Late Goal in Game 3 Pushes Bears to Brink
May 7, 2019Nathan Walker tallied in the 1st period for the Hershey Bears, but the Charlotte Checkers came from behind to top the Bears, 3-1, on Tuesday night at Giant Center. Vitek Vanecek turned aside 20 of 22 shots in the losing effort. Hershey's power play finished the night 0-for-6, including 0-for-4 in the third period.
Walker provided the Bears their first lead of the series after completing a backdoor deflection at 18:56 of the first period. Ryan Sproul sent a slap pass to towards the net from the right point, and Walker gained inside positioning for the tip past Charlotte goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic. Hershey carried a 1-0 lead into first intermission and an 11-7 shot advantage.
Charlotte evened the score at 6:32 of the second period. On an offensive zone entry, Aleksi Saarela blasted a shot past Vanecek's short side and into the cage. The 1-1 deadlock carried deep into the third period with shots 19-13 Checkers after 40 minutes. In the third, the Bears were unable to convert on several key scoring chances, and Charlotte dangerously countered on a transition play with less than three minutes left. On the rebound of a Vanecek save on Trevor Carrick, Stelio Mattheos scored the eventual game-winner into an open net at 17:52. Saarela added an empty net goal for his second of the night at 19:03 to complete a 3-1 final.
The Charlotte Checkers now lead the best-of-seven series, 3-0, pushing the Bears to the brink of elimination.
The Hershey Bears return to action on Wednesday, May 8 for Game 4 of the best-of-seven Atlantic Division Finals against the Charlotte Checkers. Puck drop at Giant Center is slated for 7 p.m. Ticket information is available online at HersheyBears.com.
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