HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) — The Hershey Bears (3-1) rallied from a 2-0 deficit with six straight goals en route to a 6-2 victory over the Charlotte Checkers (3-4) in Game 4 of the Atlantic Division Semifinals on Thursday night at GIANT Center. Hershey defeated Charlotte 3-1 in the best-of-five series, and has advanced to the Atlantic Division Finals, where they will play the winner of the series between the Providence Bruins and Hartford Wolf Pack (Hartford leads the series 2-1).

The victory gave Hershey its 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 contest, tapping in a cross-crease pass behind Hunter Shepard to give Charlotte a 1-0 lead on its first shot of the game.

Riley Nash scored at 7:54 on a deflection to put the Checkers up 2-0.

The game was briefly paused just past the 14-minute mark in the frame when Beck Malenstyn delivered a check along the end wall to the left of the Charlotte net on Santtu Kinnunen that shattered the pane of glass.

Mason Morelli put Hershey on the board at 10:15 of the second period when he drove the lane from the left side and stuffed his second of the playoffs past Mack Guzda.

Malenstyn then drew the Bears level in the closing seconds of the stanza when he and Joe Snively helped chip the puck into the neutral zone and team up for a 2-on-1; upon entering the Charlotte end, a lunging Snively found Malenstyn, who had a clean break to the net and beat Guzda with a shot to the blocker side for his first of the postseason.

Aliaksei Protas put Hershey ahead 3-2 at 8:59 of the third with a power-play goal. The forward put home his second of the playoffs when Snively flung the puck across to the right flank for Sam Anas, whose shot was stopped by Guzda, but Protas put home the rebound.

Protas added his second of the night less than two minutes later when he snuck a shot between the pads of Guzda and the right post at 10:57, with Anas and Hendrix Lapierre assisting. That tally prompted the Checkers to replace Guzda with Jean-Francois Berube in net.

After Charlotte pulled Berube late in the third, Hershey got empty-net tallies from Riley Sutter at 17:49 and Dylan McIlrath at 19:00 to clinch the game and series.

Shots finished 32-28 in favor of the Bears. Shepard went 26-for-29 in the win for the Bears; Guzda went 17-for-21 in the loss for the Checkers, with Berube stopping all nine shots he faced in relief. Hershey was 1-for-5 on the power play while Charlotte went 0-for-3.

The Bears 2023 playoffs, presented by Penn State Health, continues when the Chocolate and White will face the winner of the Providence vs. Hartford series in the best-of-five Atlantic Division Finals.