Saturday, December 7, 2013

Manchester Monarchs at Providence Bruins

December 6, 2013
Dunkin Donuts Center
Providence, RI

Photographs by Thomas Chace Jr.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Providence Gets First Win on Home Ice

Bruins Beat Undefeated Springfield in Shootout
Warsofsky With Game Winner
October 25, 2013

Providence Bruins Press Release

Providence, RI-- The Providence Bruins defeated the Springfield Falcons 4-3 in a shootout Friday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts CenterNick Johnson scored twice and Justin Florek added a goal in regulation, while Ryan Spooner and David Warsofsky tallied goals in the shootout.  Niklas Svedberg recorded 36 saves.

After a scoreless opening period where both teams had many scoring chances, the P-Bruins took a 1-0 lead 4:29 into the second when defensemen Zach Trotman took a hard shot from center ice which tipped off Johnson and into the net.  For Johnson it was his third goal of the season and Carter Camper got the second assist.  Springfield bounced back quickly at the 8:10 mark when a rush up the ice led to a crowd of players in front of the net, which helped Falcons forward Sean Collins flip the puck into the net for his first goal of the season.  Jake Hansen and Patrick McNeill recorded the assists.  Springfield took its first lead of the night, while on the power play at the 10:23 mark.  Defensemen Jean-Francois Jacques scored a power play goal, his first goal of the season, with Collins and Darryl Boyce getting the assists.  The Falcons led 2-1 going into the second intermission.

Bobby Robins returned to action for Providence after missing the first six games of the season and recorded his first point of the season with an assist on the P-Bruins goal at the 15:56 mark of the third period.  He fed a long pass from Warsofsky to the front of the net where Florek flipped it into the net. The scoring was not over when Collins tallied his second goal of the night to put the Falcons up 3-2 at the 17:34 mark.  St. Denis and Hansen picked up the assists.  The P-Bruins would again match their rival when Johnson scored his second goal of the game off a shot from the point by Joe Morrow at the 18:27 mark.  Camper had the second assist as the game went into overtime tied at three.

After a scoreless overtime the game went into a shootout.  In the shootout, Spooner scored in the first round to give the P-Bruins a 1-0 lead.  Springfield answered back in round four with a goal from Jonathan Marchessault to tie the shootout at one.  Providence grabbed the victory when Warsofsky scored in the sixth round to give the P-Bruins the 4-3 victory. 

Svedberg stopped 36 of 39 shots for the P-Bruins, while Jeremy Smith made 32 saves for the Falcons.  Providence was 0-for-4 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Providence Team Has a Lot to Learn

Young Squad Needs Time
October 16, 2013
Thomas Chace Jr.
With just four games played and a couple of wins it’s no time for Providence Bruins fans to cast too much judgment on this year’s team.  The one home game they played on Friday October 11th did not end well, as the B’s gave away a two goal lead and were beaten in a shootout by the Manchester Monarchs.  The season is long and there are many young players on the roster that will be learning along the way about the professional style of play in the AHL.

The current roster for Providence includes just seven players that were born in the 1980’s.  Defenseman, Mike Moore, will be 29 years old in December and is the elder statesman of the group.  Injured forward, Bobby Robins is 31 years old, but is recuperating from a knee injury suffered in an exhibition game vs. the Washington Capitals in September and as of yet has no return date.

One of Boston’s last assignments to Providence after training camp was 27 year old Nick Johnson, who has picked up where he left off in Boston, tallying 3 goals and an assist in their four contests so far.  No one else on the team was born before 1985.

Most of the team is 23 years old or younger and will have to learn to adjust to the AHL’s weekend heavy series of games and what to do on their own, during the week when meetings and practices conclude.  It’s an adjustment for anyone in that age group, but to play a professional game with men takes some getting used to.

The Boston Bruins philosophy of how to play the game filters through all their levels of play in the minor leagues.  Many times during the season a player from Providence seemingly fits seamlessly into the Boston line-up while filling in for an injury or as a reward for solid two-way play in Providence. 

