Bruins Repel Late Penguins Surge to Take Game 1
Thompson records two goals and assist for WBS
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Chris Bourque’s four-point night helped the Providence Bruins fend off a late rally by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and claim Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal by a score of 8-5 at Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Down by a score of 5-3 as the third period began, the Penguins saw the Bruins extend their lead to three at 5:25 as Craig Cunningham streaked into the slot and took a perfect feed from Carter Camper for a snapshot over the glove of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goalie Jeff Zatkoff.
The Penguins found some life with less than four minutes remaining in regulation during a 5-on-4 advantage. Jayson Megna worked down the left boards of the Bruins end before sending a shot toward the net that bounced off of Chris Collins and past goalie Niklas Svedberg at 16:31.
Paul Thompson then shrunk Providence’s lead down to a single goal 48 seconds later as a dump-in attempt caromed off the back wall and kicked out to the Penguins forward in front with a wide open net into which he deposited his second of the contest.
With 1:55 left in regulation, Bourque put a dagger in any hopes for a Penguins’ equalizer, stealing the puck at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton blueline before blasting a slapshot inside the near post. Jamie Tardif added a late power play marker for Providence to complete the scoring.
The two teams entered the second period tied, 1-1, but it was the Bruins owning the frame with a four-goal outburst. A failure to clear its own zone by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton led to a point blank shot by Cunningham that was initially stopped by Zatkoff, but Jordan Caron put back the rebound at 5:09 to give the Bruins their first lead of the game.
Though Brian Gibbons evened the score for the Penguins, 2-2, just over minute later, it took only another 46 seconds for Providence to regain its edge after Kyle MacKinnon completed a 3-on-2 rush. Bourque registered two of his three assists on the night as Tardif and Camper both found the back of the net to complete a three-goal flurry over a span of 3:15 that made it 5-2 for the Bruins.
The Penguins scored first for the third time in four postseason matches, but this opening goal came by way of the penalty shot. On a power play midway through the first, Trevor Smith had the floating rebound from his point shot gloved by a Bruins defenseman in the crease and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was awarded their fifth penalty shot in team playoff history.
On the ensuing chance, Chad Kolarik banked a wrist shot off the left iron and into the net for a 1-0 Penguins lead at 9:31 of the first.
Providence was able to knot the game 1:06 before the intermission, forcing a turnover in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton end to set up Ryan Spooner for a one-timer from the far circle.
Zatkoff suffered his first loss of this year’s playoffs, having made 19 saves on 29 shots. Svedberg stopped 25-of-30 for the Bruins.
The Penguins and Bruins return to action for Game 2 on Saturday, May 11 at 7:05PM. Tune in on 102.3 The Mountain or AHLLive.com
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will host Game 3 (Home Game B) at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Wednesday, May 15, Game 4 (Home Game C) on Friday, May 17 and Game 5 (Home Game D), if necessary, on Saturday, May 18. Start time for all games is 7:05 PM.
Tickets for individual playoff games are on sale now to the general public and available at the Box Office at Mohegan Sun Arena, through any Ticketmaster outlet, or online at ticketmaster.com. Tickets also can be purchased via phone by calling 1-800-745-3000.
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