Bears, Admirals take 3-0 series leads

The Hershey Bears moved one step closer to a berth in the Eastern Conference championship series with a 4-1 victory over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Sunday evening.

Hershey takes a commanding 3-0 series lead into Tuesday’s Game 4.

The Bears, who scored the first four goals in the series opener before posting a 5-0 victory on Saturday night, opened up a 3-0 cushion in Game 3 en route to their seventh straight win out of the gate in the 2006 Calder Cup Playoffs.

Graham Mink got things started on a power play 5:17 into the game, and Jakub Cutta and Dave Steckel added second-period goals for Hershey.

Frederic Cassivi made 22 saves to improve his career AHL playoff record to 23-18, including 14-3 in a Bears uniform.

Jeff Schultz, Washington’s first-round pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, recorded his first pro goal for Hershey.

The Bears, who swept Norfolk in the first round, are the first team to begin an AHL postseason with seven straight wins since Providence in 2000.

Milwaukee got six goals from its special teams, including three shorthanded tallies, and took a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven West Division Finals with a 7-4 rout of Houston on Sunday evening at the Toyota Center.

The Admirals have scored 19 goals in three games against the Aeros and are one win away from a second trip to the Western Conference final in the last three years.

Simon Gamache, Darren Haydar and Kevin Klein scored man-down goals for the Admirals, while Shea Weber, Libor Pivko and Jordin Tootoo converted on the power play.

Gamache finished with a goal and three assists, and Haydar and Scottie Upshall picked up a goal and two assists each for Milwaukee. Haydar leads the AHL with 18 points in 10 postseason games.

Patrick O’Sullivan, Matt Foy and Clayton Stoner recorded a goal and an assist apiece for the Aeros.

Milwaukee can finish the sweep with a win in Game 4 on Tuesday night.

Chris Holt stopped 41 shots and Chad Wiseman recorded three assists as Hartford doubled up Portland, 4-2, to even up the Atlantic Division Finals at two games apiece on Sunday evening.

The teams will be off until Game 5 on Thursday night in Portland.

Jarkko Immonen had a goal and an assist for the Wolf Pack, who trailed by a goal midway through the second period before scoring the game’s final three goals.

Defenseman Daniel Girardi scored for the second straight game, Maine native Greg Moore tallied his second postseason goal and Lauri Korpikoski netted his first goal of his Calder Cup Playoff career for Hartford. Alexandre Giroux registered two assists for his fifth consecutive two-point game.

Holt, a 20-year-old rookie, won for the fourth time in six outings since taking over the starting duties from an injured Al Montoya last round.

Bruno St. Jacques and Pierre Parenteau scored for the Pirates, who lost in regulation for the first time since Apr. 8.

Zenon Konopka extended his scoring streak to 22 games with an assist.