The biggest job asked of the Providence Bruins is to develop players for the big club in Boston and hopefully win along the way.  Last year that happened in big fashion.  Providence finished with a flurry and got to the Conference Semi-finals against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins where they took a 3-0 lead in their best of seven series.  However, after Game 2, both defensemen, Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug, were now summoned to Boston for their playoff run.  Leaving Providence with no blue line scoring and facing a hot goalie, the P-Bruins caved and eventually lost in seven games to the Pens.  The team lost and it was heartbreaking but the big picture showed Providence coaches and staff getting it done in preparing the players for Boston. Bartkowski and Krug are both integral parts of the Boston defensive corps today.

Ryan Spooner, due to his position at center was a tough cut for the Boston club.  He played well enough on offense but needs to work better along the wall and be stronger on his stick.  Battling for a job with Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Chris Kelly and Greg Campbell was a no win situation for Spooner.  His future is bright because he is such a great skater.  Forwards, Nick Johnson, Matt Lindblad, and Craig Cunningham battled to the end of Boston’s camp and should excel in Providence.

On the defensive side, Zach Trotman, Tommy Cross, Joe Morrow, Kevan Miller, Chris Casto, Mike Moore, and David Warsofsky anchor a strong defense.  Warsofsky was expected to improve to the point that he would get the recall to Boston last year but he watched Krug skate past him into the Boston line-up.  Mike Moore, a Princeton graduate, is the veteran as mentioned earlier, who is a solid d-man and unafraid to drop the gloves when needed.  Miller was essentially the 8th defenseman in Boston’s camp and plays a style like Adam McQuaid.  He played over 60 games last year for Providence and along with the other Providence defensemen has good size and understands the Bruins systems.

Jared Knight was injured most of last year but is in great shape this season and it shows already.  Knight, a left wing, has already scored two goals and is playing a solid game thus far.  Younger players like Russian Alexander Khokhlachev, rookies Seth Griffith, Alexander Fallstrom, Anthony Camara, and Justin Florek are expected to improve on last year or gain knowledge this year to give them a chance down the road to see NHL action.

Carter Camper, Rob Flick, Matt Fraser and enforcers Bobby Robins and Tyler Randell round out a very young club in Providence which is ultimately backed up by two stalwart goaltenders in Niklas Svedberg and rookie Malcolm Subban.  Thus far Svedberg has played in three of the four games and playing time as always in Providence is based on how the week goes in regards to practice, preparation, and attitude.

Scoring looks like it should be balanced among several lines; the defense appears to be pretty solid but lacks the offensive creativity Bartkowski and Krug provided.  Warsofsky and others need to step up their games in that regard.  Toughness is covered by Moore, Randell, Flick, and Robins.  The Providence Bruins are capable of playing several styles of hockey but they all involve a work ethic and a philosophy developed by the Boston brass and carried out by Head Coach Bruce Cassidy and Asst. Coach Kevin Dean.

Make no mistake; these young guys have much to learn about professional hockey and playing against grown men but the blueprint is written.  Keep learning, take direction, and follow instructions and you’ll get a chance like Krug and all those before him, who got to wear the spoked “B”.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Providence Wins First Game of Season

Johnson Scores In OT, Svedberg 40 Saves
October 4, 2013

Providence Press Release:

The Providence Bruins won their season opener 4-3 in overtime over the St. John’s IceCaps Friday evening at the Mile One Centre.  The P-Bruins got a goal from Matt Fraser and Jared Knight and two goals, including the game-winner in overtime from Nick Johnson. Niklas Svedberg made 40 saves in the winning effort.The IceCaps came out strong in the first period, outshooting Providence early, but it was the P-Bruins taking the 1-0 lead at the 14:28 mark of the opening period.  Fraser scored off his backhand, his first goal of the season, while Johnson and Ryan Spooner recorded the assists.  The P-Bruins led 1-0 going into the first intermission.

The P-Bruins doubled their lead at the 13:13 mark of the second period.  Johnson tallied his first goal of the game and of the season with help from a behind the back pass from Spooner.  Fraser picked up the second assist.  Providence led 2-0 going into the second intermission. 

