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20240518-vsHFD-recap-miroshnichenko

Miroshnichenko Powers Bears to 4-2 Win Over Wolf Pack

May 18, 2024

A two-goal performance from Ivan Miroshnichenko helped pace the Hershey Bears (5-1) to a 4-2 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack (5-4) in Game 2 of the Atlantic Division Finals in front of a sellout crowd of 10,714 on Saturday night at GIANT Center. Hershey has now won all four of its playoff games on home ice, leads the best-of-five series two games to none, and can advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second consecutive postseason with a victory in Game 3 at Hartford on Wednesday, May 22 at 7 p.m. at XL Center.

With the win, Bears head coach Todd Nelson earned his 61st AHL playoff victory, moving him past Hockey Hall of Famer and Bears legend Frank Mathers for sole possession of fourth place in AHL history. Nelson trails only John Paddock (77), Fred "Bun" Cook (75), and John Anderson (68).

BOX SCORE

The Bears opened the scoring with a power-play goal just 2:50 into the first period on their third shot of the contest, as Miroshnichenko feathered the puck into the upper-left corner of the net of Dylan Garand for his fourth of the playoffs. Jimmy Huntington and Chase Priskie earned assists.

Hunter Shepard stopped all shots he faced in the opening frame, including a highlight-reel glove save on Nikolas Brouillard at 11:13.

Miroshnichenko added his second of the night at 13:32 of the middle stanza with a sensational effort after taking a pass from Garrett Roe. The winger made his way through neutral ice to the left flank, dangled the puck around Hartford's Matthew Robertson, cut across the slot the right side, and out-waited Garand before lofting the puck past the sprawled netminder for a 2-0 lead.

Ethen Frank buried his team-leading fifth of the postseason at 4:25 of the third when he banked the puck through Garand, with Lucas Johansen and Hendrix Lapierre dishing out assists. Frank's goal would eventually stand up as the game-winner, his league-leading fourth of the postseason; dating back to the 2023 playoffs, Frank has five game-winners in his last 10 playoff games.

Jake Massie sailed the puck on net from the blue line and Lapierre tipped it past Garand at 8:30 for his third of the playoffs to put Hershey up 4-0; Joe Snively earned a secondary helper.

The Wolf Pack spoiled Shepard's bid for a shutout with goals from Jake Leschyshyn at 17:02 and Anton Blidh at 19:11, with Blidh's tally coming with Garand pulled for an extra attacker.

Shots finished 27-24 in favor of the Bears. Shepard went 22-for-24 for his fifth win of the postseason; Garand went 23-for-27 in the loss for Hartford. The Bears went 1-for-5 on the power play; the Wolf Pack went 0-for-3 with the man advantage.

The Bears next take the ice for Game 3 of the best-of-five Atlantic Division Finals against the Hartford Wolf Pack on Wednesday, May 22 at 7 p.m. at XL Center. Fans can head to The Bears Den at the Hershey Lodge for a playoff watch party presented by Labatt Blue, featuring a $5 Labatt Blue draft special. Reservations are not accepted, and seating is first come, first serve.

Game 3 will also air on television locally on WPMT FOX 43.2 Antenna TV, and in the Washington, D.C. area on Monumental Sports Network, and fans can also watch via AHLTV. Should a decisive Game 5 be necessary, the Bears will host Hartford on Sunday, May 26 at 5 p.m. CLICK HERE to purchase tickets for this game.




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