Providence, RI: After a frustrating loss where Providence outchanced Springfield but ultimately lost, Providence returned home on a mission. In the “Pink at the Rink” Sunday matinee, Providence crushed the visiting Bridgeport Sound Tigers in a 6-1 drubbing. Providence ended this week with a 3-5-1 record, as they record a regulation loss and win in another unusual two game weekend.
Game 8: PVD Bruins (2-4-1) @ SPR Thunderbirds (4-0-2)
Nuts and Bolts:
Lightning Strikes, Thunderbirds Roll:
Off the opening faceoff, the Providence Bruins jumped on the puck early and often. Winning puck battles along the boards and forechecking hard, they had doubled up the Thunderbirds on the shot clock midway through the first period. Despite the early surge, Providence allowed the first goal a few ticks after the ten minute mark.
Off a Providence clear, the Thunderbirds scooped the puck and transitioned out of their own zone during a Providence line change. Springfield’s Ludwig Bystrom hit teammate Harry Zolnierczyk with a long, two zone stretch pass. The latter stepped over Providence’s blue line, and sent a cross-ice pass to Thunderbird captain Paul Thompson. As Joel Lowry crashed the net, Thompson sent a pass out to his teammate, and Lowry got enough stick on the pass to redirect it up and over a sliding Zane McIntyre into the Providence net.
After an uneventful first half of the second period, Providence found the tying marker at the 6:45 mark. Toward the end of a long shift, Martin Bakos shoveled the puck to Anton Blidh by the Springfield blue line. Blidh carried the puck into the zone, and fed Bakos who had drifted into the zone behind, and then around Blidh. After carrying the puck behind the net, Bakos made a short pass to Colby Cave in the right faceoff circle. Cave curled around the same path Bakos came, returning the puck to Bakos now in the slot. The latter fired a shot that knuckled along the ice, eventually squeaking by Sam Montembeault.
Providence surrendered the next goal while on the man advantage. Springfield clogged their own blue line, turning the Providence offense away from a clean zone entry. Cody Goloubef doubled back to the Providence blue line, aiming to reset the Providence offense. He snapped a pass up to teammate Jan Kovar by the penalty boxes, but Springfield immediately swarmed Kovar. Thunderbirds penalty killers Jake Horton and Riley Stillman picked the puck off Kovar and broke through the neutral zone. Harry Zolnierczyk joined the rush creating a 3-on-1 with Goloubef the lone defender for Providence. Stillman passed cross ice to Zolnierczyk and the latter snuck it short side, up over the glove of McIntyre.
Providence atoned for this shorthanded goal against by connecting on their next powerplay early in the third period. The same Providence powerplay unit that allowed the go-ahead goal to Springfield tied the game. After cycling the puck around the powerplay umbrella, Cody Goloubef passed to Peter Cehlarik on left wing. Cehlarik took a stride, and lifted a crisp, perfect saucer pass over the stick of a Thunderbird penalty killer. The pass landed square on the blade of Jan Kovar, who tipped the pass into the net glove side on Montembeault.
The Providence Bruins amped the pressure up on Springfield again, but the Thunderbirds had found their rhythm. As the game looked headed to overtime with Providence outshooting Springfield 9-6 entering the final three minutes of play. Riley Stillman raced into the Providence zone after a teammate pressured Providence’s Cam Hughes off the puck. Stillman was about to circle the puck when he tried a centering pass for Paul Thompson out in the slot. Thompson missed, but Matt Mangene out by the Providence blue line settled the puck down and threw it back toward the Providence net. The rebound lay in the crease, where Providence’s Chris Breen failed to clear the loose puck. Springfield’s Harry Zolnierczyk fought off Breen for long enough to handle the puck, and throw a backhand shot by McIntyre’s glove side and pull the Thunderbirds ahead.
Springfield added insult to injury with an empty net goal after a Providence timeout. The game ended in a disappointing 4-2 loss as the Thunderbirds goalie suffocated an energetic Providence offense.
