MILWAUKEE, Wis. (AP) — Tomas Fleischmann knew a good start against a hot team was a must for his Hershey Bears.
He got just that, as Hershey scored three first-period goals en route to a 6-3 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals in the second game of the American Hockey League Calder Cup finals Saturday night.
The win tied the best-of-seven series at 1-1 with game three scheduled next Saturday in Hershey.
Fleischmann, who had two goals and two assists for the Bears, said the quick start deflated the Admirals a bit, one night after Milwaukee took game one 2-1.
“They didn’t play like they played [Friday],” he said. “But they still worked hard. That is why they came back.”
Milwaukee had won 10 straight postseason games, and Admirals goalie Pekka Rinne was 9-0 in the postseason since joining the team after parent club Nashville lost in the NHL playoffs. Rinne had given up just two goals a game during the winning streak and surrendered four goals in a single game only twice.
But Hershey had four goals by the middle of the second period Saturday night, including two on its first four shots on goal on its way to the 3-0 first-period advantage.
Some bad luck hurt Rinne.
Hershey defenseman Lawrence Nycholat, who finished with a goal and two assists, scored on a deflection 7:32 into the game to put Hershey up 1-0. The shot from the left corner hit off the skate of Admirals defenseman Kevin Klein and past Rinne. Fleischmann and Mike Green assisted the goal.
Boyd Kane then scored off a rebound to make it 2-0 at the 11:53 mark.
And Kris Beech extended the lead with a goal 16:15 into the first period, taking a centering pass from Nycholat and, falling down, deflecting the puck past Rinne.
“Last night, those weren’t going in,” Hershey coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Those were all hitting them. But tonight, for some reason, they found their mark. When you have got two good teams going at it, usually that’s what happens. One night you get the bounces, one night you don’t. It’s got the makings of a great series.”
The Admirals responded with a power-play goal from Greg Classen, his first of the postseason, 49 seconds into the second period, but Fleischmann made it 4-1 with his team-high 10th postseason goal midway through the period.
The Admirals cut it to 4-3 with goals by Scott Upshall and Simon Gamache, but Fleischmann scored again 5:41 into the third period. Fleischmann also assisted on Graham Mink‘s goal late in the third.
“We were resilient. We battled back,” Admirals coach Claude Noel said. “Winning 10 games was great and everything else. Not that it was a big deal for us. Having lost a game makes you appreciate winning.
“Our guys don’t like to lose, and that’s good. It brings back the juices.”
The game ended with Admiral winger Paul Brown elbowing Hershey winger Eric Fehr in the head near mid-ice. Brown received a match penalty for attempting to injure a player; Fehr was OK after the game, team officials said.
“I would have rather not seen that,” Noel said. “That’s just frustration.”
Boudreau said he expects no carryover to game three.
“It will be interesting to see what the league says,” Boudreau said. “It’s too important to go out of your way to get retribution when you have the stakes of the Calder Cup.”