After taking both games 1 and 2 on the Phantoms’ ice, the Bears were unable to close the series out at home as Lehigh Valley forced a Game 5 at PPL Center Sunday. Hoping to avoid a repeat of 2013 when the Bears took a 2-0 lead in Providence only to lose the series, Hershey got off to a great start in the first period, then held on down the stretch for a 3-2 victory.
Stan Galiev tallied his third goal of the playoffs just 5:32 into the game. The goal came just after Hershey’s first power play had expired. Tom Gilbert and Chandler Stephenson assisted.
Gilbert would earn a second assist just under six minutes later when Christian Thomas, who made his first playoff appearance of the season a night ago at Giant Center, deflected the puck into the net to score his first of the postseason. Christian Djoos also earned an assist.
Early in the second period, Madison Bowey took the first of two costly penalties. The first, a tripping penalty, came just 1:10 into the second period. That penalty resulted in a Lehigh Valley goal just 90 seconds later.
Then Bowey, who was still wearing the full-face shield until the 3rd period, took a delay of game penalty. On that PK, Hershey captain, Garrett Mitchell blocked a shot and had a great deal of difficulty getting off of the ice.
Mitchell was able to return to the game a short time later, which was a good sign. The Phantoms out-shot the Bears that period though, 12-8, including a last-minute flurry.
The Bears had a 5-on-3 opportunity near the midway point of the third period, but they were unable to connect, giving the Phantoms the momentum, but Colby Williams ended that with his first goal of the post-season.
Nathan Walker worked in the corner, secured the puck, and found Williams wide-open on the back-side of the play to give Hershey a 3-1 lead.
The Phantoms tried to rally late and got a goal back with 7:10 to play when Bowey made an unforced error and turned the puck over. That led to a second Lehigh Valley goal.
Hershey’s PP was 0-for-3. The PK was 1-for-2. Despite the two goals allowed, Pheonix Copley was huge in net for the Bears, stopping 28 of 30 shots.
Hershey will host Providence in the next round for Games 1 and 2. Providence dispatched of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins after Zane McIntyre stopped 50 shots.
By Julie Beidler
— Beids (@juliebeidler) April 29, 2017