Hershey withstood third-period pressure and took the opening game of the East Division Finals, coming away with a 4-3 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at the Giant Center on Wednesday night.
Quintin Laing scored with 8:00 gone in the third to give the Bears a 3-1 lead, and Frederic Cassivi made 14 of his 31 saves in the final frame as Hershey beat the Penguins for the fifth straight time over the last two postseasons.
Connor James gave Wilkes-Barre a 1-0 lead with his second goal of the playoffs at the 13:34 mark of the first period, but the Pens were kept off the scoreboard until Marc-Antoine Pouliot’s shorthanded goal with 1:14 left the game. Matt Carkner added another late goal to provide the final margin.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is set for Friday night.