St. John’s got on the board at the 9:18 mark of the third period.  Adam Lowry scored his first goal of the season, while Patrice Cormier and Jordan Hill had the assists.  Providence retook their two-goal advantage at the 12:47 mark, when Knight notched his first goal of the season, with Alexander Khokhlachev grabbing the lone assist.  The IceCaps battled back with two goals in less than a minute.  At the 18:11 mark, J.C. Lipon tallied his first goal of the season, while Brenden Kichton and Jason Jaffray had the assists.  It was Eric O’Dell tying the game at three at the 19:03 mark, his first goal of the season.  Kael Mouillierat and Jerome Samson picked up the assists on the goal.  The game went into overtime tied at three.

At the 2:04 mark of overtime, Johnson’s second goal of the game gave the P-Bruins the victory as he skated in on a breakaway and beat St. John’s net minder Eddie Pasquale on the backhand.  Khokhlachev recorded his second assist of the night and the lone assist on the game winning goal.  Providence went onto the 4-3 victory.

Svedberg stopped 40 of 43 shots he faced for the P-Bruins, while Pasquale made 26 saves for the IceCaps.  The P-Bruins were 1-for-2 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill.

Providence Roster - Game 1 - October 4, 2013

Solid Roster for Providence
Strong From Goaltender Out
October 4, 2013

The Providence Bruins roster consists of a majority of young talented players.  Bobby Robins and Mike Moore are the eldest statesmen of the team.  The majority are 23 and under if you can believe that. The talent across the board is improving every season. Robins injury keeps him off this list but he is on the team.

The Providence Roster:

Alexander Fallstrom (RW)
Alexander Khokhlachev (C)
Anthony Camara (LW)
Ben Youds (D)
Carter Camper (C)
Chris Casto (D)
Craig Cunningham (LW)
David Warsofsky (D)
Jared Knight (LW)
Joe Morrow (D)
Justin Florek (LW)
Kevan Miller (D)
Malcolm Subban (G)
Matt Fraser (LW)
Matt Lindblad (LW)
Mike Moore (D)
Nick Johnson (RW)
Niklas Svedberg (G)
Rob Flick (C)
Ryan Spooner (C)
Seth Griffith (RW)
Tommy Cross (D)
Tyler Randell (RW)
Zach Trotman (D)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Providence Bruins - 2013-14 Schedule

2013-14 Season Schedule
Home Opener Set For October 11th

The Providence Bruins, entering their 22nd season in the American Hockey League, today announced their schedule for the 2013-14 season. The P-Bruins will play a 76 game schedule led by head coach Bruce Cassidy and assistant coach Kevin Dean. Opening Night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center will be on Friday, October 11 at 7:05 p.m., hosting Eastern Conference rival, the Manchester Monarchs. The P-Bruins begin the season on the road Friday, October 4 in St. John’s, Newfoundland.  

The P-Bruins' 38-home game schedule features all weekend dates, including 21 Friday night games and 17 Sunday afternoon contests. All Friday night games will be played at 7:05 p.m., while all Sunday games will begin at 3:05 p.m., with the exception of Sunday, March 9 which will begin at 4:05 p.m. 
Providence will compete in the fifteen-team Eastern Conference and will face all but one Eastern Conference rival.  The P-Bruins will face-off with the Monarchs and Worcester Sharks 12 times apiece and the Springfield Falcons 10 times. 
The Black and Gold will also play the St. John’s IceCaps and Portland Pirates eight times each, Hartford Wolf Pack six times, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Norfolk Admirals four times each and Syracuse Crunch, Adirondack Phantoms, Albany Devils and Hershey Bears two times each. 
Providence will see the most ice time in January and March, each with 13 contests scheduled. The club will play a season high eight home games in January, while hitting the road a high of eight times in December. 
The P-Bruins' longest home stand is four games, which occurs from November 10 through November 22. The longest road stretch of the year is five games, which happens twice, once from December 21 through December 31 and once from January 31 through February 8. 
The Providence Bruins will also be hosting a special Dunkin’ Donuts Pre-Season Game& FanFest at The Dunkin' Donuts Center on Saturday, September 28 at 3:05pm against the Sharks.  The Dunkin’ Donuts Pre-Season Game & FanFest is a celebration of P-Bruins hockey and will be the first chance for fans to see members of the 2013-14 Providence Bruins skate together as a team.  Festivities for the evening will include fan interactive games and access, along with kids and family activities.

