CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Mike Murphy made 35 saves and Nick Dodge scored a late-third period goal as the Charlotte Checkers held off the Hershey Bears for a 3-2 victory on Wednesday night.
The East Division Semifinal series is now tied 2-2 with Game 5 coming Friday in Charlotte.
Dodge registered the game-winning tally for Charlotte, who also had goals from Nicolas Blanchard and Oskar Osala.
Matthieu Perreault scored both goals for Hershey while Braden Holtby stopped 21 of 24 Checkers shots.
Murphy stole the show for the Checkers, earning first star honors. The two-time OHL Goaltender of the Year made several highlight reel saves, including a pair of sprawling stops while on the penalty kill.
The Checkers drew first blood with a power-play goal by Blanchard at 3:03 of the second period. Zac Dalpe took a shot from the right-wing faceoff circle that glanced off of Blanchard’s shin pad and by Holtby.
Hershey answered back with a goal midway through the second. Perreault took a bad-angle shot from the corner that hit a body in front and redirected past Murphy.
Charlotte took a 2-1 lead at 6:29 of the third period on a power-play tally by Osala. With Bears defenseman Sheldon Souray in the box for roughing, Jon Matsumoto slipped a pass to Osala, who fired a shot from the slot that squeezed through the pads of Holtby.
The Checkers then went ahead by two with 2:39 remaining in regulation. Drayson Bowman fed Dodge from the back of the net and the forward snapped a shot, top-shelf, past a moving Holtby.
Dodge’s tally proved its value when the Bears pulled Holtby and Perrault netted his second marker of the night with two minutes left in the game.
Following the Hershey goal, the Checkers clamped down on defense and Murphy came up big, holding on for the 3-2 win.
The Checkers (2-2) will host Hershey for game 5 at 7 p.m. Friday from Time Warner Cable Arena before heading back to Hershey for games 6 and 7 (if necessary). For ticket information, visit www.GoCheckers.com or call 704-342-4423.