Sunday, May 24, 2009

Hershey Comes Back Again

Providence Loses in OT 3-2
May 24, 2009
by T. Chace Jr.

Friday night the Providence Bruins grabbed an early 3-0 lead, only to see it evaporate in the third period when Hershey scored four unanswered goals for a 6-4 victory. Sunday night at The Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence was eerily similiar for the Bruins. Staked with a 2-0 lead in the first period, the Bruins could not score again. The Bears scored once in the second and again in the third to force an overtime. Graham Mink scored his second game winner of the series at 15:10 of the first overtime to give the Bears a 3-2 victory and an opportunity to wrap up the series in Providence tomorrow afternoon.

The Bruins came out flying in the first period and got the crowd into it with their first goal at the 5:32 mark. Peter Schaefer's third playoff goal with assists to Mikko Lehtonen and Adam McQuaid got the Bruins on the board for a 1-0 lead. Less than three minutes later on the power play, red hot scoring rookie defenseman Jeff Penner netted his sixth goal of the playoffs and third in two games. Vladimir Sobotka and Brad Marchand assisted on Penner's goal for a commanding 2-0 lead on home ice. Providence played spirited hockey in the first and held the 2-0 lead as they headed into period two.

Hershey began the second period with several power plays, they did not cash in on the first one but Bryan Helmer made sure the Bears got on the board with their second chance. Chris Bourque set up Helmer for his third playoff goal at 7:31 with McQuaid in the box for hooking. Providence's lead was now cut in half at 2-1. Hershey outshot the Bruins 10-6 in the second period and 20-16 in the game.

The Bruins had defensively shut down league MVP Alexandre Giroux and his linemates to this point in the game, but the Bears continued to extend pressure on the young Bruins in the third period. At 13:12, Keith Aucoin scored his third goal with assists to Giroux and Bruin nemesis Graham Mink. The score was now tied at 2-2 with time running out. No penalties were called in the final period and Hershey outshot Providence by an 11-5 margin. Shots were 31-21 in favor of Hershey after three periods of play. Providence and Hershey were both 1 for 3 on their power play opportunities during regulation.

Entering the overtime, Providence carried the play early and almost scored five minutes into the extra session. But once again, Hershey began to outchance the Bruins and had the better scoring opportunities. At 15:10, Mink knocked the puck past Tuukka Rask, for his fifth playoff goal and a 3-2 victory. His second consecutive game winner was assisted by Giroux and Aucoin. Mink was named the number one star, followed by Penner and Helmer. Hershey outshot the Bruins 43-27 and now has a commanding 3-1 series advantage. Game 5 is at "The Dunk" on Monday, Memorial Day, at 4:00 pm. Hershey can wrap up the series and head to the Calder Cup Finals if they can beat the Bruins one more time. It's clear that no lead is sufficient for Providence or any team when they face the very talented, high scoring Hershey Bears.

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