The Providence Bruins, established in 1992, are the top affiliate of the 2011 Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins. The Providence Bruins have enjoyed much success over their history. The team won the American Hockey League's Calder Cup championship in 1999 and boasts 10 former players on the 2011 Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins. In addition to accomplishments on the ice, the Providence Bruins were third-best in attendance in the AHL in 2012-13 and are the best-attended minor-league hockey team in New England.

Schedule is here:

For more information on P-Bruins Season Ticket or FlexTix packages visit or call the Providence Bruins Ticket Office at 401-273-5000.

For all the latest Providence Bruins news and updates, become a fan of the P-Bruins on Facebook at or follow the club on Twitter at

*Information gathered from

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Stadium Journey - Dunkin Donuts Center Review

Stadium Journey Reviews the Dunk
June 11, 2013

The folks over at Stadium recently visited the home of the Providence Bruins and asked me to share their review of the Dunkin Donuts Center.
They seemed to like "The Dunk".

Here's their link, check it out:

Bruins Headed Back to Work

The Boston Bruins Get Back to Work on Wednesday
June 10, 2013
Thomas Chace Jr.

The Chicago Blackhawks dramatic win on Saturday night to wrap up their Western Conference Final should be considered a good break for the Boston Bruins.  Not having to wait too long to play again should benefit the Bruins as they are on such a roll right now.  A Los Angeles win would have pushed Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals to Saturday instead of Wednesday, much too long of a layoff for the NHL’s hottest team.

Several key items have shown up in my review of the upcoming series between the two storied franchises.  This will be the first Original Six Stanley Cup Final since I graduated Bishop Hendricken High School in 1979.  The dreaded Montreal Canadiens disposed of the New York Rangers in 5 games to secure their fourth straight Cup win that year.

The Bruins and Blackhawks have met just seven times in the playoffs.  Their last meeting in 1978 was a four game Bruins sweep in the first round.  The teams did not face each other this season due to the lock-out by the owners.  They have never faced each other in the Stanley Cup Finals.  This will be the Bruins 19th appearance in the Finals and for the Hawks it will be their 12th opportunity.  The Bruins have won six Stanley Cups to four for the Blackhawks.  Both teams have won recently, Chicago in 2010 followed by the Bruins in 2011.

Chicago is the favorite coming into the series. The Hawks won the President’s Trophy as the NHL’s best team in the regular season, finishing 15 points ahead of Boston.  Boston loves the underdog scenario as proven against the much heralded Vancouver Canucks while winning the Cup in 2011, and most recently disposing of the favored Pittsburgh Penguins in a shocking sweep.

Comparing some critical numbers between the two teams is very interesting.  The Bruins power-play, which is a real sore spot within the organization and its fans, is sitting at 15.6% in the playoffs.  In the four game sweep over the Penguins the Bruins failed to score on 13 opportunities.   The Bruins fared a little better in their 5-game series with the New York Rangers converting on 4 of 12 chances.

The Blackhawks power-play is worst, believe it or not, converting man advantage chances just 13.7% of the time.  The Bruins and Hawks combined power-play went 1/27 in their Conference winning series against the Penguins and Kings, respectively. 

On the penalty killing side of things, the Bruins just held the top scoring team in the league to just two goals in the series, and no goals on the power-play.  Overall, their percentage suffers from their opening round series with the Toronto Maple Leafs, in which they allowed five power-play goals by the Leafs.  The Rangers managed to punch in two power-play tallies in the 2nd Round.

The Blackhawks penalty killing has been at an elite level throughout this season’s playoffs.  The Hawks have allowed a measly three goals through 17 games played.  The Kings managed to get two goals, and the Detroit Red Wings were stymied by the Hawks, converting on just one power-play goal in their 7 game series.  Their penalty killing percentage is an astounding 94.8%.

Boston has averaged 3.12 goals per game this playoff season compared to the Blackhawks at 2.76.  However, against the Kings, the Hawks averaged about 3.6 goals per game.  The Bruins scored 12 goals against Pittsburgh, including a 6-1 blowout in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.  Overall, the Bruins have outscored the Hawks 50-47 during the playoffs despite playing one less game.

Tuukka Rask allowed just two goals against the highly offensive Penguins and is on fire right now.  The Bruins are allowing just 1.88 goals on average, but as stated, Rask is playing the best hockey of his life right now.  On the other side, Corey Crawford allowed 11 goals against the Kings and his play would seem to be the biggest question mark for the Hawks heading into the Finals.  The difference that he can make against the Bruins, where so much is more or less even on both sides, should be compelling.

