Too much to Bear

Boyd Kane won it for the Bears 7:06 into overtime, and Hershey’s headed back to the finals after a 3-2 win in Game 6. The Monarchs had a 2-0 lead after two. Alex Giroux cut the lead to one. Patrick McNeill, returning from that shoulder injury he suffered on a Trevor Smith hit in Game 3 in Bridgeport, scored to tie it with 5:51 remaining. McNeill had the second assist on the winner, too, which was the Bears’ seventh overtime goal of the playoffs, a record.

(What year was that game in Bridgeport? Feels like a decade ago.)

So no roadblock here: it’s back to the finals for the Bears, for the fourth time in the five years of the Washington affiliation and with their third different coach in that span. They won back-to-back titles in 1958 and 1959. They’re one step closer to doing it again.

One step closer to standing in their way: Hamilton. Curtis Sanford made 23 saves, and the Bulldogs are one win away from a 2007 rematch after a 3-0 win. David Desharnais had a goal and an assist. Game 6, back in Hamilton, is Monday.

The Czech Republic, seen losing to Norway not all that long ago, reached the final at the World Championship. The Czechs beat the Swedes in a shootout; two medal-round games, two bonus-round games. Waiting for the Czechs: Russia, seeking a third title in a row. Pavel Datsyuk’s late goal won it after the Germans led 1-0 early on a Marcel Goc goal at five-on-three. Sven Butenschon returned to the German lineup, earning a shot to break up zeroes-across.

So they’ll play for gold tomorrow. These teams haven’t finished one-two for the world title since 1984, when it was based on Olympic results, and — oh, yeah — they were still the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia. They also finished one-two several times in the preceding years. The most-recent four of those, including the 1984 Olympics, were decided either in a round-robin medal round or by cumulative standings, and in cases where it might have been competitive, the head-to-head game wasn’t last. If Wikipedia isn’t letting me down (and he shudders), this is the first time those two great powers — OK, their successor states — will meet with gold definitively on the line since 1978, when the Soviets won the final game of the tournament, 3-1, to avenge an earlier 6-4 loss.

(Well, all that works for the “Czech” part, anyway. Slovakia beat them to it and beat the Russians in the 2002 final.)

Aaaaaand, of course, our hemisphere shrugs. The big boys are playing for a silver cup, not a gold medal. We’re No. 13! (Since 2000, that’s tied for the United States’ most-common finish. All right, it’s a five-way tie with “two,” but still.)

More Lost fun: The 2007 Patriots explain Lost. And speaking of which, to avoid spoilers, I might be avoiding the ‘net Sunday. Already know about two characters’ appearances in the finale, and that’s two things more than I wanted to know. Namaste.

Michael Fornabaio