Bears fail to close out Checkers in Game 3, try again tonight

Hershey Bears, Washington Capitals (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
Hershey Bears, Washington Capitals (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images) /

The Hershey Bears and Charlotte Checkers first round series shifted to Pennsylvania in Giant Center last night for Game 3. The Bears had a 2-0 series lead and looked to close it out but the Checkers won Game 3 2-1 to get on the board and live to see another day. Game 4 is tonight at 7 p.m. in Chocolatetown in a best of five.

The first period was scoreless. Sam Anas put the Bears up at 2:06 in the second period thanks to a zone entry breakup by Dylan McIlrath and Anas came up with the puck, raced up the right side, and beat Checkers net minder Mack Guzda high glove side for his second of the playoffs.

Cory Conacher tied it for the Checkers on a breakaway at 13:24. They took the lead and the eventual game winner at 17:53 on a goal from Aleksi Heponiemi.

Shots were 22-20 in favor of the Bears. Hunter Shepard went 18 of 20, Guzda went 21 for 22. The Bears were 0 for 5 on the power play while Charlotte went 0 for 1.

Hershey has scored the first goal of the game in all three contests so far. This streak continues the Bears’ success in the regular season as they notched the icebreakerer six times in eight games against the Checkers. In the regular season, Hershey tied with Calgary for the most first goals in the league, scoring first 48 times.

Despite the loss yesterday, goalie Hunter Shepard had a strong performance. In all three games this series he’s stopped 59 of 64 shots which is good for a .922 save percentage. He also owns a 1.69 goals against average in he playoffs and has allowed two or less goals in all three games.

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The Bears did lose Aaron Ness with an injury early in the first period and he didn’t return. Don’t forget to tune into tonight’s game at 7 p.m. Go Bears.