HERSHEY, Pa. – Chris Bourque, a three-time Calder Cup champion with the Hershey Bears, netted the winner with 3:13 left in overtime to help the Hartford Wolf Pack to a 2-1 victory in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Wednesday night at GIANT Center.
Hartford would control the play in the opening minutes of the contest, but two penalties tipped the ice back in Hershey’s favor. After missing on their two power play chances, the Bears would hit pay dirt inside the final minute of the frame when Chris Conner’s wraparound attempt deflected off of a skate and in behind goaltender Yann Danis at 19:06. Erik Burgdoerfer earned his first career playoff point with the lone assist. Danis had stopped Jakub Vrana and Dustin Gazley on breakaways earlier in the frame.
Hartford tied the game on their only power play of regulation. A shot from the left side wall from Marek Hrivik hit traffic and bounced to the top of the crease, where Chris Mueller was there to put it away at 5:28 for his third goal of the playoffs.
Neither goaltender would budge for the remainder of regulation. In overtime, the Wolf Pack would go on to outshoot the Bears by a 12-3 margin. Grubauer made a big save on a Tyler Brown breakaway and got some luck when a Mat Bodie wrist shot from the point sailed through traffic and off the crossbar.
But Bourque’s winner would eventually come on hard work below the goal line. Oscar Lindberg dug the puck loose, fed the slot and Bourque was there to slam it past Grubauer for his second goal of the postseason.
Grubauer made 41 saves in his second playoff appearance and drops to 1-1. Danis made 36 saves to improve to 4-2.
The Bears and Wolf Pack will play Game Two of the semifinal series (Game “DD”) this Friday, May 8 at 7:00 PM. The first 5,000 fans will receive thundersticks courtesy of PSECU. Individual tickets for this game are on sale at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR or online at TicketMaster.com.
NOTES: The Bears scratched G Keegan Asmundson, C Joel Broda, RW Stan Galiev, D Tomas Kundratek and D Jon Landry… Hartford scratched D Kodie Curran, G Cedrick Desjardins, D Dallas Jackson, G Jeff Malcolm, LW Chris McCarthy, G Jason Missiaen, RW Josh Nicholls, C Ryan Potulny, D Steve Spinell, LW Nick Tarnasky and D Daniel Walcott…Hershey finished the night 0-for-2 on the power play and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill.