HERSHEY 3, MANCHSETER 2 (OT)
Chris Bourque finished off a nifty two-on-one by firing a shot home short side from the right wing at 10:28 of overtime, lifting Hershey to a 3-2 come-from-behind victory on Saturday before a standing-room only crowd of 10,726 fans at the Giant Center.
The defending Calder Cup champion Bears improved to a perfect 5-0 in overtime games this postseason and took a 2-0 series lead on the Monarchs in the Eastern Conference Finals, which will shift to Manchester for Game 3 on Monday night.
Keith Aucoin picked up the primary assist on the game-winning goal after being sent on the two-on-one by Boyd Kane, who earned the other helper. Bourque’s shot went in as the net came off its moorings behind Monarchs goaltender Jonathan Bernier, but it was determined that the net had been pushed off by Manchester defenders, allowing the goal to stand.
Hershey, which trailed 2-1 heading into the third period, improved to an impressive 4-1 in the playoffs when trailing after 40 minutes of play.
Bourque also scored in the first period to give the Bears a 1-0 lead, but the Monarchs grabbed a 2-1 advantage on a pair of strikes by Gabe Gauthier, one of which came on the power play.
Gauthier has now tallied a goal in five of his last six games, and he has registered at least a point in all six of those contests (6-1-7).
Manchester’s lead lasted until 3:35 of the third period, when Bears forward Steve Pinizzotto buried his fourth goal of the postseason. Aucoin also earned an assist on that marker.
Hershey goaltender Michal Neuvirth earned the victory with 31 saves on 33 shots in night, while the Baz Bastien Award winner Bernier made 37 stops in the losing effort for the Monarchs.
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 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:00
Game 4 – Tue., May 18 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:00
*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