Philipp Grubauer turned in an amazing performance Sunday evening by turning aside 54 shots as the Hershey Bears pushed the top seeded Providence Bruins to the brink of elimination with a 5-4 overtime victory.
With the win, the 8th place Hershey Bears lead the best-of-five series two games to none with the series shifting back to Hershey Saturday.
Ryan Stoa struck first for the Bears in the game as he beat Bruins goaltender Niklas Svedberg for the 1-0 lead. The Bruins would pull themselves even just six minutes later as Graham Mink tallied a goal of his own. However, just five minutes later, Nicolas Deschamps gave the Bears a 2-1 lead on the powerplay with his first of the playoffs. The Bears headed to the dressing room with the lead, but it was the Bruins who dominated play as they outshot the Bears 25-8 in the first in one of the most lopsided periods in playoff history.
The Bruins would start the second period just as they ended the first – strong. Carter Camper tied the game at two just one minute into the period as he beat Grubauer drawing the Bruins even. Garrett Mitchell tallied a goal of his own to restore the Bears lead at 10:33 of the second period, but it was short lived as the Bruins got a goal from Chris Bourque just 21-seconds later to tie the game at 3 after 40 minutes.
Graham Mink would provide Providence with their first lead of the night on the powerplay at 13:18 of the third period courtesy of his second goal of the night.
For the first time on the night, the Bears dominated play, and it come at the right time as Jon DiSalvatore fired just the second shot of the overtime period on net and it found its way past Svedberg for the 5-4 overtime victory.
Niklas Svedberg turned aside 24 of 29 shots in the loss for the Bruins while Philipp Grubauer made 54-saves on the night for the win.
Despite finishing first in the AHL this season with 50 wins and 105 points, the Bruins now find themselves in a hole, trailing 2-0 in the series with a potential elimination game 3 set for Saturday night in Hershey.