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Monarchs Season Ends

Saturday, 05.22.2010 / 11:08 PM / Prospects
By Kim Mueller
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Monarchs Season Ends
Jonathan Bernier stopped 28-of-31 in the Monarchs loss.
HERSHEY, PA – Left wing Boyd Kane scored the game-winning goal at 7:06 of the overtime period to give the Hershey Bears a 3-2 overtime victory over the Manchester Monarchs in game six of the 2010 Calder Cup Eastern Conference Final at Giant Center on Saturday night. The victory gave the Bears the Conference series and advanced them to the Calder Cup Finals where they will face-off against either the Texas Stars or the Hamilton Bulldogs.

Kane scored the game-winning goal at 7:06 of the first overtime period to clinch the 3-2 victory for the Bears. Defenseman Patrick McNeill dumped the puck into the left wing corner that was picked up by center Kyle Wilson. Traveling behind the Monarchs net, Wilson sent the puck toward the right post where it caught the blade of Kane’s stick. The ensuing backhand shot crept between Monarchs goaltender Jonathan Bernier and the post, sending the Bears to their second-consecutive Calder Cup Final appearance.

Right wing John Zeiler scored the first goal of the game at 19:43 of the first period. Defenseman Alec Martinez was positioned at the left point and fired a powerful slap shot on net toward Bears goaltender Michal Neuvirth. Center Gabe Gauthier was positioned in the crease and caught Martinez’s blast with the blade of his stick. With Neuvirth sliding out of position directly behind him, Gauthier passed the puck over to a crashing Zeiler, who hit twine in a wide-open net to give Manchester the 1-0 lead. Zeiler’s fourth goal of the playoffs was also his second goal of the Eastern Conference Final.

Defenseman Joe Piskula recorded his first point of the Eastern Conference Final, as well as his second goal of the Calder Cup Playoffs at 17:44 of the second period. Zeiler initiated the play by missing an empty net chance in front of the Bears goal. Not giving up on the play, Zeiler followed the puck behind the net and fed it around the boards to defenseman Andrew Campbell at the right point. Maintaining possession at the blueline, Campbell fired the puck on Neuvirth that was not corralled by the netminder. Piskula, crashing from the left wing boards, elevated the loose puck through the crease traffic to give the Monarchs a two-goal lead entering the third period.

Left wing Alexandre Giroux scored his 12th goal of the playoffs at 7:37 of the third period to bring the Bears to within one goal. Defenseman John Carlson corralled the puck at the top of the left point. Carlson then fed the puck to center Keith Aucoin, positioned within the left face-off circle. Aucoin shot a wrister on Bernier that kicked off of the goaltender. A crashing Giroux crept to the right post and lifted a backhander over a sprawling Bernier that cut the Monarchs lead in half.

McNeill scored his first goal of the playoffs to knot the score at 2-2 at 14:09 of the third period. After an intense puck battle deep in the right wing corner, center Mathieu Perreault emerged from the scrum with the puck. The center passed the puck up to left wing Chris Bourque, positioned within the right face-off circle. One last pass by the Bears connected with McNeill at the top of the slot, who wristed a floater through traffic that found the top right corner of the net behind Bernier to push the overtime period.

Bernier (10-6) was saddled with his sixth loss of the playoffs, stopping 28-of-31 shots on net. Neuvirth (10-2) collected his 10th win of the post-season, halting 32-of-34 shots.

Manchester did not have a power play opportunity. Hershey was 0-for-1 with the man advantage.

NOTABLES: Tonight’s game marked the first time in franchise history that the Monarchs did not have a power play opportunity in a playoff game…The Monarchs tied a franchise record by only committing two minutes worth of penalties, matching game six of the Atlantic Division Final against Worcester this post-season…Both teams combined to shatter the record for the fewest amount of penalties in a playoff game in Monarchs history with only two combined minutes of penalties…With a goal and an assist, right wing John Zeiler recorded his first multiple-point game of the playoffs…With tonight’s contest decided in overtime, the Monarchs and Bears have reached overtime for the fourth time in the series, a Monarchs franchise record...The Monarchs lost for the first time in the playoffs after outshooting their opponent…Manchester concludes its Calder Cup Playoffs run with a 10-6 record.