PROVIDENCE, RI – Anytime a team is able to throw 40 pucks on net, that team generally is expected to win. [Enter Pheonix Copley] The Providence Bruins learned the hard way how good Copley can be when he’s on. His 39 saves and Chris Bourque‘s opportune power play goals propelled the Bears to a 2-1 win and series lead in Game three despite being out shot 40-15.
A positive start by Hershey with good pressure proved to be short lived. A defensive zone breakdown left Chris Castro open at the point to fire home the lead goal for Providence. After that goal, the Bruins had every opportunity to run away with this game. They continually hemmed the Bears in their own zone. If not for Copley, it could’ve easily been 4-0 after one.
For the second game in a row, the Hershey power play picked up a giant third period goal. A Casto penalty 54 seconds into the third set the stage for the Bears. Bourque found himself alone and a Nathan Walker rebound bounced right to Bourque and he deposited it into the open cage.
The Bruins pushed back hard and would get three power play opportunities, including one with just over three minutes left in regulation. Time and time again though, they were stymied by Copley. Aaron Ness made two crucial blocks on the final power play to keep the Bruins off the board.
In overtime, the power play woes for Providence continued as they failed to take advantage of a Travis Boyd hooking call. Several chances in tight went for naught because they either missed the net or fanned.
Shortly afterward the Bears got a power play of their own, Bourque picked up the puck in the far circle and fired an innocent looking shot on goal. It eluded Zane McIntyre and the Bears stole game three 2-1 while being outshot 40-15.
A power play unit that came into this series 0-18 has scored twice to force overtime for the second consecutive game. On the flip slide, the Bears penalty kill made it tough for Providence to do anything and forced them to go 0/6. The Hershey penalty kill remains perfect at 11/11 in this series.
Bears forward Jakub Vrana left the game in the second period with an upper body injury. He did not return. Providence forward Sean Kuraly also suffered an upper body injury and will miss game four as a result.
The series continues Friday night back at Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence at 7:05 pm. Hershey now holds a 2-1 series lead.