Brooks Laich redeemed himself with the winning goal 1:52 into the second overtime period as Hershey took a commanding 3-0 series lead with a 5-4 win over Norfolk on Saturday night.
The Bears will get three consecutive chances to wrap up the series on home ice, beginning with Game 4 on Tuesday.
Just like all three overtime winners on Friday night, Hershey erased a two-goal deficit en route to victory.
Brandon Bochenski and James Wisniewski staked the Admirals to a 2-0 lead with a pair of power-play goals, but Hershey struck for four straight tallies, with Kris Beech, Dave Steckel and Boyd Gordon each scoring his second goal of the series, and Laich getting his first of two on the night to seemingly put the game out of reach with 3:02 remaining in regulation.
But Norfolk staged a furious rally of its own, capitalizing on a five-minute major for high sticking called against Laich at the 17:04 mark of the third period. Nathan Barrett scored with 2:16 left, and Mark Cullen tied things up just 33 seconds later.
Laich’s winner came on an assist from Eric Fehr.
Frederic Cassivi made 33 saves in the win, while Adam Munro stopped 42 shots in defeat.
SYRACUSE 2, MANITOBA 1 (OT)
Alexandre Picard scored 4:06 into overtime and Pascal Leclaire made 45 saves as Syracuse defeated Manitoba, 2-1, to take a 2-0 lead in their North Division semifinal series.
The series shifts to Winnipeg for three games, beginning with Game 3 on Monday.
After being shutout in Friday’s opener, the Moose got a goal from Alexandre Burrows 8:15 into the game to take the lead.
That held up until Mark Hartigan replied for the Crunch in the early stages of the third period.
Wade Flaherty finished with 40 saves, but dropped to 0-2 in the series despite his .961 save percentage.
HOUSTON 3, PEORIA 2 (OT)
Matt Foy redirected home Peter Olvecky‘s shot at the 11:52 mark of overtime, giving Houston its second straight OT win and a 2-0 lead in its West Division semifinal series with Peoria.
Erik Westrum and Bryan Lundbohm scored for the Aeros, while Peter Sejna responded twice for the Rivermen.
Josh Harding (35 saves) outdueled Chris Beckford-Tseu (34 saves) for the second straight night.
Game 3 is Monday in Peoria.
PORTLAND 3, PROVIDENCE 2
Jani Hurme made 28 saves as Portland held on for a 3-2 win over Providence to take a 2-0 lead in their Atlantic Division semifinal on Saturday night.
After being shut out in Game 1, the Bruins got two goals from Ben Walter in Game 2, but it wasn’t enough to derail the Pirates’ high-powered offense.
After being held without a shot on goal for nearly 11 minutes to start the second period, Portland got goals from Shane O’Brien and Dustin Penner to take a 2-1 lead into the intermission. Maxim Kondratiev added his second goal and sixth point of the series in the first minute of the third.
Jordan Sigalet made 31 saves on the night for the B’s, including 17 in the first period.
Game 3 is Sunday afternoon at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence.
BRIDGEPORT 3, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 2
Jeff Tambellini recorded a goal and an assist as Bridgeport opened up a 2-0 series lead with a 3-2 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Sound Tigers’ second straight win in Wilkes-Barre.
Fifteen teams in AHL history have come back from 0-2 down to win a best-of-seven series, most recently the Penguins in both 2004 (vs. Bridgeport) and 2005 (vs. Binghamton). But only four teams have won a best-of-seven series after losing the first two games at home.
Game 3 is Sunday afternoon in Bridgeport.
Tambellini, Rob Collins and Masi Marjamaki scored in a span of 7:19 to give Bridgeport a 3-0 lead in the second period.
Wade Dubielewicz did the rest, stopping 20 of 21 shots in the third period and finishing with 41 saves on the night.
Jonathan Filewich and Shane Endicott scored for the Penguins.
TORONTO 6, GRAND RAPIDS 3
Brendan Bell recorded a goal and two assists to lead Toronto to a 6-3 win in Grand Rapids on Saturday, squaring their North Division semifinal at one game apiece.
Ian White and Aleksander Suglobov added a goal and an assist each for the Marlies, who have scored 11 goals in two games against the league-leading Griffins.
Bates Battaglia, Brad Leeb and Brett Englehardt also scored for Toronto.
Jiri Hudler and Donald MacLean led the Griffins with a goal and an assist each.
Game 3 is Monday in Toronto.
IOWA 5, MILWAUKEE 3
Iowa pulled even in its West Division semifinal with a 5-3 win in Milwaukee on Saturday.
Game 3 is Monday in Des Moines.
Junior Lessard had three goals and an assist for the Stars, who have won 12 of their last 15 games going back to the regular season.
Loui Eriksson chipped in with a goal and two assists, and Mike Smith made 33 saves for Iowa, which went 3-for-7 on the power play.
Darren Haydar had a goal and an assist for the Admirals.