The Stockton Thunder tonight became the first team to advance out of the first round of the ECHL's Kelly Cup playoffs with a 2-1 win at Ontario to complete a sweep of the best-of-7 series against the team that finished just two points behind the Alaska Aces in the regular season and owned the league's third-best record.
Brian Foster made 26 saves, and James Henry and Nicholas Tremblay scored in the opening six minutes of the third period to spark the Thunder. Stockton awaits the winner of the Bakersfield-Utah series, which Bako leads 2-1 entering Game 4 Thursday in California.
The Aces, 5-1 winners in Las Vegas tonight to take a 3-0 series lead, seem like a mortal lock to advance -- odds are on a sweep -- and would be pitted in the next round against the winner of the Colorado-Idaho series. Colorado leads 2-1 entering Game 4 Thursday in Colorado.
Elsewhere around the league tonight, Wheeling beat South Carolina to take a 3-0 lead in that series; Cincinnati beat Orlando 2-1 to take a 3-0 series lead; and Greenville beat Kalamazoo 2-1 in OT to take a 2-1 series lead.
By DOYLE WOODY, adn.com