While the Capitals were fighting for a series lead against the Leafs, the Hershey Bears were starting their 2017 playoff run Friday night at PPL Center.
After three periods ended without a mark on the board for either the Bears or their opponents, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, left wing Aussie Nathan Walker broke through 7:38 minutes into overtime to give the Bears a 1-0 series lead in their first round series.
— AHL (@TheAHL) April 22, 2017
The scrappy Walker scored on a rebound.
Hershey goaltender Pheonix Copley stopped 32 shots in his first ever AHL postseason shutout.
The Bears will play the Phantoms again tonight at Lehigh Valley, looking to secure an assertive second win in their best of five series.
Nathan Walker ended a scoreless deadlock, striking at 7:38 of overtime, to give the Hershey Bears hockey team a 1-0 victory over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in Game 1 of the Atlantic Division Semifinals. Hershey goaltender Pheonix Copley stopped 32 shots as Hershey took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five playoff series.
The lone goal of the contest came with 12:22 left in the extra session. Stanislav Galiev worked the puck out of the corner and sent a pass back to Tyler Lewington at the right point. The defender fired a slap shot that Lehigh Valley goaltender Alex Lyon stopped. The rebound sat loose in the slot, and Walker collected the puck and cut to the left. With Lyon down and diving for the puck, Walker lifted a shot over the fallen goaltender to stun the crowd at the PPL Center.
With 7,072 fans behind them, the Phantoms came out with an inspired effort in the opening period. Copley kept Lehigh Valley off the scoreboard, kicking out all 15 shots he faced through the first 20 minutes. The goaltender earned his first Calder Cup Playoffs shutout thanks to several key saves in overtime prior to the Walker goal.
The Phantoms outshot Hershey 32-21 on the evening. Both teams failed to score on the power play. Hershey was 0-for-3 while Lehigh Valley was 0-for-4.
The Bears continue the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs on the road at Lehigh Valley for Game 2 versus the Phantoms Saturday at 7:05 p.m. Hershey’s first home game will take place with Game 3 on Wednesday, Apr. 26. A full Atlantic Division Semifinals schedule is available on HersheyBears.com. Tickets are available at the Giant Center Box Office, by calling 717-508-BEAR (2327), and online at Ticketmaster.com.
Headline Photo by @chocolatehockey
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