05/22/2009 - BEARS STUN BRUINS WITH THRILLING COMEBACK FRIDAY, LEAD SERIES TWO GAMES TO ONE
By: John Walton
HERSHEY produced its most stirring comeback of the 2009 Calder Cup playoffs Friday night, scoring four unanswered goals in the third period to post a 6-4 win over the Providence Bruins at Dunkin Donuts Center. The BEARS now lead the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals two games to one.
Providence would strike first in Game 3, scoring twice in the first 20 minutes to build a two goal lead after one. Zach Hamill blistered a shot off HERSHEY goaltender Michal Neuvirth that deflected into the back of the goal just 1:56 in, putting the Bruins up early. Late in the first at 15:32, Jeff Penner would score on the back door against Neuvirth to pick up the second marker in the period. Providence picked up 11 first period shots to HERSHEY'S nine.
The Bruins began the second period with momentum, but the BEARS seized control midway through the stanza to make it close. Peter Scheafer scored a power play goal at 3:01 of the second to increase the P-Bruins lead to 3-0, but goals from Alexandre Giroux and Chris Bourque pulled HERSHEY within a single lamp-lighter by second intermission.
The third period didn't start well for the Chocolate and White, but the BEARS would post its most stirring comeback of the postseason in the final 15 minutes of regulation. After Penner scored his second power play goal of the game just 38 seconds into the period, HERSHEY would score four unanswered to post a most thrilling victory. Andrew Gordon started a four goal onslaught with his fourth of the playoffs at 5:32, which was quickly followed by Giroux's second of the game at 6:52. With the score tied at 4-4, Graham Mink tipped a Bryan Helmer shot past Providence goalie Tuukka Rask for the go-ahead goal at 13:58. Leading 5-4 late in the game, Helmer would add the icing on a rather impressive cake with a power play goal at 18:25. Rask suffered his second straight defeat, making 26 saves on 32 shots. The BEARS regain home-ice advantage in the best-of seven Eastern Conference Finals, leading the series two games to one with two potential games looming at GIANT Center in Game 6 and Game 7.
Notes: Saturday is a day off in this best-of-seven series, with the two teams set for Game 4 on Sunday evening at Dunkin Donuts Center. Face-off Sunday is at 7:05 p.m., with a very quick turnaround for Game 5 coming Monday afternoon at 4:05 p.m. Should a Game 6 or 7 be needed in the series, the scene would again return to GIANT Center on Wednesday and Thursday. Quintin Laing, who had been sidelined since March with a torn spleen suffered while playing for the Washington Capitals, returned to the lineup for HERSHEY. The game for Laing Friday was his first in a HERSHEY sweater since February 16 when the BEARS played at Syracuse. Steve Pinizzotto, who missed Game 2 with an undisclosed injury, also returned to the lineup Friday. For Calder Cup ticket information, call the GIANT Center box office at (717) 534-3911. The win in Game 3 marked the first time in the 2009 Calder Cup playoffs that HERSHEY rallied to win when trailing after two periods.
Bears Radio Network Three Stars of the Game:
1. Alexandre Giroux (Two goals to lead the way)
2. Graham Mink (Scored game-winner in typical Mink fashion)
3. Bryan Helmer (Goal and assist when Bears needed it most)