A night after scoring a goal and adding an assist, Jakub Vrana tallied his 19th of the season on the power play to make it 1-0 Hershey. The Bears dispatched of Providence, 3-0, and earned the 3 seed in the Atlantic Division.
Christian Thomas, who returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the past five games, sent the puck to the front of the net where Stan Galiev tipped it along to Vrana who connected from the right side.
In the second period, Dustin Gazley, making just his third appearance this season after suffering an injury back in October, got his first goal of the season early in the second.
With Providence on the power play after Hampus Gustafsson got called for tripping, Nathan Walker and Gazley teamed up to make it 2-0 Hershey. Walker, who was getting pushed down from behind, made a diving effort to push the puck ahead to Gazley.
Then just over a minute later, Mattias Backman recorded his 4th goal of the season with Gustafsson and Thomas assisting. Backman’s shot came from the faceoff circle to the right of McIntyre.
Later in the period, Liam O’Brien delighted the crowd by dropping the gloves with Tyler Randell. O’Brien got an additional 10-minute misconduct that wasn’t popular, and neither was the goal that was waved off early in the period after McIntyre dislodged the net.
Meanwhile, Hershey’s defense helped Vitek Vanecek keep a clean sheet throughout. He stopped all 28 shots he faced.
Hershey’s power play was 1 for 3. The penalty kill was 3 for 3. The three stars were Gazley, Vanecek, and Backman. Game highlights can be found here.
Hershey, by virtue of the victory, earned the 3rd seed in the Atlantic Division. They will face Lehigh Valley in the first round, a best-of-five series. According to the Bears’ website, the playoff dates and times are as listed below.
Game 1 – Friday, Apr. 21 – at Lehigh Valley, PPL Center, 7:05 p.m.
Game 2 – Saturday, Apr. 22 – at Lehigh Valley, PPL Center, 7:05 p.m.
Game 3 – Wednesday, Apr. 26 –vs Lehigh Valley, Giant Center, 7 p.m.
*Game 4 – Saturday, Apr. 29 – vs Lehigh Valley, Giant Center, 7 p.m.
*Game 5 – Sunday, Apr. 30 – at Lehigh Valley, PPL Center, 5:05 p.m.
*If Necessary. All Times Eastern.
Before the game, VP of Hockey Operations, Bryan Helmer, presented a pair of awards from the AHL. The first was to Christian Djoos for being the CCM/AHL Player of the Month for March. The second was to Travis Boyd who was honored as 2nd Team AHL All-Star.
By Julie Beidler
— Beids (@juliebeidler) April 16, 2017