BRIDGEPORT, Connecticu — Ilya Samsonov made 49 stops in goal, but the Hershey Bears dropped a 3-2 decision to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in double overtime Friday night at Webster Bank Arena.
Bridgeport leads the best-of-five series, 1-0, after Kiefer Bellows scored the overtime winner 36 seconds into a power play to complete the 3-2 final. Mike Sgarbossa was called for tripping to set up Bridgeport's man advantage.
Samsonov made 15 stops in a heavy first period to keep the game scoreless going into first intermission. Next period, Chris McCarthy scored the first goal of the series to provide the Chocolate and White a 1-0 lead at the 8:16 mark. At 10:56, the Bears were tasked with a lengthy penalty kill after Sgarbossa was whistled for a double-minor high-stick infraction. The Bears were up to the task shorthanded, and Jayson Megna used a burst of speed through the neutral zone, won a race to a loose puck, and scored on a breakaway at the 13:02 mark.
Still on the man-advantage, Bridgeport struck at 14:21 in the low-slot on Samsonov to cut their deficit in half. Bellows chipped home a loose puck sitting at the net front for the Sound Tigers first goal of the post season. Hershey carried a 2-1 lead into the third period despite being out shot, 27-14.
Steve Bernier tied the score on the 5-on-3 power play at 17:56 after poking a loose puck into the net after an initial shot from Sebastian Aho, forcing overtime.
Both teams rematch in Game 2 of the Atlantic Division Semifinals on Saturday 7 p.m. in Bridgeport.