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Huntington's Two Goals Lead Bears to 3-2 Game 5 Win

June 23, 2024

Jimmy Huntington scored twice and the Hershey Bears (13-6) rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the third period to earn a 3-2 victory over the Coachella Valley Firebirds (12-5) in Game 5 of the 2024 Calder Cup Finals on Saturday night at Acrisure Arena. The Bears now lead the best-of-seven series 3-2, and will have a chance to claim their 13th Calder Cup with a Game 6 victory on Monday night at GIANT Center.

With the win, Bears head coach Todd Nelson earned his 69th AHL playoff victory, passing John Anderson (68) for sole possession of third all-time in AHL head coaching playoff wins. Nelson now trails only John Paddock (77) and Fred "Bun" Cook (75). His 27 career playoff wins as the bench boss for Hershey ranks fourth in franchise history, trailing only Frank Mathers (60), John Paddock (30), and Bruce Boudreau (29).


The Firebirds took a 1-0 lead at 10:05 of the first period when Kole Lind jammed a rebound past Hunter Shepard.

With time ticking down near the end of the frame, the Bears broke up a Coachella Valley breakout and regrouped in the neutral zone, allowing Pierrick Dube to find Huntington streaking to the net. Huntington's initial shot rebounded off the pads of Chris Driedger, and Huntington flicked his fourth of the playoffs into the net with 1.3 seconds left in the period to tie the game at 1-1. Alex Limoges earned a secondary assist on the goal.

The score remained tied through the end of the second period, but in the third Coachella Valley went ahead 2-1 at 4:43 of the third when a turnover led to Cameron Hughes finding Ryan Winterton in the slot, who then beat Shepard to the glove side.

The Bears tied the game at 8:26 when Hardy Haman Aktell skated up the left side and snapped the puck from the top of the left circle past the blocker of Driedger for his fifth of the playoffs. Chase Priskie picked up the helper on the goal.

Huntington buried the game-winner at 16:45 off a defensive zone breakout when Logan Day moved the puck to Limoges, who advanced it into the attacking zone and found Huntington at the left dot. Huntington then snapped it over the glove-side shoulder of Driedger for his second of the evening.

Shots finished 26-20 in favor of the Firebirds. Shepard earned the victory for Hershey with a 24-for-26 performance for his 27th career playoff win for Hershey, tying him with Nick Damore for third in franchise history; Driedger took the loss for Coachella Valley by going 17-for-20. The Bears went 0-for-3 on the power play; the Firebirds went 0-for-2 with the man advantage.

The Bears continue the 2024 Calder Cup Playoffs when they host the Coachella Valley Firebirds in Game 6 of the Calder Cup Finals on Monday, June 24, at 7 p.m. at GIANT Center. CLICK HERE to purchase tickets for this game.

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