(Charlotte, NC – May 4, 2019)– The Hershey Bears posted three goals for the second time in the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs, but fell to the Charlotte Checkers 7-3 on Saturday night at Bojangles’ Coliseum. Charlotte now leads the best-of-seven Atlantic Division Finals, 2-0.
Similar to the previous night in Game 1, the Checkers drew first blood on an early first period tally. Tomas Jurco had his stick snap into two pieces on a shot attempt from the slot, and the puck deflected perfectly to Zach Nastasiuk’s stick. With an open net after Ilya Samsonov was alluded by the broken twig, Nastasiuk converted on the layup at 4:43.
Hershey evened the score late in the first period on Jayson Megna’s third goal of the postseason. Dennis Robertson was assessed a match penalty for an illegal check to the head of Bears forward Beck Malenstyn at the 14:26 mark. On the major power play, Megna waited out Charlotte goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic to pot the equalizer at 17:05. Shots after 20 minutes were 11-11. Malenstyn did not return to the game for the Bears.
The Checkers tallied twice more in the second period, and Martin Necas regained Charlotte’s lead on a power play goal of his own. From the left point, Necas blasted a shot past Samsonov’s glove side at 5:34. At 9:25, Morgan Geekie extended Charlotte’s lead to 3-1 on a nifty backhander short side on Samsonov. Ryan Sproul brought the Bears closer before second intermission after driving the net and scoring on the rebound off a chance by Megna. At 15:51, Nedeljkovic poke checked a Megna scoring chance in all alone, but Sproul followed up the play and tallied on the rebound.
Charlotte carried their perfect 42-0 record when leading after 40 minutes combined between the regular season and playoffs, and successfully extended it further. The Checkers tallied four times in the third period to post a seven spot on the Bears. Jurco scored twice in the stanza to round out a four point (two goals, two assists) performance. Riley Barber scored late for the Chocolate and White at 16:32 before Necas scored his second of the night at 17:58 to complete the scoring.
The Hershey Bears return to action as the Atlantic Division Finals transition to Giant Center for Game 3 and Game 4 on Tuesday, May 7 and Wednesday, May 8. Puck drop for both nights are slated for 7 p.m.