January 4, 2013 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Providence Bruins
Providence, RI - The Providence Bruins (17-12-0-2) defeated the Portland Pirates (19-12-1-1) by a score of 3-2 this evening at The Dunkin' Donuts Center. Chris Bourque continued his hot-streak, tallying his sixth goal in as many games as well as an assist, building upon his team lead in points with 27. Ryan Spooner contributed to the scoring sheet, adding two assists of his own. Trent Whitfield provided the heroics, tallying the game-winner in the final minutes of regulation.
After suffering a crushing 2-1 loss at the hands of the Pirates on Wednesday at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, ME, the Bruins returned to a packed house in Providence with the intent of getting revenge, and more importantly, back in the win column. This was evident from the moment the puck dropped as the Bruins fed off the momentum of the crowd and came out flying in hopes of capturing the elusive opening goal.
Spooner and Bourque fulfilled their coach's request, connecting on a 2-on-1 rush 36 seconds after the opening face-off, beating Portland net minder Chad Johnson. The Bruins rush of momentum was short-lived as the Pirates struck back moments later, taking advantage of a Christian Hanson tripping minor, with Alexandre Bolduc receiving credit on his 15th goal of the season.
It was no surprise that the Bruins were eager to regain the momentum; however their plans were foiled, as the Pirates converted on their second power-play goal in as many attempts with Garnet Exelby sitting in the box. Brendan Shinnimin earned his fifth goal of the season, beating Niklas Svedberg at the 7:03 mark of the opening frame. Spooner and Bourque would hook up yet again, with Matt Bartkowski serving as the beneficiary, burying a loose rebound past a sprawled Johnson for his 2nd goal of the season.
The Dunk' faithful were treated to a heavy-weight bout between Bobby Robins and Mark Louis, concluding an eventful period that would come to an end with the 2-2 tie in tact.
The second period served as a goaltending clinic with both Johnson and Svedberg thwarting every goal scoring opportunity on either side of the ice. The Pirates and Bruins would head into the intermission dead-locked at two, setting up for a dramatic finish in the decisive third period.
The puck would drop on the final frame with both teams paying extreme attention to even the most minute of details, as any error could lead to the moment that would propel the opposition to ultimate glory in the showdown of Atlantic Division rivals.
Play would enter the final ten minutes of regulation with both goaltenders standing tall between the pipes for their teammates. The clubs exchanged goal-scoring opportunities, however It was becoming increasingly apparent that Svedberg was not willing to surrender the crucial game-winner.
It would be none other than captain Whitfield who would deliver the triumphant moment and send The Dunkin' Donuts crowd of 8932 into a frenzy. The game-winning goal would serve as Whitfield's first of the season. Svedberg thwarted a last-second flurry of Pirate chances and confirmed that the Bruins would earn a crucial two points in the Eastern Conference standings.
Svedberg, who improves to 13-6-0-1 on the 2012-13 AHL season, was credited with 31 saves en route to the victory. Johnson was stellar despite being handed his 7th loss of the season for the Pirates, stopping 27 of 30 Bruin chances.
The Bruins action continues at The Dunk' on Sunday, January 6th for a 3:05 p.m. matchup with the Springfield Falcons on "Stadium Cup Day". The first 1,000 fans 12 and under in attendance will receive a stadium cup courtesy of Cool Air Creations. The P-Bruins' complete season schedule can be found on www.providencebruins.com .
Providence Bruins ticket packages are on sale now for the 2012-13 season. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the P-Bruins ticket office at 401-273-5000 or log on to the team website at www.providencebruins.com .