The puck dropped on the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals at GIANT Center between the Hershey Bears and Toronto Marlies. Toronto carried a 7-5 shot advantage and 1-0 lead into the dressing room after 20 minutes.
9:04 into the contest, the Marlies capitalized on quick offensive rush. Kasperi Kapanen fed William Nylander a crisp pass, who elevated a backhand shot past Justin Peters. Defending Toronto will be Hershey’s biggest challenge with the Marlies’ quick motion in the offensive zone by all five skaters.
Hershey started the second frame possessing and cycling the puck in the offensive zone, and were eventually rewarded. Only 3:39 into the period, Carter Camper remained on absolute fire. After Dustin Gazley wrapped around the net, he centered a pass from the wing to Camper positioned in the slot. Camper blasted a shot high-glove side past Antoine Bibeau to tie the game.
The Bears’ momentum carried into the third period, and it led to the eventual game-winning goal. Liam O’Brien scored from the low-slot 2:51 into the third period with bodies in front of the net. A strong point to the Bears’ offense all night long was getting bodies to the net and creating traffic.
The Chocolate and White won the special teams battle by cashing in on a third period power play. At 8:12, Zach Sill turned and fired a loose puck from the middle of the ice that beat Bibeau low.
For the first time in the Calder Cup Playoffs, the Bears take the opening game of a series and a 1-0 lead into Game 2.
Submitted by Matt Trust