Aleksi Saarela's hat trick leads Checkers to sweep of Hershey

The Checkers finished off the Hershey Bears with a decisive 5-2 win Wednesday night, clinching a sweep and advancing on to the Eastern Conference Final, GoCheckers reported.

The third-round series with the Toronto Marlies will begin Friday, May 17, at Bojangles' Coliseum. A full schedule and other information can be found here.

Another big game from Aleksi Saarela drove the Charlotte offense. It started with his opening tally late in the first off a slick feed from Trevor Carrick, which he followed in the second period by an incredible snipe into the far-side corner and then finally an empty-net dagger to pick up his first career playoff hat trick. 

The Checkers’ power play broke out in a big way in Game 4 as well, with Julien Gauthier and Tomas Jurco capitalizing on two of the three man advantages throughout the night. 

The Bears didn’t go out without a fight, recording back-to-back tallies to cut the lead in half in the final stages of the third, but the Checkers shut down any rally attempt from there. Alex Nedeljkovic finished the contest with 16 saves to collect his sixth victory of the playoffs.

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