Hershey’s power play, Travis Boyd lead the Bears to a 3-2 overtime win against Providence in Game 2
Travis Boyd’s offensive game and the Hershey Bears’ power play arrived just in time Sunday night at Giant Center.
Without both, the Providence Bruins would be in command of the best-of-seven Atlantic Division Finals with the series headed to Rhode Island for three games.
Hershey rallied in thrilling fashion in Game 2, forcing overtime on defenseman Christian Djoos’ late power-play goal and then winning it on Boyd’s blast from the slot at 5:44 of overtime.
The series is tied 1-1 with Game 3 set for Thursday at Providence’s Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
The game-winner by Boyd capped a three-point night for the Bears’ forward. He had been held scoreless in Hershey’s first six playoff games.
Boyd assisted on Hershey’s first goal, a slap shot by defenseman Madison Bowey at 5:01 of the second period, and Boyd assisted on Djoos’ power-play goal from the top of the left circle with 2:30 to play, knotting the game 2-2.
Hershey picked up its play in OT and Bears forward Stanislav Galiev gained control of the puck behind Providence goalie Zane McIntyre, zipped a pass to Boyd in the slot and Boyd beat the goalie with a shot between his legs.
Providence forward Wayne Simpson had both of the Bruins’ goals in the second period and Hershey goalie Pheonix Copley made 25 saves.
“Great play by ‘Gal’ (Galiev), behind the net,” Boyd said of his winning goal.
“I was able to find a soft area, a little area in the slot, kind of in-between their ‘D’, (Galiev) made a great pass and I was lucky enough to get it past the goaltender.”
And Boyd said he wasn’t discouraged by his lack of production in the first six games of the playoffs. He led Hershey in scoring during the regular season, collecting 16 goals and 47 assists.
“I had a tough series against Lehigh (Valley),” Boyd said.
“Obviously, didn’t get any points in that one … but I thought I’ve been playing well. Sometimes they just don’t go in.”
“We came out and played a good third period, just like last night,” Boyd added.
“Djoos had a huge goal for us and we were able to capitalize.”
Djoos’ goal was the Bears’ first on the power play in 19 playoff attempts. Compounding the scoring drought was the fact that Hershey allowed a pair of shorthanded goals to Providence in the Bruins’ 3-1 Game 1 triumph Saturday night.
“Take a shot and see what happens,” was how Djoos described his goal. His shot beat McIntyre on the short side over his right shoulder.
Hershey coach Troy Mann said he made some lineup tweaks and had his players focus on getting more traffic in front of McIntyre, one of the AHL’s top goalies. He appeared to be screened on Hershey’s first two goals — once by forward Ryan Bourque and once by forward Nathan Walker.
“I didn’t feel that McIntyre (saw) the tying goal,” Mann said.
So what once was a best-of-seven is really now a best-of-five. The Bears are going to need to win at least one game on the road against Providence. Hershey was 1-2 in three games in Rhode Island during the regular season.
Two things that may be different for Hershey as the series moves out of the Giant Center? The Bears’ power play could finally be hitting his stride. The same goes for Travis Boyd.
“Hopefully, (Game 2) gives the power play some confidence,” Mann said.
“(Boyd) certainly broke out in a great way.”