Penguins, Bears close in on series victories

Jeff Taffe potted the eventual game-winning goal and added an assist as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton eked out a 2-1 road win over Bridgeport on Wednesday at the Arena at Harbor Yard. The Penguins now hold a 3-1 series lead in their East Division semifinal.

Chris Minard gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead with his team-leading fourth goal of the playoffs 15:04 into the opening period. Taffe and defenseman Alex Goligoski picked up the helpers.

Taffe then scored his second of postseason play on the power play just 1:25 into the middle frame, making it a 2-0 contest.

The Sound Tigers closed to within 2-1 when Ben Walter netted a power play tally of his own with 4:30 to go in regulation, but they were unable to get the equalizer and dropped their eighth straight postseason home game, all to the Penguins. The road team has captured all four games of this series.

Penguins goaltender John Curry earned the victory with 32 saves on 33 shots in net.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton can advance to its sixth consecutive East Division Finals with a victory on home ice in Game 5 on Friday night.

Alexandre Giroux’s power play goal 1:20 into the third period proved to be the game-winner as Hershey took a 3-2 win over visiting Philadelphia in front of 6,339 fans at the Giant Center.

The Bears now own a commanding 3-0 lead in their East Division semifinal series and can complete the sweep with a victory in Game 4 on Friday night.

Hershey jumped to a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes on tallies by defenseman Staffan Kronwall – a power play marker – and rookie Mathieu Perreault.

Rookie Jonathon Kalinski brought Philadelphia within 2-1 with 4:06 to play in the second period, but Giroux regained Hershey’s two-goal advantage with his tally early in the third. Philadelphia’s Lasse Kukkonen closed out the night’s scoring with a shorthanded marker at 6:19.

The Bears’ 2-for-5 showing on the power play improved them to 6-for-17 (35.3%) with the man-advantage in the postseason. Hershey goaltender Michal Neuvirth stopped 25 of 27 shots in the winning effort.