Wilson lifts Bears to OT win in Game 1

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Kyle Wilson batted home a rebound at 10:41 of overtime to lift Hershey past Albany by a 4-3 count at Giant Center on Saturday in Game 1 of the East Division Finals.

The teams will collide in Game 2 on Sunday afternoon.

Both teams enjoyed excellent scoring chances in the overtime period, and the game-winner resulted off a shot from just inside the blue line by Hershey’s Andrew Joudrey. Albany goaltender Justin Peters made the initial save, but Wilson broke free to his left and poked the rebound in.

Boyd Kane also picked up an assist on Wilson’s third goal of the postseason

Andrew Gordon factored into all three Bears goals during regulation, scoring twice and adding an assist. His helper came on a strike by AHL MVP Keith Aucoin at 13:16 of the third period, which tied the game at 3-3 and ultimately led to overtime.

Alexandre Giroux chipped in two assists for Hershey, and goaltender Michal Neuvirth emerged with the victory after making 25 saves on 28 shots.

The River Rats, coming off their first playoff series win in 12 years, surrendered the game’s first goal but then rallied to take leads of 2-1 and 3-2.

Rookie Drayson Bowman tallied his first goal of the playoffs for Albany, and Second Team AHL All-Star Jerome Samson scored twice in the losing effort.

Samson’s first goal of the night came on the power play, marking the River Rats’ first man-advantage conversion of the playoffs (1-for-25) after going scoreless on 20 opportunities during the first round against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

The River Rats, who suffered their first loss of this spring’s playoffs, will go for a split on Sunday before the series shifts to New York’s capital city beginning on Tuesday.