The Hershey Bears picked up a huge win over the number one seed Providence Bruins Friday night, topping a perennial Calder Cup contender by a 5-2 score. Hershey tallied three power play goals and went 4/4 on the penalty kill to lead them to victory. Bears goalie Philipp Grubauer picked up his first postseason win in the AHL, recording 31 saves on 33 shots.
Hershey scored the game’s first four goals, all coming over the first 29:23 of play. The Bears held a 4-0 lead until 13:56 into the second period, but Providence finally got on the scoresheet.
Forward Joey Crabb got the Bears started in the first period on the power play, assisted by veteran forwards Jeff Taffe and Ryan Potulny. Taffe also assisted on Hershey’s second goal of the contest 4:43 into the second period, also on the power play, as Casey Wellman tallied his first goal of the playoffs.
Jon DiSalvatore (power play) and Dmitry Orlov also registered second period goals to extend Hershey’s lead to a 4-0 advantage, before the Bruins would take aim at a comeback. After the Bears’ fourth goal, Providence pulled AHL goalie of the year Niklas Svedberg who allowed four goals on 23 shots. Net minder Michael Hutchinson came in on relief of Svedberg, registering eleven saves on as many shots in 29:10 of ice time.
Providence winger Jamie Tardif tallied his first goal of the playoffs to pull the Bruins within three heading into the third period, assisted by Jordan Caron and defenseman Garnet Exelby.
Former Hershey Bears forward Christian Hanson brought the Bruins within two goals 3:54 into the third period, also scoring during even strength play like Tardif.
However, Grubauer held strong to preserve the Bears game one victory. Third line center Michael Latta tallied an empty net goal during a late Providence power play, his first goal of the playoffs.
The Bears return to action on Sunday afternoon for game two of the first round, also in Providence.
1. Attendance: 6,541
2. Bears Injuries: Forwards Mike Carman and Jonathon Kalinski
3. Hershey Healthy Scratches: Dane Byers (veteran scratch), Chay Genoway, Patrick McNeill, Joel Rechlicz and Mattias Sjogren
4. Forward Lines:
Joey Crabb-Jeff Taffe-Jon DiSalvatore
Boyd Kane-Ryan Potulny-Casey Wellman
Nicolas Deschamps-Michael Latta-Garrett Mitchell
Ryan Stoa-Peter LeBlanc-Matt Pope
5. Capitals prospects Tom Wilson and Connor Carrick could join the Bears next week on amateur tryout agreements. Both players’ seasons ended Friday night, as the Plymouth Whalers fell to the London Knights in the OHL semi-finals.
1. Dmitry Orlov (one goal, one assist and a plus one)
2. Jon DiSalvatore (one goal and three shots on goal)
3. Jamie Tardif (one goal)