Bernier, Monarchs square East Finals

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Baz Bastien Award winner Jonathan Bernier made 18 saves for his AHL-leading third shutout of the postseason as Manchester evened up the Eastern Conference Finals by eking out a 1-0 win over visiting Hershey in Game 4 on Tuesday at Verizon Wireless Arena.

The Monarchs, who dropped the first two contests on the road, have recovered with a pair of home-ice victories to tie up this best-of-7 series at two games apiece heading into Game 5 in Manchester on Thursday.

The series is now guaranteed to return to Giant Center in Hershey for Game 6 on Saturday. If needed, Game 7 would be in Hershey on Sunday.

Rookie Dwight King notched the only goal of this one for the Monarchs at 9:11 of the second period, with Bud Holloway and Andrei Loktionov picked up the assists.

Holloway, Manchester’s leading postseason scorer with 12 points (6-6-12) in 14 games, had been scoreless through the first three games of this series before earning his helper in Game 4. Loktionov, meanwhile, now shows a point in four of his last five games (1-3-4).

The Bears, who averaged league-high totals of 4.08 goals per game and 34.17 shots per game entering Tuesday, managed just five shots in the first period, six in the second, and seven in the third.

Hershey suffered its first shutout since a 5-0 loss at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Feb. 13, and not including shootouts, the Bears have now lost consecutive games for the first time since falling to Wilkes-Barre and Binghamton on Oct. 23 and 24.

Hershey goaltender Michal Neuvirth stopped 25 of 26 shots in the losing effort on Tuesday.

Manchester secured its second 1-0 victory of the postseason, following a win over Worcester by that score in Game 5 of the division finals on May 5.

Eastern Conference Finals – Series “M” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. A3-Manchester Monarchs

Game 1 – Wed., May 12 – HERSHEY 4, Manchester 2
Game 2 – Sat., May 15 – HERSHEY 3, Manchester 2 (OT)
Game 3 – Mon., May 17 – MANCHESTER 3, Hershey 2 (OT)
Game 4 – Tue., May 18 – MANCHESTER 1, Hershey 0
Game 5 – Thu., May 20 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:00
Game 6 – Sat., May 22 – Manchester at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 7 – Sun., May 23 – Manchester at Hershey, 5:00