The Providence Bruins faced off against the Springfield Thunderbirds at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Sunday. The game was the second of a home-and-home series, with the Bruins defeating the Thunderbirds 5-2 in Springfield on Saturday night. The Bruins entered Sunday’s game ranked third in the Atlantic division with a record of 21-15-1-2.
Gaunce – Frederic – Cehlarik
Breen – Zech
Hunt – Saarela – Tippett
Cross – Keeper
29 seconds into the game, Chris Breen was sent to the box for roughing. Providence was able to kill the penalty and used the momentum to their favor. Just 23 seconds after the penalty expired, Karson Kuhlman beat multiple defenders and set up Brendan Woods, who scored his sixth goal of the season.
WOODS!🚨— Providence Bruins (@AHLBruins) January 12, 2020
Woodsy puts us up 1-0 with 16:48 left in the opening period! pic.twitter.com/OoAkdHGefN
At 11:57 of the first period, Springfield’s Ryan Haggerty was called for interference. The Bruins were unable to convert on their first power play. A few minutes later, Anton Blidh and Matt Mangene got matching roughing minors. Ten seconds into the four-on-four, Brady Keeper was whistled for high-sticking.
Peter Cehlarik beat Desrosiers for his tenth goal of the season on the 4-on-3 power play. The Bruins extended their lead to 2-0.
CEHLARIK! 🚨— Providence Bruins (@AHLBruins) January 12, 2020
Chelarik goes shelf and we’re up 2-0! Gaunce and Frederic get the assists. pic.twitter.com/XoKcswNG81
Before the puck was dropped to re-start play after Cehlarik’s goal, Springfield’s Keeper received a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct and 10-minute misconduct for abuse of officials. Providence had a brief power play before Jack Studnicka was called for slashing.
The period ended with the Bruins leading 2-0 in goals and 16-3 in shots.
Max Lagace made some strong saves in the second period. Though Providence continued to greatly outshoot Springfield, the score could have been much closer without Lagace’s excellent play.
The Bruins went to the penalty kill with 5:44 left in the period, with Didier being sent to the box. Springfield’s Owen Tippett scored on the power play to cut the lead to 2-1.
Just a few minutes later, Kuhlman scored his second goal of the season to extend the Providence lead to 3-1. The team carried the lead into the second intermission and led 32-14 in shots.
KUHLMAN 🚨— Providence Bruins (@AHLBruins) January 12, 2020
Kuhlman buries his second goal of the season and we’re up 3-1 with just over two minutes to go in the second period.
1:24 into the third, Providence went back on the penalty kill with Paul Carey sent off for hooking. Anton Blidh was hooked on a partial shorthanded breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot. His shot made it through Desrosiers and increased the lead to 4-1.
BLIDH! 🚨— Providence Bruins (@AHLBruins) January 12, 2020
He scores a penalty shot goal giving us a 4-1 lead!
Springfield was able to convert later on in the power play. Ryan Haggerty was credited with the goal.
The Thunderbirds were given another power play when Woods and Desrosiers got into a tussle in the crease. Woods was hit with a double-minor for spearing as well as a minor for roughing. Two Springfield players were also given roughing minors. The Bruins were able to kill off the two-minute penalty.
Despite an incredible glove save from Lagace as well as plenty of chances for the Bruins, Springfield later cut the lead to 4-3 with Haggerty’s second goal of the game.
29 seconds after Haggerty’s goal, Woods countered with his second of the day.
WOODS! 🚨— Providence Bruins (@AHLBruins) January 12, 2020
He buries his second of the game and we lead 5-3! 6:01 left in the period. pic.twitter.com/23eRIMfVvk
The Bruins showed great resilience to be able to extend the lead multiple times with Springfield making a push to tie it up. Despite the wide margin in shots, Lagace had to make some big saves to secure the win.
Despite pulling Desrosiers, Springfield couldn’t get the puck past Lagace. Providence won 5-3 and finished with a 43-24 lead in shots. Lagace, who turned 27 on Sunday, was credited with his 13th win of the season. This broke a streak of three straight losses for the goaltender, who last made 39 saves in a loss against the Charlotte Checkers on January 4th.
That’ll do it from The Dunk as the P-Bruins skate to a 5-3 win! Goals from Woods (2), Cehlarik, Kuhlman and Blidh. Max Legace makes 21 saves for the win.— Providence Bruins (@AHLBruins) January 12, 2020
“Last night was a [hard]-fought win,” forward Karson Kuhlman said after the game. “It says a lot about our team to come out here and respond and play a good game on a Sunday afternoon. I thought that yesterday we did a good job of sticking up for one another and we didn’t let them push us around. We wanted to come out here and do a lot of the same this afternoon.”
“There are some confrontational players on both [teams],” commented coach Jay Leach. “When that happens, you’re gonna get those scuffles, whether it’s a fight, a punch after the whistle, or a hit. We certainly want to play the right way, and when we do that, we’re a better team.”
When asked about the close score despite the wide margin in shots, Leach emphasized eliminating mistakes. “When we make a mistake, [like] taking a penalty or losing coverage, something we can control, I think there’s some frustration with that. Those are parts of the learning process. As a group that’s learning how to win, you just have to take steps in the right direction to remedy those.”
The Bruins host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Friday for Military Appreciation Weekend.