|The Penguins look to take back a series lead in Game Three tonight at home. Photo: Nina Weiss/The Home News|
The Eastern Conference's 'final four' features the top two teams in the conference during the regular season - the Toronto Marlies and Albany Devils - going head to head in the North Division Finals, while two bitter rivals in the Atlantic Division battle to advance to the conference finals in another playoff meeting between the Hershey Bears and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Both match ups were in action last night, with both home teams responding after Game One losses to even their respective series' before switching venues. Recaps of last night's action after the jump.
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Eastern Conference Playoff Action
W-B/Scranton - 0 at Hershey - 2 (Series tied 1-1)
After being embarrassed on home ice in Game One, the Hershey Bears took advantage of some careless play from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the second half of the opening period - tallying goals on back-to-back shots and shutting things down the rest of the way in route to a 2-0 shutout win to even the series at 1-1 before sending the series to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre for Games 3 & 4.
Sean Collins scored a shorthanded goal on a 2-on-1 rush with Dustin Gazley after the Pens' rookie forward Daniel Sprong coughed up a puck in the offensive zone. A little over two minutes later, Carter Camper sneaked a shot through Pens' goaltender Casey DeSmith for a 2-0 lead that was all Hershey needed behind a 27-save shutout from Justin Peters.
Notes: Hershey Bears forward Liam O'Brien suspended one game for his deliberate charging major on Penguins forward Dominik Simon in Game 1. Simon is out indefinitely with a suspected concussion. It's the third time this season O'Brien has been suspended.
Albany - 3 at Toronto - 5 (Series tied 1-1)
In a back-and-forth game, the Toronto Marlies took care of business on home ice in Game Two both opening and closing the scoring in a see-saw battle that resulted in a 5-3 win over the Albany Devils.
On two separate occasions, the Marlies took the lead only to have the Devils quickly come back and tie things up. In fact, the Devils held a 2-1 lead through the first half of regulation before the Marlies sent the two teams into the third period tied. A three-goal surge by the home team was too much to overcome for Albany, and the two teams will head to the Devils' home rink for Games 3, 4 & 5 with the series knotted at one game apiece.
Zach Hyman and T.J. Brennan tallied two goals each for the Marlies in the win, while Sam and Connor Carrick each added a pair of assists. Antoine Bibeau stopped 40 of 43.
Dan Kelly paced Albany's attack with a goal and an assist, while Nick Lappin and Matt Lorito also tallied goals in the loss for the Devils. Scott Wedgewood surrendered five goals on 32 shots.
Notes: Albany was without arguably their top two centers in Jim O'Brien (shoulder) and highly-touted prospect Pavel Zacha (undisclosed) in Game 2 as both were injured in their Game 1 win Wednesday night.
Western Conference Scores
Saturday's Playoff Schedule
Grand Rapids at Lake Erie - 12:00 p.m. ET (Lake Erie leads series 1-0)
Hershey at W-B/Scranton - 7:05 p.m. ET (Series tied at 1-1)
Ontario at San Diego - 10:05 p.m. ET (Ontario leads series 1-0)