Three teams needed wins on Friday night to stave off elimination, and all three succeeded in breathing new life into their seasons.
NORFOLK 2, PHILADELPHIA 1
Blake Bellefeuille scored on a power play with 1:54 left in regulation to give Norfolk a 2-1 win over Philadelphia in Game 5 on Friday night.
The Phantoms still lead the series, 3-2, with Game 6 slated for Saturday back at the Wachovia Center.
Craig Anderson made 26 saves for the Admirals to improve his record to 2-2 in the postseason. Quintin Laing added his team-leading fifth playoff goal for Norfolk.
It was the fourth 2-1 game played in the series.
CLEVELAND 4, HAMILTON 1
Tavis Hansen scored two of Cleveland’s three power play goals on the night as the Barons posted a scrappy 4-1 win over Hamilton to keep its season alive at Copps Coliseum.
The Bulldogs still own a 3-2 lead in the series as the teams move back to Gund Arena in Cleveland for Game 6 on Sunday.
Nolan Schaefer made 32 saves for the Barons, losing a shutout bid when Duncan Milroy scored with the man advantage at 17:45 of the third period.
Christian Ehrhoff and rookie Tim Conboy added two assists each for Cleveland, who broke open the game with two goals during a five-minute power play following a match penalty assessed to the Bulldogs’ Alexander Perezhogin.
MILWAUKEE 6, CINCINNATI 3
Darren Haydar and Simon Gamache recorded a goal and two assists each to lead Milwaukee to a 6-3 win over Cincinnati, setting up a Game 7 on Saturday night at the Bradley Center.
The Admirals rallied from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to tie the score after one period, then struck twice in just over three minutes to grab the lead for good.
Timofei Shishkanov and Libor Pivko added a goal and an assist apiece for Milwaukee, which owned a 42-26 edge in shots on goal for the game.
The Admirals scored three times on the power play, giving them 12 PPG for the series.
HARTFORD 3, WORCESTER 1
Jed Ortmeyer scored twice and Jason LaBarbera made 27 saves as Hartford opened the Atlantic Division final with a 3-1 win over Worcester in Game 1.
It was the fifth win in a row for the Wolf Pack, and LaBarbera missed a third consecutive home shutout by less then four minutes.
Jozef Balej‘s shorthanded goal midway through the second period held up as his third game-winning score of the postseason.
Hartford, which was 0-for-25 on the power play against the IceCats in the regular season, was scoreless in three opportunities, but the Wolf Pack went 8-for-8 on the penalty kill.
Game 2 is Saturday night in Worcester.