Aliaksei Protas scored twice in the third period to lift the Hershey Bears into the next round of the Calder Cup Playoffs with a 6-2 victory over Charlotte on Thursday night.
The Bears won the Atlantic Division semifinal series, three games to one. They will face the winner of the Providence-Hartford series in the division finals.
After Hershey had erased a 2-0 deficit with goals from Mason Morelli and Beck Malenstyn in the second period, Protas gave the Bears their first lead of the night with a power-play marker at 8:59 of the third. He doubled the advantage just 1:58 later with his third goal of the series.
Riley Sutter was credited with Hershey’s fifth goal when the Checkers inadvertently shot the puck into their own empty net with 2:11 to go, and Dylan McIlrath scored a second empty-netter at the 19:00 mark, his first goal in 70 games between the AHL and NHL this season.
Sam Anas and Joe Snively recorded two assists each for the Bears. Hunter Shepard (3-1) allowed two goals on the first four shots he faced, but settled in and finished with 26 saves.
Jake Wise (his first as a professional) and Riley Nash scored for Charlotte.
Atlantic Division Semifinals (best-of-5)
A2-Hershey Bears vs. A3-Charlotte Checkers
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 28 – Hershey 5, CHARLOTTE 2 | Recap
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 29 – Hershey 5, CHARLOTTE 1 | Recap
Game 3 – Wed., May 3 – Charlotte 2, HERSHEY 1 | Recap
Game 4 – Thu., May 4 – HERSHEY 6, Charlotte 2