WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 4, BRIDGEPORT 2
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton held off visiting Bridgeport by a 4-2 count at the Wachovia Arena on Friday in Game 5 of their East Division semifinal, becoming the first home team in the opening-round match-up to win a contest.
The Penguins captured the series, 4-1, and advance to a meeting with Hershey in the division finals.
Minard and Dustin Jeffrey each scored on the power play, and Jeff Taffe added a goal with 54.1 seconds remaining in the third period to provide insurance for what was a slim 3-2 Penguins advantage at the time.
Pens goaltender John Curry earned the victory with 20 save on 22 shots, helping Wilkes-Barre/Scranton move on to the division finals for the sixth consecutive spring.
HERSHEY 1, PHILADELPHIA 0
Graham Mink’s power play tally 1:30 into the second period stood up as the only goal of the night as the Bears claimed a 1-0 win over Philadelphia on Friday night before 7,409 fans at Giant Center.
Hershey completed a four-game opening-round sweep of the Phantoms and are back in the East Division Finals after a one-year absence. The Bears’ upcoming opponent, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, eliminated them in the first round last year en route to a spot in the Calder Cup Finals.
Bears goaltender Michal Neuvirth posted a 23-save shutout on Friday to complete a series in which he stopped 103 of 109 shots (.945) over the four contests. Hershey’s penalty kill was successful on all five opportunities in Game 4 and finished with a perfect 22-for-22 showing in the series.
Philadelphia held a 10-5 advantage in shots during the third period but could not solve Neuvirth and suffered its first-ever sweep in a best-of-7 series.
E1-Hershey Bears vs. E3-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Game 1 – Sat., May 2 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 7:00
Game 2 – Sun., May 3 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 5:00
Game 3 – Wed., May 6 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Game 4 – Fri., May 8 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 5 – Sat., May 9 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 6 – Sun., May 10 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 5:00
*Game 7 – Tue., May 12 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 7:00