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Strome scores in OT, Hershey beats Coachella Valley 5-4 for a record-extending 13th Calder Cup title

HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) — Matt Strome scored 1:06 into overtime as the Hershey Bears beat the Coachella Valley Firebirds 5-4 in Game 6 on Monday night to win their record-extending 13th Calder Cup title.

Strome grabbed a loose puck in the high slot and beat Firebirds goalie Chris Driedger low on the glove side with a wrist shot, setting off a wild celebration as the Bears mobbed Strome.

Hershey rallied from a 2-1 series deficit against the Firebirds for the second straight year to win consecutive titles. The Bears were the last team to win back-to-back Calder Cup championships, in 2009-10.

Coachella Valley gamely tried to extend the series to a decisive Game 7, taking an early lead and, after falling behind, scoring twice in the second period to move ahead again. But Hershey rallied.

After Hershey's Pierrick Dubé scored a tiebreaking goal with just over 11 minutes left in the third period to complete his hat trick, the Firebirds' Cale Fleury scored with just under three minutes remaining to force OT.

The Bears went ahead 4-3 late in regulation when Alex Limoges controlled the puck after Coachella Valley turned it over in its own zone and fed Dubé in front. He spun, got Driedger out of position and scored into an open net.

But that advantage was short-lived. After Driedger made a big save, the Firebirds charged down the ice and Fleury beat Hershey's Hunter Shepard with a low wrist shot through a crowd in front of the net with 2:55 remaining, tying the game at 4 and forcing OT.

Hendrix Lapierre also scored for the Bears, and Shepard finished with 17 saves.

Ryan Winterton had two goals and Marian Studenic also scored in regulation for the Firebirds. Driedger had 17 stops for Coachella Valley, which was perfect at home in the playoffs before dropping Games 4 and 5.

Last season in the final, Hershey — the Washington Capitals’ top farm team — beat first-year Coachella Valley 3-2 in overtime at home in Game 7.

The Firebirds’ Dan Bylsma coached his final game with the team before fully taking over as coach of the parent Seattle Kraken.

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AP sports: https://apnews.com/sports

The Associated Press