PROVIDENCE, RI – Friday night, the Providence Bruins returned home to play the Hershey Bears in one of their toughest tests of the year. Jeremy Smith started in net for Providence opposed by Dan Ellis for the Hershey Bears.
The Bruins were in control off the opening draw, but it did not show on the scoreboard. Hershey struck first off the stick of Chandler Stepson, Chris Bourque and Travis Boyd got the assists on the goal.
Providence would bounce back just four minutes later, when Tommy Cross put a shot through that was tipped by Noel Acciari. The two teams continued to trade chances as the first went on, but both goalies were solid. The Bruins took the lead off an Andrew Cheriwchan goal assisted by Brandon DeFazio and Tommy Cross. The first period ended with the Bruins leading 2-1 and the shots 11 to 5 in favor of the Bruins.
Providence came out from the first intermission and picked up right where they left off, with pressure on the Bears and goaltender Dan Ellis. Seth Griffith roofed a shot from the blue line, to expand Providence’s lead to 3-1. Tommy Cross and Frank Vatrano were given the assists on the goal.
Smith looked great for the Bruins in his Dunkin Donuts Center season debut. On the other side, Ellis was able to batten down the hatches when the defense just wasn’t there for him. As the period was coming to a close Bourque put the Bruins on the power play when he was sent off for slashing. The second period ended with the Bruins leading 3-1 and the shots 17 to 13 in favor of the Bruins.
Early in the third, the Bruins were able to capital on Bourque’s slashing call, as Ben Youds connected on the power play off a nice feed from Brandon Defazio and Seth Griffith. Minutes later, another Bourque slashing call sent the Bruins back on the power play. Frank Vatrano scored on the man advantage, assisted by Matt Irwin and Alexander Khoklachev. With the game winding down Ben Youds went off for the Bruins for delay of game after closing his hand on the puck. The Bears capitalized on that power play on a goal from Scott Gomez assisted by Chris Bourque.
The Bears would get no closer though, and Providence was able to hang on to the 5-2 victory.
Third star Brandon DeFazio, who had two assists in the game. Second star honors went to Seth Griffith, who had a goal and an assist in the Bruins win. First star of the game was Tommy Cross, who had three points (1G, 2A) on the night.
The Providence win brings their record to 23-15-8-2 (56 points) and sit sixth in the Eastern Conference with 28 games left in the regular season.