Game 9: PVD Bruins (2-5-1) vs BPT Sound Tigers (4-3-1)
Nuts and Bolts:
Hot Start for Providence Bruins:
With a chip on their shoulders, Providence stormed onto the ice for their Pink in the Rink matinee. The Bruins opened the scoring early with their second powerplay goal in as many nights. With Connor Jones in the Bridgeport box, the Bruins special teams took the ice. After a quick clear by the Sound Tigers’ Mike Sislo, Cody Goloubef recovered the puck behind the Providence Bruins net. He hit Cameron Hughes with a quick outlet pass, and Hughes in turn fed Zach Senyshyn on right-wing. Senyshyn turned on the jets, speeding by the Bridgeport defense. What looked initially like a pass snuck by Bridgeport goalie Chris Gibson five-hole before Senyshyn bowled into him.
Providence bookended the first period with goals, as Trent Frederic scored late. Martin Bakos recovered a long rebound off Chris Gibson’s pads and protected the puck. Eventually a passing lane opened up and Bakos found Johansson by the right point with a crisp feed. Johansson fired a long snapshot wide right of the net, and Anton Blidh recovered the puck for the Providence Bruins. He protected the puck and shoveled it to Trent Frederic on the right-wing half boards. Frederic took a stride and faked a pass, instead shooting far side on Chris Gibson. The shot rang the far goalpost and ricochet into the net. Providence took their 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
Inspired by their start, the Providence Bruins ran up the score in the second period. After an initial scare from a goal later waved off due to a high-stick, Providence stormed down the ice soon after. Off an offensive zone faceoff, Jan Kovar held the puck in, foiling a clearing attempt by the Sound Tigers. Kovar weaved through a small knot of Sound Tigers and hit the stick of Cameron Hughes parked in front of the Bridgeport net for an easy tip-in.
Hughes tallied another less than five minutes later. The Providence Bruins broke into the Sound Tigers end of the ice with numbers. Austin Fyten nearly beat the Bridgeport goaltender with a nifty spinorama backhand, but it drifted wide of the far post. Cam Hughes collected the rebound, and threw it back at the Sound Tigers goal, but it hit the pile of bodies that collected around the net. Colby Cave and Jan Kovar each tried sneaking it through the traffic jam, but the puck stayed out. Finally, Cam Hughes picked up the loose puck in almost the same spot he had a few second prior, and this time picked the top left corner of the net.
Hughes’ second of the night chased Chris Gibson from the Bridgeport net. Former Providence Bruin Jeremy Smith came in relief a few minutes before the middle of the second period. Bridgeport rallied and scored, foiling Dan Vladar’s shutout bid. Seconds later, Cameron Hughes made a huge steal by the Bruins blue line, picking the puck off the Sound Tigers’ Ryan Borque. Hughes charged into the Bridgeport zone on a breakaway, and was hooked by Yannick Rathgeb. Hughes was awarded a penalty shot, and after taking a slow slalom toward the net, whipped a perfect shot glove side on Jeremy Smith.
Providence put up the touchdown off the stick of Zach Senyshyn. Late in the second period, Colby Cave broke two on one with Senyshyn. Cave reached the right faceoff circle and made a tight, 180 degree pivot. As he reached the apex of the pivot, he slid a drifting backhand shot toward the Bridgeport net. The shot slid under the pads of Jeremy Smith, but popped out of the crease before crossing the goal line. Senyshyn, however, stood in exactly the right spot for the popup puck to hit him in the arm, and ricochet back into the net for his second goal of the game.
After a scoreless third period, Providence celebrated a much-needed win in front of their home crowd.
+ Providence’s Hughes and Senyshyn both recorded multi-goal games Sunday. Colby Cave extends his point streak another two games with assists Saturday and Sunday.
+ Hughes added an assist Sunday for a monster four-point afternoon.
+ Providence struck on the powerplay once each night this weekend. Meanwhile, they killed off 9 penalty kills and lead the entire league in PK percentage (93.9%).
+ Dan Vladar has recorded his first win of the season.
+ The Providence Bruins followed up a frustrating loss with a commanding win the following day.
– Providence continues to rack up PIMs with another 9 infractions. Young players need to develop better discipline as time goes on.
– Providence lost a winnable game in Springfield, handing the Thunderbirds the lead with only a couple minutes left in regulation. Providence cannot keep spotting opponents late third-period goals.
– Providence gave up another shorthanded goal against.
– Providence still sits near the bottom of their division and travel to play red-hot Charlotte Checkers next week in a tough matchup.