Boyd Sends Bears to Conference Finals

Posted May 15, 2016

The Deke.

In 2011, the Washington Capitals drafted Travis Boyd in the 6th round as he prepared to enter his freshman year at the University of Minnesota. Today, the four-year Golden Gopher sent a shot high on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Casey DeSmith to send the Hershey Bears to the Eastern Conference finals with a 3-2 overtime win.

Last time the Hershey Bears made it to the Conference Finals, they defeated the Manchester Monarchs in 2010 on the path to their most recent Calder Cup win over the Texas Stars. This time, they will await the result of Game 7 in Toronto between the Marlies and Albany Devils.

After getting chased from the crease in Game 6, Justin Peters stood tall in the blue paint with 32 saves on 34 shots. DeSmith made 11 of his 21 saves in the first period.

93 seconds into the game, Dustin Gazley put the home-standing Bears up 1-0. DeSmith couldn’t handle a hard dump in from Erik Burgdoerfer and turned the puck over to Gazley behind the goal line. Gazley got the backhand off before DeSmith could get reset in the crease.

With Burgdoerefer’s assist, all the skaters who dressed for the Bears so far this postseason — excluding goalies — have earned at least one point.

Matthias Plachta shoved a loose puck past Peters to tie the game with Wilkes-Barre on the power play. The point shot from Carter Rowney first came to Dustin Jeffery for a tip, but the puck instead sat underneath Peters. He could not find it between his leg pads, but Plachta did see the puck.

Tom Sestito and Liam O’Brien went after each other again, only the one punch that connected hit Linesman John Grandt as he wanted to break them up. Grandt went off for repairs, but came back in time for the second period.

Despite Wilkes-Barre limiting Hershey to five shots on goal in the second, the Bears came away with the 2-1 lead. After a minute of steady zone time, the Penguins cleared the puck to center for Ryan Stanton to control. He sent in Carter Camper with Riley Barber. Barber set a moving pick on the two defenders while Camper handled DeSmith with five dekes.

Early in the third, Kael Mouillierat retied the game on another puck sitting in the crease. Darren Sprong’s shot pinged off the left post and Madison Bowey could not get to the sitting puck fast enough to prevent the tying marker.

With nine minutes to play in the overtime, it was high time for the product of the US National Team Development Program to emerge as the overtime hero. Behind the net, he faked out Jeffery and moved to the low faceoff circle. From there, DeSmith forgot to take away the top shelf. Reid McNeill’s block attempt stood no chance for the sharpshooter.

In the only two meetings with Albany, the home side took the game in 3-2 shootout decisions both times. Against Toronto, the road team won by wide margins in both instances.