May 18, 2017 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Providence Bruins
Hershey, PA - The Providence Bruins defeated the Hershey Bears Wednesday night 4-2 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. The P-Bruins got two goals from Jordan Szwarz and a goal apiece from Wayne Simpson and Jake DeBrusk while Zane McIntyre made his 12th start of the playoffs in net.
The Bears were careless with the puck early in the first, and Providence was able to capitalize by striking first at 6:50. After a turnover kept play in the Bruin's attacking zone, Alex Grant threw a shot from the left point towards Vitek Vanecek. Simpson fought at it in front, creating a scramble for the puck which eventually came lose in the crease. Szwarz backhanded it in for his first goal of the series as the P-Bruins took a 1-0 lead. That lead was short lived, as just 2:06 later Hershey tied things up. Nathan Walker fed Riley Barber entering the zone from the blue line, and Barber flew up the center alone before snapping a wrist shot past McIntyre's glove. His first goal of the postseason sent the teams to the locker room tied 1-1 after 20 minutes.
Providence broke the tie 5:41 into the middle frame, as Jordan Szwarz netted his second of the game and third overall this postseason. Danton Heinen found Simpson at the bottom of the right circle. He backhanded a centering pass to Szwarz who went back door to give the P-Bruins a 2-1 lead. Simpson netted a goal of his own at 12:31, taking the rebound off a shot from Grant and backhanding his third goal of the series in to make it 3-1 Providence. Chandler Stephenson cut the deficit down late in the period as the Bears went tic-tac-toe on the power play, but the P-Bruins entered the second intermission up 3-2.
Providence held a one goal most of the third period and were able to limit any chances Hershey had. The Bears couldn't create many Grade A chances and had to resort to pulling the goalie. DeBrusk sealed the 4-2 win with an empty net goal as Providence became the first team in AHL history to win four elimination games on the road.
McIntyre stopped 15 of 17 shots while Vanecek stopped 23 of 26. Providence was 0-2 on the power play and 2-3 on the penalty kill.
The P-Bruins will now go on to face the Toronto Marlies or Syracuse Crunch in the Eastern Conference Finals which will get underway this weekend. Stay tuned to ProvidenceBruins.com for the full schedule and ticket information.
- - - - - The Providence Bruins are the American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL's Boston Bruins, playing their home games at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, RI. Spanning more than 20 years, the Boston/Providence affiliation is one of the longest and most successful player development partnerships in professional hockey history.
For all the latest Providence Bruins news and updates visit ProvidenceBruins.com or follow the team on Facebook at facebook.com/providencebruins or Twitter at twitter.com/AHLBruins.