Brian Pinho scored 10:27 into overtime to send the Hershey Bears into the Atlantic Division Finals with a 3-2 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena on Friday night.
The Bears will face Charlotte in the second round beginning Friday night.
Hershey turned the tables on Bridgeport in the series finale, erasing two one-goal deficits and never leading until Pinho struck for his first goal of the postseason.
Matt Lorito, who scored the overtime winner in Game 4 on Thursday, opened the scoring in Game 5 at 7:30 of the first period. It was the first time in the series that the Sound Tigers had scored first, and marked the first time they played with a lead.
Hershey controlled play to start the second period, and tied the game at 6:47 as Nathan Walker sprung an odd-man rush and Steve Whitney finished off the two-on-one with his first career Calder Cup Playoff goal.
Hershey’s power play finally clicked at 15:43 of the second as Riley Barber buried his second goal of the series to tie the game back up at 2-2. It was the Bears’ first goal with the man advantage in 18 tries during the series.
Both teams survived chances through the third period and more than 10 minutes of overtime before the Bears prevailed, becoming the fourth lower seed to advance already this postseason.
Samsonov (2-1) made 29 saves in the win and finished the series with a .945 percentage in his three appearances. Gibson (2-2) turned aside 31 shots in the loss.
Atlantic Division Semifinals – Series “B” (best-of-5)
A2-Bridgeport Sound Tigers vs. A3-Hershey Bears
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 19 – BRIDGEPORT 3, Hershey 2 (2OT) | Recap
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 20 – Hershey 2, BRIDGEPORT 0 | Recap
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 23 – HERSHEY 2, Bridgeport 1 | Recap
Game 4 – Thu., Apr. 25 – Bridgeport 3, HERSHEY 2 (OT) | Recap
Game 5 – Sat., Apr. 27 – Hershey 3, BRIDGEPORT 2 (OT)