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Hershey Bears 2 Providence Bruins 4
Bears Blank Bruins, 3-0

Bears Blank Bruins, 3-0

04/15/2017 - (Hershey, PA- April 15, 2017)-Netminder Vitek Vanecek stopped all 28 shots he faced to lead the Hershey Bears hockey team to a 3-0 victory over the Providence Bruins on Saturday night at the Giant Center. The shutout was Vanecek's fifth of the season, and Hershey closed the regular season with a fifth straight victory. With the win, Hershey leapfrogged Providence in the Atlantic Division standings. The Bears finished third, ensuring a first round playoff matchup versus the rival Lehigh Valley Phantoms. 

For the second straight night, Hershey forward Jakub Vrana opened the scoring. The forward notched his 19th goal of the season at 13:34 of the opening period to give Hershey a 1-0 lead. The Bears struck on the power play on a beautiful passing play. Forward Christian Thomas collected the puck on the left wing boards and centered to teammate Stanislav Galiev. From the slot, Galiev slid a backhand pass across to Vrana, and the Washington first rounder beat an outstretched Providence goaltender Zane McIntyre to pull Hershey ahead. 

In the second period, Hershey notched back-to-back goals in a span of just 1:06. Playing in just his third game of the season, forward Dustin Gazley ended the 2016-17 campaign with a bang. The forward notched his first goal of the year, scoring shorthanded at 4:01. Forward Nathan Walker walked down the left wing and fed Gazley in the slot. With the puck bouncing, Gazley took a shot that fluttered over the glove of McIntrye to make it 2-0. 

At 5:07, Hershey struck again. Defender Mattias Backman collected his first goal as a member of Hershey to make it 3-0. Rookie Hampus Gustafsson drove into the offensive zone and dropped a pass to Backman. The fellow Swede cut down the left wing and snapped a shot over the right shoulder of McIntyre for his fourth goal of the season. 

Vanecek finished the night with 28 saves for Hershey in his first start since Mar. 18. Providence outshot Hershey 28-20. 

Following the game, Hershey named the annual team award winners. The full awards ceremony will be released via a special video on social media on Tuesday, but award winners included: Liam O'Brien (AHL Hershey Man of the Year), Stanislav Galiev (John Travers/Steve Summers Award for Highest Plus/Minus Rating), Paul Carey (Kenny Smith Memorial Player of the Game), Hubert Labrie (Arlene Tighe Award for Bears Unsung Hero), Christian Djoos (Dan Sernoffsky Most Improved Player Award and Milton Garland Memorial Award for Best Defenseman), Colby Williams (Jack Gingrich Award for Rookie of the Year), and Travis Boyd (PNC Team Most Valuable Player). 

The Bears have announced the schedule for the club's first round playoff matchup with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The Bears will open the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs on the road at Lehigh Valley on Friday, Apr. 21. Hershey's first home game will take place with Game 3 on Wednesday, Apr. 26. A full schedule is available on HersheyBears.comTickets for Hershey home games go on sale on Tuesday, April 18 at 10 a.m. Tickets will be available at the Giant Center Box Office, by calling 717-508-BEAR (2327), and online at Ticketmaster.com
 

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