Providence, RI -- The Providence Bruins were defeated 5-4 in overtime today by the Hershey Bears in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals this afternoon at the Dunkin' Donuts Center. The team put up a season record 58 shots and former Hershey Bears players Graham Mink and Chris Bourque each scored as did Carter Camper. Niklas Svedberg made 24 saves in the loss.
From the opening faceoff, both teams started getting chippy with each other. It only took 23 seconds for Bobby Robins to drop the gloves with Patrick Wellar in the offensive zone. After landing some hard punches on Wellar, Robins got the take down along the half wall. The offensive zone is where Providence spent most of the period with the final tally on shots being 25 to 8 in their favor after 20 minutes of play. Hershey opened the scoring 3:14 into the period with a backhander from Ryan Stoa that beat Svedberg for the early lead. The Bears' captain Boyd Kane took a boarding penalty a few minutes later to give the P-Bruins their first man advantage of the game. Despite their best effort, Jamie Tardif and Carter Camper could only each ring the post with the extra skater. Only five seconds after the penalty expired, former Hershey Bear Graham Mink got possession of the puck and beat Phillipp Grubauer to even the score with under 11 minutes to go. Matt Bartkowski and Camper had assists on the goal. At 13:04, Justin Florek took a high-sticking penalty to put the P-Bruins last ranked penalty kill in the playoffs to the test for the first time in the game. With less than 10 seconds to go, Nicolas Dechamps deflected the puck into the net from the crease to make it 2-1 for the Bears. While both teams continued to jaw at one another as the clocked tick down, neither would score again and they would go to their dressing rooms with the score at 2-1.
It only took 1:09 into the second period for the P-Bruins to tie the game up. A turnover in the neutral zone caused by Jordan Caron allowed him to set up Craig Cunningham rushing into the zone. Cunningham then got the puck to Camper whose shot trickled just over the goal line to make it 2-2. The play continued at a quick pace with no penalties and hard hits. Just past the halfway mark with 9:27 to go, Garrett Mitchell held onto the puck inside the left faceoff circle before shooting it at the net and beating Svedberg blocker side to retake the lead. About 20 seconds after the goal and taking a puck to the face, three time Calder Cup Champion with the Hershey Bears, Chris Bourque took a slap shot from just inside the blue line that hit the back of the net to tie the game yet again. Tardif and David Warsofsky had the assists on the goal. While there would be no more goals from Providence, their dominance in shots carried over from the first period with 16, bringing their total to 41 while the Bears were held to only 10 more shots bringing their total to 17.
Both teams came out hard looking for the deciding goal. Hershey almost had it early on when Mitchell came streaking down the ice on a breakaway but his shot was denied by Svedberg. It was Providence who would get to the fourth goal first. At 13:02, Maichael Latta went off for hooking, giving Providence their third power play opportunity of the game. Camper was set up just to Grubauer's right when he sent a beautiful pass to Mink right in front of the net who tapped it in to give the P-Bruins their first lead of the game with 5:42 to go. Tommy Cross had the secondary assist on the goal. With only a minute and a half to go, Hershey had an extra skater with the goalie pulled to help set up Joey Crabb to beat Svedberg to again tie the game. Despite another dominant period of shots with Providence outshooting Hershey, 17 to 10. At the end of regulation, shots totalled 58 to 27 in favor of the P-Bruins which surpassed their season high of 52 from December 2nd against the Worcester Sharks.
Overtime started with Providence quickly down by a skater. Just over a minute into overtime, Garnet Exelby took a high sticking penalty to give the Bears a power play chance in over time. With only 13 seconds left in his penalty, Jon DiSalvatore beat Svedberg for the overtime winner and a final score of 5-4. Despite the high number of shots throughout the game, Providence did not get any shots in overtime while Hershey got two. The final shots was 58 to 29 in favor of Providence.