- SECONDARY SCORING, SPECIAL TEAMS THE DIFFERENCE AS BEARS DEFEAT PHANTOMS 4-2 IN GAME ONE OF EAST SEMIS
By: John Walton
On the road with home-ice advantage in the series, HERSHEY made the most of its Game 1 trip to Philadelphia, downing the Phantoms 4-2 at the Wachovia Spectrum Thursday night. The win on foreign ice gives the BEARS a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven 2009 East Division Semi-Finals.
Jumping out to a 6-0 shot run to begin the game and a 13-10 shot advantage after one, the BEARS would score first in Game 1 Thursday night with Andrew Gordon's first of the playoffs at 15:18. A big primary assist came from Kyle Wilson, who was denied earlier in the period on a spectacular save from Philadelphia goaltender Scott Munroe. HERSHEY goaltender Michal Neuvirth stopped all 10 shots he faced, and the Chocolate and White took a 1-0 lead to the dressing room after 20 minutes.
Jonathan Matsumoto opened the scoring in the second period, with his first of the playoffs at 3:21, tying the game at 1-1. Neither team would score the rest of the middle period, and the two teams went to the third all tied up.
It was in the third where the BEARS would pull away. Kyle Wilson scored his first goal of the postseason just 91 seconds into the third period, picking up his second point of the night in the process. HERSHEY took a 2-1 lead, and would increase it to 3-1 when Oskar Osala scored in close to beat Munroe from the top of the crease. Osala's goal, which proved to be the game-winner, was scored at the 5:31 mark. Philadelphia would pull within one midway through the third with a goal from Lasse Kukkonen at 11:31, but Jay Beagle put the game on ice with goal number one of the playoffs at 18:02. The win gives HERSHEY a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, with potentially four home games still ahead at GIANT Center.
Notes: The BEARS will return to Philadelphia for Game 2 of the East Division Semi-Finals Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. HERSHEY will then host at least two and potentially the next three games in the series at GIANT Center next Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, all at 7:00 p.m. Call the GIANT Center box office at (717) 534-3911 for tickets and availability. HERSHEY scratched Patrick McNeill, Joe Finley, Sean Collins, Stefan Della Rovere, Darren Reid, Grant McNeill, Sami Lepisto and Kip Brennan for Thursday's Game 1. The win was the first-ever AHL playoff victory for Neuvirth. HERSHEY has won six of its last seven playoff series when winning Game 1, dating back to the 2006 East Division Semi-Finals against Norfolk. The BEARS were a perfect seven for seven on the penalty kill, and scored the game's only power play goal.
Bears Radio Network Three Stars of the Game:
1. Kyle Wilson (Goal and an assist)
2. Andrew Gordon (Goal and an assist as well)
3. Oskar Osala (Scored third period game-winner)