PROVIDENCE, RI – The Providence Bruins took down the Hershey Bears 3-2 tonight at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Justin Florek,Jordan Caron, and Jamie Tardif scored in the victory, while goaltender Niklas Svedbergmade 23 saves. With the victory the P-Bruins advance to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Hershey jumped out to a fast lead off a Casey Wellman shot that went up and over the shoulder of Svedberg. Dane Byers tossed the puck up to the hash marks from the goal line, and Wellman was there to put it home and give the Bears a 1-0 lead within the first two minutes of regulation. After an intense shift by the Bears, Providence finally stole the puck away and broughtit up the ice. Bobby Robins dished it to Florek, who quickly put it in the back of the net, tying the game at one. The Bears found themselves with a golden chance to gain the lead again, when Jordan Caron went off for hooking, but the P-Bruins stifled them, killing off the minor penalty. Providence had two more chances as well, both on Chay Genoway penalties, but they were unable to convert and the first ended in a 1-1 draw.
The second period got off to a much slower start, with a lot of back and forth action. Neither team was able to generate much offense, but Providence held the edge, outshooting the Bears by at least 10 throughout the entire period. Just past the midpoint of the second, both teams started getting feisty, and the energy finally tilted in the P-Bruins’ favour. With five minutes to go, Carter Camper and Tardif teamed up in front of the Bears’ net and Camper slid the puck to Caron. Caron wasted no time and ripped it top shelf right outside the crease, sending the Dunk into a frenzy and giving Providence a 2-1 advantage. Chris Bourque got called for hooking shortly after, but the P-Bruins killed the penalty and protected their lead, heading into the locker rooms up one on the visiting Bears.
Providence went on the power play early in the third, thanks to a Joey Crabb holding call. They were unable to convert, and Crabb quickly made up for his infraction, grabbing the puck from Peter LeBlanc and tipping it up just below the crossbar to tie the game up once again. The P-Bruins again showed off their surging penalty kill when Kyle MacKinnon got caught with a high stick. The P-Bruins killed it off and minutes later, Tardif scored his third of the playoffs to take the lead back. His goal, putting Providence up 3-2, was assisted by Kevan Miller and Matt Bartkowski.With about a minute and a half to go in regulation, Hershey pulled their goalie in a last-ditch effort to regain control. They were awarded a power play with 30 seconds to go, when MacKinnon got whistled for hooking. Even with the six on four, Hershey was unable to make anything click as Providence went on to the 3-2 victory.
The P-Bruins outshot the Bears 37-26 and each team went 0-for-4 on the power play.