Hershey Bears beat Providence in OT to take 3-2 Atlantic Finals series lead back to Giant Center
Madison Bowey found the back of the net just 1:58 into overtime to lift the Hershey Bears to a 3-2 win over the Providence Bruins and a 3-2 series lead in the best-of-7 Atlantic Division Finals. The Bears took two of three games on the road at Providence’s Dunkin’ Donuts Center to set up two shots at clinching the series this week at Giant Center.
The Bears and Bruins are set to play again Tuesday at 7 p.m. and Wednesday at 7 p.m., if necessary. The winner of the series will take on the winner of the North Division series, which the Syracuse Crunch currently lead, 3-2, over the Toronto Marlies with Game 6 set for Monday in Toronto.
Chris Bourque found Bowey for the assist on Hershey’s go-ahead goal, racking up his third assist of the postseason and 81st career in AHL playoff action. Bourque set an AHL playoff record with his 81st career assist. Bowey took a Bourque pass and buried a shot from the right point for the game-winner, pushing Hershey to the brink of a series win in another back-and-forth affair.
Each of the five games in the Atlantic Division series has been decided by one goal, three of which have gone into overtime. Hershey netminder Vitek Vanecek helped pave the way to victory with 29 saves as Providence rolled up a 31-17 advantage in shots.
Hershey struck first at the 11:12 mark in the first period when Chris Bourque found the back of the net for his fifth goal of the postseason. Bourque tipped a Tyler Lewington shot to break through for the Bears as both Lewington and Aaron Ness were credited with assists on the play.
Providence turned up the heat in the second period and knotted the game at 1-1 on a Tommy Cross goal 3:59 into the period. The Bruins rattled off 13 shots to Hershey’s six but went 0-for-2 on the power play in the frame and gave up a go-ahead goal to Paul Carey at the 8:29 mark. Stanislav Galiev and Travis Boyd picked up helpers on the play.
Providence tied the game up midway through the third on an Austin Czarnik goal off a face-off on the Bears’ end of the ice. He beat Vitek Vanecek with assists from Jake DeBrusk and Noel Acciari for a game-tying goal at the 9:18 mark.
Bowey scored his second goal of the playoffs in the overtime frame to give Hershey a 3-2 lead and two shots at clinching the series.