- BEARS COMING HOME UP 2-0 IN EAST DIVISION SEMI-FINALS AFTER CONVINCING 6-2 WIN AT PHILADELPHIA SATURDAY
By: John Walton
An early Philadelphia lead turned into a runaway victory Saturday night for HERSHEY, as the BEARS defeated the Phantoms 6-2 in Game 2 of the East Division Semi-Finals. HERSHEY leads the series two games to none.
Needing a good push from the start, Philadelphia got what they needed with a goal from former BEARS captain Boyd Kane just 53 seconds into the game. Philadelphia would then take a 2-0 lead at the 6:42 mark when Patrick Maroon scored his first of the postseason from Jonathan Matsumoto and David Laliberte. Down 2-0, the BEARS turned to their captain to cut the lead in half. Bryan Helmer fired a shot from the left point that went through traffic and past Phantoms backstop Scott Munroe at 11:03. The goal pulled the Chocolate and White within a goal at 2-1, with that score holding into first intermission. HERSHEY fired eight first period shots at Munroe, while BEARS goaltender Michal Neuvirth stopped five of seven.
HERSHEY picked up the lone goal of the second period to tie the game when Staffan Kronwall buried a power play goal from the slot at the 14:58 mark. The BEARS collected 15 shots in the middle period, but saved the real firepower for the final 20 minutes. Alexandre Giroux scored his first goal of the playoffs at 2:27 of the third, which ultimately proved to be the game winner. Goals from Mathieu Perreault, Steve Pinizzotto and Francois Bouchard came late in the game, allowing the BEARS to pull away for the 6-2 win. Neuvirth won his second straight playoff start, making 25 saves. HERSHEY takes a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, with the next three games scheduled at GIANT Center next week.
Notes: HERSHEY now heads home to face the Phantoms Wednesday night in Game 3 of the series. Face-off at GIANT Center is at 7:00 p.m. Coach Woods opted to use the same lineup in Game 2 as he did in Game 1, scratching Patrick McNeill, Joe Finley, Sean Collins, Stefan Della Rovere, Darren Reid, Grant McNeill, Sami Lepisto and Kip Brennan. Simeon Varlamov started his first Stanley Cup playoff game Saturday for Washington, falling to the New York Rangers 1-0 at Verizon Center. Call or visit the GIANT Center box office for tickets to Games 3 and 4, (717) 534-3911. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defeated Bridgeport 5-4 in overtime Saturday to take a 2-0 lead in the other best-of-seven series in the East Division. The Penguins and Sound Tigers meet Sunday afternoon in Wilkes-Barre Township at 5:05 p.m.
Bears Radio Network Three Stars of the Game:
1. Alexandre Giroux (GWG, two point night)
2. Keith Aucoin (Two assists)
3. Oskar Osala (Two assists)