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Bears push Bruins to the brink with overtime triumph


HERSHEY 3, PROVIDENCE 2 (OT)

Graham Mink scored 15:10 into overtime as Hershey completed its second straight come-from-behind victory, rallying from a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 decision over Providence on Sunday at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

The Bears now own a 3-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals, with Game 5 set for Monday afternoon. With one more victory, Hershey will advance to the Calder Cup Finals for the third time in the last four seasons.

Two nights after falling into an early 3-0 hole, Hershey surrendered the game’s first two goals on Sunday as Peter Schaefer and Jeff Penner each connected less than three minutes apart for Providence in the opening period.

For Penner, it was his team-leading fourth goal and sixth point of the series, and the defensemen is now tied for the team lead with six goals overall this postseason (6-4-10).

The Bears began their comeback at 7:31 of the second period when defenseman Bryan Helmer notched a power play goal. Helmer, who also scored in Friday’s Game 3, shows three goals in 15 playoff games after posting two in 63 regular-season contests.

Hershey’s top line then struck for the game-tying and game-winning markers. Ex-Bruin Keith Aucoin potted his third of the postseason 13:12 into the third period to tie it, with assists going to Alexandre Giroux and Mink.

Aucoin and Giroux picked up helpers on the overtime tally by Mink, which was the 2006 Calder Cup champion’s fifth goal of the playoffs.

Bears goaltender Michal Neuvirth earned the win with 25 saves, while Bruins counterpart Tuukka Rask took the loss despite stopping 40 of 43 shots at the other end.

Eastern Conference Finals – Series “M” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. A2-Providence Bruins
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Game 1 – Sat., May 16 – Providence 3, HERSHEY 2
Game 2 – Sun., May 17 – HERSHEY 2, Providence 1
Game 3 – Fri., May 22 – Hershey 6, PROVIDENCE 4
Game 4 – Sun., May 24 – Hershey 3, PROVIDENCE 2 (OT)
Game 5 – Mon., May 25 – Hershey at Providence, 4:05
*Game 6 – Wed., May 27 – Providence at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 7 – Thu., May 28 – Providence at Hershey, 7:00