HERSHEY, Pa. – Chris Bourque returned to his former home and tallied three points, goaltender Niklas Svedberg made 30 saves, and the Providence Bruins killed all six power plays faced en route to a 5-1 victory over the HERSHEY BEARS in Game Three of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals in front of 10,076 fans on Saturday night at GIANT Center.
The Bears would cash in first, coming out with a big jump in their step. Michael Latta drove the net to deposit the rebound of a backhand shot by Nicolas Deschamps at 3:44 of the first period, giving Hershey a 1-0 lead.
Providence answered right back on Bourque’s second goal of the playoffs. Defenseman Garnet Exelby made a perfect slap pass onto Bourque’s stick blade, and the puck deflected over the glove of Philipp Grubauer at 8:11.
The Bruins scored the go-ahead goal and the eventual game-winner on a similar play. From the right point, defenseman Kevan Miller took a low slap shot that was ramped into the net by Bobby Robins at 3:06 of the second period. Jamie Tardif then made it a 3-1 game, redirecting a pass from Bourque into the net for a power-play tally at 10:19.
Providence would then face two full minutes of a two-man disadvantage, when Tommy Cross earned four minutes for high-sticking Latta. Matt Bartkowski was then tagged with a crosschecking minor, giving the Bears a glorious chance to get back in the game. But the Bruins penalty kill, and three good saves by Svedberg, kept the Bears from drawing closer.
With a boost from the penalty kill, Providence put the game out of reach, scoring twice in the third period. Bourque’s second of the game came at 4:07, when he drove the net and tipped home a pass from Ryan Spooner. Carter Camper rounded out the scoring when he stole a pass in the slot on a power play opportunity, turned and fired a shot past a screened Grubauer at 8:02.
Svedberg improved to 1-2 , while Grubauer made 22 saves on 27 shots and fell to 2-1. The Bears finished the night 0-for-6 on their power play and 2-for-4 on the penalty kill.
The Bears now lead the best-of-five conference quarterfinal series two games to one. Game Four between the Hershey Bears and Providence Bruins is set for tomorrow, May 5 at 5:00 PM. Tickets are on sale at the GIANT Center box office, by calling 717-508-BEAR, or online at TicketMaster.com.
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