05/06/2009 - HERSHEY looks to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the 2009 East Division Finals Wednesday night as the best-of-seven series shifts to northeast PA. The BEARS and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins will face off in Game 3 at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday night.
The Chocolate and White scored three first period goals on Sunday and never looked back in a 3-1 victory over the Penguins at GIANT Center in Game 2. Wilkes-Barre goaltender John Curry surrendered all three markers in the first 20 minutes before being pulled from the game in favor of Adam Berkhoel. Oskar Osala, John Carlson and Graham Mink each tallied single goals in the first period Sunday to propel the BEARS to a sixth straight postseason victory. Goaltender Michal Neuvirth lost a shutout with less than two minutes remaining in the third period Sunday when Alex Goligoski picked up a late lamp-lighter.
For the BEARS this postseason, it's been a matter of spreading around the offense. HERSHEY has scored 22 goals in six games, and not one time this 2009 Calder Cup playoff year has a player scored more than one goal in a single game. Chris Bourque has a six-game point streak heading into Wednesday night's action, tops on the club.
History does not favor the Penguins in the lifetime playoff series between the two teams. The 2009 East Division Finals mark the fifth time (and the fourth time in four years) that HERSHEY and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton have met in postseason play. None of the previous four encounters have ever moved past five games. The Penguins won the 2001 Western Conference Finals four games to none and last year's East Division Semi-Finals four games to one. HERSHEY swept the Pens in the 2006 East Division Final and won the 2007 East Final four games to one. The BEARS currently lead the series this year two games to none.
Elsewhere around the Calder Cup playoffs, the Houston Aeros took a two games to one lead in its West Division Final with the Milwaukee Admirals Tuesday night. Former BEARS forward Matt Beaudoin scored the game-winning goal for the Aeros Tuesday, who will look to go up 3-1 at home Thursday night against the Admirals. The Manitoba Moose can advance to the 2009 Western Conference Finals Wednesday night, facing off with the Grand Rapids Griffins at Van Andel Arena. The Moose lead the Griffins three games to none in the 2009 North Division Finals. After eight days in between, the Providence Bruins and Worcester Sharks get back to playing hockey Wednesday night. Game 2 of the Atlantic Division Final is set for Wednesday at the DCU Center in Worcester. Providence leads the series one game to none.
Wednesday's Game 3 can be heard via the BEARS Radio Network (100.1 FM, 1490 AM, Sportsjuice.com, AHLLive.com) beginning with the pregame show at 6:45 p.m. John Walton has the call of the action from GIANT Center. Tickets for HERSHEY'S next home playoff game are on sale now at the GIANT Center box office. Call (717) 534-3911 for ticket availability and information.