Bears advance to next round

Dylan McIlrath, Vincent Iorio, Hershey Bears (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
Dylan McIlrath, Vincent Iorio, Hershey Bears (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images) /

The Hershey Bears came back from a 2-0 deficit in Game 4 to the Charlotte Checkers with six straight unanswered goals to win 6-2 in front of their fans at Giant Center. The Bears advance past the Atlantic Division quarterfinals four games to one and now await the winner of the Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack. The Atlantic Division finals will be a best of five.

The win gave Hershey their first postseason series win since 2019 when the Bears defeated the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 3-2 in the Atlantic Division semifinals.

Jake Wise opened the scoring two minutes into the game tapping in a cross crease pass behind Bears goalie Hunter Shepard to give Charlotte the 1-0 lead. Riley Nash scored at 7:54 on a deflection to go up 2-0.

The game was stopped for a bit just past the 14 minute mark after Beck Malenstyn checked someone along the boards that shattered the glass. The victim was Santtu Kinnunen.

Mason Morelli put the Bears on the board at 10:15 of the second period for his second of the playoffs. Malenstyn tied the game in the closing seconds of the second period when he and Joe Snively chipped the puck into the neutral zone and set up a two on one. Snively found Malenstyn who beat goaltender Mack Guzda with a shot to the blocker side. It was his first of the playoffs.

Aliaksei Protas put the Bears up 3-2 at 8:59 of the third with a power play goal. It was his second goal of the playoffs. Protas rebounded a shot from Sam Anas off a pass from Snively.

Protas then added his second of the night less than two minutes later at 10:57 with assists coming from Anas and Hendrix Lapierre. Riley Sutter and Dylan McIlrath put the game away with empty net goals.

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Congrats to the Bears for advancing to the next round. We’ll continue to keep tabs on them throughout the run.