Bears one win away from title after Game 4 triumph


HERSHEY, Pa. … Keith Aucoin broke a 1-1 tie with a 5-on-3 power play goal midway through the third period, and Hershey held on for a 2-1 win over Manitoba on Sunday before another sellout crowd of 10,739 fans at Giant Center.

The Bears now own a 3-1 series lead in the Calder Cup Finals and can clinch their 10th championship when they host Game 5 on Tuesday night.

In Calder Cup Finals history, only three teams have rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to claim the title. To extend the series, Manitoba will have to defeat a Hershey squad which is now 9-1 at Giant Center this postseason.

The Moose, who had been blanked by Hershey goaltender Michal Neuvirth the night before, took a 1-0 lead at 11:37 of the first period on Sunday. Jason Jaffray sent a pass from the right face-off dot to Raymond Sawada in the slot, and Sawada one-timed it past Neuvirth high to the blocker side.

Sawada, a 24-year-old rookie, snapped a seven-game scoring drought with his first point since posting a goal and a helper against Houston on May 16, and Manitoba carried the one-goal edge into the first intermission despite being outshot 13-6 in the period.

But Hershey broke through for the equalizer just 5:11 into the second stanza. After speeding down the left wing, Kyle Wilson picked up trickling puck in the left slot and snapped off a quick wrist shot that handcuffed Manitoba goaltender Cory Schneider.

Andrew Gordon and rookie defenseman John Carlson assisted on Wilson’s third goal of the playoffs and first since Game 1 of the division finals against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on May 2. Carlson, for his part, had not found the scoresheet since tallying his first professional goal against the Penguins on May 3.

The Bears then cashed in on their 5-on-3 advantage to take a 2-1 lead at 7:17 of the third frame. Alexandre Giroux’s initial shot from the center point sailed wide of the net, but Aucoin took the rebound off the end boards and slid it into the short side before Schneider was able to recover.

Manitoba crashed the Hershey zone in the last 10 minutes of regulation in a furious attempt to send the tilt to overtime, and the Moose took 13 of the game’s final 14 shots on goal.

But Neuvirth (15-5) stood tall to finish with 30 saves, and for the second straight night, the Bears held Manitoba’s power play scoreless on five opportunities.

2009 Calder Cup Finals – Series “O” (best-of-7)
N1-Manitoba Moose vs. E1-Hershey Bears || Preview
Game 1 – Sat., May 30 – Hershey 5, MANITOBA 4 (OT)
Game 2 – Tue., June 2 – MANITOBA 3, Hershey 1
Game 3 – Sat., June 6 – HERSHEY 3, Manitoba 0
Game 4 – Sun., June 7 – HERSHEY 2, Manitoba 1
Game 5 – Tue., June 9 – Manitoba at Hershey, 7:00 ET
*Game 6 – Fri., June 12 – Hershey at Manitoba, 8:30 ET
*Game 7 – Sun., June 14 – Hershey at Manitoba, 8:30 ET