Pirates sink


HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) – The Hershey Bears scored three third-period goals and goaltender Frederic Cassivi made 38 saves to hand the Portland Pirates a 4-0 loss on Sunday in the American Hockey League playoffs.

Hershey has a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals, with the fifth game Tuesday in Portland. The shutout was the fourth of the postseason and second against the Pirates for Cassivi, who improved his record to 11-1.

A scoreless opening period featured outstanding goaltending by Cassivi and Nathan Marsters with the Pirates outshooting the Bears 15-10. At 10:10 of the second period, Jakub Klepis banged a rebound of a shot from Joey Tenute home as Marsters was falling into the net when he was bumped by his defenseman. Kris Beech finished off a Hershey 3-on-1 break by taking a feed from Tomas Fleischmann in the slot at 10:35 of the third period for the insurance tally.

Dave Steckel netted his team-leading ninth of the playoffs eight seconds after a power play ended to make it 3-0 and Jonas Johansson closed it out with the Bears holding a 5-on-3 advantage at 18:47.

Hershey was 1-9 on the power play and blanked the Pirates on their nine opportunities.

The winner of the series will advance into the Calder Cup championship against the winner of the Grand Rapids-Milwaukee series.

AP-ES-05-21-06 2355EDT