A week removed from going 1-1-1 in their three-game weekend slate, the Providence Bruins returned to their winning ways, picking up five of a possible six points entering the All-Star Break. The P-Bruins earned a pair home wins over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms before tallying a point in their overtime loss to the Hershey Bears.
Shootout win sets the tone for the week
Down 1-0 in the opening period to Lehigh Valley last Wednesday. Oskar Steen netted the equalizer with 3:05 remaining in the frame. Robert Lantosi and Josiah Diddier got the assists on Steen’s fifth of the year.
The P-Bruins, who were outshot 10-6 in the opening frame, began to tilt the ice in their favor. Phantoms goalie Jean-Francois Berube turned aside all eight Providence shots he faced in the middle frame. His counterpart, Max Legace (26 saves) was just as impressive blanking Leigh Valley to keep things tied at 1-1 after 40 minutes of play.
Yet, despite the momentum shift, Providence found themselves down again early in the final stanza as Lehigh Valley’s David Kase potted his fourth just 2:47 in. But the P-Bruns pushed back and eventually tied things up with 5:59 left in regulation on Zach Senyshyn’s third goal of the season.
Providence continued to press, throwing 14 shots on goal in the third, but needed a shootout to secure the two points. Peter Cehlarik netted the only shootout tally as Lagace stopped all three shots he faced to secure the 3-2 victory.
Kuhlman shines as P-Bruins complete sweep of Phantoms
With the big club on a 10-day break, Karson Kuhlman returned from Boston two nights later to steal the show in Providence’s rematch with Leigh Valley. The third-year pro netted a pair of shorthanded goals to pace the P-Bruins to a 4-3 victory.
Like Wednesday, the Baby B’s found themselves down 1-0 in the first. But at 11:16 of the period, with Cehlarik in the box for slashing, Kuhlman pulled Providence even with his third of the year from perennial All-Star Jack Studnicka. Yet, a mere 1:12 later, Mikhail Vorobyev put Lehigh Valley back in front with his eighth of the season.
Trent Frederic went to the box for holding late in the first putting Providence in another shorthanded situation heading into the middle frame. Kuhlman, again, provided a timely shorthanded tally just 57 seconds into the second, thus setting the tone for the middle 20.
Brendan Gaunce (at 3:34) and Ryan Fitzgerald (at 12:24) each netted their 11th and 10th goals of the season, respectively, to put Providence ahead for good, but they needed help from Dan Vladar after Ander Anderoff cut the lead to 4-3 late in the second to secure the victory. Vladar delivered making 12 of his 27 saves in the final period to secure the home sweep over the Phantoms.
Hershey puts a dent into the homestand
Providence looked to sweep its pre-All-Star slate at Dunkin Donuts Center against the Hershey Bears on Saturday. But once again, they allowed the first goal as Liam O’Brien collected his eighth of the year late in the second period.
The P-Bruins rallied behind Cehlarik’s clutch play. The Czech winger Cehlarik scored a pair of goals just 3:45 apart to give Providence a 2-1 lead midway through the final stanza.
But Providence’s late-game nightmares returned at the worst possible time after Phillipe Maillett evened things up on a power-play tally with 21 seconds left — with Jack Studnicka in the box — to force overtime.
Rejuvenated by the late goal, Hershey came out firing on all cylinders in overtime, outshooting Providence 7-2 in the frame. But Lagace (30 saves) stopped every shot that came his way and the P-Bruins found themselves in their second shootout of the week. The result didn’t bounce Providence’s way this time as Phoenix Copley stopped Lantosi and Cehlarik, while Maillett and Christian Djoos potted their opportunities to give the Bears the win.
Carey and Studnicka shine in AHL All-Star Classic
Both Studnicka and Paul Carey were front and center representing the Atlantic Division for the 2020 All-Star Classic. First came Sunday’s skills competition where Studnicka placed third in the fastest skater event while Carey was eighth in the accurate shooting contest. Both skaters competed in the puck control and breakaway relays.
Carey and Studnicka both lead the Atlantic Division to victory the 3-on-3 round-robin tournament on Monday, capping things off with a 3-1 triumph over the Central Division in the final. Studnicka collected five points (three goals, two assists), including three in the final, over the course of the four games while Paul Carey had two goals and an assist.
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