PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Jamie Tardif scored two goals to pace the Providence Bruins offense in a 3-2 victory over the HERSHEY BEARS on Friday night at Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
The Bruins appeared to take a 1-0 lead inside the first two minutes of play, but after the puck entered the net on a shot from the right corner, the goal was waved off due to incidental contact on Bears goaltender Philipp Grubauer. The special teams battle was the story for the remainder of the period, as Providence killed off two Hershey power plays while the Bears wiped out a short-lived Bruins man advantage.
The offense started to come in the middle period with the Bruins striking first. Grubauer made a nice save on a point-blank one-timer from Jared Knight, but the rebound came to Tardif who roofed the puck under the crossbar at 1:56.
Former Bears forward Graham Mink made it a 2-0 game when he chased down a long lob pass from the Bruins’ defensive blue line by Torey Krug, beat a Bears defenseman and tucked a backhand shot through Grubauer’s pads at 6:47.
Hershey got on the board after the Bruins turned the puck over in the neutral zone and allowed an odd-man rush. Led by Chay Genoway, the Bears carried down the right side. Michael Latta grabbed a pass, skated to the corner and fed the right circle where Garrett Mitchell ripped a one-timer past Niklas Svedberg at 11:13.
Controversy ensued when Dane Byers one-timed a pass from Mitchell over the glove of Svedberg for the tying goal, but after video review, it was determined that the net was off the left mooring before the puck entered.
The Bears would get a clean tying goal on a crash-the-crease play in the third period. After Casey Wellman’s chance was turned aside by Svedberg, Ryan Potulny jammed the puck home through a pile of bodies at the net front at 7:54, to take over the team lead in goal scoring with his 19th of the season.
But just under four minutes later after a highlight-reel rush through center ice by rookie Ryan Spooner, Tardif collected a pass on the right wing and with Grubauer covering down low lifted a shot upstairs for the winner. The Bruins held off the Bears with Grubauer pulled for a sixth attacker in the final 1:04 of regulation.
Grubauer made 24 ssaves on 26 shots but saw his record drop to 12-8-2. Svedberg also made 24 saves and improved to 35-8-2 on the season.
The Bears finished the night 0-for-4 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.
The Bears continue their road trip through New England with a 7:00 PM faceoff against the Manchester Monarchs tomorrow, April 13 at Verizon Wireless Arena. The Bears will play their final home game of the regular season on Sunday, April 21 at 5:00 against the Manchester Monarchs. All fans in attendance will receive a complimentary pass to HERSHEYPARK valid through July 4, 2013. Tickets may be purchased at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR or online at TicketMaster.com.