Letestu comes through as Pens rally past Bears


Mark Letestu picked an opportune time for his first career playoff goal, scoring at 4:48 of overtime to give Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a 3-2 win over Hershey on Wednesday at the Wachovia Arena.

The Penguins cut their series deficit in the East Division Finals to 2-1, with Game 4 set for Friday in Wilkes-Barre. Game 5 will also be in northeast Pennsylvania on Saturday night.

Hershey grabbed 1-0 and 2-1 leads on power play goals by Graham Mink and Alexandre Giroux. Mink lit the lamp at 10:45 of the opening period, with Giroux and Chris Bourque picking up the helpers.

After the Penguins’ Jeff Taffe tied it 17:24 into the second frame, the Bears regained the lead when Giroux netted his fourth goal of the playoffs 3:20 into the third. Keith Aucoin and Staffan Kronwall earned assists on the marker.

The Bears seemed poised for a regulation win, but Penguins forward Bill Thomas tallied a power play goal of his own for the equalizer with 3:44 to play in regulation

That set the stage for Letestu’s winner early in overtime, which was assisted by Nick Johnson and ex-Bear Deryk Engelland. Letestu had registered five assists this postseason and totaled eight assists, but no goals, in 21 career AHL playoff games for the Pens prior to Wednesday.

Making his first career AHL playoff start, Penguins goaltender Adam Berkhoel earned the victory with 23 saves in net. Hershey counterpart Michal Neuvirth made 40 stops, but he and the Bears suffered their first loss of the postseason (6-1).

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton finished 1-for-6 on the power play, and the Bears went 2-for-5.

East Division Finals – Series “J” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. E3-W-B/Scranton Penguins
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Game 1 – Sat., May 2 – HERSHEY 5, W-B/Scranton 3
Game 2 – Sun., May 3 – HERSHEY 3, W-B/Scranton 1
Game 3 – Wed., May 6 – W-B/SCRANTON 3, Hershey 2 (OT)
Game 4 – Fri., May 8 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Game 5 – Sat., May 9 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 6 – Sun., May 10 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 5:00
*Game 7 – Tue., May 12 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 7:00