05/17/2017 – The Providence Bruins defeated the Hershey Bears 4-2 in Game 7 of the Atlantic Division Finals on Wednesday night at the Giant Center. With the victory, Providence advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals, while Hershey’s season came to a close.
The teams traded goals in the opening period. Jordan Szwarz scored his first of two goals for the Bruins, striking at 6:50. A mad scramble in front of the Hershey goal saw the puck pop loose. Szwarz took a shot towards the goal that hit Hershey netminder Vitek Vanecek in the blocker and went into the net to make it 1-0 for the visitors.
Hershey responded at the 8:56 mark. Riley Barber struck for his first goal of the playoffs to even the score. The Bears rushed into the offensive zone, and Nathan Walker found Barber streaking through the slot. The forward snapped a wrist shot past the glove of Providence goaltender Zane McIntyre to make it 1-1.
Like they did the night prior in Game 6, the Bruins used a strong second period to grab the lead back. Szwarz scored again at 5:41, finishing a two-on-one by deflecting a shot past Vanecek’s pad.
Providence then extended the lead to 3-1 at 12:31 on a goal from Wayne Simpson. Defenseman Alex Grant fed Simpson at the top of the crease. Simpson spun a shot towards the goal that beat a screened Vanecek to give the Bruins a two-goal lead.
Hershey responded again at 16:16 as Chandler Stephenson struck on the power play. Hershey executed a perfect passing play, as Christian Djoos found Stephenson camped on the right wing. The forward beat McIntyre for his second goal in as many games to make it 3-2 Providence.
Hershey pressed in the third, but the lone goal came from Jake DeBrusk for Providence. He scored into the empty at 19:01 to seal the victory for the Bruins.
Hershey was outshot 27-17 in the contest. The Bears were 1-for-3 on the power play while the Bruins were 0-for-2.
The Bears finished the 2016-17 season with a 43-23-8-3 record, good for 97 points and third place in the Atlantic Division. Hershey advanced to the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs for a third straight season, and led the AHL in attendance for the 11th straight season.