Chris Bourque celebrates his GWOTG against Providence Friday Thursday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in the Atlantic Divison Finals (Kyle Mace / Chocolate Hockey)

Pheonix Copley has been a big story for the Hershey Bears this season. He was brought in at the trade deadline to give the team a chance to win games, and if that wasn’t evident at any point this season, it was on Thursday night. The Bears won Game 3 in Providence behind 39 saves from Copley and two goals from Chris Bourque propelled the Bears to a 2-1 victory over the Bruins in the second overtime in as many games. Hershey leads the series two games to one.

The Bears talked about getting a good start, as Providence hasn’t given up a first-period goal thus far in the series. Unfortunately, that trend wouldn’t be broken on this night as Hershey gave up 12 first period shots after a strong start, and went down 1-0 on a point shot from Chris Casto of the Bruins.

Hershey hung around at times, and Providence would put up 12 shots in each of the three periods of regulation, but Copley came up with some incredible saves to keep the Bruins at bay. After Casto had gone to the box on a hooking minor early in the third, the much-maligned postseason power play of the Bears broke through when Chris Bourque buried a rebound of a Christian Djoos shot to tie the game at one.

The Bears took the game to overtime and to the eventual game winner behind a perfect five for five penalty kill that featured a lot of great shot blocked from the Bears’ defense. Aaron Ness had a sequence in the third where he slid on the ice on two different occasions right outside of Copley’s crease to block some quality opportunities and keep the score tied.

It’d be right after Hershey’s fifth penalty kill that the Bruins were called for tripping, and Bourque would work his magic one more time for the Chocolate and White. After taking a chip pass from Nathan Walker (who finished with two assists) and fired a laser over the shoulder of Zane McIntyre to end the game in sudden death.

“I just shot it as hard as I could to the top corner hoping I could catch him sleeping and I did,” said Bourque. The game was Hershey’s 120th all-time Calder Cup playoff game that went to overtime.

The win puts Hershey up two games to one over the Bruins, with Game 4 coming tomorrow night. Hershey guarantees with this win that they will play at least one more game at Giant Center, whether it be a Game 6 or some other scenario.

Also noteworthy is the loss of Jakub Vrana, who exited the game after the first period with an upper-body injury and did not return. Paul Carey, who was placed on waivers on Thursday, was not eligible to play in game three, but if he clears Friday at noon, should he be assigned to Hershey and available to play in game four.


Chris Bourque ties the game at 1-1

When the puck lands on the back of the net, everybody holds their breath.


Game. Over.

Bourque: I’m gonna celebrate this way!

Also Bourque: Nope, I’m gonna celebrate this way!

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