Two Goals from Stempniak Power P-Bruins over Phantoms 5-3
Allentown, PA - The Providence Bruins defeated the Lehigh Valley Phantoms Friday night 5-3 in the first game of their three-game road trip. The P-Bruins got two goals from Lee Stempniak along with goals from Zach Senyshyn, Gemel Smith and Peter Cehlarik while Dan Vladar made his 26th start of the season in net.
Providence came out firing in the opening frame, netting a pair of goals in the first 93 seconds of the game. Senyshyn opened the scoring just 47 seconds into play, potting his 14th goal of the season. After Stuart Percy shot the puck into the offensive zone, Cehlarik fed Senyshyn in front with a beautiful centering feed from behind the net and he beat Alex Lyon to make it 1-0. The P-Bruins turned defense into offense seconds later with Anton Blidh and Stempniak. Blidh stole the puck at center ice and started a 2-on-2 rush. Stempniak then beat Lyon with a forehand-backhand move for his third goal of the season. The remainder of the period was hard-hitting with few offensive chances for either side as Providence took a 2-0 lead into the intermission.
Lehigh Valley reversed the script to start the second, scoring an early goal just 56 seconds in. While on the power play, David Kase beat Vladar with a one-timer for his fifth goal of the season. Greg Carey and TJ Brennan earned assists on the play as the Phantoms cut the lead to 2-1. The P-Bruins defense limited the chances for Lehigh Valley the rest of the period, and outshot them 15-6 in the frame. The Phantoms delivered some hard hits throughout the rest of the period, but still trailed 2-1 after 40 minutes.
Providence took control in the third period, scoring three unanswered goals to put the game away. The P-Bruins capitalized on a shorthanded break at 4:25, as a steal from Karson Kuhlman created another chance for Stempniak. Alone with space in front of Lyon, Stempniak snapped in his second goal of the night to give Providence a 3-1 lead. Just 2:20 later, Smith found the back of the net on the power play. Jordan Szwarz and Ryan Fitzgerald picked up helpers on Smith's 13th tally of the season, but all five skaters moved the puck well on the goal that made things 4-1 P-Bruins. Lehigh Valley got aggressive and pulled Lyon with over seven minutes left, but Cehlarik made that decision backfire. Off assists from Percy and Emil Johansson, Cehlarik hit the empty net for his 11th goal of the year. Connor Bunnaman and Greg Carey netted late goals for the Phantoms, but Providence walked away with a 5-3 victory.
Vladar stopped 19 of 22 shots while Lyon stopped 25 of 29 shots. Providence was 1-4 on the power play and 2-3 on the penalty kill. The P-Bruins are back in action tomorrow night as they continue their Pennsylvania road trip with a 7:05pm face off with the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins.
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