Bears down Falcons, clinch playoff berth

The defending Calder Cup champion Hershey Bears became the second team to clinch a berth in the 2007 Calder Cup Playoffs with a 4-2 win over the Springfield Falcons at a sold-out Giant Center on Wednesday night.

A crowd of 10,710 saw the Bears catch the Norfolk Admirals for first place in the East Division and the overall AHL standings with 96 points.

Stephen Werner, Joey Tenute, Jeff Miles and Chris Bourque all tallied for Hershey and Quintin Laing recorded two assists to help give the Bears their third straight win.

Frederic Cassivi stopped 22 of 24 shots to improve his record to 17-7-5.

Kyle Wanvig and Justin Keller scored in the loss for Springfield.

Brent Krahn stopped all 26 shots he faced as the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights defeated the Milwaukee Admirals, 2-0, at the Omaha Civic Auditorium.

Carsen Germyn and Tim Hambly each scored and Andrei Taratukhin recorded two assists as the Knights closed out their season series against the Admirals with a 9-1-0-0 record, including shutouts in two of the last three meetings.

Omaha earned its 40th win of the year, and with a record of 40-22-4-1 and 85 points, move within two points of the West Division lead behind Chicago.

Milwaukee had its six-game points streak (4-0-0-2) snapped in the loss.

Craig Valette put Worcester ahead twice in the contest, the final time proving to be enough as the Sharks edged the visiting Albany River Rats by a score of 3-2.

Valette tallied a pair of goals and defenseman Garrett Stafford added the other tally for Worcester, which won its third straight game and fifth of six.

Thomas Greiss made 16 saves to improve his record to 19-13-2 on the year for the Sharks.

Ryan Bayda and Brad Parsons each scored in a losing effort for Albany.

David Krejci led the Bruins with two goals and an assist along with a plus-3 rating as Providence defeated the visiting Portland Pirates by a score of 5-3 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

Nate DiCasmirro scored a goal and an assist and Dennis Packard recorded a pair of helpers for the Bruins, who earned their second straight win and moved into second place in the Atlantic Division with a record of 39-26-1-3 and 82 points.

Hannu Toivonen made 15 saves on the night to earn his ninth win of the year with Providence. Petr Kalus and T.J. Trevelyan rounded out the scoring and defenseman Mark Stuart had two assists in the win.

Geoff Peters, Matt Keith and Drew Miller all tallied in the loss, Portland’s sixth straight defeat to the Bruins.

Nolan Schaefer stopped all 17 shots to earn his first shutout of the year and his fifth straight win as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins knocked off the visiting Philadelphia Phantoms by score of 4-0.

Stephen Dixon led the way with two goals and an assist and Connor James and Jonathan Filewich also scored in the win for the Penguins.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has won five out of its last six games at home and has improved its mark to 43-18-2-4 overall and 92 points, just four points back of the lead in the East Division.

Dylan Hunter tallied the game-winning goal with 1:52 to play in regulation as the Rochester Americans edged the Hamilton Bulldogs, 4-3, at Copps Coliseum.

Stefan Meyer had a goal and an assist and Marek Zagrapan and Patrick Kaleta also added goals for the Amerks, who are winners of two straight.

Adam Dennis stopped 25 of 28 shots to even his record to 14-14-0 on the year.

Jonathan Ferland, Matt D’Agostini and Francis Lemieux each scored in the loss for Hamilton. For D’Agostini, it was his sixth goal in the last three games.

Dieter Kochan stopped all 22 shots he faced as the Houston Aeros completed a two-game sweep of Manitoba with a 2-0 win at the MTS Centre.

Erik Reitz had a goal and an assist and Mattias Weinhandl provided the other goal for the Aeros, who won back-to-back games in Winnipeg following a 15-game road winless streak.

Julien Ellis made 16 saves for Manitoba, who have dropped back-to-back games in regulation for the first time since Jan. 19-24.