By Carrie Young | Follow me on Twitter @carrieyoung512
The Providence Bruins faced off against the Utica Comets on Saturday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The Bruins were looking to extend their five-game winning streak, while Utica aimed to bounce back from a shootout loss to Bridgeport on Friday. Providence entered the game ranked first in the Atlantic Division with a 15-7-1-2 record.
Cehlarik – Studnicka – Fitzgerald
Vaakanainen – Didier
Bailey – Camper – Lind
Brisebois – Rafferty
Here we go! pic.twitter.com/kezjvVpmfs— Providence Bruins (@AHLBruins) December 7, 2019
The game started slow, with neither team able to capitalize on any scoring chances. Providence out-shot Utica 13-3 through the first 14 minutes, but both goalies looked sharp and the game remained scoreless. Bruins defenseman Cooper Zech looked strong coming off of a 4-point night against Binghamton on Friday.
With around 5:50 left in the first period, Providence’s Jakub Lauko collapsed to the ice after skating in to hit a Utica player in front of the benches. The medical staff was quick to attend to him, but it was a scary moment as Lauko remained down on the ice for several minutes. He was eventually taken off on a stretcher. The 19-year-old gave a thumbs-up to the crowd before he left the ice.
Scary moment here at The Dunk as Jakub Lauko is stretchered off after a collision near the bench. The rookie was able to give a thumbs-up as he was taken off the ice.— Providence Bruins (@AHLBruins) December 8, 2019
Utica was given a power play with 3:46 remaining in the period but was unable to convert. The game remained tied at zero heading into the first intermission.
Just over a minute into the second period, Paul Carey scored his 12th goal of the season. Robert Lantosi surprised Utica’s goalie Richard Bachman with a strong shot, and Carey was able to convert on the rebound.
The captain with his team-leading 12th tally of the season! pic.twitter.com/bBExesdNIT— Providence Bruins (@AHLBruins) December 8, 2019
The Bruins were given a power play 8:59 into the period when Olli Juolevi was called for interference. Providence was unable to score, but Zech drew another penalty after a nice play in the offensive zone. The Bruins went scoreless on their second man-advantage of the night.
Robert Lantosi was whistled for tripping with 3:48 remaining. Just seconds into the power play, Utica’s Justin Bailey tipped the puck past Vladar and tied the game.
Too easy. Boucher finds @JustinBailey95 to tie the game at one!— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) December 8, 2019
That’s four straight games with a goal for Bailey and 11 straight games with a power play goal for the Comets!#UTIvsPRO pic.twitter.com/Sxo70jM0mW
At the end of the second period, Providence was out-shooting Utica 35-13.
Providence got its third power play of the night as Zech was tripped up at Utica’s blue line. The Bruins couldn’t convert, going 0-for-3 with the man-advantage.
With 12:42 left, Brendan Gaunce beat Bachman with a terrific shot to put Providence up 2-1. Carey forced a turnover in the neutral zone, and Lantosi was able to send the puck to Gaunce on the rush. It was Gaunce’s seventh goal in 16 games.
Gaunce for the lead! 🎯 pic.twitter.com/8SMfwc7YqM— Providence Bruins (@AHLBruins) December 8, 2019
Though the Bruins played a strong defensive game throughout the night, a turnover in their own zone led to Utica tying the game at 2 with 2:49 left in the period. Then, at 18:55, Oskar Steen was sent to the box for goaltender interference.
Providence’s penalty kill kept the game tied. With just 7 seconds to go, Utica committed a hooking penalty. The game headed to overtime.
Despite multiple scoring chances and a short power play for Providence, overtime was scoreless. The game went to a shootout with the Bruins having out-shot the Comets 43-21.
Lantosi scored to open the shootout. Francis Perron was unable to beat Vladar.
Round one:— Providence Bruins (@AHLBruins) December 8, 2019
Robert Lantosi ✅
Francis Perron ❌
In the second round, Carey and Sven Baertschi both failed to convert.
Round two:— Providence Bruins (@AHLBruins) December 8, 2019
Paul Carey ❌
Sven Baertschi ❌
The Bruins needed a goal or a save to get the win. Brendan Gaunce came close to ending it, but his shot hit the post. Vladar made a flashy glove save on Reid Boucher to secure a Bruins victory.
Vladar got his second win in two games since he returned from injury.
“It was a long six weeks for me,” Vladar said after the game. “I feel relieved that I can play right now and that I can do my best. I appreciate it more because as I said, those six weeks were so long. I’m so happy that I got four out of four [points] so far.”
The Bruins have six straight wins and have lost just two games in regulation in their last 11. They host the Hartford Wolf Pack on Sunday afternoon.
Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 157 that we recorded on 12-8-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.
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