The Hershey Bears scored three power-play goals and chased Baz Bastien Award winner Niklas Svedberg midway through the second period en route to a 5-2 victory over the Providence Bruins in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series on Friday night.
The Bears take a 1-0 series lead into Game 2 on Sunday afternoon.
Providence, which finished first overall in the AHL during the regular season with 50 wins and 105 points, were victimized by bounces and deflections as Joey Crabb, Casey Wellman and Jon DiSalvatore scored with the man advantage to stake Hershey to a 3-0 lead.
Dmitry Orlov‘s shot from the point at 9:23 of the second period ended the night for Svedberg (19 saves), who had been 13-0-1 in his last 14 decisions on home ice.
Jeff Taffe, who tied for the AHL lead with 53 assists in the regular season, tallied two helpers for the Bears, as did Peter LeBlanc. Michael Latta capped the scoring with an empty-net shorthanded goal.
Jamie Tardif and former Bear Christian Hanson scored for the Bruins, who have lost four straight playoff games to Hershey — all at home — going back to the teams’ meeting in the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals.
Philipp Grubauer stopped 31 of 33 shots in his Calder Cup Playoff debut for the Bears, who had lost three straight Game 1’s entering the series.