HERSHEY, Pa. — After one period, the Capitals (in the AHL affiliate form of the Hershey Bears) led the Providence Bruins 2-0. It looked like they would advance past the second round, coming into the game with a 3-2 lead in the Atlantic Division finals. You’ll never guess what happened next.
In the second period, disaster struck. The baby Bruins scored a mere 37 seconds into the period after Danton Heinen netted a loose puck in front of Vitek Vanecek, who is still standing in for an injured Pheonix Copley. Less than six minutes later, Nathan Walker turned the puck over after a sorta check along the boards, allowing Colton Hargrove to score off a backhand pass from Austin Cznarnik. The game was tied.
“At 2-0, we were feeling pretty good about ourselves,” Bears head coach Troy Mann said. “Next thing you know it’s 2-2.”
“We started not managing the puck,” Mann explained, citing the myriad of Bears turnovers in the frame.
At first, it looked like we were headed for postgame handshakes. Chandler Stephenson opened up the scoring for the Bears, capitalizing on a power play off a pass from Chris Bourque to net his second goal of the 2017 playoffs. Bourque scored his sixth goal of the postseason to give the Bears a 2-0 lead with half a minute remaining in the first period, and the third round was in sight for Hershey.
But the Bruins came roaring back. After tying the game 2-2, Providence’s Chris Porter was able to pick up a wraparound pass from Colby Cave behind the net. In a flash it was 3-2 with a mere 23 seconds left in the middle stanza.
After that, the Bears seemed finished.
“The second period was certainly the turning point of the hockey game,” Mann said.
After the second, the Bears began chasing the game, making risky plays in pursuit of a tying goal. While they had multiple opportunities, they ultimately failed to capitalize and even the score. Late in the third, the Bruins put the dagger in when Austin Czarnik snuck the puck under Vanecek’s arm to give his team a solid two goal lead with just seven minutes remaining in the game.
Now for some fun stuff. I promise.
— AHL (@TheAHL) May 16, 2017
— AHL (@TheAHL) May 16, 2017
Now let’s have a look at some awesome photos from Kyle Mace, superstar photographer and proprietor of Chocolate Hockey. Kyle’s photos tell the story of the game better than my dumb words.
Game Seven is Wednesday night.
Additional writing and reporting by Madeline Dement.
All photos by Kyle Mace/Chocolate Hockey.
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