Understatement of the year – this is NOT the start Troy Mann and the Hershey Bears wanted in Game 1 of the second round of the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs. With the 3-1 loss to Providence, Hershey has yet to win a playoff game this season on home ice.
After extended o-zone time, the Bears saw their opponents, the Providence Bruins score three goals in the first, two of them short-handed.
Austin Czamik scored the first midway through the first period. It was his first of the post-season. Then, with Hershey on the power play, the Bruins connected for two goals in a 56-second span to effectively take the wind out of Hershey’s sails. Colby Cave and Jake DeBrusk recorded those goals.
Meanwhile, Hershey had difficulty solving Zane McIntyre. After tallying three goals against McIntyre in the regular season finale April 15 at Giant Center, all 11 shots the Bears took on net in the first were stopped.
Chandler Stephenson, back from his recall to Washington, reentered the lineup, centering Jakub Vrana and Riley Barber. Vrana was a healthy scratch for Games 4 and 5 of the Lehigh Valley series.
Nathan Walker remained at center for Hershey on a line with Christian Thomas and Garrett Mitchell. Hershey scratched Madison Bowey who struggled through Game 5 with a full-face shield before removing it in the 3rd period. But with two defensemen (Gilbert and Williams) injured late in tonight’s game, Bowey most likely will return tomorrow.
With time winding down in the third period, Troy Mann elected to pull Copley with just over 5:00 to go, and the gamble paid off with a goal from Walker.
Christian Djoos found Walker and the Aussie cut the deficit to two goals with the extra attacker.
Pheonix Copley, after struggling out of the gate, seemed to regain his composure through the second period. He stopped 19 of 22 shots on the evening.
Hershey’s misery on the power play continued as the Bears went 0-for-3 after being shutout in the Lehigh Valley series. Hershey’s PK was 2-for-2, but the two short-handed goals the Bruins scored on one power play were devastating.
Game 2 of the series will be at Giant Center tomorrow at 5:00. The series will shift to Providence for games Thursday and Friday. Both of those games are set to start at 7:05. Game 5 will also be in Providence on Sunday, if needed.
Troy Mann press conference:
By Julie Beidler
— Beids (@juliebeidler) May 6, 2017