Rask currently leads all postseason netminders in save percentage (.943) and is second in goals against average (1.75).

A lot is made of face-offs nowadays and the Bruins are the best in the NHL in that category.  Winning face-offs generally leads to possession, which leads to scoring chances. The Hawks win about 47% of their draws compared to the dominant Bruins at over 56%. 

David Krejci and Nathan Horton lead all skaters in scoring during the playoffs.  Krejci, who led the league in playoff scoring when the Bruins won the Cup in 2011, has 21 points.  His league leading 9 goals is one more than Chicago’s Patrick Sharp and Bryan Bickell.  Krejci also leads in assists with 12, for a total of 21 points.  Horton, now a proven playoff scorer has 17 points, including 7 goals for Boston.  Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron, and Zdeno Chara also have at least 11 points.  Boston top scorers have amassed 86 points this playoff season, 20 more than Chicago. 

Sharp, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, Bickell, and Duncan Keith all are listed in the top 25 scorers this postseason.  Sharp, with his 8 goals and 6 assists is tied with Hossa and Kane for 14 points each.  The surprising Bickell is a legitimate scorer this playoff season and along with defenseman Duncan Keith round out the scoring threats.

The Bruins own the top four spots in the NHL plus/minus rating this postseason.  Nathan Horton’s +21, Krejci’s +14, Lucic’s +13, and Chara’s +12 are far and away better than any Chicago player. 

The backline of Chicago is being recognized for their puck moving abilities and rightfully so, but it is Boston’s defensemen who are putting pucks in the net.  The Bruins, Johnny Boychuk, ranks second among NHL defenseman in scoring with five goals.  22 year-old rookie Torey Krug ranks third with four goals for the Bruins.  Chara ranks third overall among all NHL defenseman this postseason.

The Bruins and Blackhawks have faced each other eight times in the regular season since 2004.  Boston has won six times, including their last two meetings.  Boston has won five of its previous six playoff series against the Blackhawks.  The Hawks lone victory was a three game preliminary round win in 1975.

The Blackhawks do have the home ice advantage and they have a 9-1 record in this year’s postseason play.  The Hawks have won on home ice 27 of 34 contests at the United Center this regular and playoff season combined.  No denying they play better on Chicago home ice.  

Should the series go to a Game 7, the Hawks are 5-2 in Game 7’s.  Boston on the other hand is just 1-4 on the road for Game 7’s.  However, that one win was in 2011 in Vancouver to clinch the Stanley Cup.  The Bruins are 5-2 away from their home ice at TD Garden in Bean Town.  The last time Boston didn’t get a point in a game at Chicago was on March 29, 2003.

Rask has appeared in only one game for Boston against Chicago and allowed one goal.  Crawford has faced Boston twice and is 0-1-1 with a 2.40 GAA in his two chances against the Bruins.

Andrew Ference and Chara are the only Bruins to play more than 10 games in their career against the Hawks.  On the other side, Marian Hossa has 16 goals and 38 points against Boston in his career in 45 games played.  Defenseman Johnny Oduya (21 games), and Michal Rozsival (34 games) are the other Hawk regulars who have played more than 14 games against the Bruins. 

This could be a memorable old school affair but the Bruins look so good since being down 4-1 against Toronto in the opening round of the postseason.  They are the best team right now and their force and will is unmatched in my opinion, by any team.  The layers of defense and a commitment to each other should get the underdog Bruins another Cup celebration.  Soon to be free agent, Tuukka Rask, will be the difference again for the Big Bad Bruins.

Game 1 is Wednesday at the United Center in Chicago at 8 p.m.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Finish Line: Providence Bruins on the Brink

The Finish Line
Bruins Need to Convert Chances
May 22, 2013
Thomas R. Chace Jr.

On January 7, 2013 I wrote an article titled “Not Finishing, Proving Costly to Providence”.   As Game 7 of the AHL Eastern Conference Semi-Finals approaches tonight I am drawn back to that portion of the season, in which the Bruins would have chances but couldn’t score.

