Checkers Shut Down P-Bruins Offense, Take 2-1 Series Lead
Charlotte, NC - The Providence Bruins fell to the Charlotte Checkers Wednesday night 3-0 in Game Three of the 2019 Atlantic Division Semifinals and now trail the best of five series 2-1. The P-Bruins were shutout for the 14th time in their postseason history while Zane McIntyre made his 21st career playoff appearance in net.
Both teams got off to a slow start offensively, but the Checkers attack woke up in the second half of the opening period. Midway through the first, Andrew Poturalski lit the lamp with a highlight reel goal to give Charlotte the lead. After Aleksi Saarela led him into the attacking zone, Poturalski delayed, deked around the defense and scored in close to make it 1-0. Morgan Geekie doubled the Checkers lead at 13:54 thanks to quick passing by the entire offense. Geekie won the face off to Poturalski, who quickly fed Jake Bean along the left boards. Bean found Geekie alone in front, and with space to shoot he scored his third goal of the series. Charlotte outshot Providence 12-5 in the period and brought a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
Early in the second period, the Checkers threatened to run away with the game but were denied by McIntyre. The team had a 3-on-1 break that left Saarela open in the left slot, but a great save by McIntyre kept the deficit at two. The P-Bruins offense failed to get going throughout the period, missing out on two power plays and recording just five shots. The team had trouble creating chances in front of Charlotte goalie Alex Nedeljkovic and they entered the break down 2-0.
Poturalski gave the Checkers even more breathing room 64 seconds into the final period with his second goal of the night and third of the series. He stole the puck from Providence in his defensive zone and began a 2-on-1 rush. With plenty of time and space, he delayed and beat McIntyre's five-hole to put his club up by three. Nedeljkovic and the Charlotte defense continued to make life difficult for the Bruin offense, and the Checkers went on to a 3-0 victory.
McIntyre stopped 25 of 28 shots while Nedeljkovic stopped all 20 shots he faced. Providence was 0-5 on the power play and 0-1 on the penalty kill. The P-Bruins are back in action Friday in Charlotte at 7pm looking to force a decisive game five against the top-seeded Checkers.
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