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Boyd lifts Bears in Game 7 classic

Travis Boyd scored 10:57 into overtime to send the Hershey Bears on to the Eastern Conference championship series with a 3-2 victory over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in Game 7 of the Atlantic Division Finals at Giant Center on Sunday evening.

The Bears will face the winner of tomorrow’s Game 7 between Toronto and Albany in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Boyd shook his man behind the net, stepped out in front and wired a shot from the bottom of the left-wing circle that found the top corner over the glove of Casey DeSmith, sending Hershey to the conference finals for the first time since 2010.

It was the second goal of the playoffs for Boyd, who scored 21 times in 76 regular-season games during his rookie season for Hershey.

The Bears jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 1:33 into the game when DeSmith’s attempt to rim the puck around the glass behind the net was intercepted by Dustin Gazley, who tucked it in for his second goal of the playoffs.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton tied it up on a power play at 7:15 as Matthias Plachta found a loose puck in the crease and poked it in for his first goal of the playoffs.

The teams traded two trips each to the penalty box over the second half of the opening period but hit the intermission still tied at 1-1, with the Bears holding an 11-9 lead in shots on goal.

The Penguins controlled play for most of the second period, but the Bears started mounting pressure late and took the lead on a terrific individual effort by Carter Camper, who danced around the Wilkes-Barre defense and deked DeSmith before depositing his fourth goal of the postseason with 1:17 left in the frame.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton bounced back early in the third as Daniel Sprong’s redirection hit the post and came to rest in the crease, where Kael Mouillierat knocked it home to tie the game at 2-2.

The Penguins outshot the Bears 11-4 in the third period and 22-9 over the final 40 minutes of regulation, but the contest remained tied to become the 18th Game 7 in AHL history to go to overtime.

Peters (32 saves) and the Bears withstood Wilkes-Barre’s pressure in the extra session before tilting the ice in their favor, culminating in Boyd’s game-winner.

NOTES: This was the 91st Game 7 in Calder Cup Playoff history; home teams are now 51-40… Hershey won its fifth straight Game 7 and its ninth all-time, breaking a tie with Rochester for the most Game 7 victories in AHL history… The teams entered the game tied in their 2015-16 season series (9-9), in all-time playoff series head-to-head (3-3) and in all-time postseason games against each other (18-18)… The team scoring the game’s first goal won all 19 meetings between the Bears and Penguins in 2015-16.

Atlantic Division Finals – Series “I” (best-of-7) 
A1-Hershey Bears vs. A3-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 

Game 1 – Wed., May 4 – W-B/Scranton 4, HERSHEY 0
Game 2 – Fri., May 6 – HERSHEY 2, W-B/Scranton 0
Game 3 – Sat., May 7 – Hershey 5, W-B/SCRANTON 2
Game 4 – Mon., May 9 – W-B/SCRANTON 2, Hershey 1 (OT)
Game 5 – Wed., May 11 – HERSHEY 5, W-B/Scranton 3
Game 6 – Fri., May 13 – W-B/SCRANTON 6, Hershey 2
Game 7 – Sun., May 15 – HERSHEY 3, W-B/Scranton 2 (OT)