Providence Head Coach Bruce Cassidy would exclaim after a tough January loss, “We’ve had trouble finishing all year, that’s nothing new”.

Fast forward to tonight and the final hockey game for one of these fine AHL clubs.  The Providence Bruins dominated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on home ice at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Monday night in Game 6.  WBS won the game in overtime getting more shots in OT than they did in the whole 3rd period.  The Penguins didn’t have a shot on net in the 3rd period until the 11:00 mark.  The star of the game was  Penguins goaltender, Brad Thiessen, who made 46 saves to steal the victory and force a final showdown tonight. 

Thiessen,  entered the series following the 1st period of Game 2 back on May 11th and has allowed a total of 4 goals in 4.67 games.  The back-up netminder, replaced arguably the league’s best goaltender, Jeff Zatkoff, after he allowed 12 goals in 1.23 games played.  Providence blew out WBS 8-5 and 4-2 to take a 2-0 series lead after two home games.  The Bruins took a commanding 3-0 series lead by winning in OT on a Carter Camper goal on Wednesday May 15th, a 2-1 OT win WBS.  Thiessen has since shut the door on the Bruins.

Before arriving in Providence, according to winger Steve MacIntyre,  the team watched the 2004 Red Sox DVD , featuring one of the greatest comebacks in sports history.  The Red Sox, were of course, down 3 games to none  against the Yankees, yet won the series in dramatic fashion.  The Penguins are riding that  great wave right now and they feel it is within their reach.

Thiessen has faced 109 shots in the last three games and allowed just 2 goals.  Following 3-1 and 4-0 losses to the Pens in WBS, the Bruins hoped to end the series at home.  Despite outplaying and outshooting the Pens 47-18, the Bruins now face an even more formidable foe. 

After the Game 6 loss,  when asked if Thiessen was in the Bruins heads, Cassidy replied,  “It might have been before the game, to be honest, the guy’s played pretty well.  By the same token, we’re missing open nets.  At some point you ‘ve got to put the puck in the net.  You gotta finish, you gotta finish goals.  We have got to finish better, plain and simple”. 

How do you beat Thiessen at this point?  “Up high, we’ve got to get some rebounds up high.  For some reason we’re not elevating the puck right now.  It’s easy from the bench”, Cassidy explained. 

“Now we have to finish, it’s up to us, if we do, we move on, if we don’t…….”  - HC Bruce Cassidy.

This Providence team has done it the hard way all season and heading into a Game 7 with a Penguins squad  that is very similar to them should not be too surprising.  Can the Bruins finish their scoring chances like they did after January or will they be just finished?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Graham Mink is Suspended

Mink Suspended as Expected
May 20, 2013
Thomas R. Chace Jr.

The AHL has suspended RW Graham Mink of the Providence Bruins for 2 games for his actions in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semi Finals.

Mink was given a match penalty for intent to injure after pummeling goaltender Brad Thiessen in a huge scrum in the WBS crease in the 3rd period of Saturday nights game in PA.

Providence Bruins - Review of Series vs. WBS Penguins

Providence Bruins vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins  - Series Review
May 20, 2013
Thomas R. Chace Jr.

The Eastern Conference Semi-Final match between two of the elite organizations in hockey has been unusual yet also what was expected.  It took a couple of games for the teams to get back to playing their similar styles of good defense coinciding with exceptioinal goaltending. 

Game 1:
The series has a 2-3-2 format, so Providence opened the series at home before a smaller than accustomed loyal crowd of about 3000 on Friday night May 10th.  Providence as expected had a better offense,  but they simply overwhelmed WBS goaltender Jeff Zatkoff.

Zatkoff, was the AHL leader in GAA at 1.93 and had a save% of .920.  Zatkoff gave up 8 goals on 27 Providence shots.

WBS scored first on a penalty shot by Chad Kolarik, who beat Providence goalie Niklas Svedberg with a nice wrist shot at 9:31 of the first period.  Much of the period was spent in the WBS end of the ice as evidenced by the shots on goal that favored the Bruins 17-6.  Ryan Spooner finally beat Zatkoff with just 1:06 left in the period to knot it at 1-1.  It was Spooner’s 1st career playoff goal.  The first period sort of played out  like the first round in a boxing match, each team measuring up the other.

