P-Bruins Drop Thrilling Game One to Checkers
Providence, RI - The Providence Bruins fell to the Charlotte Checkers Saturday night 5-4 in Game One of the 2019 Atlantic Division Semifinals. The P-Bruins got goals from Jordan Szwarz, Cooper Zech, Anton Blidh and Paul Carey while Zane McIntyre made his 20th career postseason appearance in net.
Charlotte came out of the gates flying, scoring a pair of goals in the opening 3:49 of the game. Nick Schilkey and Andrew Poturalski moved quickly into the attacking zone and set up Morgan Geekie in close. He backhanded one by McIntyre for his first goal of the playoffs and the Checkers took a 1-0 just 1:26 into play. The same exact trio combined for their next goal, as Poturalski created a turnover in the neutral zone to start a 2-on-1 break for Schilkey and Geekie. A perfect backdoor feed from Schilkey led to a tap-in goal for Geekie's second of the night and Charlotte grabbed a 2-0 lead.
Providence answered right back with a goal at 6:45 thanks to good forechecking from Blidh. He fought for the puck in the corner and fed Szwarz in the high slot for a one-timer. His shot beat Alex Nedeljkovic for his first goal of the postseason as the Bruins cut the deficit to 2-1. A great individual effort from Zech tied the game at 9:31 while on the power play. The rookie skated the puck end-to-end through defenders and walked in towards Nedeljkovic. His wrister trickled in for the first goal of his professional career and Providence tied the score 2-2. Just 40 seconds later, Blidh gave the P-Bruins their first lead of the night on a snapshot from between the hashes. Trent Frederic earned the lone assist on the play and Providence brought a 3-2 lead into the locker room after an exciting first period.
Tomas Jurco tied the score once again 6:53 into the second period, capitalizing on the man advantage. Shots from Martin Necas and Jake Bean created havoc in front of the net, and eventually a rebound went to Jurco in front. He netted his first goal of the playoffs and Charlotte made it a 3-3 game. Another power play later in the period almost gave the Checkers the lead back, but a tremendous sprawling save by McIntyre robbed Schilkey to keep things tied. However, Charlotte was able to regain the lead with 3:27 left in the second. Nicolas Roy led Julien Gauthier into the zone with a pass up the left boards, and Gauthier picked the top corner with a wrister to make the score 4-3 Checkers after 40 minutes.
After a Charlotte goal was waved off due to high-sticking, he P-Bruins evened things up again at 6:44 of the third. From behind the net, Szwarz sent a centering pass to Paul Carey battling for position in front. Carey got the puck by Nedeljkovic and Providence made it a 4-4 game. However, just 22 seconds later Bobby Sanguinetti put Charlotte out in front for good as his pass into traffic snuck by McIntyre and in. The P-Bruins pulled their goalie with over two minutes left, but the Checkers held on for a hard-fought 5-4 win.
McIntyre stopped 22 of 27 shots while Nedeljkovic stopped 23 of 27 shots. Providence was 1-5 on the power play and 4-5 on the penalty kill. The P-Bruins are back in action tomorrow night at 5:05pm for Game Two of this best-of-five series looking to tie things up at a game apiece.
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