Recap: Providence 4, Bridgeport 3, Shootout
Through two periods last night, the Providence Bruins were up 2-0 against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers with Niklas Svedberg stopping all 20 shots he faced while Tommy Cross and Craig Cunningham each had goals. 38 seconds into the third period, the game was tied at two.
The Sound Tigers erased the two-goal deficit with goals 18 seconds apart to open the third period, first a power play goal by Mike Halmo and then a weak goal given up to Kirill Kabanov. Ten minutes later, Bridgeport took a 3-2 lead on a another power play goal by Anders Lee. Things were deteriorating fast, especially when the news broke that Matt Fraser had left the game in an ambulance.
Defensive zone mistakes became increasingly sloppy, and it appeared any minute the Sound Tigers would jump ahead to a two-goal lead. But for once, that didn't happen. Niklas Svedberg, despite his lapse in an otherwise strong performance, battled hard, including leaving his crease to throw some punches after giving up the third goal.
With six minutes left in the game, Matt Lindblad tied the game at three on a power play goal. He converted on a beautiful pass from Justin Florek, for his second goal of the season. The team held on for overtime, and a Bridgeport overtime goal was waved off for tipping it in with a high stick.
To the shootout the P-Bruins went - an area that was volatile for them this season considering only Ryan Spooner and David Warsofsky had scored in the previous three shootouts the team played. They won only one of those games.
Bridgeport shot first, and Svedberg also returned to his great shootout presence that he had last year when he was the best goaltender in the AHL. He stopped all four Bridgeport shooters: Ryan Strome, Jon Sim, Anders Lee, and Mike Halmo.
Ryan Spooner and Alexander Khokhlachev, Providence's first two shooters, both scored pretty goals against Bridgeport goaltender Kenny Reiter. Carter Camper failed to score, but he didn't need to after the fourth shooter for Bridgeport missed the net, giving Providence a much needed win.
Tonight: Providence @ Manchester, 7pm
It was great for their confidence, especially Svedberg's. It was a positive to take away from a game they otherwise were riddled with negatives, including blowing another two goal lead. But they were able to come away with two points as they head into Manchester tonight to face the dangerous Monarchs, who they have lost to four times this season, including twice in two days in the first weekend of November.
Since the P-Bruins last faced the East-leading Monarchs, they lost starting goaltender Martin Jones and a top scorer in Tanner Pearson to NHL callups. The P-Bruins also lost Kevan Miller to an NHL callup, but the good news is that Joe Morrow, who did not play last night, is expected to play tonight. And Matt Fraser, who left in an ambulance last night, might be able to play tonight after all.
It will be an important test to see how far they've come. No starting goaltenders or lineups are available yet, but Joe Morrow will play in place of Chris Casto. The defensemen dressing will be David Warsofsky, who had two assists last night, Ben Youds, Mike Moore, Zach Trotman (who played in his first game since October last night), and Tommy Cross, who had his second goal of the season to open the scoring last night.
For forwards, last night's first star Matt Lindblad has been able to play on either wing or center on any of the four lines. He has played top penalty killing minutes and saw power play time last night. Lindblad played on the wing of the second line last night, centered by Carter Camper and Nick Johnson. He also saw time on the top line on Ryan Spooner's wing with Craig Cunningham on the other wing after Fraser left the game.
Alexander Fallstrom centered the Bobby Robins and Justin Florek line and is expected to do so again tonight. With Bobby Robins in the penalty box to start the second period due to a fighting major, Jared Knight was filling in on that line when Fallstrom won an offensive zone faceoff. Knight pushed the puck back to Cross at the point for the first goal.
Other Game Notes
- Providence is 8-5-1-2, 19 points, 2nd in the Atlantic Division, 8th in Eastern Conference (moving into playoff position after last night's win).
- Manchester is 12-3-1-2, 27 points, 1st in the Atlantic and 1st in the East.
- Last 10: Providence is 6-3-1-0 and Manchester is 7-3-0-0
- Providence is 4-2-01 on the road; Manchester is 6-1-1-0 at home.
- Providence has a +4 goal differential (59 GF, 55 GA); Manchester has a +14 (58 GF, 44 GA).
- Providence has the 4th ranked power play (22.9%, 16-for-70); Manchester has the 19th ranked PP (15.7%, 11-for-70).
- Providence is last on the PK (71.9%, 16 GA on 57 PKs). Manchester's PK is 11th (83.7, 14 GA on 86 PKs).
- Providence leading scorers are Ryan Spooner (3 goals, 13 assists, 16 points), Matt Fraser (11 goals, 3 assists, 14 points), and Carter Camper (2 goals, 11 assists, 13 points).
- Leading scorers on the season for Manchester are, not including players on callup with LA, Kozun (5 goals, 12 assists, 17 points), Jordan Weal (2 goals, 14 assists, 16 points), and Nick Deslauriers (6 goals, 6 assists, 12 points).
- Providence is 0-2-0-2 against Manchester in four games this year. Tonight is game five of 12 between the Atlantic division rivals.
- Seth Griffith and Jared Knight each have four points against the Monarchs this year.
- Brandon Kozun has eight points in four games vs Providence this year. Jordan Weal also has six points in four games.
- Since Martin Jones was called up, JF Berube has been 3-1. He has not faced Providence yet this year. Backup Aaron Dell has not played for the Monarchs yet this season.
- Berube's numbers on the year are 3-2-0 with 2.40 GAA and .910 save%.
- Niklas Svedberg, who won last night in a shootout, 0-1-2 against the Monarchs this year (3.82 GAA, .885 save%). Svedberg is 6-2-2 this season (3.19 GAA and .902 save%).
- Malcolm Subban is 0-1-0 with a 2.00 GAA and .930 save% against the Monarchs this season. Subban is 2-4-0 (2.72 GAA, .902 save%, 1 awesome goalie fight).
More updates on the lineups will be shared as they're made available. I'll also be bringing live tweets throughout the game.