PROVIDENCE, R.I. – It was another big Atlantic Division clash in the fifth of six games between the Providence Bruins and the Hershey Bears at Dunkin’ Donuts Center, but it ended up being a familiar story as Troy Grosenick put on a goaltending clinic and a goal from former Bears defender Tyler Lewington stood up as the game-winner in a 2-0 final score. Grosenick stopped all 28 shots fired his way, while Zach Fucale suffered the loss with the lone goal allowed on 17 shots faced. The Bruins would add a late empty-net goal with seconds to spare in the final score.
Friday’s result is the latest masterpiece in goal by Grosenick, who has allowed only one goal against in the three visits to the Dunk by the Bears this season.
Hershey’s offense ran dry two days after lighting the lamp five times. They went into Friday’s contest missing forward Mike Sgarbossa, who didn’t make the trip with the team as he is dealing with an upper-body injury. It wasn’t through lack of effort for the Bears that they were kept off the board, taking the lead in shots with double digits in the first two periods and had Grosenick sprawling for saves at least four times in the game, narrowly keeping the puck out of the net and diminishing the Bears’ confidence from Wednesday.
The loss causes the Bears to miss out on moving forward in the Atlantic Division standings race, as the Hartford Wolf Pack suffered a 3-2 setback, while the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins moved back into a playoff spot with a win. The Hartford loss impacts their points percentage a little more than the Hershey loss does because of the differing number of games played, but sets the stage for perhaps the biggest game of the season to date for both teams tonight at XL Center. The winner of that contest will walk away with fourth place in the Atlantic.
Much like Providence, Hartford has also been a house of horrors for Hershey this season, but there’s no better time to step up and earn a crucial win on Saturday night. The Wolf Pack continue to struggle, 3-6-1-0 in their last ten games.
Hershey did not find the poetic 3,000th win they were hoping to find against Providence but look to become one of only a few organizations in hockey to hit the milestone and the first at the AHL level. The Bears need to figure out their struggles away from home, scoring just three goals in their last four total games away from Giant Center and being shut out twice in that span. With only five of their remaining 14 games at home base, winning on the road becomes a massive key for the Bears going forward to push into a playoff spot.
Tonight’s big tilt in Hartford will start at 7:00 PM EST.
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