Bears drop Wolf Pack to reach conference finals

Lucas Johansen scored the tiebreaking goal 4:22 into the third period to send the Hershey Bears into the Eastern Conference Finals with a 3-1 victory over the Hartford Wolf Pack at the XL Center on Wednesday night.

The Bears swept the Atlantic Division finals, three games to none, to reach the AHL’s final four for the first time since 2016 and the 42nd time in franchise history.

Hartford owned a 13-4 advantage in shots on goal in the opening period and took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission when Turner Elson scored with 2:20 to play in the frame.

That lead held until 4:55 remained in the second period, when defenseman Vincent Iorio scored his first goal for the Bears since Jan. 11.

Sam Anas was denied on a penalty shot at 3:28 of the third, but Johansen struck less than a minute later with his first goal since Oct. 28, also at Hartford. Garrett Pilon upped the lead to 3-1 just over three minutes later, burying the rebound of Connor McMichael’s shot.

Hunter Shepard made 33 saves for the win, allowing two goals or fewer for the seventh time in as many starts this postseason.

Louis Domingue made his first start of the playoffs for the Wolf Pack, finishing with 13 stops.

Atlantic Division Finals (best-of-5)
A2-Hershey Bears vs. A5-Hartford Wolf Pack
Game 1 – Thu., May 11 – HERSHEY 3, Hartford 2 (OT) | Recap
Game 2 – Sat., May 13 – HERSHEY 4, Hartford 2 | Recap
Game 3 – Wed., May 17 – Hershey 3, HARTFORD 1