They took the long road to get there, but Warfield’s Craig Cunningham and the Providence Bruins are off to the second round of the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs after a 3-2 win over the Hershey Bears on Wednesday night.
After losing the first two games of the series on home ice, the Bruins staved off elimination three times to earn a spot in the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, beginning tonight.
Providence is the 10th team in AHL history to win a best-of-five series after trailing 0-2, and the third to do so after dropping the first two at home.
Jamie Tardif scored the winning goal 9:20 into the third period, setting a screen in front of Philipp Grubauer and getting a piece of Kevan Miller’s shot from the point.
Providence held on the rest of the way, including killing off the final 31.4 seconds of the game with the Bears on a 6-on-4 advantage with a power play and their goaltender out for an extra attacker.
Svedberg (3-2) finished with 24 saves, including 10 in the third period, as he earned his third straight win.
Providence and Wilkes-Barre Scranton face off at 7 p.m.
Trail native Joey Baker and the Portland Winterhawks are a win away from attaining what has eluded them in the past two WHL championships.
Brendan Leipsic had a goal and an assist as the Winterhawks edged Montrose’s Luke Bertolucci and the Edmonton Oil Kings 2-1 on Wednesday night to take a 3-1 lead in the WHL final.
Troy Rutkowski had the other goal for Portland, which is battling in the Ed Chynoweth Cup for a third straight year. The Winterhawks were previously bested by the Kootenay Ice and the current defending champion Oil Kings.
“I like the group that we have as far as how balanced they are emotionally,” said Portland head coach and Castlegar native Travis Green. “They’ve never gotten ahead of themselves and I don’t expect them to get ahead of themselves now. It takes four wins to win any series and we’re playing a very good hockey team … it’s the hardest win to get.We’re going to get their best game, and we’re going to have to play better than we have so far.”
Mitch Moroz had the lone goal for Edmonton.
Game 5 goes tonight in Portland.
Todd Robinson and the Allen Americans play Wichita Thunder tonight in Game 6 of the CHL final.
Robinson had a goal and two assitst to lead the Americans to a 5-1 victory in Game 5 Tuesday to give Allen a 3-2 series lead. The Americans can hoist the Ray Miron’s President’s Cup with a victory tonight.
The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. in Wichita.