Rats Season Concludes in Overtime
ALBANY, NY - Mathieu Perreault knotted the game with 1:13 remaining in regulation and then scored the series-winner at 2:23 of overtime to help the Hershey Bears clinch the East Division Finals with a 5-4 victory over the Albany River Rats on Tuesday night at the Times Union Center.
Chris Bourque also notched a pair of goals for the defending Calder Cup Champions, who swept the second-round series 4-0. AHL First Team All-Star and Albany's leading scorer during the regular season, Jerome Samson, scored twice for the River Rats, who squandered a third-period lead for the fourth straight game.
Albany held a 3-2 advantage after 40 minutes of action and Samson's second goal of the night gave the home team a two-goal cushion at 10:19. Alexandre Giroux netted his league-leading 10th goal of the playoffs at 16:37 to cut the Bears deficit to a goal, and Mathieu Perreault tipped in the equalizer with 1:13 remaining in regulation to force overtime.
Perrault iced the series at 2:23 of the sudden-death session, backhanding a goal-mouth feed from Jay Beagle into the top of the net to end Albany's best season in over a decade.
Bears forward Chris Bourque scored the game's first goal at 8:23 of the opening period, beating Peters on the power play with an off-speed floater from the point. Albany drew even at 11:58 on a two-on-none breakaway that saw Samson pot Drayson Bowman's loose change. The River Rats then took the lead at 14:28 at on the power play, when Chris Terry drove a crisp cross-ice feed from Bowman past Bears goalie Michal Neuvirth.
Bourque scored his second power play marker of the night just 59 seconds into the middle frame, finishing a pretty back-door feed from point-man Alexandre Giroux to knot the game at 2-2. Zach Boychuk reclaimed the lead for Albany with an un-assisted tally at 10:31, when he intercepted a breakout feed from Neuvirth and spun a shot into the vacated net.
Neuvirth stopped 17-of-21 shots faced in the game, while Peters stopped 34-of-39. Hershey out-shot the River Rats 39-21 in the contest and went 3-for-5 on the power play; Albany was 1-for-3 on the man-advantage.
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