Jordin Tootoo scored with 13.9 seconds left in regulation to give Milwaukee a thrilling 5-4 win over Houston in Game 1 of the West Division Final at the Bradley Center on Thursday night.
Tootoo’s goal, his second in as many games since rejoining the Admirals from the parent Nashville Predators, capped an outburst that saw Milwaukee score three times in the final 4:37 of the game.
Darren Haydar scored twice and Greg Zanon and Rich Peverley had a goal and an assist each for the Admirals, who trailed 3-2 with under five minutes to play.
Joel Ward (2g, 1a), Josh Olson (1g, 2a) and Bryan Lundbohm (3a) had three points each for the Aeros, who rallied from 1-0 and 2-1 down. Patrick O’Sullivan netted his second goal of the postseason with 1:48 left in regulation, tying the score at 4-4 and seemingly sending the game to overtime.
But Tootoo sent the home crowd home happy and lifted Milwaukee to its seventh win in nine series openers since its first Calder Cup Playoff appearance in 2003. The loss ended Houston’s five-game winning streak.
Game 2 is Saturday night.
HARTFORD 3, PORTLAND 2 (OT)
Chad Wiseman (right) slipped a shot just over the goal line with 3:22 gone in overtime as Hartford posted an important 3-2 win over Portland in Game 2 of their Atlantic Division final.
With the series now even at one win apiece, the teams head to Maine where the next four games are scheduled for the Cumberland County Civic Center, beginning with Game 3 on Saturday.
Alexandre Giroux and Jarkko Immonen recorded a goal and an assist each for the Wolf Pack, who improved to 9-9 all-time in playoff overtime games.
Ryan Shannon netted his fourth goal of the series for the Pirates, and Shane O’Brien added his fourth of the postseason. Zenon Konopka recorded an assist, giving him a point in 20 consecutive games.
All three of Portland’s losses in the Calder Cup Playoffs have come in overtime.
HERSHEY 5, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 4
Colin Forbes (right) scored twice and Eric Fehr tallied the decisive goal with 8:39 left in regulation as Hershey pulled out a 5-4 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in Game 1 of the East Division Finals.
The Bears took a 4-0 lead into the latter stages of the second period before the Penguins got on the board, with Maxime Talbot and Ryan Stone netting shorthanded goals 52 seconds apart.
Talbot’s second goal of the night pulled the Penguins to within a goal early in the third, and Jonathan Filewich‘s sixth goal of the postseason made it 5-4 with 6:52 left, but the Bears held on and sent Wilkes-Barre to its fourth loss in five home games during the 2006 Calder Cup Playoffs.
Fehr and Boyd Kane finished with a goal and an assist each for Hershey, and Kris Beech and Brooks Laich recorded two assists apiece.
Stone picked up two assists for a three-point night, giving him 10 points in the Pens’ last six games.
Game 2 is Saturday night.