Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Providence Eliminates Worcester

Providence Reels In Sharks 5-1
May 13, 2009
by T. Chace Jr.

The Providence Bruins eliminated the Worcester Sharks on their own home ice at the DCU Center in Worcester by a 5-1 score. Providence won the best of seven series 4 games to 2. The Bruins will now face the Hershey Bears for the Eastern Conference crown, and a chance to compete for the Calder Cup.

Providence jumped on Worcester in the opening period after the second Worcester penalty of the period was called on Brett Westgarth for tripping. Super pest Brad Marchand scored his 6th playoff goal, off a pass from Vladimir Sobotka and Martin St.Pierre at 4:59 of the period, on their second power play. Peter Schaefer set up Bruin's Jamie Arniel for his first professional goal at 10:05, giving the Bruins a 2-0 lead. Matt Marquardt also assisted on the Arniel's first goal of the playoffs. Worcester responded with better play in the second half of the period but netminder Tuukka Rask was up to the challenge, keeping the score 2-0 after one period.

In the second period, at the 5:32 mark, Kirk MacDonald tipped in a shot for his 3rd goal of the playoffs, with assists to Jeremy Reich and d-man Adam McQuaid to open up the lead to 3-0. Bruin Jordan Knackstedt continued the scoring with his 2nd playoff goal at 13:29, with helpers from Zach Hamill and Levi Nelson for a 4-0 lead. Five seconds later an altercation led to thirty minutes of penalties called on Worcester's Riley Armstrong. Five minutes for boarding, five minutes for spearing, and two game misconducts for each offense gave the Bruins a ten minute power play. Jeremy Reich also squared off with the Shark's Brad Staubitz and each player received majors for fighting. St.Pierre scored his 5th playoff goal on the extended power play at 14:10 with Sobotka and Marchand getting assists. Providence now held a 5-0 lead, which was erased with a shorthanded goal by Andrew Desjardins at 19:48 on a breakaway to bring it to 5-1 heading into the final period.

It was the final period for the Worcester Sharks. Despite playing desperate early in the period and outshooting the Bruins 11-3 at one point, it was not meant to be as Rask stood tall. The Bruins played keep away with the puck for most of the period and held on for the 5-1 victory. Worcester's Desjardins and McLaren were penalized with 1:00 minute remaining for trying to engage the Bruins bench into an altercation. Both were given the gate, as Providence remained disciplined to the end. Shots favored Worcester by a 35-30 margin. Providence struck twice on the power play, Worcester was scoreless on their chances. The three stars were St.Pierre, Marchand, and Rask, who raised his playoff record to 8-3 this season.

Providence faces the Hershey Bears in Pennsyvania on Saturday May 16th and Sunday May 17th before returning home to The Dunkin Donuts Center on Friday May 22nd. This is the fifth time Providence has made it to the Eastern Conference Finals in the last eleven years.

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