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Bears outlast Penguins to capture series opener


HERSHEY 5, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 3

Hershey used a balanced but persistent offensive attack to take a 5-3 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton before 7,980 fans at the Giant Center on Saturday in Game 1 of the East Division Finals. AHL MVP Alexandre Giroux netted a goal and was one of five different Bears to score on the night.

Andrew Gordon, Chris Bourque, and Kyle Wilson each posted a goal and a helper for the Bears, and defenseman Staffan Kronwall also lit the lamp.

In a battle of the AHL’s top two regular-season offenses, Kronwall began the night’s scoring 9:38 into the contest with his third goal of the playoffs, all on the power play.

Bourque assisted on that tally and then scored one of his own to make it 2-0 just 1:35 later. It was the 23-year-old’s first of the postseason after registering six assists.

But the Penguins battled back to a draw in the second period, receiving goals from Jean-Michel Daoust and Nick Johnson less than three minuets apart, the latter on the power play.

Gordon gave the Bears a 3-2 advantage with 17 seconds to go in the period, also a power play tally, and Wilson extended the lead to 4-2 with his second of the playoffs only 1:38 into the third frame.

That goal stood up as the game-winner, as Johnson for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Giroux for Hershey traded markers to account for the final score.

Keith Aucoin chipped in two assists for the Bears, who finished 2-for-3 on the power play. Hershey goaltender Michal Neuvirth earned the victory with 35 saves in net.

The Bears, who have opened the postseason with five consecutive victories, will host Game 2 against the Penguins on Sunday afternoon.

East Division Finals – Series “J” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. E3-W-B/Scranton Penguins
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Game 1 – Sat., May 2 – HERSHEY 5, W-B/Scranton 3
Game 2 – Sun., May 3 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 5:00
Game 3 – Wed., May 6 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Game 4 – Fri., May 8 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 5 – Sat., May 9 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 6 – Sun., May 10 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 5:00
*Game 7 – Tue., May 12 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 7:00