P-Bruins Recap: Bam Bam Cunningham

Cunningham netted his second career hat trick and first career four-goal game. - Steph Vail/Flickr

Providence blows out the Hartford Wolf Pack 8-5 with two separate hat tricks thanks to fantastic performance by Ryan Spooner and his linemates Matt Fraser and Craig Cunningham.

Update 11/9: The AHL has changed the scoring on the 7th Bruins goal last night, attributing it to Matt Fraser rather than Craig Cunningham. Fraser had four goals and Cunningham had three goals last night.

The Providence Bruins (5-4-0-2) scored as many goals tonight as they did in their last three games combined. Ryan Spooner's return fueled an offensive outburst from his top line, flanked by Craig Cunningham with four goals and Matt Fraser with three goals.

Penalty killing and goaltending were not strong points for either time tonight. Three of Cunningham's four goals came on the power play, as Providence went 3-for-4 on the PP. Meanwhile, Providence was 1-for-2 on the penalty kill.

Niklas Svedberg continues to struggle, letting in five goals on 23 shots. Hartford's goaltending was even worse with Jason Missiaen letting in six goals on 22 shots and getting pulled halfway through the second period. His back-up, Scott Stajcer, let in one goal on eight shots.

Recap: P-Bruins 8, Wolf Pack 5

The game was a circus right from the start. Providence opened the scoring just 2:16 into the game on a power play goal by Craig Cunningham from Ryan Spooner and Carter Camper.

Bobby Robins took a tripping penalty soona after, and exactly one minute after Providence struck first, Hartford responded with a power play goal of their own off the stick of Oscar Lindberg.

Matt Fraser regained the lead for Providence less than a minute later on his seventh goal of the year, assisted by Jared Knight. Darroll Powe tied the game at two by 6:44 of the first period. Providence went up 3-2 on another goal by Fraser set up by Spooner, once again.

After one period, Providence was up 3-2 and out-shot Hartford 13-5.

At 6:32 of the second period, Andrew Rowe took a holding minor to give Providence another power play, which Cunningham converted on for his second goal of the night (again, assisted by Spooner). Cunningham struck again on the power play less than two minutes later to complete the hat trick - his second career professional hat trick.

Alexander Khokhlachev made it 6-2 halfway through the second period on an unassisted goal, his second of the year, and that was the end of the night for goaltender Missiaen.

The goaltender pull served as an effective strategy to get momentum swinging for Hartford, who made a strong comeback in the closing minutes of the second period and opening of the first. Marek Hvirik scored at 18:18 of the second to cut Providence's lead to 6-3.

To start the third period, Hartford scored twice in the opening 2:14 to draw within one goal. Shawn O'Donnell scored one minute into the third and Ryan Bourque made it 6-5 with an unassisted goal 14 seconds later. Providence failed to capitalize on a power play soon after Bourque's goal, but came up with a huge penalty kill with Nick Johnson in the box for tripping midway through the third period.

Cunningham gave Providence a 7-5 lead at 13:51 of the third period with his fourth goal of the night. Assisted came from Spooner  (his fourth of the night) and captain Mike Moore, who notched his first point of the season.

With goaltender Stajcer pulled late in the third period, Matt Fraser capped off his own hat trick with an empty net goal to seal the 8-5 victory for Providence. Overall, Providence had eight goals on 31 shots, while Hartford converted for five goals on 23 shots.

The Good

- The line of Cunningham - Spooner - Fraser was unbelievable, recording two hat tricks, factoring in on seven of the team's eight goals. Each line mate had four points, combined for 13 shots on net, and was a collective +10.

- First periods were one of the biggest problems the team has faced all season, and responded with a strong first period tonight, scoring early and out-shooting their opponent.

- In a one-goal game mid-way through the third period, Providence came up with a big penalty kill, which allowed them to take a two-goal lead minutes later.

- Providence's power play was outstanding tonight (3-for-4), and is now the best in the league at 29.7%.

- Seriously, the Spooner line was unreal. According to the AHL:

The Bad

- Svedberg had another rough game, allowing at least four goals for the second game in a row. He has not looked like his stellar self at all lately.

- Despite striking early, Providence repeatedly blew the lead in the first period and nearly blew a 6-2 lead.

- An ill-advised penalty by Bobby Robins early in the game led to a power play goal for Hartford - a trend which has happened in every game since Robins returned from injury.

- Although the overflow of offense from forward lines overshadowed this, the persistent lack of offensive contributions from the Providence blue line continued tonight  - on eight goals, defense only was awarded points on two: one assist for Moore, and one assist for Kevan Miller on the empty net goal.

Scoring Summary:

First Period: P-Bruins 3, Wolf Pack 1

- 2:16: Cunningham (3) (Spooner, Camper) [PP], 1-0 Providence

- 3:16: Lindberg (3) (Kristo, Johnson) [PP] , 1-1

- 4:02: Fraser (7) (Knight), 4:02, 2-1 Providence

- 6:44: Powe (2) (Syvret), 2-2

- 10:13: Fraser, (8, 2nd of the game) (Spooner), 3-2 Providence

Second Period: P-Bruins 6, Wolf Pack 3

- 7:15: Cunningham (4, 2nd of the game) (Spooner) [PP], 4-2 Providence

- 8:56: Cunningham, (5, 3rd of the game) (Fraser, Camper) [PP], 5-2 Providence

- 10:58: Khokhlachev (2) (unassisted), 6-2 Providence

- 18:18: Hrivik (3) (Asham, Allen), 6-3 Providence

Third Period: Providence 8, Wolf Pack 5

- 1:00: O'Donnell (1) (Hughes, Powe), 6-4 Providence

- 1:14: Bourque, (2)  (unassisted), 6-5 Providence

- 13:51: Fraser (9, 4th of the game) (Spooner, Moore), 7-5 Providence*

- 18:40: Fraser (10, 3rd of the game) (Miller) [EN], 8-5 Providence

Official summary here.

*There was a scoring change on this today according the AHL, giving Fraser the four goal night and reducing Cunningham to a simple hat trick.

Three Stars

- 3) Matt Fraser

- 2) Ryan Spooner

- 1) Craig Cunningham

Next Game: Providence @ Worcester, Saturday Novemver 9, 7pm

Wolf Pack Rematch: Hartford @ Providence, Sunday November 10, 3pm

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