Bears rally past Bruins with four-goal third period


PROVIDENCE, R.I. … Hershey overcame a 3-0 deficit and scored four third-period goals to stun Providence with a 6-4 win on Friday at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Graham Mink tipped home a shot for the game-winner with 6:02 to play in regulation, as the Bears grabbed a 2-1 series lead.

Alexandre Giroux scored twice for the Bears, registering his team-leading seventh and eighth goals of the playoffs, and Hershey also received tallies from Chris Bourque, Andrew Gordon, and Bryan Helmer. The Bears snapped an eight-game stretch in which they had not scored more than three goals in a contest.

Buoyed by an energetic home crowd of 7,474, the Bruins jumped out to a 3-0 lead by the 3:01 mark of the second period. Zach Hamill tallied his first goal of the playoffs just 1:56 into the tilt, and Jeff Penner followed on the power play at 15:32. Peter Schaefer then scored another power play marker early in the second to make it a three-goal game.

Giroux and Bourque lit the lamp to bring the Bears within 3-2 heading into the third period, but Providence regained a two-goal advantage just 38 seconds into the frame when Penner tallied his second power play goal of the game and the Bruins’ third overall (3-for-4).

Undaunted, Hershey struck for two goals in a little more than a minute to knot the contest. Gordon converted a centering feed from Kyle Wilson at 5:32, and Giroux buried a partial breakaway attempt at the 6:52 mark.

That set the stage for Mink’s game-winner, as the 2006 Calder Cup champion tipped a point shot by Helmer past Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask in front. Helmer then added an insurance marker on the power play with 35 seconds to play, his second goal of the playoffs after totaling two in 63 regular-season contests.

Ex-Bruin Keith Aucoin and defenseman Patrick McNeill posted two assists apiece for the Bears, and goaltender Michal Neuvirth stopped 24 shots in the winning effort.

Providence will look to regroup when it hosts Game 4 of the series on Sunday night. 

Eastern Conference Finals – Series “M” (HER leads series, 2-1)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. A2-Providence Bruins
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Game 1 – Sat., May 16 – Providence 3, HERSHEY 2
Game 2 – Sun., May 17 – HERSHEY 2, Providence 1
Game 3 – Fri., May 22 – Hershey 6, PROVIDENCE 4
Game 4 – Sun., May 24 – Hershey at Providence, 7:05
Game 5 – Mon., May 25 – Hershey at Providence, 4:05
*Game 6 – Wed., May 27 – Providence at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 7 – Thu., May 28 – Providence at Hershey, 7:00