Fifth-place finishers Norfolk and Portland wrapped up their qualifying series in convincing fashion on Friday night to advance to their respective division semifinal series.
Norfolk got two goals from Yorick Treille and 18 saves from Michael Leighton for another 3-0 win in Binghamton, sweeping the Senators out of the postseason. It was Leighton’s third shutout in eight days at the Broome County Arena, and left the Sens as the first team in AHL history to fail to score a goal in a playoff series.
The Admirals, who needed a miraculous Philadelphia win on the last day of the season to clinch a playoff spot, now face the Phantoms in a best-of-seven, beginning Wednesday night at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia.
In the Atlantic Division, Portland took out Providence with a 6-2 rout of the Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Rookie Alexander Semin netted a hat trick and added an assist for the Pirates, who outscored the Bruins 13-3 in the two-game series after ranking last in the AHL in offense in the regular season.
Portland got their six goals on just 13 shots in Game 2, and now move on to face Hartford in the division semifinals, beginning Tuesday night in Connecticut’s capital.
In Game 1 of their North Division semifinal series on Friday night, Syracuse edged rival Rochester, 3-2, on a goal by Joe Motzko with 6:04 left in regulation.
Tim Jackman added a goal and an assist for the Crunch, and Pascal Leclaire turned aside 33 of 35 Amerks shots.