Charlotte ends Providence season with 4-1 Game 4 win
The names Andrew Poturalski, Morgan Geekie and Alex Nedeljkovic may be engraved in the brains of every Providence Bruins player and coach heading into the summer. Poturalski netted two more goals while Geekie added another and Nedeljkovic stopped 21 of 22 shots.
Kyle Keyser, making his first professional start in net with Dan Vladar injured and Zane McIntyre in Boston, made 25 saves on 28 shots but the Charlotte Checkers eliminated Providence with a 4-1 win in Game 4 of the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs at Bojangles Coliseum Friday night.
It was more of the same for Providence in the first period. The P-Bruins had three separate chances on the man-advantage through the midway point of the opening period. But the norm continued as the Baby B’s couldn’t capitalize on any of their power play opportunities.
Charlotte, once again, snatched the momentum away with a back-breaking goal, this time from Jacob Pritchard. In the corner nearly parallel to the goal, Pritchard fired a shot toward the net that snuck past Keyser to give the Checkers a 1-0 advantage lead with 2:28 left in the opening stanza.
An overmatched Providence bunch ended the opening stanza trailing on the scoreboard (1-0) and the shot clock (13-9). They came out with a better start in the second, yet couldn’t find an answer for Nedeljkovic as the period progressed. The Checkers weathered the storm and tallied a back-breaking goal with roughly seven minutes left in the middle frame. Charlotte winger Steve Lorentz pickpocketed Tanner Pond and raced toward the net before feeding Geekie, who roofed the puck past Keyser for his fourth goal of the playoffs, thus giving the Checkers a 2-0 lead.
Poturalski burned Providence again four minutes later, picking up a rebound after an initial Keyser stop on a breakaway to put in his fourth of the playoffs and gave Charlotte a 3-0 lead.
The P-Bruins had two more power play opportunities before the end of the second, but couldn’t convert on either chance. Providence finished an abysmal 2-for-20 on the power play during the four-game series.
But Providence wasn’t ready to die just yet. Jeremy Lauzon gave the team some life after firing a slap shot past Nedeljkoic of a Jordan Szwarz faceoff win to break a scoring drought of 102:37.
The P-Bruins continued to charge hard looking to chip away, at one point leading 7-1 in the shots department. But, again, they had no answer for Nedeljkovic, the AHL’s leader in goals-against average during the regular season.
A desperate Providence squad pulled Keyser with 3:20 left in regulation. The P-Bruins continued to buzz but Poturalski put the finishing touches on the Baby B’s season with his second two-goal outing in as many games — and fifth of the series — following his empty-netter with 30 seconds remaining.