The second period went scoreless until the 5:09 mark,  when Jordan Caron scored his 2nd goal of the playoffs and gave the Bruins their first lead of the game.  However, just 1:14 later, the Penguins tied it up on a Brian Gibbons goal, his 2nd of the playoffs as well.  Kyle MacKinnon responded almost immediately with his 1st goal of the playoffs just 46 seconds later. This was soon followed by another Bruin goal by Jamie Tardif, his 4th, at 8:34. Carter Camper (6th) made it 5-2 with a PP goal at the 10:24 mark.  The teams and game then got a little rougher as the feeling out process was over and the Penguins were down by three goals on the road.  The Bruins, Bobby Robins, went off for roughing which resulted in a WBS PP goal by Paul Thompson to close the gap at 5-3.  Thompson would join Bruin Chris Bourque moments later in the penalty box for matching unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. 

A little over 5 minutes in to the third period, Providence added to their lead on a goal by Craig Cunningham, his second, getting the three goal cushion back at 6-3.  At  13:46, several fights  went down including Alex Grant of the Penguins and Bobby Robins, in which Robins would get instigating, slashing, and misconduct penalties as well.  The Bruins Garnet Exelby would clash with Joey Mormina before being sent to their locker rooms.  This seemed to fire up the Penguins who scored twice in 48 seconds, to bring it to 6-5.  Chris Collins (2nd) and Thompson’s second goal of the game gave WBS some life but not a lot of time.  Within another minute, Bourque scored his 4th goal to make it 7-5 and Tardif scored a PP goal to ice it at 19:24 to gain a victory in Game 1.

Shots were in favor of WBS, as they pushed to come back, 30-27.  WBS was 2 for 6 on the PP and Providence ended up 2 for 4 with the man advantage.  So much for a low scoring series.

Game 2:
On the following Saturday night before a little bigger home crowd in Providence,  Jamie Tardif scored twice and Niklas Svedberg made 38 saves.  Starting goaltender and AHL best Jeff Zatkoff was chased after the 1st period, his Penguins trailing 4-1 after one period.

Once again Wilkes-Barre scored the games first goal.  Warren Peters scored a SH goal at 4:40 to give the Pens a 1-0 lead. That lead was short lived when Jamie Tardif scored a little over a minute later to tie it up at 1-1. It was Tardif’s 6th goal of the playoffs and came on the PP.  Ryan Spooner (2nd) and Tardif (7th) scored for the Bruins before the period ended, Tardif’s goal , his second of the game was also a PP goal, like his first one.  Zatkoff would not see the ice again, after giving up 4 goals on 13 shots in the 1st period.  There was no real carryover of rough play from the previous game, with WBS desperate to get a split in Providence,  before heading home for three home games.

Brian Gibbons scored on the PP for the Penguins at the end of the 2nd period at 14:47 to break the shutout bid by Niklas Svedberg.  The Bruins held the lead in the 3rd on some great netminding by Svedberg, as the B’s withstood a 19-5 shot disadvantage.  Zatkoff’s replacement in net, Brad Thiessen, was flawless in stopping all 16 shots he faced.  WBS outshot Providence 40 -29 and were 1 for 3 on their PP.  Providence was 2 for 6 on the PP and were about to face the next few games without Torey Krug, who was recalled by the parent club in Boston.  Already without stalwart defenseman, Matt Bartkowski, the Bruins were going to be challenged on the back end in Wilkes-Barre. 

Game 3:
One would expect that the home club would want to get off to a good start in front of their nearly 4000 fans in WBS.  However, for the first time in the series, it was Providence who got on the board first at 3:04 of period number two.  Jared Knight scored his 1st playoff goal to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead in the 2nd after a scoreless, tight checking, first period.  Providence killed two penalties in the first, Chris Bourque and Christian Hanson received slashing and boarding penalties about five minutes apart in the opening  period.

Center Trevor Smith of the Penguins tied the score at 1-1 with his 1st goal of the playoffs at 10:42 of the second stanza.  Shots favored the Penguins again, 15-9 in the second period.  The Bruins Niklas Svedberg was up to the task tonight and was being matched by Brad Thiessen who has replaced Jeff Zatkoff in the starting line-up for the Pens.   After a scoreless 3rd period, the two teams prepared for their first OT game. 

