06/12/2010 - BEARS BATTLE TO THRILLING 2-1 FINAL IN GAME 5
Hershey Closes in on Calder Cup With OT Win
By Jess Mikula
Despite surrendering the game's first goal, the BEARS staged a come-from-behind effort to capture Game 5 in an exhilarating 2-1 finish in overtime Friday night. HERSHEY now holds a 3-2 advantage in the best-of-seven Calder Cup Finals series.
Texas struck first in Game 5, as Dan Jancevski fired a shot at BEARS backstop Michal Neuvirth, fed by Maxime Fortunus. Aaron Gagnon redirected the shot into the net for the power play marker at 8:03. Chris Bourque nearly potted the equalizer late in the period, launching a wrister from the left circle toward an open net. Stars netminder Matt Climie made a diving save to keep HERSHEY off the score sheet. The Chocolate and White out-shot Texas by a 17-10 margin in the first but trailed 1-0 after 20 minutes of play.
Francois Bouchard notched the lone goal of the second period, finishing a drive from Bourque and Keith Aucoin for his fifth of the postseason at 11:12. Defenseman Greg Amadio rushed to the locker room after taking a Scott McCulloch shot to the face at 16:14 but returned to the HERSHEY bench before the close of the period. The BEARS and Stars were at a 1-1 deadlock after two.
Neither team scored in the third period. Mathieu Perreault nearly buried the game-winning goal on a backdoor attempt, but Texas blueliner Ethan Graham got a stick on the puck to make the save. HERSHEY needed its ninth overtime period of the playoffs, as the Stars and BEARS were at a 1-1 standstill through regulation.
Overtime proved to be a battle of the goaltenders, with Neuvirth and Climie both making highlight reel stops. The teams exchanged scoring chances and end-to-end rushes before Alexandre Giroux silenced the Stars faithful 13:28 into sudden death. With Jay Beagle and Perreault crowding the Texas crease, Giroux slipped the rebound of a point shot through Climie's five-hole to sway the series in HERSHEY's favor. Karl Alzner and John Carlson added the assists on Giroux's 14th goal of the postseason, his AHL-record fifth playoff overtime goal.
Neuvirth earned his 13th postseason victory in net, making 35 saves on 36 shots. The BEARS were blanked on each of their two power play chances, and the penalty kill denied the Stars once on two opportunities.
Bears Radio Network Three Stars of the Game:
1. Alexandre Giroux (game-winning goal)
2. Michal Neuvirth (35 saves on 36 shots)
3. Matt Climie (41 saves on 43 shots)
Notes: Friday's win marked the BEARS' league-record eighth postseason overtime victory. The series shifts to Chocolatetown for Game 6 on Monday night, where HERSHEY will look to hoist the franchise's 11th Calder Cup. The BEARS last won the Calder Cup on home ice in 1980. Monday's contest was sold out within hours. Opening face-off is slated for 7:00 p.m., with the live broadcast again televised by WHTM ABC 27.