05/16/2009 - BEARS FAIL TO FORGE COMEBACK
Rally Falls Short After Sluggish Start
By Jess Mikula
A slow start would cost the BEARS Saturday night, as they failed to rally back after two Providence goals in the first period. Despite a two-goal effort from Oskar Osala, HERSHEY fell 3-2 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Bruins dominated the first period, scoring two power play goals and not allowing a HERSHEY shot on goal until nearly seven minutes into play. Jeff Penner registered his third of the postseason from Brad Marchand and Martin St. Pierre at 8:03. The visitors struck again with a power play marker from Jordan Knackstedt at 16:19, with assists from Jeff Penner and Peter Schaefer. The BEARS were out-shot 12-7 and carried a two-goal deficit to the dressing room after one.
Osala put the home team on the board with his third of the playoffs, a wrister from the right circle, at 3:03. Keith Aucoin and Alexandre Giroux added the helpers. Providence fired back, as Matt Marquardt tipped a loose rebound just past HERSHEY backstop Michal Neuvirth at 8:28. Osala answered for the BEARS, going top shelf on Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask at 14:41, assisted by Mathieu Perreault and Jay Beagle. The Chocolate and White trailed 3-2 headed into the third period.
Neither team scored through the remainder of regulation. Although the BEARS had several chances late in the game, they could not put another one past Rask.
Michal Neuvirth suffered his fourth postseason loss in net, allowing three goals on 28 shots. HERSHEY went 0-for-5 on the power play and fired 32 shots at Tuukka Rask.
Bears Radio Network Three Stars of the Game:
1. Oskar Osala (two goals)
2. Jeff Penner (two assists)
3. Tuukka Rask (30 saves on 32 shots)
Notes: Tyler Sloan and Jay Beagle were reassigned from the Washington Capitals. This series marks the first time that HERSHEY and Providence have met in a Conference Final. Saturday's loss was the BEARS' first loss of the 2009 Calder Cup Playoffs at Giant Center. HERSHEY has not won a game when trailing after two periods in this postseason. Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals will be played at Giant Center on Sunday, May 17, with the opening face-off slated for 5:00 p.m. Tickets are available at the Giant Center box office or by calling (717) 534-3911.