The Bruins wasted no time at all in OT as Carter Camper beat Thiessen for his 7th goal of the playoffs and the GW in OT for Providence.  Craig Cunningham and Jordan Caron received the helpers on Camper’s tally.  Final score 2-1 OT.  Shots favored WBS, 33-22.  Providence was 0 for 3 on the PP and WBS was 0 for 2 as well.  The series was now all in Providence’s favor at three games to none.

Game 4:
The Penguins avoided the sweep by beating the Bruins 3-1 on Saturday May 17th.  In front of 3100 fans, the Pens had to come from behind,  but outstanding goaltending from Brad Thiessen and timely deflections led them to their first victory in the series.

Carter Camper started the scoring for Providence with his team leading 8th goal of the playoffs at 7:37 of the opening period.  Jordan Caron got the loan assist on Camper’s goal.  The score stood after one period of play. 

Warren Peters, 3rd goal of the series, tied the score at 1-1, at 6:25 of the second period.  About 10 minutes later, at 16:10, Riley Holzapfel, scored the go ahead goal to make it 2-1 Penguins.  Chad Kolarik scored soon after for a 3-1 lead.  It was Kolarik’s 4th goal of the playoffs, a PP goal,  and was assisted by Joey Mormina and Brian Gibbons.

The score held up for WBS and they now trailed the series 3 games to 1.  Providence outshot the Penguins, 32-22, but Thiessen was on top of his game.  Niklas Svedberg stopped 19 of 22 shots and Providence was 0 for 4 on the PP.  WBS managed to go 1 for 2 on their PP opportunities.  No rough stuff again in regards to fisticuffs but there were several slashing and boarding calls on WBS when they had the lead.

Game 5:
Providence had one more chance to knock out the Penguins in Wilkes-Barre but were shutout by the terrific netminding of Brad Thiessen.  The game was by far the nastiest and roughest of the series. 

Providence had 8 penalties called on them in the 1st period alone, as referee Jean Hebert was in a giving mood with Providence.  WBS scored twice on the ensuing PP’s to gain a 2-0 lead that they would never relinquish.  Defenseman, Brian Dumoulin, scored his 1st playoff goal at 10:55 while Ryan Button served a roughing penalty for Providence.  About six minutes later, Trevor Smith scored his 2nd playoff goal at 16:47 on Christian Hanson’s extra minor penalty for roughing . The 1st period featured a brawl between the Bruins Bobby Robins and the Pens Adam Payerl as well.  More rough stuff to come.

The second period was no sooner underway when Robins received a 5 minute major penalty for boarding.  Providence was able to kill the penalty off and keep within distance at 2-0, after two periods of play.  Joey Mormina was cited for slashing earlier and then elbowing to finish the period.

The 3rd period featured two more Wilkes-Barree goals and two full line brawls between the now over-heated clubs.  Payerl scored his 1st goal to make it 3-0 at the 3:39 mark of the 3rd period.  A line brawl ensued at the 14:37 mark and involved everone on the ice, practically.  Video replay shows Providence’s Graham Mink punching goaltender Thiessen while he is on the ice in a huge scrum.  With the recall of the Bruins Torey Krug, newcomer David MacDonald was in the line-up and was involved in a fight with Chad Kolarik.  Mink was given a match penalty for intent to injure.  The Bruins Trent Whitfield, along with Penguins Alex Grant, and Reid McNeill received penalties for continuing the altercation.  A wild affair.  Paul Thompson scored on the ensuing PP at 16:44 and the Pens now led 4-0.  It was Thompson’s 3rd goal of the playoffs.

Thompson’s goal infuriated Bruins goalie Niklas Svedberg who tripped Thompson and set off another brawl featuring Garnet Exelby of the Bruins and Trevor Smith. Svedberg received two penalties as well in the fiasco.

Providence outshot the Penguins 30-29 and was 0 for 5 on their PP.  Wilkes-Barre was an incredible 3 for 11 on the PP and certainly got the better of the chances and perhaps some of the calls as well.

Game 6 is back in Providence tonight.  Providence only has to win one of the two home games this week to move on to the Eastern Conference Final to face the Syracuse Crunch who has swept both of their series and will be well rested. Stay tuned.