CEDAR PARK, Tex.- Defenseman John Carlson notched a power play goal with just 2:08 to play in regulation, breaking a 2-2 tie and sending Hershey to a 4-2 road win over Texas in Game 4 of the Calder Cup Finals on Wednesday before a season-high crowd of 7,032 fans at the Cedar Park Center.
The Bears, who dropped the first two games on home ice, have now won two straight on the road to tie the series at 2-2 heading into Game 5 on Friday night in suburban Austin.
The eventual game-winning goal in this one stemmed from a too many men on the ice penalty assessed to Texas at 17:21 of the third period.
Just 32 seconds into the ensuing Hershey power play, Carlson pinched into the slot and redirected a feed from Keith Aucoin past Stars netminder Matt Climie for his first goal of the 2010 AHL postseason.
Carlson, who scored the championship-clinching goal for Team USA at this year’s World Junior Championships, had tallied one goal in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games for the parent Washington Capitals this spring.
Aucoin, who kicked off the night’s scoring with a power play strike of his own late in the first period, picked up his league-leading 22nd postseason assist (2-22-24) on the game-winner.
Jay Beagle and Alexandre Giroux also notched goals for the Bears, with Giroux’s marker going into an empty net while Hershey was on another power play with just 27 seconds left to play.
Hershey finished 3-for-5 on the power play for the game and is now 4-for-10 in the last two contests after entering Monday’s Game 3 on an 0-for-15 drought with the extra man.
Bears forward Mathieu Perreault registered two assists in Game 4 and now has a point in five of his last six contests (2-5-7), and goaltender Michal Neuvirth (12-4, 2.28, .912) picked up the win with 26 saves on 28 shots between the pipes.
Greg Rallo and Perttu Lindgren potted goals for the Stars, who grabbed a brief 2-1 lead in the second period when Lindgren scored on the power play for his seventh marker of the postseason.
Texas will bring a three-game home-ice losing skid into Friday’s pivotal Game 5.
With Wednesday’s Bears victory, the series is guaranteed to return to the Giant Center in Hershey for Game 6 on Monday night.
2010 Calder Cup Finals – Series “O” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. W2-Texas Stars
Game 1 – Thu., June 3 – Texas 2, HERSHEY 1
Game 2 – Sat., June 5 – Texas 4, HERSHEY 3
Game 3 – Mon., June 7 – Hershey 6, TEXAS 3
Game 4 – Wed., June 9 – Hershey 4, TEXAS 2
Game 5 – Fri., June 11 – Hershey at Texas, 8:30
Game 6 – Mon., June 14 – Texas at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 7 – Wed., June 16 – Texas at Hershey, 7:00