PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Taking a cue from their ECHL affiliates, the Reading Royals who have won their last two playoff games in overtime, the Hershey Bears decided to perform some overtime magic of their own. The Bears defeated the Providence Bruins 5-4 in overtime thanks to Jon DiSalvitore’s game winner 3:05 into overtime. The power play gives Hershey a 2-0 series lead sending the series back to Hershey with a chance to send the Eastern Conference’s top seeded home early for the summer.
Despite DiSalvitore’s overtime thriller, Bears goaltender Philipp Grubauer, who started the season in Reading, made a whopping 54 saves on 58 shots and was easily the game’s best player despite whoever decides the three stars up in Providence, who selected former Bear Graham Mink as the games top star who had two goals on the night. Hershey put up only 26 shots on goal and was outshot in ever period including having to withstand a 25 shot barrage in the first period.
Despite being dominated on the shot counter, the Bears still managed to came out of the first period with a 2-1 lead thanks to goals by Ryan Stoa and Nicolas Deschamps. Sandwiched in between goals was Mink’s first goal of the playoffs for Providence. Both teams traded goals the rest of the night until Mink put the Bruins ahead with a power play goal 13:18 into the third period. That set up a furious finish when the Bears Joey Crabb scoring with only 1:29 remaining in the game to tie the game at 4-4 sending the game into overtime.
The Bears went 2-4 on the PP while the Bruins went 1-3. The Eastern Conference quarterfinal series won’t start up again until Saturday the 4th of May for Game Three and Sunday the 5th for Game Four. If a five game is needed it will be played in Providence. On Wednesday May 8th.
Contact the author at Brian.Jennings@prohockeynews.com