ lead in the series to 2-1.
Bridgeport led 2-0 before Meloche scored on a power play with 3:30 left in the second period. Matt Murley‘s goal with 5:58 remaining in regulation sent the teams to OT, marking the seventh time in AHL history that a playoff series has featured three consecutive overtime contests.
Game 4 is Tuesday night in Wilkes-Barre.
MANCHESTER 2, WORCESTER 0
Scott Barney and Yanick Lehoux scored in the third period to give Manchester a much-needed 2-0 win in Worcester.
The IceCats still lead the series, two games to one.
Adam Hauser, who led Minnesota to an NCAA championship in 2002, got his first career playoff start for Manchester and made 25 saves for the shutout as the Monarchs snapped a seven-game playoff losing streak, spanning the last three postseasons.
CHICAGO 1, GRAND RAPIDS 0
Eric Healey provided all of the offense with a goal 12:05 into the first period as Chicago posted a 1-0 win over Grand Rapids, taking a 2-0 series lead with a pair of road wins.
Kari Lehtonen turned aside 37 shots for the shutout.
Game 3 is scheduled for Wednesday night at Allstate Arena.