Thursday, June 2, 2016

Former Minutemen Trade Goals as Penguins Take 2-0 Lead

The HBK line struck again in another postseason win for the Pittsburgh Penguins, although a pair of former UMass Minutemen traded late goals to decide the outcome.

The line of Carl Hagelin (Michigan), Nick Bonino (Boston University) and Phil Kessel (Minnesota) combined on Pittsburgh's first goal Wednesday night as the Penguins edged the visiting San Jose Sharks, 2-1, in overtime in Game Two of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final. Eastern Conference champion Pittsburgh now leads the best-of-seven series, two games to none.

Hagelin stole the puck deep in the San Jose end just over eight minutes into a scoreless second period, and fed Bonino to his left across the slot. Bonino pulled up and sent the puck across the crease, where it glanced off a San Jose stick to Kessel for a tap-in and his 10th goal of the postseason. The HBK line has now totaled 50 points to date in the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs, where the Penguins have posted a 14-6 record so far this spring.

The NCAA heroics weren't finished at Consol Energy Center after Pittsburgh took the lead.

After San Jose defenseman Justin Braun (UMass) tied the game on a slap shot that went in off the far post with 4:05 remaining in regulation for his first career playoff tally, Conor Sheary (UMass) won it for the Penguins on a wrist shot 2:35 into the overtime session following a face-off.  Braun graduated from Massachusetts in 2010, while Sheary, who also had a goal in Pittsburgh's 3-2 win in Game One on Monday, followed four years later. 

Pittsburgh outshot San Jose, 30-22, while the two squads combined to go 0-for-3 on the power play. The two teams also hit three posts each with shots in regulation.

Game Three is Saturday night in San Jose. The last team to lose the opening two games of the final on the road and still win the Stanley Cup was the Boston Bruins, who rebounded from an 0-2 deficit to defeat the Vancouver Canucks in seven games five years ago.

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