The Providence Bruins picked up right where they left off following their President’s Day weekend sweep after notching a pair of home wins over the Springfield Thunderbirds and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on back-to-back nights.
Paul Carey, Brendan Gaunce, Steve Kampfer, Zach Senyshyn and Max Legace all played pivotal roles as the P-Bruins extended their win streak to five straight. The P-Bruins also extended their cushion over the fourth-place Charlotte Checkers in the Atlantic Division
Carey and Gaunce lead P-Bruins to wild win over Springfield
The veteran forwards kickstarted the weekend with three-point nights on two goals and an assist to spark Providence past Springfield.
Gaunce extended his goal streak to four straight games after netting his 15th of the season 9:52 into the opening stanza.
The P-Bruins had to answer Springfield’s equalizer, however, as Ryan Haggerty fired a shot past Dan Vladar (12 saves) at 12:50. Carey responded to give Providence a 2-1 lead with his 19th goal of the season on a feed from Trent Frederic. Yet, the Thunderbirds didn’t go away quietly as Henrik Borgstrom poted his 10th of the season to tie things up at 2-2 on the power play just 1:15 after Carey’s first of the night.
Carey and company pulled ahead for good following a stellar four-goal second period, including a trio of lamplighters in the first four minutes. Jack Studnicka opened the floodgates just 1:36 into the second with a beautiful wrist shot past Springfield goalie Ryan Bednard for his team-leading 20th goal of the year. The P-Bruins doubled their lead 1:17 later when Frederic again found Carey for his second of the game and 20th in the year. Gaunce followed Carey’s lead to add his second of the night just 36 seconds later after burying Senyshyn’s feed to end Bednard’s night.
The P-Bruins weren’t done. Cehlarik got in on the scoring fun with his power-play marker — and 14th goal of the season — at 7:07 with Carey and Gaunce assisting. But, the Thunderbirds didn’t go away quietly even after firing three shots on net in the middle 20. Rodrigo Abols and Aleksi Heponiemi scored 3:30 apart to put the Thunderbirds within a pair midway through the second.
The Thunderbirds came into the third period hoping to complete the come-from-behind victory. Robert Lantosi ended any hopes of that with his 11th of the season a mere 94 seconds into the third period to cap Providence’s fourth straight win.
Legace, Kampfer and Senyshyn shine against Wilkes/Barre-Scranton
Like Providence, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins found themselves in the thick of a tight Atlantic playoff race. The near desperate Pens gave Providence all they could handle in Providence’s final game of the weekend this past Sunday. But Steven Kampfer’s late second period tally along with Senyshyn’s first-period marker and a solid effort from Max Legace between the pipes extended Providence’s win streak to five with its 2-1 win over WBS.
Senyshyn opened the scoring with his fifth goal of the season — his first in six games — 1:52 in. The P-Bruins outshot the Penguins 8-5 during a rather quiet 20 minutes outside of Senyshyn’s tally.
Both teams embarked on another quiet stretch during the second period. But things got lively in the closing moments as Kampfer’s blast past Dustin Tokarski gave the P-Bruins a two-goal lead with just under a second left in the middle 20.
Yet, the P-Bruins didn’t make things easy on themselves as Cole Cassels pulled WBS within one just 1:03 into the final stanza.
The Pens kept pushing for the equalizer in their best 20 minute stretch of the day. But Legace was up to the task each time as he capped off his 20 save outing (including nine in the third) with a trio of clutch shots in the final minute to secure the 2-1 win.
Providence and WBS meet again on Wednesday. A P-Bruins win would put them within one point of the idle Hartford Wolfpack for second place in the division.
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